This evening I made the almost two hour trip via public transportation to pick up my car. Val picked me up at the subway station and drove me to his garage. There were a couple of last minute items to address before I could test drive the car. Val had me install the driver’s seat belts and a shifter boot that I brought with me. He installed the rear end bump stops. The parts I supplied didn’t fit correctly so he had ordered a new set that fit. He also did some repair work on one of my rear quarter windows that didn’t roll up and down. Some bending of the arm and some lubrication fixed it right up. Val pointed out that the engine oil dip stick was reading over full, so he drained some oil out of the motor. I’m pretty certain that I didn’t over fill it, but the dip stick reading said otherwise. I’m going to check again after my next oil change and see if I need to re-mark the dipstick. We also tried to center the brake pressure differential switch, but it didn’t want to move and we didn’t have a lot of time. So for now that remains to be fixed.
Val added some gas to the car. Then we confirmed that the gas gauge was working. It may have had a bad connection at first, but it started working fine. I took the car for a test ride around the block and everything seemed to be working fine. The steering was fairly tight (for an old mustang) and the car tracked straight. The brakes weren’t as sensitive as before the power booster was replaced. The new exhaust sounded louder than I would have liked, but I will reserve judgement until after all of the sound deadener and interior have been installed. And the clutch worked fine although it engaged a lot higher than my other car and took me some time to get used to. When I finished my test drive I got settled in with my directions and phone charger and headed for home.
For the ride home I selected a route with a mix of city, back road, and a bit of highway driving. The entire route was close to 70 miles. I started out pretty slow on the back roads until I gained confidence in the car. That didn’t take very long as the car was handling and riding better than it ever has. I stopped and filled the tank. At the gas station two people came over to admire the car. During the drive home I got several waves from other muscle car drivers. I really enjoyed that since the car doesn’t look like much with its’ black accented with multiple types of primer custom paint job.
After a stop to get some quick fuel for the driver I took the car for the 12 mile highway portion of the drive. It ran pretty smooth on the highway except for the fact that I kept wanting to shift the car into the non-existent fifth gear. I varied the speed a bit and the car had pretty decent acceleration and braking. But I still didn’t have the confidence to push the car too hard yet.
The next part of the drive was the around town segment. This gave me a chance to get used to the clutch. I started getting the hang of it and my confidence was growing. I was also driving on roads that I had driven this car on many times, although not for many years. The engine was idling very rough at this point and the idle speed was a bit too low. I tried accelerating a little bit harder and after a couple of times it smoothed out. At idle it settled into a kind of droning noise that although very smooth was actually kind of objectionable due to the droning. Maybe after I install the interior it won’t be as bad.
The final leg of the drive covered some back roads that I had driven back in the day and that I still drive today in my 1997 Mustang Cobra. The old car handled surprisingly well. It was much better than it was back in the day. I also tried stepping on the gas a bit harder and was pleased with how much power the engine had. Apparently sitting for 15 years didn’t do it much harm. This leg also required driving on some highway entrance and exit ramps with some very long sweeping curves. Again the car surprised me and permitted me to take the curves at greater than the speed limit. I was also getting braver with the gas pedal and the engine had quite a bit more power than I was expecting. It isn’t a race car engine by any stretch of the imagination, but it has more than enough power for street cruising.
I finally arrived back home and parked the car in the garage. I’m going away for a week long vacation starting tomorrow. When I get back I’ll post some detailed pictures showing some of the work that was done. I also plan to clean the car up and begin painting the interior. After I complete that and a few other prep items I can start getting estimates for bodywork and paint. I have to make sure I keep the project moving so that the car doesn’t wind up sitting for another 15 years.