This coming spring I will be starting work on a project car. I had to trade my last project car for a more reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle. It broke my heart to do it, but my girlfriend at the time was driving my jeep as a daily driver which left me with my 1963 Chevrolet Belair as my own daily driver. I ended up trading it for a 2000 Honda Accord which had been modified with an H22 Prelude engine swap. Unfortunately THAT car was more problematic than the Belair and it never passed emissions. I gave up on project vehicles after that, deciding that I wouldn’t have a project car until I reached a point of stability in my life. I am proud to say I think my life has landed in a rut of dependable stability and it just so happens that my oldest friend happens to have a 1979 Mustang Cobra 5.0 sitting out at his grandparents farm.
It won’t win any beauty pageants, but I have wanted a mustang since I was in junior high school. It also may not be anywhere remotely close to what I wanted in a dream car Mustang, but it IS a Cobra and my friend is willing to sell it to me cheap. It does need a lot of love, but that’s the nature of a project car. Now that it’s after Christmas I have a bit of money to spend, so I’ve started getting parts here and there on ebay to get the interior more the way I want it.
The car hasn’t aged well and a few of the driver comforts are no longer there, including the armrest/center console, if in fact the car had been equipped with them in the first place.Regardless, I have one on the way. The 1979-1986 Mustangs were equipped with a little display in the center console that I really liked. When I was younger I thought it was lame and super 80s in nature, but I’ve grown to really like the 80s-style stuff and I really want to have the driver’s information display in my car. It lends a level of traditional cyberpunk to the overall aesthetic of the interior and I love it. That is the nerd in me projecting itself on the world that is forced to deal with my existence.
The vinyl is going to need some attention inside, both on the dashboard and on the seats. The carpet is worn and, while functional, is going to need to be replaced. One of my favorite things about the car though is the engine. It’s a carbureted 5-liter V8, which was not the most common engine in the Cobras from what I gather in my research. The car typically came with a 2.3-liter turbo engine. It was 1979, after all. Fuel economy was the name of the game, but no one really wanted to sacrifice performance. Whoever bought this particular model didn’t seem bothered by the (relatively) high gas prices of the late 70s. As any good gear head would, I plan to eventually swap the 4-speed transmission and original 5.0, but until then I will be more than happy to keep the old engine.
That’s the start of my plan. As things progress I will update with pictures and a stream of articles chronicling my progress. It’s going to be a fun year.