I am currently looking into buying a 65-70 mustang. I was wondering if you guys could give me any help in choosing one. Is there any trouble spots I should be looking for, andy tips would greatly help. thanks!!!
The first thing I would look out for is "rust". Mustangs in those years had a tendency to rust at the bottom of the doors. Water would get past the beltline, at the window, and pool inside the doors. Drain holes, found at the bottom of the doors, could become stopped up with an acumalation of dirt over the years. The results may be a very nice finish on the outside, but a very rusty finish inside the exterior door sheet metal. That same rust will find it's way through. Take a squint, with the window rolled down, between the exterior beltline and the glass frame to check the condition. Likewise, look around the fender "lips"/wells, behind the tire at the rear quarter, corners at the rear glass, and behind the back valence. Ask to see if you can have the door sill plates removed to inspect the floor pans. Another place for rust if the previous owner(s) like to shampoo their carpet alot. Check under the car for rust and to verify that the seat plugs are in place. If they are not, check around each unplugged hole (8 total) for rust. When you are sure of this then proceed to the next step.
To save a little money, from the get go, check to see how the car "tracks". Ask to have some water poured out in the street suffcient for a tire rotation each side. Drive through the water and over a dry area for about 15 to 20 feet. Check to see if the rear tires are in true line with the front by the tracks they leave on the dry area. If one is offset tell the seller to have a nice day. Chances are the car was involved in a very nasty side impact accident at one time and if it was you'll be buying tires for it now till doomsday. Besides just think how "goofy" you look in a car that goes down the road sideways. However, IF things look good here I would still take it down to check the "alignment" and "tracking" by the pros before buying the car.
Speaking of which "drivetrain". Listen to the sounds of the engine. It obviously should be voided of "ticking" or "tapping" sounds. Check to see if the engine is cold and, if so, let it warm up the way it is suppose to (in other words don't "blow the crap out of it"). As it does warm up check for any variences in sound. Remember, it is an old engine, so it going to sound different then a late model. If it sounds "tight" take it down for a mechanical insepction. Let them run the gambet on the entire drivetrain and, as long as it is in the air, the entire front end. You surely don't want any suprises.
Cosmetics. Look for body waves, by standing to each side front and back, and a couple steps out. You'll see them if they are there. Your choice for this type of inspection. But, since I show my Mustang and I judged some carshows, I wouldn't have "the waves". The rest "kid" is up to you!
I examine the front and rear subframe rails, any damage or repair means previous serious collision damage. I also examine the body side join all along the outer seams of the body along the rocker panels. The seam should be straight and true, with no bondo or evidence of repair. The floor pans should be intact, or replaced in a professional manner. If the floor pans have been replaced be sure to check the cowl vents. Doors should close square and not drag on rocker panels (clean open and close). If the doors sag slightly at the rear edge only and with gentle upward pressure on the door close correctly then it's probably okay but the door hinges need replacement or repair (new bushings and pins). Look for misfit body panels. Side misfits are not typical of a good car. The doors should fit squarely with a minutely larger crack at the front edge than at the rear. If the door bumps the fender as it opens, chances are the fenders are reproductions. One of the easiest ways to spot reproduction fenders is to look at the top scallop line at the rear edge of the fender. This is more pointed on reproduction fenders and is more likely to cause the door to jam when opening. The fit at the front headlight door and bucket varies but it should not be grossly different right to left. There will likely be some misalignment but in comparing good and bad body work the cheap work stands out here. Trunk lid should fit and be centered. It should not jam both sides of the body or have big cracks on both sides. A little misadjustment on one side to balanced by misadjustment on the other side is okay provided the gap on the left/right side are such that if the lid is centered, then the lid would fit reasonably well.
The fit along the back of the body, trunk lid to tail lamp panel should be good. Look just below the tail light panel at the top of the valance (top bumper crack, then bottom bumper crack) this should appear clean and true and be absent of bondo. The valance below the bumper should be flat and not bowed beneath the bumper. After examining the outside, open the trunk and look at the opposide side of the panel. If it continues to look true and not repaired, then it's probably good or at least has been correctly repaired.
While in the trunk, examine the rear wheel houses with a flashlight. Look deep into the seams and see if there's evidence of corrosion or corrosion repair. A lot of east coast cars will have complete skin grafts and you can see evidence of the graft from the inside.
At the front of the car, examine the frame rail extensions and rails themselves for repair. A good car will have very clean and straight frame rails. A bad car will show repairs to twisted metal or shock towers.
Never buy the first car without first-hand knowledge of classic Mustangs. Look at a lot of them and go to Mustang Club shows to learn the difference between truly nice cars and so-so cars. If you can't pass up the first car, be sure to get it appraised by a classic car appraiser before putting down your hard earned cash. $50 spent on an appraisal can save you $1000's.