• Hello there guest and Welcome to The #1 Classic Mustang forum!
    To gain full access you must Register. Registration is free and it takes only a few moments to complete.
    Already a member? Login here then!

New Member Advice

Hi all, new here.

I'm in the market for a '65 Mustang Convertible 289.

This will be my first classic, and its been on the bucket list for some time. I notice there are many of them around, not surprising as many were built at the time. As this is my first classic (and first mustang), I would appreciate any recommendations from experienced members; like what are main things to watch out for? What are good questions to ask a seller? I am a complete newbie a this.

I am ideally looking for an Automatic, with working factory aircon, and seatbelts for all 4 seats (as I intend to take the youngens out on my weekend morning cruises). The reason why I chose a '65 is because I simply love the look on that year model.

Another question is how are these cars like to drive? Assume they did not come with power steering, something that will likely need to upgrade with brakes and suspension?

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Many thanks in advance.

JB

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
 

Midlife

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
Look for rust: in the cowl in front of the windshield and behind the dash, rust in the wheel well areas, frame rails, and everywhere else. Get under the car and look for rust. Check how the doors open and close: do they sag? Convertibles are notorious for sagging when the unibody rusts and bends such that the doors don't fit well.

They drive like a 50 year old car: you have to pay attention to all of your senses and actively drive the car. You can upgrade the brakes and suspension but first you should ensure that the car itself is worth investing $$$ into it: if it is a basket case, you'll be underwater in no time and will become quite discouraged. Buy the best you can find and don't be cheap.
 

scedd

Well-Known Member
Golden rule when buying an old car- 1/2 of what the seller tells you is Bull, the other 1/2 is shit.
Trust no one, look for rust, rust,rust & then rust.
Take someone very knowledgeable in old cars to look it over.
If the seller wont let you put it on a hoist or pour a bucket of water through the cowl vent, then run away.
Old car brakes & steering arent as flash as new cars, but they still work properly.
Wandering all over the road and pulling under brakes means maintenance is required.
Road noise and clunks are a part of the old car scene, but a trained ear can tell if their abnormal.
Dont be scared off, but dont dive in to ownershipfor the first pretty one you see.
You cant polish a turd, but some out there coat them in glitter!!
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Donator
Best advice is let someone experienced with old mustangs SPECIFICALLY go check it out with you. General old car knowledge is great but these cars have known areas to wary of and no one is an expert at all.
Where are you located. We have guys all over the country here and quite a few would be willing to assist.
Find the car first and then we can help you spend your money with upgrades to make it safer and more enjoyable to drive
 

tarafied1

Well-Known Member
on top of what others said, I would pick the car with the most options on your list or at least the hardest to change. For example, if it doesn't have AC or rear seatbelts, those are easy to install. And modern AC is probably better than factory anyway, as long as you aren't a purist. So I would focus on a V8 auto car and if it doesn't PS, power disc brakes, etc. those can be upgraded. You don't want to get too many things that will need to be upgraded as that can add up fast but if you find a car you like at a good price don't fret too much if it doesn't tick all the boxes. Plenty of aftermarket support available.
And I second Terry, bring an unbiased knowledgeable person with you even if they aren't specifically a Mustang person. They will keep you grounded and help you negotiate because they won't fall in love with the car and can be the "bad cop" by pointing out all the flaws you might be willing to overlook or live with.
 
Thank you all for your replies and advice. I will most definitely be hiring a professional to check any car before I buy it, think that is a wise thing to do. Rust being up there on the list.

I understand that these are 50 year old cars, ideally am looking for one for my Sunday early morning drives, to cruise in with the wife and kids when the weather is nice (was either this or a Vette C1, but this is by far more family friendly) , plus I always thought the cars are just stunning, especially in red!

Are there any other important features/options other than those I mentioned that I should get with the car?

I understand they made quite a few of these cars, generally how is ownership and maintenance? Easy to maintain with parts generally readily available? I will only really be using it for half the year. Is there any specific ongoing maintenance that needs to be done on these cars?

Thanks all again for your help.

JB






Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
 

tarafied1

Well-Known Member
while they are "old" tech, literally millions were built and other cars Ford made shared the platform and drive train. Parts exist to pretty much build a car from ground up without using any original car. That being said, most everything is available and reasonably priced. The wear parts or typical replaced parts are often in stock at your local parts store and pretty much anything else can be had at any one of the many Mustang specific parts suppliers. Mustangs are a great car to get as a classic for these reasons.
Maintenance is pretty easy. They do have grease fittings unlike new cars with sealed bearings so greasing the suspension should be done. Cooling systems are pretty simple so periodic flush and change coolant are usually enough. Charging systems often can't handle a lot of extra load from electric fans, stereo amps, etc. Some upgrades like higher amp alt are good investment. Adding relays to the headlights lighten the load on the wiring and provide brighter lights. But again maintenance is no different than a modern car. Brakes would also a good idea to update if they are drums. But if in good shape to start with, do not require special maintenance.
Some of the more sensitive stuff would be factory power steering. The power assist is prone to leaks. If properly rebuilt or replaced it shouldn't require special maintenance. The older engines weren't built with the same tolerances as today's modern engines so they do use a little oil and should be changed more frequently than modern cars. Fuel system, especially if it sits a lot, can require special care. The fuel system was not designed for ethanol fuel. It's corrosive and attracts water and it can attack regular rubber hoses. Avoid ethanol if you can buy 100% gasoline but if you can't there are additives that help. And stabil or similar product is a good idea if you put it away for winter months.
I'd recommend a proper front-end alignment per Opentracker specs or similar for better drivability on modern radial tires. Modern gas shocks, new springs and bushings, and modern rollerized suspension parts will help it drive more like a modern car as well as addition of bigger anti-sway bars and stiffen it up with export brace and Monte Carlo bars and sub frame connectors.
Of course there are options for rack and pinion and tubular suspension and things like that to bring very close to modern cars or even better if you go extreme but doesn't sound like your intended use would warrant that. If the car is already in good shape and has some options such as PS and power disc brakes it won't drive like a lumber wagon and won't be a dramatic change to go back and forth between your modern car and classic. I drive mine everywhere and anywhere and it has most of the ORP suspension options and chassis stiffening as well as disc brakes. It handles pretty good. I even have added electric power steering. With the updated suspension, tires and alignment it's quite a pleasure to drive.
You asked about options. The classic Mustangs were available with almost everything you can get on a new mustang except power windows and electric door locks. AC, PS, PDB, cruise control, tilt wheel, etc were all options. The problem is finding a car that had all that. They didn't build cars like today with pretty much standard packages so any number of combos could be ordered. Most likely V8 cars might have a C4 auto and PS. The mostly had manual drum brakes. Not so many had AC and/or tilt wheel. But stuff like that can be added if you find a solid car with most of the options you want. More and more people are wanting the classic cars with modern options so chances are you could find one that's already been updated. This is great as long as you don't care if the car is "original". It will all really depend on your budget. The more option, whether factory original or added later, the higher the asking price. If you are not a hands on person you will want to get as much included as possible. Often it's cheaper to buy a "built" car than to build one. You just have to settle for someone elses idea of what is cool. But if you find one you like, the right color, V8, drop top, etc. then it will be worth the extra up front. If on the other hand you don't mind buying a more base model and doing some upgrades on the weekends and can do a lot yourself, you might get a better car for less money but just needs AC added or disc brakes or something like that.
 
Tarafied -- what a response! Thanks for taking the time! Pretty much answered all of my questions.

I am very excited. One thing I did not mention is that i am based in the Middle East (so I intend to import the car from the U.S.). How do these cars fare in warm weather generally? Just north of 100 F for example. I don't intend to be driving it during our summer months here all that much, but would be good to know if I chose to, whether the car would overheat!

Regarding the build, well my budget is around the $30-35K mark, I assume I can get a fairly reasonably specced clean car for that? I mean even without the AC, etc... as long as these can be retrofitted at a reasonable cost, then I'm ok with that. I'm not too fussed about things being all original if i'm honest, as long as the engine and the body, etc... are, basically looks the part, sounds the part (I do intend to fit an exhaust system - so advice on that from any of the members would be most welcome), I would also like to fit perhaps a hidden media system (so I can use my iPod, bluetooth, etc... but something hidden so that dash looks original factory).

These cars really did come in so many different shapes and forms. I notice some with front fog lights on the grille, some with different centre consoles (some seem to have cupholders, though i'm not sure that was the case from the factory!), different steering wheels (I love the wood shelby wheel), different rims, even different dials (some with the long speedometer dial and some with the round ones). Guess finding the "right" car that ticks all the boxes will be a challenge! But like i said as long as things can be retrofitted and changed, I'm happy to do that.
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Donator
Based on all we now know about your situation I would really recommend you find a car that fits into more of the "restomod" category. This being a car that has been updated throughout to more modern systems. Even a very well done original car will still have its moments. A carburetor will require maintenance/adjustment. In the ME it will be very prone to problems with getting hot and not functioning properly. A bolt on fuel injection system would be a very good idea along with the necessary fuel system upgrades. Stock cooling system will almost assuredly not be adequate. These cars are known to overheat on hot summer days which are nothing compared to some of the weather yours will see. A larger, aluminum radiator seems mandatory. The original engines of the period require oil additives not found in typical modern engine oils. A newer roller cam engine would do away with such oil concerns. It would still look the part under the hood but be a good alternative.

As Craig wrote, finding an already "done" car is the way to go it would seem in your case. You want a car you can hop into and drive not one that requires weekly tinkering before each cruise. If you are not a mechanic type yourself the restomod is the way to go. Just make sure it is looked over by someone competent. Not all builds are done well. There are countless tales of cars purchased for shipment overseas where people laid a nice shiny coat of paint on what was really a pile of junk and shipped it off. A poorly crafted car can end up costing stupid cash to make right. Be careful. There are lots of good cars out there. Take the time to find a good one.
 

tarafied1

Well-Known Member
Yeah as Terry said, cooling system was marginal on early models. With a four blade fan and no shroud it would not like the heat. I've been in Jeddah and Dubai and endured 140 degree temps in August time frame.
But also as Terry said, restomod is the way to go. EFI will be more reliable and deal with the heat. Carbs can vapor lock so I would invest in a car with EFI or add it. I'd make sure it had a good fan whether a good electric fan or clutch fan with a shroud. You could run mostly water with water wetter that runs cooler as well and you won't need antifreeze
As far as GT fog lights, they are reproduced so can be added to car that doesn't have them. There are modern consoles with cup holders made for the classic Mustangs and some designed to fit with original console if you find a car with one. Steering wheels are available too. I have a reproduction wood wheel in mine and a "humphugger" console with cup holders.
Retro sound makes an original looking radio that has the modern features you mentioned and fit the dash with no modifications.
As said before, you can find anything for these cars and make it exactly what you want. Just find a good solid car with most of what you want and update as needed. I'm not sure about buying stuff from US and shipping to Middle East but most things like the radio, console, steering wheels, etc aren't too expensive and can be installed with minimal tools.
Good luck and you have come to a good place for help. This group is smaller than most forums but a great group of guys and gals who know their stuff.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Donator
I have a RetroSound stereo set-up in my car. Fits like stock. Looks like stock. Has Bluetooth feature among many others. I put one of their replacement center speakers in the dash and the sound is really good. Sure I just listen to it in the garage but hey...it works!
 

Patrick Stapler

Active Member
A far cry from your "current stable". Be prepared to do some work if you don't buy a completed car, and even if you do have it check for all the reasons previously listed. These are easy cars, yet not so easy.
 

Patrick Stapler

Active Member
Who needs a radio? The real music comes from the engine bay and the exhaust. If you don't like those notes, get some ear buds and listen to your "dumb" phone.
 
That's fantastic advice all. Truly appreciate you talking the time.

Wanted to ask convertible owners about air leaks in cabin with the top on. Is this an issue?

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
 

Horseplay

I Don't Care. Do you?
Donator
Who needs a radio? The real music comes from the engine bay and the exhaust. If you don't like those notes, get some ear buds and listen to your "dumb" phone.
Around town I completely agree. On a hours long highway journey, not so much. Doesn't take too long at a static RPM to lose its appeal.
 

3175375

Well-Known Member
Robbins convertible tops are the best. They are based in SoCal. I had one of their products put on our 1988 Alfa Romeo Spyder and is was and is beautiful

Ford built almost 2 million Mustangs from April 1964 through August 1966. Find your fish n join in the fun.

I have owned my 65 coupe since 1982 n been through it 3 times. Easy to work on and lots of great aftermarket parts. My latest adds are an aluminum driveshaft N cylinder heads. Good luck on your find!

This forum has wealth of knowledgeable people. Tap into the tribal knowledge
 

JeffTepper

Well-Known Member
In addition to the helpful tips already offered in this thread, here are a few things to consider:

Though mechanical, sheet metal, and trim parts are readily available here, you might find that your "corner auto parts store" might not have these parts in stock. Some of our Mustang friends from overseas tend to collect parts over time and use a container to ship them home when the container is full. Though this requires some planning and patience, it can be an economical way to source parts.

Not clear from your initial post what your skill sets, available time, space, tools, and interest is in turning your own wrenches on this car. I would be surprised if you have a competent vintage car mechanic in your neighborhood and more surprised if that person has vintage Mustang knowledge and experience. Many of the current members of this forum community are hobbyists with tight budgets. To keep the hobby affordable, many turn their own wrenches, some for therapy and others because the cost of hiring out the work can quickly become cost prohibitive. If your current stable is as bucks up as it appears, this may not be an issue for you.

Factory Service Manuals are available in reproduction from most well stocked Mustang parts houses. Once you make your purchase, I encourage you to secure a copy the the service manual for your year model as a resource for whoever works on your car.

The original engines in these cars have what is known as a "flat tappet" camshaft which requires anti-scuffing oil additives to survive. Not sure what the zinc content is in the available engine oil where you are but here in the States, modern engine oils are generally insufficient and one needs to either use zinc (ZDDP) additives or find racing oil that contain zinc in sufficient concentrations to keep the engines alive. If interested, Google or search for "ZDDP" to learn more. Modern "roller tappet" engines and and older engines upgraded with roller cams and lifters should be OK with modern engine oils.

Good luck with your search.
 
Great tips thank you. No I'm not as hands on as I should be and def not very knowledgeable when it comes to these parts. US classic muscle cars are very popular here and there are many knowledgeable ppl around me which is good. We also have a few local garages that can do everything under the sun so will be seeking their services with respect to maintaining me classic Stang.

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
 

RagTop

Old Grumpy
Great tips thank you. No I'm not as hands on as I should be and def not very knowledgeable when it comes to these parts. US classic muscle cars are very popular here and there are many knowledgeable ppl around me which is good. We also have a few local garages that can do everything under the sun so will be seeking their services with respect to maintaining me classic Stang.

Sent from my HTC U11 using Tapatalk
Have one of those local garages that you trust go over any car you are interested in to assure there aren't any hidden serious mechanical issues. These car most certainly came with power steering and many of them had that option. Lots with power brakes too. Be concerned with a car that tends to drift on the highway or pulls under braking. That can indicate anything from worn out front suspension bushings to just terrible alignment. Also check for the amount you can turn the wheel without the car responding. That can be a worn out front end or steering box. Since Ford built over 250,000 convertibles from 1965-1973, and most were 1965-1967, you should find a fairly large population to choose from. Keep thinking about the cost of fixing any identified problems (not including serious rust; don't even bother with those) and deduct that from the fair market value of a '65 vert. Good luck.
 
Top