I spent almost my entire evening, once again, on my back underneath the dashboard of the Mustang. Wiring has been cleaned up, and finally, the clutch pedal is connected to the hydraulic clutch master. However, according to the instructions, the linkage needs to be adjusted such that the pedal hits the carpet when the clutch rod bottoms out, and I can’t for the life of me get that to happen. The best I could do is bottom out the clutch master with the pedal sitting about three inches above the carpet. I’m so tired of messing with all of this clutch shit, and I’m flustered as hell. Maybe I should have stuck with the mechanical z-bar clutch linkage…

It’s a nice, warm evening tonight. What better way to spend it than… on my back underneath the dash of the Mustang untangling wires. Stereo wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Kill switch wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Rally Pac tachometer wiring? Kludged together by a previous owner. Wiring for the cruise control? Well, that’s my fault. Lesson learned: trim the fucking wires to a reasonable length, lest you have yards and yards of wiring ensnared in a massive ball by the pedal box, impeding the space where you want to put your new clutch pedal linkage to actuate your new clutch hydraulic master cylinder.

Whelp, I spoke too soon. There was no way to install the elbow when the clutch master was installed, so off it came again. See, this is why it takes me one and a half years to swap a transmission in Mustang. Hopefully this is the last time the clutch master comes off, but it will probably have to come off again today at this rate…

If the weather is going to be too warm to drive on the lakes, I might as well do some work on the Mustang. I finally have the clutch master installed on the firewall. I hope I never have to take it or the spacer it’s attached to off the car. I’ll have to figure out how to route the brake lines now, since the brake lines and distribution block sat where the clutch master now resides. I don’t know if I have the mental capacity to figure all of this out…

Progress on the Mustang is slow. The car that I had driven to the tune of 20k miles over the course of three years — more mileage than most non-air conditioned classic Mustangs would see in decades in retirement as classic cars — has added zero miles to the odometer for the past year.

The car doesn’t need much work in order to be able to move under its own power. Essentially, it just needs clutch hydraulics, new brake lines, and finally the transmission, driveshaft, and exhaust installed. Any competent mechanic could probably knock this out in a single weekend day. But I’m not a competent mechanic. (more…)

In 2013, I had sold my house back in Illinois, and as a result, had some cash that was burning a hole in my pocket. I decided to use that cash to buy my first classic car. After test driving several different vintage cars, everything from Model A Fords to Triumph TR6s, I settled on the Fisher Price My First Classic Car: a celery green 1966 Mustang with a black vinyl roof.

The car looks like a Mustang GT, but it’s not a true GT. Whomever did the work made the car an almost perfect tribute, if it weren’t for the poor workmanship in rebadging the car (the badges are obviously pinned in the wrong places on the fenders) and the wiring (the fog lights only work when the headlights are on), one would be hard pressed to tell that this isn’t a real GT package car. The car started off as an A-code (4 barrel carb on a 289 V8 engine) 3-speed manual car, with the GT fog lights, GT dual exhaust, front disc brakes, and 4-speed Toploader transmission added.

I’ve taken this car on many long road trips — a trip down to the Mustang 50th Anniversary celebration in North Carolina, a trip to the West Coast and back, among many others — and is currently being prepared for its longest and most grueling road trip to date: a run in the Alcan 5000, a road rally that runs from Seattle up to Alaska.