Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Car blogging!

Okay, so this has nothing to do with archaeology, except that said automobile is rather old. But I'm throwing it out there anyway, since I'm rather pleased with the whole thing.

Actually, it does have some archy connection. In 1990 I had just bought a 1984 Bronco II because A) I hated with the white heat of a thousand suns the old 4-door 1975 Buick I had, and B) I was doing CRM work at the time and needed something that could go in the mud and junk. Talk about jinxed. Less than 24 hours after buying it I had my first accident. Then I got it back and drove down to California to do some fieldwork down there and the engine died in the middle of Oregon (Roseburg, OR: I hate you as well). Since I didn't have the money to rebuild the engine, I swapped 'em for a 1978 Mustang II off of their lot. It really was driven by a little old lady who drove it on Sunday and kept it garaged the rest of the time. It had 45k miles on it at the time. This is what it looked like when I got it:

It's kind of a weird car. It's essentially a special edition Cobra II like this one but without all the stickers, stripes, and spoilers. It wasn't bad for a mid-late 70s car, performance-wise, though obviously nothing like those from the early 70s and before (though it drives much better). It's got a 302 (5-liter) V8 but with a very modest 140 hp; still, not bad for a 2700 pound car. They never got much respect from the muscle car crowd, even though it sold far better than the early 70s models; it really had very little Pinto in it, but Ford very mistakenly made the sheet metal look much too Pinto-like and the reputation stuck. OTOH, while a lot of other pony cars were dropped, the Mustang line kept going with increased sales.

At any rate, a few years ago, the old boy started looking a little worse for wear. The paint on the entire front end was peeling and cracking, and I was getting tired of hearing the engine knock going uphill on the highway -- it was indeed a car of its time, made specifically for 55 mph and few freeways. If I were going to keep it, it would need new paint and either a modified or new engine, which I estimated would cost anywhere between $7-15,000. Yeesh. A lot of money for a non-collectible car. But then, to get what I really wanted in a new car would cost probably $30,000 and it would be sitting in the garage most of the time.

So after much internal debate, I decided to restore/modify it. So I got it painted:

That's the original color, called dark metallic brown. Yeah, not a great color, but I wanted to keep it looking as stock as possible. Next came a new engine and exhaust. I went with a new one because it would be cleaner, more powerful, get better mileage, and just perform better than bolting stuff on the original. I put in a remanufactured 1989-93 5-liter fuel injected engine, the ones that came with Mustangs of those years. Here are two of the exhaust:

That's Brad of Brad's Custom Auto in the second one who did the work. They do lots of high performance stuff on mostly Mustangs and Corvette's. For the interested, those are 2.5" dual exhausts (with headers), catalytic converters pulled from a new Corvette, and a dual in/out muffler. Except for those two shiny things sticking out the back it looks like a basic stock Mustang II.


I don't think I've floored it yet. We estimate ca. 270hp. AND the mileage got better. Sady, I shall never know its top speed since the speedometer only goes to 85. . . . .

So there thank you for indulging me.