Weekend WarriorThe weekend street driver is by far the most common Mustang out there. These cars could be driven every day, but the owners prefer (and are able) to preserve their cars for weekend shows and Saturday night cruises. They aren't concours show vehicles by any definition, so there is plenty of room for modification and personal touches. Check out any local show and you'll see the weekend warrior with performance spark-plug wires (usually yellow), engine dress-up kits, chrome wheels, Shelby-style LeMans stripes, mudflaps, and fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror. No worries, mate, because even if the judge does stop by with his white gloves and clipboard, the owner of a weekend warrior doesn't fret. He had more fun last night bench-racing with his buddies than the concours competitor who spent all evening detailing his Mustang's undercarriage for a judge's scrutiny.
Weekend warriors are similar to daily drivers, and should be prepared like a daily driver because they're driven frequently. They should start reliably and drive safely. But weekend warriors have the luxury of staying in the garage during inclement weather. Wear and tear are less, and paint and interior vinyl stay nicer because the car isn't constantly subjected to the hot sun or damaging environmental matter floating in the air.
Based on our observations, owners of weekend warriors have more fun than owners who torment themselves over originality, detailing, correct paint daubs, and cleanliness, all in the quest of adding trophies to the garage display. Nothing wrong with any of that-to each his own, we say. But while the concours and show Mustangs get most of the glory (including features in this magazine, we admit), the owners who do it their way with weekend drivers are having the most fun.
RestomodThis is a growing segment among vintage Mustang owners. A few are daily drivers, but the vast majority fit into the weekend warrior category. By definition, a Mustang restomod looks like a mostly original car with all of the classic Mustang lines, but it has been improved with modern upgrades like power disc brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, fuel-injection, bigger wheels and tires, overdrive transmission, comfortable seats, and a powerful stereo with a CD changer and larger speakers.
Added performance is always a restomod goal. Most early Mustangs came with small-blocks, and today's owners prefer to stick with a 289, 302, or 351 because they can make good power with the right aftermarket performance equipment. Also, they aren't as heavy as a big-block, which aids handling. Stroker small-blocks are extremely popular because they add displacement without adding size or weight; they're available from a number of engine builders. You can go with either a traditional four-barrel carburetor and aluminum intake manifold, or you can drop in a fuel-injection setup from a late-model 5.0. A popular restomod swap is a complete 5.0 engine from an '87-'95 Mustang.
There's nothing wrong with a big-block, either. A huge 428 Cobra Jet between the shock towers looks impressive, and the available tree-puller torque is a blast on the street. On the downside, changing spark plugs can be a challenge and the added weight over the front wheels only enhances the Mustang's inherent understeering characteristics. If you're thinking about adding headers, don't call us to help.
No restomod is complete with without an overdrive transmission, either an AOD automatic or a five-speed manual. Conversion kits are available from a number of manufacturers. With the overdrive, you can go with deeper rear gears, like 3.50s or even 3.91s, for improved acceleration, yet still maintain a comfortable cruising rpm.