The crew in the Haynes shop did something a little differently for the 50th anniversary of the first Haynes Manual, buying a first generation Ford Mustang convertible and restoring it to showroom condition. This was Haynes Project 50, and if you were lucky enough to be in Las Vegas at the 2011 AAPEX trade show, you might have seen it in person, before it was shipped off to the Haynes International Motor Museum, in Sparkford, England.
If you have been following along, in part one of Project 50 we took delivery of a fresh out of the barn 1965 Ford Mustang convertible that we found on eBay, assessed how much work was needed, and removed the engine and transmission for rebuilding. In part two we began to clear out the accumulation of dirt and dead animals from inside the interior, and remove the trim and exterior panels to start the pre-paint body work. In part three we stripped out the rest of the drivetrain and pared the body down to the bare shell, then organized all the parts. Part four involved the dusty and hot work of media blasting the old shell, after bracing it properly, and beginning the engine rebuild.
Haynes would never lie to you, and though our books can make things like restoring a car "easy" it will still take a lot of time, labor, and money to turn a rusty, dusty nightmare into your dream car. We are experts and even we ended up with a car that was more work than we expected, but there is no arguing about how great this classic Ford Mustang looked in the end. If you'd like a much more indepth look at the process, get yourself a copy of our Ford Mustang Restoration Guide, which has plenty of good information even if you are working on a classic car that isn't a Mustang.
Skip to about 4:00 in the video below to get to the part where we are putting it all back together.
Haynes Project 50 Wrap-Up
Media blasting an old car's body is the best way to get down to the bare metal and start fresh, but it also reveals a lot of rust and damage you wouldn't notice if you didn't take off 3 coats of old paint and body filler. The worst area revealed by our paint stripping was a perforated panel between the trunk lid and the edge of the convertible top, likely a place where moisture collected when it rained. The Project 50 Mustang also had quite a bit of rust in the floor boards (typical for a soft top, sunroof, or T-top car, because eventually they all leak) and in the trunk.
Some people look down their nose at owners of Mustangs, or Camaros, or 1957 Chevy Bel Airs, because they are so popular in the classic car scene, but it sure is convenient to have quality replacement body stamping available. We didn't bother trying to patch the rust holes throughout the panels here, we just welded in perfectly matched reproduction metal.
Here in the US, we have only done the one restoration book for the Ford Mustang (though we are thinking about doing the Camaro as well), but back home in the UK they have done quite a few. If you have a VW Transporter (what we call the VW Microbus here in the United States) there is a very comprehensive guide in the VW Bay Transporter Restoration Manual. Much closer in concept to the Mustang was the Ford of Europe Capri, and Haynes covers the MkI-MkIII in their Ford Capri Restoration Manual. Most of the Haynes restoration manuals, as you might guess, cover popular models of British classic cars, like the Land Rover Series I, II, and III, and 90, 110, and Defender Restoration Manuals, as well as a MGB Restoration Manual, a Morris Minor Restoration Manual, a Mini Restoration Manual, and a Jaguar XJ6 Restoration Manual.
If you don't currently have a restoration project in mind, there is also the companion book to the Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealers, with Mike Brewer. The Wheeler Dealers Car Restoration Manual does not get as in depth as the other restoration books, or a normal Haynes Manual, but it covers 10 of the most popular restorations from the show in much greater detail than you get from TV. Some of the cars featured include Austin Mini, Jaguar E-Type, Porsche 911, Willys Jeep, and the Amphicar. If you love old cars, or just enjoyed Mike Brewer and Edd China, this book is enjoyable and informative.