This idea is surely nothing new, but nonetheless it remains a great modification for classic drivers seeking efficiency and fuel economy. Ford's Automatic Overdrive transmission, introduced in 1980, has long been one of the single greatest modifications you can make to a classic Mustang because it improves fuel economy and reduces wear and tear. There are two basic types of AOD transmissions-the mechanically modulated AOD produced between 1980 and 1992 with a throttle valve cable and the AODE/4R70W electronically controlled unit available from 1993-up.
11 PerTronix Ignitor For Reliability
Seems like only yesterday that a forward thinking company called PerTronix brought us the Ignitor electronic ignition retrofit for vintage Mustang distributors. This simple drop-in electronic ignition kit replaces the ignition points and condenser in your Autolite or Motorcraft single- or dual-point distributor in about 30 minutes. PerTronix also has a new billet distributor that looks sharp and is more effective than dated Autolite or Motorcraft sparkers. Regardless which system you choose, the family of Ignitor retrofits or the billet distributor, all you have to do is install it, adjust and time it, and forget it.
12 Tried & Proven Autolite Carburetors
We've played with a lot of different carburetor types throughout this magazine's history. The most solid, reliable carburetors ever produced for classic Mustangs are original equipment types for V-8s from Autolite and Motorcraft. The best, bar none, are the Autolite 2100 two-barrel and 4100 four-barrel carburetors Ford originally installed on our Mustangs on the assembly line. What makes the Autolites/Motorcrafts so good is the close attention Ford paid to engineering way back when. They operate on the same basic principles as race-proven Holley carburetors with power valves and annular boosters for excellent fuel delivery. If you keep clean fuel in your Mustang's tank along with regular filter replacement, the 2100 and 4100 will serve you well for thousands of miles. And rebuilds are easily accomplished in an afternoon on your workbench. Or send yours off to Pony Carburetors for a rebuild, concours restoration, and on-engine tuning before it is shipped back to you.
If your restoration plans include the use of long-tube headers, selection is dizzying because there are so many available out there. We've had the good fortune of working with Stan Johnson of Ford Powertrain Applications (FPA) in Everett, Washington. Stan got tired of frustrating headers that don't fit. So he started his own company with the determination to make Ford-friendly header systems that work and fit.
When you count on a classic Mustang as daily or weekly transportation, you don't have time for blown header gaskets and banged up collector tubes. You want something that, once installed, will last the life of your restoration. FPA headers offer the cleanest header installation in the industry if you want long-tube headers. They wrap in tight alongside your small- or big-block Ford V-8. Instead of conventional collectors that blow gaskets, FPA headers have a ball and socket collector that doesn't require gaskets, making exhaust system installation easy. When it's time to install FPA headers, opt for the most bulletproof copper sandwich header gasket money can buy along with locking fasteners that won't work loose. Headers don't have to be high maintenance if you do your homework going in.
There are a number of schools of thought on clutch activation and how to get it. Ford's original bellcrank clutch release system works quite well when you opt for the best components. For those who want the original clutch pedal feel, the Muscle Z-Bar from Barillaro Speed is an excellent drop-in replacement for a worn-out clutch linkage thanks to a heavy metal Heim joint design that reduces friction and keeps tolerances tight.
If you desire the sweet, smooth operation of a cable clutch system, Modern Driveline needs to be your Internet destination because these folks offer an easy-to-install clutch cable system that can be installed over a weekend in your home garage. Remember this system requires a cable clutch bellhousing or scattershield per Modern Driveline. Once installed, enjoy smooth clutch operation and reliability.
15 Precision Rack-and-Pinion Steering
There are a lot of good rack-and-pinion steering systems for classic Mustangs. Some of our best experiences have been with Total Control Products' power rack-and-pinion, which has been installed on Project Reclaim from Mustangs Plus and The Restomod Shop. Rack-and-pinion makes light work of classic Mustang steering because it's like driving a late-model Mustang. Instead of worm-and-sector slop from stop to stop, you get precision steering performance. This is not a low-buck modification, but worth it if driving pleasure is important to you. Might as well complement your TCP power rack with a complete TCP coilover suspension system while you've got the credit card out because it all works so well together.