1971 Mach-1 - Sell or finish?
#1
I'm not sure how/where to start... So here I go. 

I have a 1971 Mach-1 that has been restored 50% by a professional shop.  Unfortunately, the owner is unable to finish it because of health issues.  

Here's what I know... Although in pieces...

1) Body in primer
2) Engine rebuilt (bored?) 
3) Transmission was fine, but have a kit to rebuild
4) All new window glass
5) Dynacorn fenders/floor-pansmore
5) New air-shocks
6) New 
67) All NOS exterior trim
     There may be more... 

I have no clue what the cost would be to finish... Therefore, it might be best to sell it as is. 

Thoughts?
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#2
Youwsa ! Dude, what a loaded question. Lets see if we can make some sense of all this.  
 
#1 Are you related to said owner? Cause sentimental value can play a strong part in all this.  

#2 Judging from your pic You're fairly young. Do you have a "Burning Desire" to have a 71 Mach1???   This is a huge requirement!

#3 General condition of what's done, and what still needs done. Just from the little info given. This car is a "Basket Case" as some of us older guys would call it.  

#4 What level of restoration do you want to achieve??? Concurs, Original, or Driver. 

#5 How deep are your Pockets? Is there someone who can be enlisted to help, both physically, and financially, Dad, Grandpa, etc, as there is a ton of work ahead of whoever decides they need any Mach1. Let alone one that is half restored. The cost of restoration, will most likely exceed what you can sell it for. Unless most everything has already been bought. As you didn't mention anything about the interior. The interior can be a huge expense, especially if you have to replace everything, which is often the case. 

Just some questions to ask yourself, as This is a big undertaking and no one can decide this but you. That being said. It will also be one of the Greatest Achievements you'll ever take on, and will reward you, with a huge amount of knowledge, and skills. Plus A Cool Assed Mach1!!!

Hope it helps, and give us some more info. By the way Welcome to the Club!

JTS
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#3
Thread Review (Newest First)
Posted by JTS71 Mach1 - 9 minutes ago
Youwsa ! Dude, what a loaded question. Lets see if we can make some sense of all this.  
 
#1 Are you related to said owner? Cause sentimental value can play a strong part in all this.  

>>> I am the owner.  Although it's not the original... It is/would-be the same as the one I had in my youthful days.  When I first made the purchase, it was a fun emotional journey... Kind of fizzled out now.    

#2 Judging from your pic You're fairly young. Do you have a "Burning Desire" to have a 71 Mach1???   This is a huge requirement!

>>> Refer to #1.  My picture is just an avatar...  A/this Mach-1 is a throwback to my high-school days.  (Notice I'm avoiding the age question...) 

#3 General condition of what's done, and what still needs done. Just from the little info given. This car is a "Basket Case" as some of us older guys would call it. 

>>> Financially, I have $10,200 into so far.  The original budget was $16,000.  Structurally 80% of the welding is complete with all necessary parts to re-assemble.  The plan was to finish the welding, drop in the engine, and go from there.  Somewhere I have some pictures... Will have to try and dig them up.  I'm sure this is not the exact/correct reassemble plan.   

#4 What level of restoration do you want to achieve??? Concurs, Original, or Driver. 

>>> Original - As close to new as it was in 1971. 

#5 How deep are your Pockets? Is there someone who can be enlisted to help, both physically, and financially, Dad, Grandpa, etc, as there is a ton of work ahead of whoever decides they need any Mach1. Let alone one that is half restored. The cost of restoration, will most likely exceed what you can sell it for. Unless most everything has already been bought. As you didn't mention anything about the interior. The interior can be a huge expense, especially if you have to replace everything, which is often the case. 
>>> I have deep pockets.  My mindset was of course $16,000.  If possible, I would like it to be drive-able, and in primer.  Interior is/was to be in addition to $16,000.    

Just some questions to ask yourself, as This is a big undertaking and no one can decide this but you. That being said. It will also be one of the Greatest Achievements you'll ever take on, and will reward you, with a huge amount of knowledge, and skills. Plus A Cool Assed Mach1!!!

>>> Very nicely said... I agree!

What else would help?  Remembering that either I stop here, and cut my losses... Or complete the restoration.  
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#4
As JTS eluded to, this is one of those things that's going to make or break you.

Mine was completely beyond anything that might've even resembled a basket case - it was literally a pile of rust in the shape of a '71 Mach 1.  It took me around 3 1/2 years to get mine to right around the condition it sounds like yours is in (just about ready for paint), but that was with the engine, transmission, suspension, electrical, and HVAC systems installed and ready to go.  

Mine is also an old school restomod, which means that cosmetically, it looks pretty much stock (aside from the wheels and louvers), but internally it's all hot rod. Keeping it original as possible brings its own set of challenges, depending on exactly how original you want to keep it, you'll have a lot more time and money spent tracking down NOS or OEM parts to replace the necessities.  Again, just how original you want it is up to you, I know a guy who just restored a '71 429 SCJ convertible, which is a mega-rare car, and didn't even bat an eye dropping over $120K into what is ultimately a $50-60K car on a good day.  He used only NOS parts for those that needed replacement, and paid through the nose for 'em as well.

The big question would be: do you have a shop area with the necessary tools to install the engine, transmission, and everything else needed to make it a runner just needing paint?

You also need to make a decision as to whether you would prefer to get the paint & body work done before installing said drivetrain, which brings a whole new level of 'gotta be super careful' when installing those items - that might actually be the best way to go, since I know I had bondo/sanding dust everywhere when I got it back from the painter, which required a lot of cleaning in crevices and things like the wiring harness, suspension, and interior flat surfaces had some primer/color overspray all over the place.

Once you get it back from the painter, then you'll need to install ALL of the accessories, lights, weather stripping, trim, interior, and just about everything else.  Those things include:
  • carpet
  • headliner
  • HVAC
  • radio
  • instrumentation
  • interior body pieces
  • trim (interior and exterior)
  • lighting (inside and out)
  • seats
  • steering column
  • switches
  • weatherstripping
  • glass
  • fuel system
  • engine
  • transmission
  • suspension
  • engine electrical
  • engine plumbing
All of which will need proper placement, orientation, adjustment, and testing to ensure they all fit properly - especially, if you're going with reproduction items (my car is pretty much the catalog of repop parts available at the time - there are more now, but '71-'73 Mustangs aren't exactly the favorites of the Vintage Mustang crowd, so there are less replacement items available).  Last tally, not counting shipping and/or sales tax on all of the thousand or more parts I ordered, I'm into it over $45K (including the original asking price of $1600, a couple of media blasting jobs I farmed out, engine machine work, and the $5500 paint job).  Everything, aside from the paint and body work, was done by me - I calculated using fuzzy math with paying myself $50/hour for labor, that I saved around $120K in labor alone.  Restoration shops charge around $125/hr and up.  Granted, they might not spend as much time working on it, but in order to save you money, they'll 'back-burner' your project and bill you for the actual time they work on it... which will wind up taking several months to years, depending on how much work is needed.

If you want the Mach 1 appearance package (stickers, TuTone paint - rockers and hood black-out, if you need that), you'll need to supervise those things being laid out since unless your painter is intimately familiar with '71 Mach 1s - they'll get it wrong and paint is forever (unless you start over).  I gave my painter tons of reference pictures, and he still managed to mess up the TuTone hood black-out despite giving him a template with very clear instructions - he put the stencil down about an inch too far to the passenger side and an inch too far from the leading edge of the hood (ever heard of a datum line, buddy?).  If he had removed the stick-on stencil to reposition, it would've stretched it out into something no longer usable, so I literally hand-striped the driver side to make it match the passenger side.  It's still too far back from the leading edge of the hood, but at least it's symmetrical, and not off to one side.

If your car was an original 'no stripe' car, the bright trim for the rockers (that separates the lowers from the body color) can be a major PITA to install, especially if the factory mounting studs have been removed.  Mine required new quarter panels and fenders, so I lost the studs on those pieces and just removed them from the doors - I'd decided to go with hockey stripes early on, but now I don't want them, so I need to work up the courage to re-mount the bright trim I picked up along the way.  There are too many cars out there with the hockey stripes, in my opinion (everybody throws 'em on these days, whether the car came with them or not).  Since mine was originally a 'no stripe' car, I decided to keep it original in that aspect.

Speaking of the hockey stripes, if you decide you want them you'll want to get someone you trust to install them, because I've seen SO many people do it themselves and wind up with wavy stripes, crooked, and mis-cut stripes.  They need to be laser straight and trimmed properly around the wheel opening flares, otherwise, they'll look like crap.

Spoilers almost always wind up installed improperly.  The trunk spoiler is the worst of the two, as it winds up too far forward or backward, and the wing is almost always installed backward (which can shatter at high speeds when this happens).  The chin spoiler almost always winds up with not enough angle, which almost makes it more of a splitter... and goofy-looking in that case... and now you have screw holes in the front valance.

Sorry for the novel... I'm just trying to pass along my experience and give you some things to think about to help you decide what to do.  As I mentioned, mine was a complete pile and I basically built a whole new car using what what I could salvage from the mess.  It sounds like you're in a better place than I was, so it might not be so bad.  But, I also had a full shop at my disposal (lifts, welders, bench space, every hand tool known to man, and lots of room to move around the project as I worked it).

I'm not trying to scare anybody or steal your thunder, but here's what I started out with:

This was one of the pics from the Craigslist ad
[Image: schlep1-300x225.jpg]

Day One:
[Image: back_right1.jpg]

[Image: Interior_starting_point1.jpg]

After getting deeper into it:
[Image: trunk1.jpg]

[Image: teardown4.jpg]

This one illustrates how bad the front frame section and cowl damage would be:
[Image: enginebay10.jpg]

I literally cut the front clip off and replaced it:
[Image: oldfrontclipgone2.jpg]

[Image: wheels1.jpg]

That was literally the first 8 months of ownership - working about 1 day out of every weekend average (some weekends, both days, some not at all).  I won't take up any more of your thread with pics of mine... except for these:  The big one was last weekend at a car show, and the interior shot was 5 years ago after I got it all back together (I just don't have any newer pics of the interior... it still looks the same).

[Image: IMG_0600-1.jpg]

   


Bottom Line:  I'd say if you're not prepared to spend a LOT more than your $16K 'budget' and the next few years putting this one back together, you might consider selling it and just trying to find a better car to start with.  It hurts me to say something like that, because I'm very passionate about the '71-'73s in particular... but, it sounds like you need to hear reality more than another cheerleader.

I hope this helps, and doesn't offend.
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#5
I was hoping Eric would chime in, as his Mach1 was way far gone, and the detailed build up of his car is on the site, and will give you a very in-depth look at what he went through. And the Beautiful Mach1 he ended up with, after all the Blood Sweat, and Tears. It sure isn't for the faint of heart. But as he'll tell you it was worth it.  Cool

JTS
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#6
Welcome to the site. I am not sure there is one right or wrong answer to your question.  It sounds like your mojo to finish the car has fizzled out.  If this is the case, then sell the car and recoup some of the money you have invested into it.  If the car has sentimental value to you and you must have this car then you should finish the car.

Personally, without seeing pictures of the car it is really hard to help you answer your question.

Mike
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#7
When I posed this question… I didn’t know what to expect.  You-all exceeded any expectation I had.  Thank you.
 
I also appreciate the lack of sarcasm and judgement. 
 
I wanted to share how I got to this point in the restoration.  My guy had restored another vehicle for me; In my opinion… Near showroom condition.
 
Although a good craftsman… He was not a good businessman.  Not a dishonest guy… But did work with a shake of a hand.  Enough said?  Eventually, his business folded.  Thereafter, he had legal issues that I assisted in resolving for him, both legal and financial.  My payback was the restoration of the Mach-1.  Although his business folded, the shop/garage remained for “hobby” work.  My Mach-1 was going to be his last job. 
 
So… Currently I am working on another restoration project myself which should finish-up in a year or two. 
When I finish with the second, I’d like to be able to show them both. 
 
Where am I going with this… While I, in my gut, want to finish the Mach-1 it may not be practical.
 
If… The cost will approach $40,000, and another few years to complete… I have some pondering to do.
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#8
(10-07-2019, 02:24 AM)CCinPA Wrote: When I posed this question… I didn’t know what to expect.  You-all exceeded any expectation I had.  Thank you.
 
I also appreciate the lack of sarcasm and judgement. 
 
I wanted to share how I got to this point in the restoration.  My guy had restored another vehicle for me; In my opinion… Near showroom condition.
 
Although a good craftsman… He was not a good businessman.  Not a dishonest guy… But did work with a shake of a hand.  Enough said?  Eventually, his business folded.  Thereafter, he had legal issues that I assisted in resolving for him, both legal and financial.  My payback was the restoration of the Mach-1.  Although his business folded, the shop/garage remained for “hobby” work.  My Mach-1 was going to be his last job. 
 
So… Currently I am working on another restoration project myself which should finish-up in a year or two. 
When I finish with the second, I’d like to be able to show them both. 
 
Where am I going with this… While I, in my gut, want to finish the Mach-1 it may not be practical.
 
If… The cost will approach $40,000, and another few years to complete… I have some pondering to do.
Everyone here are all good guys so you picked the right place.  I did two restoration projects and have two cars.  As cool as it may sound owning two cars it is not as glamorous as one may think.  First you can only drive one at a time.  Second, it is twice as expensive (i.e., maintenance, insurance, gasoline, etc.).  So eventually one is going to go, maybe two.

Another point to consider is how much the car will be worth when you done.  You mentioned $40,000 as a total cost.  I am not sure the 71 Mach 1's are pulling that much money.  Maybe if it is 429 Cobra Jet.  Point being, do some research to see what they are selling for and compare to how much you will be into it for.  This may help with your decision.
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#9
I guess I will add to Mustangmike's information.  From my experience, if somebody expects to make money selling a classic car they restored, either they cut major corners on the restoration, or they found a buyer with more dollars than sense.  You typically do not make money on a car that you have restored regardless of how much of the work is done yourself.  Most do this because they love the hobby and not for an investment.
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#10
I knew from the beginning this would not be an investment with any returns.  

I did want to clarify... I know it's hard to guesstimate the total cost to finish my Mach-1.  I mentioned the $40,000 as the possible cost-to finish?
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