Your vintage Mustang is great. You wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China. Then you ride in that late-model Cobra and something happens. You get the urge for a bit more power out of that 289, or you want it to actually handle rather than wallow. Even worse, you sit in rapt fascination as the windows roll up with a switch rather than a crank. You also are amazed that the late-model has a CD player and enough volume to cause deafness in three counties. You are mildly jealous of the super-sized meats with which the car is shod. Two-oh-five 14s are the top of your tire range in that '65 hardtop. The biggest problem is how you can get all that into your Mustang and make it look like it should be there. What to do? We are here to help.
What follows is our attempt to help you fool the show car judges and get what you want-right down to the power window winders and hidden remote keyless entry. Yep. If technology is cool, then these things are frigid.
Geared For Action
What can add sparkle to your Mustang's acceleration is a new gearset, especially if the rear is housing a 2.80 or 3.00. We recommend a 3.25 or 3.50 rear gear for better get-up-and-go. We also prefer a Traction-Lok gearset. With the 3.50, you'll be running at around 2,500 to 2,800 rpm on the interstate at 60-65 mph.
When it comes to transferring power to the pavement, there are some additions that can make all the difference in the world. Good radial tires are essential for the weekend warrior and can even be applied to the Concours Street Driven Mustang Club of America competitor. But we really don't consider radials a hidden mod. After all, they're right there in front of your face.
The stock shocks on your vintage Mustang are adequate. Wouldn't it be better, though, to get a set of performance gas shocks to help stabilize the car in the corners and over the inevitable bumps in the road? We like the KYB shocks for this reason. The way to hide them is to fill the stamped type at the bottom with body filler, remove the stickers with Goo Gone, and then paint them black. If you want to go a step further, put the paint markings on them as well.
Rubber Baby Buggy...
The black urethane bushings that are available for your Mustang are great. The sway bar end link bushings make for a sharp contrast to the soft stock units. What is lacking is the correct size to fit your stock sway bar mounting hardware. What we have done on our Lazarus Project '72 Mach is obtain the urethane bushings for our stock sway bars and cut them down to fit the brackets. Thus we can have our cake and eat it, too. We recommend that you have a machine shop do this for you to ensure good fit and long life. We also recommend periodic checks to ensure they are still in good condition.
The Big Comfy
When it comes to having our cake and eating it, too, we want to have the best of all possible worlds-therefore creature comforts and performance must not be forgotten. If we keep asking the manfacturers for such products, they'll keep delivering them. Of course, if they are out there, we'll keep showing them to you so that you can have your cake and screaming stallion, too!
Engine Room When it comes...
When it comes to places to hide upgrades, nothing says hidden like the venerable small-block. There are more hop-up items available for the 289 to 351 now than ever before. What is really nice is that there are more items that can be easily hidden.
Heading Your Way There are...
Heading Your Way
There are several afterrmarket heads available for Fords right now. In fact, from the 289 to the 460, there are several choices available, though some are not factory in their look. For hidden modifications on 302/351 Windsor Dart II and the Ford Motorsport, GT-40 heads are some of the best. These heads have stock-looking casting and excellent flow characteristics. There are some things to be aware of, however. For instance, the hole above the freeze plug is there for emissions, and therefore needs to be plugged on cars delivered outside of California. You also must use a threaded insert to correctly mount the dipstick.
Clevelands have a head available...
Clevelands have a head available that is not really an aftermarket piece but is excellent for better performance from your 2V Cleveland. The Aussie 2V Cleveland head, available from ACF Parts [(812) 897-4052], offers closed chambers on the valve pocket, allowing higher compression with the excellent velocity of the 2V port. For the FE, Dove Manufacturing [(216) 236-5169] offers heads with the air injector bosses cast in, allowing the use of your smog system and an excellent performance head. These heads flow better than the stock units and when painted Ford Corporate Blue are factory in appearance. There are aftermarket heads for the 429/460 as well, and they proudly display their name on the front of the head. This makes it difficult to hide anything.
CDS: A Good Investment Both...
CDS: A Good Investment
Both Antique Automobile Radio (AAR) and Custom Auto Sound now carry quality CD players. The one from AAR is quite compact and neatly fits inside the '71-'73 consoles. Other mounting locations are, of course, available on different models. Many folks are mounting them just below the package tray on the hardtops. You can also mount it on a board that sits in the trunk. This way, you can remove it and hide the wires while at the show.
Honing In Headers stick out...
Headers stick out like a sore thumb on anything but a pre-'68 Shelby. So what can you do to get better flow? Two things are available to the '65-'67 owner. One is the use of the 289 Hi-Po exhaust manifolds and the other is to have the manifolds Extrude Honed to within an inch of their lives. This will help you get the spent gasses from where they are to where they need to be with better flow characteristics.
Have A Stroke, Man! One of...
Have A Stroke, Man!
One of the best-hidden mods we have seen come around for any Ford small-block is the stroker kit. The more popular kits are those available for the 302 and 351 Windsor, but there are kits to stroke Clevelands and 385 Series 460s; the last can be taken out to 500-plus inches!
Be careful, though, as some kits are really more for the strip than the street. For instance, the 302 to 347 kits are great but tend to consume oil due to the wrist pin location, as it relates to the oiling ring. For the street, stay at or under 335 cubes on your 302 and you should be fine. Also consult the manufacturer on the type of driving you'll do with this car.
The Air It Breathes Intake...
The Air It Breathes
Intake manifolds and carburetors are integral parts of your hidden plan. Two things can be done to help breathing in the intake department. The first is to have your intake manifold Extrude Honed [(310) 531-2976], as this will open up and smooth the ports. If you have a 289 2V but want the 4V, the best way to hide this is to use a stock four-barrel intake manifold and an Autolite 4100 carburetor. Pony Carburetors [(315) 662-3003] offers these in both the 480- and 600-cfm configurations. The 4100 and the 2100 are almost identical at the front bowl, and therefore are well hidden by the huge air cleaners that Ford used until 1973.
For the street, grab an open-element...
For the street, grab an open-element air cleaner and a K&N filter. For the show, put your factory unit back on. For the Cleveland, ACF has a limited supply of the Ford factory Aussie 2V, four-barrel cast-iron intakes. Of course, you can also take an intake, such as the Offenhauser Port-O-Sonic or the Edelbrock Performer, and grind the lettering off to help confound the judges. Corporate Blue will further help you hide your deed. Though we mentioned it earlier, Extrude Honing of the intake is not recommended for the 4V Cleveland, due to the fact that this manifold already had a problem with low-volumetric efficiency.
Rock 'N' Roll Cam Bang for...
Rock 'N' Roll Cam
Bang for the buck is best with a roller cam. And now almost every cam manufacturer offers a full roller cam and valvetrain to make your engine run better and more efficiently. Most have roller cams available for the entire Ford V-8 line. Comp Cams [(800) 999-0853] has even introduced a street roller mechanical cam. This new item will allow you to have the cool mechanical tap with the advances of a roller grind. Even with the zoomy cam, make sure it is the correct grind for your car and that you degree it in.
Tune Up For Your Tuner Hey,...
Tune Up For Your Tuner
Hey, what's a classic car without classic tunes? Back in the Nov. '99 issue, we went to Antique Automobile Radio (AAR) [(727) 785-8733] and had the company update the radio for the Lazarus Project to AM/FM/eight-track with CD capability. This keeps the interior of our concours Mach looking factory stock without torturing us with AM talk radio.
Whole New Deal For some,...
Whole New Deal
For some, the crate engine idea is the answer. Ford offers several choices in crate engines that will give you a basically stock look with all the late-model upgrades. Mustangs Plus [(800) 999-4289] now offers a balancer that allows you to use your stock V-belt pulleys, thus effectively hiding the 5.0 under your carb and intake. The only change will be to balance the stock 289 flywheel to the factory late-model specs.
Wheel Of Fortune In the last...
Wheel Of Fortune
In the last couple years, we have seen the advent of the 15-inch Styled Steel wheels. This is not really a hidden modification, but it is a stealthy one to be sure. This has allowed the Mustang owner to get a more performance-styled tire for his '65-'69 Mustang. Liking the idea, we have decided to get Specialty Wheels [(503) 668-4793] to build us a '70 Styled Steel on a 15-inch rim with a semicorrect 15-inch Mopar or Chevy trim ring. The fronts will be 7 inches wide and the rears will be 8 inches, if possible.
This will give us the look of 1970 with the advantage of BFGoodrich rubber.
Sparky When it comes to hiding...
When it comes to hiding performance, the Pertronix [(800) 827-3758] Ignitor is the only way to go. It fits under the distributor cap and is super easy to install. Pertronix also has a hotter coil and black wires available to help further confound the observer.
Rad Cooler Many vendors offer...
Many vendors offer radiators with a larger core for the Mustang. This will help keep that new engine alive for years to come. When you're finished with the install, add a bottle of Water Wetter available from Summit [(800) 230-3030]-just in case.
Train Kept A Rollin' The...
Train Kept A Rollin'
The valvetrain is another area that has seen great benefit from roller technology. The one thing you'll need to be wary of is clearance with the older '65-'66 valve covers. Review these facts with your service representative before you order, no matter which valve covers you run.
Suspension Bridge The suspension...
The suspension on your Mustang can definitely use some help, particularly if it is still running on the original bushings. The old, tired rubber is just not going to cut the mustard. Even new rubber is soft compared to what is available from the new urethane products. Springs are another issue as well. A great deal of handling prowess can be gained from just these two items.