In the spring of 2010, the engine was mated to a Tremec TKO600 transmission and installed in the car after a little clearancing and fabrication. The original wiring harness was hidden behind the inner fender aprons and he removed all of the unused circuits, replacing them with new units for the electric fan, fuel pump, and roll/control solenoid. "The factory headlight circuits were rewired to trigger a relay instead of feeding the voltage through the headlight switch for longevity and brighter illumination," Richard says. Then he fabricated and installed the exhaust to ready the engine for its initial start-up.
"After priming the oil pump and double- checking all of the hose connections, it fired to life, emitting a wonderful exhaust tone with a nice, lopey idle," Richard says.
He spent the summer of 2010 adding all the parts and pieces to make the coupe a complete car. He fabricated a serpentine-belt front-accessory-drive system, incorporating an A/C compressor and power steering pump.
Looking better than the day it was born, Richard treated a set of ‘85 GT Sport seats to ne
Once the car was complete, it was time to put wheels into motion, and since Richard's father had contributed so much work to the project, Richard gave him the honors. His dad fired it up, eased it into gear, and made a few trips up and down the driveway. "That only lasted a short time before we were taking turns lying parallel stripes of rubber down the driveway," Richard says. "It was a lot of fun, and a big relief to see it actually move and drive for the first time," Richard adds.
You'll notice we didn't say anything about the car being painted, only that it was in primer. That's because the car was still in primer during the lying down of parallel stripes in the driveway. So after all that excitement, Richard took the car all the way down to a bare shell—again—so Richard could undertake the long process of straightening dents, sanding, and going back over the work he'd already done. It's a good thing Richard's grandfather ran a body shop in the '70s. Many of his grandfather's tools had been passed down to him and were used to rework the metal on the car.
After many weekends of tedious work, Richard chose a custom red mix from Dupont's Chromabase and Chromaclear line, spraying the hue with an Iwata LPH400 spray gun he specifically purchased for the project. But instead of spraying all the trim with the factory Ford gray, he painted all the trim black to add a starker contrast to the project. After applying the paint, even more weekends were devoted to wet-sanding and buffing to achieve a mirror-smooth finish.
With the paint handled, the car was ready for reassembly—again. "Since everything had already been fabricated, painted, and fit into place, it went back together again pretty smoothly," Richard says. Except this time he took the time to refinish all of the car's hardware, sandblasting and re-coating them individually for a properly restored look.
By the summer of 2011 Richard was able to reinstall the car's glass and interior. In some instances he was able to reuse original parts, and in other areas he had to purchase new parts. "I then put on the final details like the door moldings, radio antenna, wiper arms; I finally had a completed car ready for the road in September 2011," Richard says.
"After the first drive, I knew I had achieved my goal," Richard adds. The car was everything he wanted in a Fox Mustang. "The doors shut like new, the A/C was cold, and the engine sounded and drove great," he says.
Richard says he'd like to one day open a shop of his own and do the type of work he loves. Judging by his finished product, let us know when you're ready, Richard. We have enough work to keep you busy.
Horse Sense: The 351 Cleveland engine was introduced in 1969 for the ‘70 model year, and continued through the '74 models. Clevelands were available with low- and high-compression forms, and 2V and 4V versions. The most powerful variant was found under the hood of the ‘71 Boss 351, which was underrated at 330 horsepower from the factory.
5.0 Tech Specs
Engine and Drivetrain
'71 351 Cleveland
Scat 4340, forged-steel
Scat 4340 forged H-beam w/ ARP bolts
Probe forged -3cc dish
Comp Cams hydraulic-roller
Owner-ported 1971 Cleveland closed chamber w/ 2.19/1.71 valves, and Harland Sharp 1.73 roller rockers
Edelbrock Torker 351 w/ Holley 830-cfm double-pumper carburetor
Holley Blue pump w/ Holley regulator, stainless braided fuel lines, factory tank, and welded sump
Hedman Hedders Husler Fox-swap 351C 17⁄8-in long-tube headers w/ custom midpipe, Magnaflow catalytic converters, Flowmaster 40-series mufflers, and Dynomax tailpipes
Tremec TKO 600 w/ Centerforce Dual Friction clutch, Ford Racing aluminum driveshaft, Steeda Autosports Tri-Ax shifter, and Hurst chrome handle
Moser Engineering 9-in housing w/ 31-spline axles, Detroit Locker 31-spline differential, and Richmond 4.11 gears
Crane HI-6 w/ LX92 coil, ACCEL 8.8mm spark plug wires, and Autolite 24 spark plugs
Auto Meter in MC-Machine gauge panel w/ Innovate Motorsports LM1 wideband
Suspension and Chassis
Stock w/ polyurethane bushings, and SN-95 spindles
Cobra 13-in rotors w/ '99 GT hydroboost system
17x9-in 10th Anniversary Cobra
Nitto NT555 Extreme 245/45
Moser disc w/ parking brake, and Lokar cables
17x9-in 10th Anniversary Cobra
Nitto NT555 Extreme 275/40