Whelp, time is up. Justin and Jason helped me button up the last couple of tasks I had on the whiteboard last night. Bled the clutch, gave up on the exhaust, and attempted to start the car. The good news: with a little bit of coaxing (and some starting fluid), the V8 roared to life after one and a half years of hibernation. The bad news: the clutch won’t disengage, so either there’s still a shit ton of air in the clutch hydraulics or I messed up the internal clutch slave installation. It’s halfway through the month, and my next three weekends are booked, so it’s time to call in the heavy cavalry: Scottie and his merry band of professional (read: not hacks like me) wrenches will have to set things right.

I’m so close to driving the car out of the garage. Brakes are all done. I still need to bleed the clutch and install the exhaust. After some more fiddling, I decided that I need to ditch my H-pipe and go buy another one. I also discovered that my brake lights aren’t working, so add one more thing to the to-do list. But once the clutch is done, I could theoretically drive the car around the block with open headers and no brake lights. (I’m sure the neighbors would love me…)

A little bit of progress tonight. I installed the driver seat, fit the center console, and tucked my auxiliary wiring behind the console. No carpet, as carpet isn’t necessary for the car to run, and I’m still deciding on whether or not I want to patch the floors before Alaska. You bet your ass I sat down in the drivers seat and did some daydreaming.

One thing that I did discover is that the Procar Rally seats that I bought sit really high. They are super comfortable, with really nice side bolsters, but the bolsters make it difficult to get in and out of the car, and my legs are right next to the steering wheel, with my hands hitting my thighs when I turn the wheel. I can lower the seat by a single mounting hole on the bracket, but that will only net me about half an inch, which I don’t think will be enough.

I don’t want to go back to the stock, unbolstered, no headrests stock seats though. Maybe if I have the floors replaced, I can have the shop lower the seat mounting boxes so I can use these seats. Or I might have to go to a different seat altogether.

Nuts, both figuratively and literally! I neglected to buy hardware for hanging the mufflers, and I don’t have any 1/4″ nuts and bolts in my workbench cubbies that will work. Naturally, I discover this after all the local hardware stores have closed. Either way, the fitment of the exhaust so far has me quite worried — you may notice that the exhaust is slightly canted towards the passenger side of the car, which makes me suspect that the h-pipe I bought wasn’t bent correctly — so this exhaust job probably won’t be a single-evening type deal.

I have four things left to do on the car: 1) install the exhaust, 2) bolt the seat in, 3) bleed the brakes, and 4) bleed the clutch. Installation of the carpet, the passenger seat, and the hood can wait until I’ve taken the car around the block at least once.

Clutch hydraulics are finally all hooked up. Now I just need to bleed the clutch. The hydraulic clutch was the original and biggest road block during the transmission swap, from the agony of mounting the clutch master to installing the new clutch pedal linkage to adjusting the hydraulic internal slave. If I had stuck with the original mechanical z-bar linkage or went with a clutch cable, I would have been driving this car last summer…

Finally!! The brakes are done! Half of the brake lines are replacement pre-bent pieces, and half of them are custom fitted by me. It took me so long to get to this point that I seriously wondered at several points during the past year if having dual circuit brakes was really worth the effort…

This is today’s to-do list. It isn’t much. Doing a parts run right now and will continue wrenching in an hour. I should be able to do all this in 10 hours, right? The goal: a single lap around the block tonight.

All of the carpet is out of the car, and nearly all of the damned fuzzy carpet pad is scraped out, giving me my first look at the floors in the Mustang. Aside from all of the random holes in the floor drilled or tapped by a previous owner (nearly two dozen, what the fuck?), there are three areas of concern. The left rear passenger footwell has a seam that is rusted through, and the two front passenger footwells have a lot of surface rust — but no holes yet — from the water that keeps leaking into the interior from the ancient windshield seals. I’ve got a feeling that I’m going to disassemble the car for metal work and paint once I get back from Alaska…

Removing the carpet from the interior of the Mustang. I did manage to release the brake and fuel line clips from inside the car, so I can finally finish the replacing the rear brake line. And since I’m ripping out the carpet anyway, I have a new carpet kit for the car to install. It’s the scourge of scope creep, but I’m still optimistic I’ll have the car running and driving by my new goal of “end of the month.”