Classic Mustangs have always struggled with cooling issues, especially big-block cars, due to small engine compartments and limited flow through the grille coupled with under-capacity and vertical-flow radiators. It wasn't until the late '70s that Ford began to address Mustang cooling-system woes with good cross-flow radiators and greater capacity. Those with '79-'04 Mustangs have rarely been concerned with overheating because Ford did a pretty good job in those years.
The automotive aftermarket has taken care of classic Mustang enthusiasts with better radiators, high-flow water pumps, improved engine-driven and electric cooling fans, and water-wetter chemical treatments to virtually eliminate overheating problems. Griffin is undoubtedly front and center with high-quality aluminum radiators available from Mustangs Plus.
Choosing the right radiator depends on how you intend to drive the car and how much power you have under the hood. High-horsepower strokers, for example, need heavy-duty cooling capacity to carry away all that heat. Even stockers need four-row core desert-cooler radiators, which offer ample cooling capacity for just about any Mustang application.
We're installing a Griffin aluminum radiator in a '69 Mustang GT convertible with a 390 High Performance V-8. The car is in Tucson, Arizona, a place legendary for its searing heat and summertime monsoons that bring unbearable humidity. It's not uncommon for the mercury to reach 120 degrees F with a blazing sun unmatched anywhere short of the Middle East.