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Topic: 1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build (Read 15715 times) previous topic - next topic

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build


Yep, that's me. Summer of 1998 and the start of my senior year. My dad and I bought it in early winter of 97, in the rain, at a body shop. It was red and shiney and had a 5.0. Perfect first car right? I spent just over a year with the car when my parents (who were loaning me money for repairs; ie 7.5 rear end, one 5.0, and one AOD) decided I needed something more reliable and newer that didn't stall at red lights (*^$#*@*&@ CFI!!!!) So I was forced to sell the beauty you see here and bought a 93 Mustang LX. Forced you say, but its a Mustang a fox body Mustang how could I be forced? Two Point Three. The exact amount of liters the 85 hp POS 4 cylinder displaced. Don't let the 8 spark plugs fool you, there is no power there.

After mulling my way through about 14 Mustangs over the years I found myself wanting to go back and build the car that built me. But better, and more awesome, and faster, and something that doesn't stall at red lights, and leaves TWO black marks when you nail it from a stop. I browse Craigslist daily, sometimes hourly looking for deals. I found 2-3 cars that didn't pan out over the last few years which made me want one even more. I posted a WTB ad here and was contacted by My10-80 about a parts car he had. We put the deal together, I got a trailer and a friend with a truck, and now its mine.

Here's the thread where the previous owner to My10-80 was selling it:
http://www.foxtbirdcougarforums.com/showthread.php?33784-86-thunderbird-for-sale-also-84-elan-edition-parts-car

And as it sits now in my garage:


As of now I'm trying to decide if the effort of making a SN95 dash work in the car is worth it. I don't have fenders, or a dash frame, or a dash from a Thunderbird but I do have the dash, frame, column, and pedals from a SN95. Here's a mock up of the SN95 frame in the car:


I'm a perfectionist. Its a disease really, not a character trait. If I'm going to do this the right way, the firewall is going to need surgery and I'm going to spend alot of one on one time with a SN95 at the junkyard holding a Sawsall. I have found an 86 in a junkyard about 65 miles from me, but $100 each for fenders and $200 for the dash seems high when I can get the parts for less than half the next time one rolls into the Pull a Part 10 miles from my house.

So thats where I'm at for now. I'll be updating as I go, and maybe within a year or so this will be on the ground and moving under its own power again.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #1
Take it from me, doing it once, and doing it right, is one hell of a lot better than going back and redoing it 2 or 3 times.

I've changed my mind so many times on my own project(s), that it's caused me to waste a lot of time. Of course, I can't stay focused on it too long either, unless I'm medicated, and I can't stand what that does to me. But it does make for an interesting collection of stuff for when I do get around to working on it again, which will be when warmer weather comes this way. I can't handle the cold any more, it's barely 11 right now....was up to 55 yesterday.

Add carpet, and a floor shift, and my interior looks rather like yours, except there's no SN95 dash frame in there. Don't forget a new FORD heater core before you have it all back together, too. ;)
'84 and '87 Mustangs
'98 Explorer 5.0
'06 Lexus
'06 Explorer EB 4.6

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #2
Look forward to seeing the build

The frame seems like a ok fit

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #3
This build will be on par in quality with a restoration of a 91 Coupe I did several years ago. The car was complete minus paint, but I touched every inch in one way or another. 158 pics of the progress can be seen here: http://s5.photobucket.com/user/Drewstang/slideshow/91%20Coupe%20Build My garage is heated and cooled so the temps and weather do not slow me down. Something I did not have the pleasure of owning while building that Coupe. Its going to be slow and methodical with every part planned and touched before I check it off as done. Speaking of that, I need to get a whiteboard from the store.

The frame fits pretty good actually. I need to fab a couple of frame extensions and possibly notch the frame to clear the pedal box but that will possibly change with the addition of the SN95 pedal assembly.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #4
I just wish my garage had insulation lol

Coupe looked good

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #5
Thanks. It was a basket case when I got it, 2 months later the clutch cable broke under full tension and sliced the main harness under the dash. No feeling like standing on the sidelines and watching flames roll out of the dash and onto the headliner. It was a long hard process of teardown and dealing with the insurance company and then the state to bring it back to a point where it could be registered.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #6
Wow out of all my years working on mustangs I have never herd of that
Happening that's crazy

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #7
As if Ford didn't have enough problem with fire anyway, then a freak accident happening like and causing a fire to boot. Always carry an extinguisher...always. ALWAYS. One of mine burnt a bit too.

I'm considering putting an SN95 dash in the '84 notch I have...it's a shell, minus the front suspension, and rear control arms. It's way clean, and straight, only a tiny little spot on the bottom that i found when I put the rear arms in. I stopped then and will wait till warm(er) weather so I can tackle the rust and stuff. Might put something on the bottom like spray on bed liner or something.

If you would, I'd like to see a few pics of your dash work-in-progress...it may just get me to locate a good dash and swap into mine. I've actually thought about putting a mod motor in it, too. Future plans and dreams and thoughts. Need a donor car for all that...I'm not going to piece all THAT together here and there lol.
'84 and '87 Mustangs
'98 Explorer 5.0
'06 Lexus
'06 Explorer EB 4.6

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #8
There are a ton of threads out there for the SN95 dash swap into a Fox Mustang. I know how different it will look, and I've always liked the SN95 dashes more than any fox I've been in. Everything is much more ergonomic and looks like the older 50's Thunderbird. I pulled the dash out of the attic of the garage and started cleaning it up. I don't like rust anywhere and much like the 91 coupe I'll be sanding, etch priming, and painting the dash frame.








The pad is from a 2000 GT. I'm not sure if I'll keep it or go to a 94-97 pad with the clock pod.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #9
Since you already have the dash (which isn't really that expensive but doesn't matter!) go for a full SN95 swap with instruments and all! That's my opinion :)

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #10
That is the direction I am leaning. Its going to require some work, but at this point I have no deadlines to reach.

I'm currently researching various insulation products to quiet down the interior a bit. I'm not looking for Caddy or Lincoln quiet but I'd like to have reduced road noise and no vibrations. I've used a peel and stick waterproofing product in the past with good success and on the 91 Coupe I used a lightweight product called Reflectix. I'm going to use a mixture of these and another insulation from Frost King to cover as much of the sheet metal as possible inside.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #11
Just got an alert that the local Pull A Part got a 87 T-bird in. The SN95 dash might be put on hold if the dash in that car is decent. I did get out to the garage last night with my boys and start pulling up the old sound underlayment. It was cracked and broken in spots and I'm sure is way past the useful life date.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #12
I see your car was originally the same color as mine!
The color I have on my car was suppose to be original color, but further inspection shown that it's way more raspberry red with hints of pearl in it.
Which imo, is even better!

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #13
Yes my car was originally red with a V6 and automatic. I'm unsure what color I'm going to paint it at this point. The graphics on the trunk and hood need to go and there are some light scratches and one decent chip in the black paint. I need to find some fenders and some molding before I even begin body color plans.

1997 Called, they want their car back...... my 1986 T-bird build

Reply #14
What are the wheels in the 1997 pic? Looks good. Or looked good haha. And surely will again! :)
1987 20th Anniversary Cougar, 302 "5.0" GT-40 heads (F3ZE '93 Cobra) and TMoss Ported H.O. intake, H.O. camshaft
2.5" Duals, no cats, Flowmaster 40s, Richmond 3.73s w/ Trac-Lok, maxed out Baumann shift kit, 3000 RPM Dirty Dog non-lock TC
Aside from the Mustang crinkle headers, still looks like it's only 150 HP...
1988 Black XR7 Trick Flow top end, Tremec 3550
1988 Black XR7 Procharger P600B intercooled, Edelbrock Performer non-RPM heads, GT40 intake AOD, 13 PSI @5000 RPM. 93 octane