Classic Sports Car



- Thanks to Mustang Maniac (mustangman­; Longlife Exhausts (

With my daughter already at university and my son taking A-levels next year we decided to downsize, so Iʼve been trying to sell the Mustang GT over the summer. Iʼve owned it for five years, so itʼs time to move it on to a new owner, but thatʼs proved easier said than done.

Iʼve advertised online and in print, dropping the price as I go, but with a big dip in the market there have been no takers. Over the years I must have sold a dozen classics, but itʼs never been this hard. There has been interest, and two people came to see the car with one staying over two days for inspection. Interestin­gly, neither had owned classics before and I got the impression that they liked the idea but possibly not the reality of poor brakes, no power steering and a lack of cupholders.

So Iʼve U-turned, and decided to hang on to the car and improve some of the things Iʼd hoped the next owner would have seen to. A big tick was replacing the leaking exhaust with a stainlesss­teel system from Longlife Exhausts in Winterbour­ne Abbas, Dorset, where ace fabricator­s Jarek Szlek and Gary Osborne created one from scratch (The Specialist, January 2023).

The GT has twin pipes, which had rusted and were sounding like a Sopwith Camel, much to my embarrassm­ent. The old ʻcherry bombʼ-style system was removed and measured, with Jarek making each piece from straight pipe on a bending machine and creating the flanges and swages where necessary. The Mustang GT now has the perfect V8 burble.

Something Iʼve always wanted to do was to replace the rather tired-looking chrome valve covers with the finned ʻ289 Powered by Fordʼ aluminium versions recreated by American parts maker Scott Drake. They are expensive, but the price does vary with supply and demand, then

I noticed a great deal on ebay by seller US Automotive and bought them. When we rebuilt the engine, the original cylinder heads were warped and corroded, so we replaced them with aluminium ones and added roller rockers to improve efficiency. What I didnʼt know was that the new valve covers donʼt fit with roller rockers because they are too narrow and wonʼt clear the valvegear. Fortunatel­y, I discovered this before they were fitted and was able to return them. It still left the problem of the ugly chrome units.

Originally the valve covers for 1965 and ʼ66 cars would have been gold or Ford pale blue, like the block, so I Scotch-brited the chrome flat and gave it two coats of etch-primer. I had a nasty accident with the can of VHT paint when it exploded in my face as I removed the lid, leaving me looking like Papa Smurf, but luckily it missed my eyes. After some unpleasant scrubbing with solvent, I opened the second can without a problem, then gave the valve covers two coats, curing the paint in the Aga between sprays.

Refitting, with the help of son Alex, was pretty straightfo­rward. Whenever I take anything apart with multiple bolts, I always label their location, pressing them through a piece of card so I know which went where. An important thing to note is that oil pressure is low at the top of the engine, so the bolts donʼt need to be torqued up too tight, particular­ly with an alloy head and fresh rubber gaskets.

Another small job I completed was replacing one of the foglights in the grille. It was only working intermitte­ntly and, after checking earths, I bit the bullet and bought a new one from Mustang Maniac, repainting the housings on both while I had them off the car.

 ?? ?? The burble is back, thanks to handfabric­ated stainlesss­teel system from Longlife Exhausts
The burble is back, thanks to handfabric­ated stainlesss­teel system from Longlife Exhausts
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 ?? ?? Bolt-retaining system aids reassembly
Bolt-retaining system aids reassembly
 ?? ?? Etch-primer first, then the blue topcoat
Etch-primer first, then the blue topcoat
 ?? ?? Replacemen­t foglight has been fitted
Replacemen­t foglight has been fitted
 ?? ?? Coveted aluminium valve covers don’t fit
Coveted aluminium valve covers don’t fit

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