Knock..Knock…Who’s There? It’s the bottom end of your 351 Cleveland!!!

After spending $$$ to get my 2v heads done right and after driving my 73 Stang for about 50 miles, the Cleveland has developed  a knock in the bottom half of the engine.

It’s not uncommon when restoring cars that an undiscovered issue pops up and changes the entire project plan.  But the dilemma I have now has multiple facets.

First there’s what to do about the engine.  Rebuild it if possible? Replace with a short block, reusing the 2v heads?  Buy a crate engine? Or set it on fire in the driveway?  Each one of these options have it’s own inherent hurdles and impacts the timeline differently.

Second there’s issue with the old conundrum “Well as long as….I might as well do the ….”  In this case it read like this… “As long as the engine out, I should, really, redo the engine bay.”  That’s has is own timeline with the cleaning and sanding and priming and painting and replacing clips/fastener….etc.

So let’s discuss the engine.

There are a few “known knowns” (thank you Donald Rumsfeld!!!):

  1. The current 351C engine isn’t original to the car – in fact the car was born with 302. Why is that important?   I don’t have to worry about the matching numbers thing,  that ship sailed sometime ago.  Basically anything goes.
  2. Not rebuilding/replacing is not an option.
  3. Budget.  Although there is no set dollar amount, there is restraint how much can be spend in a given time.

Then there are the “known unknowns”

  1. Is it the cam?
  2. Is it just the bearings?
  3. Are the cylinder walls serviceable?
  4. What do I want this engine to be?

Options:  (just a few)

Option 1:   A friend of mine suggested a crate engine – just order one from Summitt Racing or Jegs.  Make all the power I want.

Ford Racing 363 C.I.D. 500 HP Boss Crate Engines

Ford Racing 363 C.I.D. 500 HP Boss Crate Engines – $8439.97

– Discussion:  $$$ (Could stop right there with this one.)  Getting a 400+ HP turn-key crate would be just awesome.  In my option that is what these Mustangs were meant to be. (ching-ching)   Getting tons of power to the rear wheels with the current  automatic C6 transmission will required a possible rebuild and an upgraded torque converter.  (ching-ching again).  But having a Cleveland in the engine bay is way cool!!  I grew up in GM family… there weren’t a lot of discussion about Ford product and anytime I heard “Ford talk” a 351 Cleveland engine was mentioned.   I do like the look of it under the hood the are wider than the Windsor family of motors.  Keeping it a 351C V2 will be less expensive and you can make good power from it if you do it right.

– Conclusion for Option 1:   Not gonna happen!!

Option 2:  Find a good used 351C and install that

– Discussion:   This is a good possibility.  That’s already happened to #ProjectSportsRoof.  The 302 was replaced with a 351 (whether it was a Windsor or Cleveland is not known) as this was the engine the previous owner hauled it out of a field with.  As it turned out that engine was seized and the current engine was found and installed (along with the used C6 trans).   It may be tough to find one.  If and when you do the mileage shouldn’t be a known unknown and you need to determine the condition as best you can by listening to it run.  If it is just sitting on the shelf,  would you perform a “trust-fall” with the seller?  Bottom line is a used engine “is like a box of chocolates”…you might end right back up where you are now.  Frankly this would be my last option.

-Conclusion for Option 2:  A weak maybe.

Coming up next – the Rebuild option.

Thoughts? Suggestions?




1973 Mustang SportsRoof – Floor Pans Getting To It! – Part Four

Thanks for checking back on #ProjectSportsRoof.   I’m about the finish the cuts and fitting for the  right rear foot-well that was rust all the way!!!!

Final Fit for foot-well.

Final Fit for foot-well.

This video is pretty comprehensive so I’m just going to just let it roll.


A couple of things worth noting.  The “flap” what was clearly not going to work and leaving the sheet metal running up the side of the transmission/drive shaft tunnel was going to give too much flex in that panel, as the welds would be pretty high.  It’s important to have that solid because as most must guys and gals know the Mustang of this vintage only have sub-frames which lease the floor as the most important body stabilization part of the car.   I will eventually put sub-frame connectors under this beast.

In case you are wondering what that electrical wiring is to the right of foot-well that is for the seat belt switch which when pressure is applied to the seat bottom there must be a connection completed by the seat-belt male end and female end to turn off the “Seat Belt” light and or buzzer.

I have a lot more coming up on the floor pans so stay tuned!!!!

Thanks for reading.


1973 Mustang SportsRoof

1973 Mustang SportsRoof






vintage muscle car | Tumblr

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof. We beginning the actual work on the vacuum system on the projects 351C starting with the valve assembly distributor ( the …

1973 Mustang SportsRoof – Floor Pans Getting To It! – Part Three

I know, I’m getting slow at getting these posted for the 1973 Mustang, but here is the next part.   I’m beginning the cuts on the repop floor panels.



Like I mention in the video, I”m doing this all in my driveway and garage – it can be done!!!!   Unlike my 1970 Mustang (which started out in better shape) which most of the work on the body was complete, thanks in part to a careless young driver plowing into the back it at a stop light, in a body shop.  While it was there I had the entire car painted.

I’m using a dremel to make the necessary cuts and the Work-Mate table allows a lot of angles to clamp down the sheet metal while I am cutting it.  The painter’s blue tape works great as marking off the cuts and you don’t have to be ‘too’ precise, but you have to be close!!!

Here you can see the first cut.  Now eventually I realized that I didn’t really need the ‘flap’ and I cut it off.

The ‘humps’ are actually where the seats bolt down and you have to keep clear of those with your sheet metal and welds.

More floor pan goodness for #ProjectSportsRoof.


Thanks for reading.



restorable classic cars | Tumblr

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof. ….. You can see my 2007 C6 and the 1973 Mustang (#ProjectSportsRoof) and my son’s 1991 Chrysler Le Baron vert and …

1973 Mustang 351C Vacuum System Part II – YouTube

Feb 6, 2016 #ProjectSportsRoof Floor Pan Rust Removal Video 2 – Duration: 2:07. Tim Sweet No views. New. 2:07. 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 for sale with …

Driving a 1929 Detroit Electric Model 97

It’s not often that the normal day in the life of a Director of IT includes an opportunity to drive a 1929 Detroit Electric. But this is exactly what one of my days included just this week.

The car has taken years to restore and is period correct in almost every aspect. As you can see in the video it might need a few tweaks and I am finishing up the clock for the interior.

Check out this video.

Thanks for reading.

1931 Detroit Electric Model 97 – Conceptcarz

The Detroit Electric Model 97 (1931); Electric cars represented a significant part of the automobile market in the earliest days. As today, electrics suffered from a …

Engine Mini-Series – Ford’s Small Block V8s Part I

I haven’t done a Engine Mini-Series in sometime, I find readers like the Engine Line Up posts a lot, so I’ve stuck with that.  They are quick and fun pieces to research and write.


I received a request from a reader  (motown_missile) from the /r/classiccar subdirectory over on Reddit, who read my latest Engine Line UP post, for something on Ford small block V8’s specifically  the 221, 260 and 289 engines.  So I thought yeah that’s a great idea!!! But it didn’t really fit how I structure the Engine Line Up posts and then I recalled doing these mini-series and that fits the request.  Thanks motown_missile!!!!

Now the Ford small block V8 label (also called the “90 Degree V8s”) covers a few rare engines (limited production/limited use), one of the most iconic and some real workhorses.  The engines that fall under this designation are 221, 255, 260, 289 and yes the 302 and even the 351 Windsor (not the Cleveland).  I’ll cover each one in separate posts.

The Ford small blocks were designed the end of the 1950’s put in to production cars in 1962  the first and smallest (20 inches across and only 475 lbs) and it displaced 221 cubic inches and so designated as the 221.

The 221, in 1962,  had a compression ratio of 8.7:1 with a bore and stroke respectively of 3.50 x 2.87.  It sported two-bolt main-bearing, cast nodular crankshaft (only 37 lbs), cast aluminum pistons, hydraulic camshaft and individually mounted iron rockers.  The cylinder heads were wedge-shaped and the intake valves were 1.59 in. and the exhaust valves were 1.39  This was all topped off with a cast iron two barrel intake manifold and it produced about 143 hp @ 4,500 rmp and 217 foot lbs of torque @ 2200 rpm.  For 1963 it remained about the same with a slight increase in the bore and stroke (3.75×3.30 inches) producing a compression ratio of 8.8:1 and 145 hp.   Both years were topped with Holley carbs.

The 221 is one of the rarest small block.  It saw only 2 years of production use (1962 and 1963) and you could find it in the Ford Fairlanes and Mercury Meteor.  If you want to know if your 62-63 Fairlane or Mete0r originally had a 221 check the VIN for the code L ( C – 1962 export or 3 for 1963 export).

Nicely painted 221 V8

Nicely painted 221 V8

1962 Mercury Meteor 33

1962 Mercury Meteor 33

1963 Ford Fairlane

1963 Ford Fairlane


Next up will be the 255.

Thanks for reading and if you have any input or pic of your own 221, drop me a note a  Comments always welcome!!!



Out and About!!! #ProjectSportsRoof

Out and About!!!













ford 221 v8 engine

1973 Mustang SportsRoof – Floor Pans Getting To It! – Part Two

Hey, welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof (1973 Mustang).  We are working through the rusted floor pans and I’m about to make the cut for removing rust from the right rear foot-well.

Quick note about the video sequence.  As executive director, camera guy (well smart phone guy) and film editor (is that still a real thing?), I don’t always plan out the steps like you might see on a TV show.  (There goes my chances of being on Counting Cars – I’ve got a better chance of being a walk-on-the-set zombie on the Walking Dead – I love both of those shows!!!! ) Perfect example is in the next few posts and videos.  Instead of stripping out all the carpeting, I made a cut along the tunnel on the right side and just removed that carpet.  You can clearly see that.   Then I removed the rust from the foot-well (you’ll see that below) and then worked on cutting the re-pop floor patch.

That went so well, I felt confident enough to remove the driver’s seat and the rest of the carpeting.  So when I show that video you’ll notice both patch panels on the right side are fitted.  There just no ‘do overs’ on this project.

Here are the next two videos.  By the way you can see all the videos on my YouTube channel  just search for #ProjectSportsRoof and you’ll find most of them.



Once again in the video I mention getting the replacement pan for under the rear seat – above the muffler.  However, as I mentioned previously that portion of the floor is not reproduced.

More floor panel work coming up.  If you have comments or tips/hints use the comment box below.  Love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.



Out and About!!! #ProjectSportsRoof

Out and About!!!







1973 Mustang – Project SportsRoof – Compression, Rods and Heads

Thanks for check in on #ProjectSportsRoof. If you remember a of couple months back, shortly after bringing the ’73 Mustang home, I conducted a compression test on all the cylinders.  The 351C was running rough (to put it mildly) and smoked like a pile of tires on fire (only the smoke …



Let’s Admit It: Manual Transmissions Need to Go

You just have to read the entire article and then seem my comments.

I make no judgement (like some of the other commenters) on whether Aaron is a “real car guy”, in fact I’m sure he is a ‘car guy’ – just one of ‘THOSE’ car guys. (If you are a real car guy you’ll know what I mean).

Courtesy of BMW By Aaron Miller @aaron_m_miller


I’m going to take a lot of heat for what I’m about to say. While no manufacturer can expressly admit it, behind closed doors, deep within the bunkers in Detroit, Munich, Stuttgart, and Tokyo, most engineers will nod in agreement. With enough soul searching, quite a few of my fellow automotive writers will find themselves agreeing, too. The visceral allure of the manual transmission as we know and love it isn’t….

Source: Let’s Admit It: Manual Transmissions Need to Go


Thanks for reading.


07 and 73

07 and 73




1973 Mustang SportsRoof – Floor Pans Getting To It! – Part One

The last three post we basically a run down of the extent of the rust damage in the floor pan areas on #ProjectSportsRoof.  As you saw the right side was bad, especially the under the rear seat on that side and the left side not as bad.   Interesting enough it ended up being about the same work for both foot wells and a lot work for the whole under the rear seat.  (You’ll notice in at least one of the videos I mentioned that all I needed to do was to buy the panel for under the rear seat – but I was wrong.  Those just are reproduced.  What I ended up doing was purchasing a 3rd foot well pan and “modifying” that to get the whole patched.)

As this is my first time actually doing floor pans, I did a lot of “making sure” up front work to limited the size of the mistakes I might make.  Last thing I needed to do was cut in the wrong place or make the opening to big.  As you know the Mustangs of that era only had  sub-frames and the floor for the most part were what held them together.  A major screw up there and you’ve weakened the structure and then it’s body off complete floor replacement – NOT IN THE BUDGET!!!

Here’s some of the preliminary work.


So of course there isn’t a rear panel (see above) and the drain in the panel is not plugged with a rubber stopper, but with a metal screw down plate – sealed with seam sealer.

I worked the left side first (some I could keep the car mobile – for pulling in and out of the garage) so I left the driver’s seat and most of the carpet in place.


Coming up is the first cuts of the right side floor pan and fitting of the replacement panel.


Thanks for reading.








1973 Mustang SportsRoof – Floor Pan Discovery – Part Three

Thanks for checking in on the 1973 Mustang project.   Below is the last part of the discovery process for determining the extent rust damage.  Here is the driver’s side.


This shot doesn’t look too bad, especially compared with the right side.   Below is a video recap of what needs to happen.

Of course still need to remove the rest of the carpeting. All indications are that everything else is solid!!


Thanks for reading


1973 Mustang Sports Roof – Floor Pan Discovery – Part Two …

Mar 2, 2016 Among these things are coins and #ProjectSportsRoof had an abundance of lost change. The first coin I found was a nickel. It was under the …
1973 Mustang Sports Roof – Floor Pan Discovery – Part One

Feb 29, 2016 Thanks for following along with #ProjectSportsRoof. Over the next couple of weeks (giving myself a lot of time to get this all down in the blog) …
vintage muscle car | Tumblr

Welcome back to #ProjectSportsRoof. We beginning the actual work on the vacuum system on the projects 351C starting with the valve assembly distributor ( the …
07 and 73

07 and 73

2nd Annual Team Tanner and Friends Car Show – Benefiting Autism Society 2

The 2nd Annual Team Tanner and Friends Car Show – Benefiting Autism Society  was a lot of fun.  Some very cool cars  there –  like these 4 beauties!!!

You can see my 2007 C6 and the 1973 Mustang (#ProjectSportsRoof) and my son’s 1991 Chrysler Le Baron vert and good friend’s 2011 Mustang vert(with the nicest seats ever!!!).


Constant reader of this blog Bill and my son Ryan

Constant reader of this blog Bill and my son Ryan

This was my son Ryan’s first car he’s entered in a car show.  The 1991 Le Baron is a true collector and is in excellent survivor condition with over 140k miles he is the only the second owner.  Bill (sitting next to my son) was the Le Baron’s first owner – that’s Bill’s 2011 Mustang V6!!!

Besides those cars – here is my favorite late 50’s car at the show.

1956 Ford Club Sedan -1 1956 Ford Club Sedan -2

1956 Ford Club Sedan -3

Clean 282 Engine!!

1956 Ford Club Sedan -4

One of my favorite attributes….a painted dash!!!

1956 Ford Club Sedan -5

The fender skirts are great and the detailed side molding is outstanding!!! (And all original!!)

1956 Ford Club Sedan -6

This 1956 Ford Fairlane Club Sedan has 282 engine, 3 speed column shift and has just over 30k original miles.  It all original except the tires (the spare is original).  This was an Ebay buy and originated in PA.

There were a couple beautiful pickups and a Lotus and 1988 Shelby Dodge Charger – very cool!!

The voting, interestingly enough, was done by the car owners and everyone that came to view the cars.

Trophies were handed out and one of the winner was this car:

#ProjectSportsRoof took home one in the 1970's/Under Construction category

#ProjectSportsRoof took home one in the 1970’s/Under Construction category

Yup lots of love shown to my 1973 Mustang SportsRoof.

It was a small but fun show.  Lots of time to have long conversations with the owners and the crowd.

Thanks to Hagerty Insurance, Mothers Wax and Car Guy Garage for supporting the car show.  We raised awareness and money for Southern Arizona  Autism Society!!

Oh…and if you are in Tucson, AZ there is a walk that raised money for this worthy cause as well.

Thanks for reading


10 Annual Autism Walk - Tucson, AZ

10 Annual Autism Walk – Tucson, AZ