Project Pepto: Heart Surgery

Our 1965 Mustang, AKA Project Pepto, has been off the road since 1996 and spent quite a bit of time in a barn (10-15 years). From past experiences, we know that the biggest enemy to a classic car is simply not driving it. Seals dry up and crack, moisture accumulates, rust develops, and mice tend to claim the car as their home. This Mustang has a little bit of everything and will require a revamp of almost every component.

In order to become a reliable driver, the cooling system is going to need a complete overhaul. The first order of business is removing the factory radiator. The coolant appeared to be in decent condition, but we are unsure of the actual condition of the radiator. A 50 year old radiator can potentially blow up at the seams (literally) and cause a big mess or injure someone. To play it safe, a 2 row aluminum radiator has been ordered to replace our original.

We also decided to replace the water pump and thermostat. To our surprise there wasn’t actually a thermostat in the housing! Whoever removed it must have done it a¬†long time ago because it looks like this motor has never been apart. Also, just to annoy us, one of the bolts snapped off and will require a little finessing, to say the least. All the hardware will be replaced with grade 8 bolts so we can avoid future mishaps.


Our oil pan wasn’t look all that great either, especially with the basketball sized dent on the bottom from a floor jack. (We won’t name names…)

It’s actually a good thing that we pulled it, as there was quite a bit of muck and sludge at the bottom. The oil pan job is turning into one of those “While you’re at it” deals so the oil pump, pickup, and timing chain will all be replaced as well. We couldn’t find any evidence of metal in the oil so that’s good news.


After inspecting the underside of the car some more, we discovered that the original yellow wax markings from the factory were still present under the car! These were hand written with a wax pencil by a factory worker as the car went down the assembly line. We’re unsure of what they mean, but it’s definitely cool.