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Gilbert's 1973 Ford Mustang Convertible

1973 Ford Mustang

Base 302/5.0L V8

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Build Points

28

  • Color: Gold Glow
  • Horsepower: 210
  • Drivetrain: RWD

Vehicle Overview

This is our 1973 Mustang Convertible. This is what I describe as being a True Survivor. This Mustang has had a total of 4 owners. The first owner had it for a few months, then traded it in for a 4x4 truck. The second owner became very ill soon after purchasing it, and the car was stored in one of his barns for over 40 years. And, there the car sat for over years. His family sold the car in about 2017 to a Mustang enthusiast. The car has about 13,000 original miles on it at that time. The 3rd owner replaced the old aged and cracking tires, installed a set of Magnum 500 wheels to replace the original “dog dish” steel wheels and hub caps (we have the original wheels and hub caps), replaced the convertible top (black fabric as opposed to the original white), and installed a dual exhaust system. Nothing else was done to the car, other than a maintenance tune up and oil & filter change when needed. We came across the Convertible in Summer, 2019, at a barn sale. The owner was retiring and wanted to sell off all of his Mustang parts and cars – to include this Convertible. When we saw the car we both began to plot how we were each going to try to convince the other of the need to acquire this really nice looking car. It was in truly excellent condition, perfectly preserved, and no restoration work other than the convertible top being replaced. Well, we put down a cash deposit, and went to our bank immediately to get the balance in cash. The car was delivered to us the next morning wher we paid for it. The odometer was reading just under 20,000 original miles at that time! As with the 1973 Mach 1, the Convertible began its life as a fairly basic vehicle, other than the upgraded features specific to the convertible models that year. It had a 302 2v engine, backed up by a C4 automatic transmission, and a 2.79:1 open differential. Other than the automatic transmission the only other really significant option was its AM radio. The interior is Ginger, but the inner door panels are the deluxe style, which I believe was part of the Convertible package. The exterior color was the factory original coat of Gold Glow. There really was no need to make any repairs to the vehicle at the time we purchase dit. So, as with the 1973 Mach 1, we ended up focusing on making the car more comfortable for driving. The first upgrade was adding a Classic Air air conditioning system (R134, of course). The kit included a new control head panel, which used electrically driven motors for the air door, and hot coolant diverter valve, as opposed to using vacuum like the original heater control system used. The system had all of the parts needed, and it works perfectly. The original instrument panel had a speedometer and fuel gauge. Everything else was an idiot light. I opted to replace it with a Dakota VHX analog gauge instrument panel, with a carbon fiber exterior finish and a red illumination lighting schema. It really looks great. I did some other upgrades as well, to help modernize the Convertible. I added an ACP full length center console. I used double sided tape to mount a 3 x 3 x 1 block of clear Acrylic onto the center vertical bezel, and attached a Garmin Drive 51 GPS display. I also added the optional Garmin wireless backup camera, and an LED taillight set with sequential flashers. The headlights are not Halogen units, which required a headlight relay kit. I used the headlight relay unit to turn the headlights and parking lights on automatically any time the engine is running, and the parking light current is used in the trunk to power the backup camera and sequential turn signal circuit boards. As for the center console, I replaced the ash tray with a fabricated Power Panel with two 12 molt outlets and a dual USB outlet, using switched power. After all of the upgrades were performed the Convertible was really more fun than ever to drive. But, to give it a nit more edge to is appearance we added a front spoiler. And the original paint was a bit thin on the rear edge of the trunk lidm just under the lock cylinder. So we had the lower edge of the rear of the trunk lid repainted. To help mask any meeting of the edge of the new paint on the lower part of the read ond of the trunk lid, and the upper original paint, we added a racing stripe decal. It turned out to look really nice. We also replaced the rear trunk panel trim with a Mach 1 style honeycomb design, as opposed to the original leather look, smoother surface trim panel. About a year after buying the Convertible the water pump front seal began to leak. While replacing the water pump we decided to upgrade the cooling system with a Champion aluminum radiator, an aluminum radiator shroud, dual electric fans, a thermal control switch, and a fan relay. The cooling system upgrade was not really needed, but since I was working on the water pump anyway, and with this kind of upgrade working so nicely on the Mach 1, we just decided to do it.

Future Plans

We have no future plans for this Convertible, other than to keep it maintained in the best possible condition. As with all of our vintage cars, we use Amsoil Z-Rod synthetic oil with Zinc, and Motorcraft FL-1A oil filters. After getting the car I did pull a spark plug, and found it was in new condition. I checked the distributor vacuum advance diaphragm and found it was working properly. The 2v carburetor is working perfectly. The auto tranny fluid is clear and smells fresh. This vehicle is an absolute joy to have, and to drive.

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