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Text and Photography by Jon Mikelonis

There is something very satisfying about sparing a car from the reaper,
especially when it's obvious the car is only months from reaching the far end of its' expected life. The rescue can also be dramatic. Dramatic in a way only "hands-on" car guys can comprehend. For us, resurrecting a wreck is like a soldier diving in after a fallen comrade. A decision that takes experience, discipline, and loyalty. Experience to perform the technical work, discipline to remain on course, and loyalty to make sure what you're diving in for is a Ford. Well? In this particular case, a Ford product.

When Project MX rolled in from Fresno, CA to the FM shop we were immediately thinking Cleveland-based 408 stroker, 1-1/2" drop, 16x8 torque thrusts, some minor bodywork, and paint. But reality quickly set in, reminding us of the practical direction we previously agreed to take our new project car. Not to mention that FordMuscle, nor many of our readers, have the utility, space, or cash to do what we really want to do with our cars. So we created a parts list, rolled up our sleeves, and got to work while remaining focused on our short-term project goal: Save a crippled Mercury and quickly turn it into a $2500 dependable ride that can be driven while it's being modified, reconditioned, or both.

It was clear the Montego failed to reach its' $500 Ebay reserve because of a bad head gasket or cracked head. In the name of reducing downtime, we dug these spare 351C 2V heads out of three feet of snow and sent them off for a stock rebuild one week before we began tearing down the top-end.
The previous owner had removed the vinyl top along with all the related moldings. Fortunately, everything was kept in good condition in the trunk. However, both the window and door seals were missing. We went ahead and ordered a pair of each from Concours Parts.

It was heartbreaking to put brand new window and door seals against the patina of a 32 year-old unrestored body.

We got over it knowing that balancing the needs of other projects was paramount. Tying up the garage with a car that could not be left outside was out of the question. As was pushing around 3500 lbs of iron.

Under the flouresecent lights we found an interesting note scribed into the hood. Look close, the message says..."$100 David for Door and Fender". From the included paperwork at purchase, "David" was a previous owner.
The existing dual exhaust was a pair of cracked stock manifolds, 2.5" pipe, and FlowMaster knock-offs. All hung with bailing wire. Needless to say, we chopped it out and added a new exhaust to our budget.

Hey, not bad. A previous owner was thinking. Breakless ignition included. We were lucky this feature wasn't a bulleted item during the Ebay auction. We might have lost her.


During the project we continually asked ourselves three questions: What can be re-used? What should be trashed? What should be replaced as a precaution while all accessories are removed? Here, we decided to re-use this ugly garden... oops....heater hose.
(351 Cleveland Quick Fix)
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In This Article:
FM picks up where it left off in December after documenting the recovery of a $400 Mercury Montego.
In that story we asked, Do You Need Another Project? Here, we answer the question with an enthusiastic Yes! We've begun turning the crippled Mercury into a dependable ride that can be driven while being modified, reconditioned, or both.


When Project MX rolled in from Fresno, CA to the FM shop, we were immediately dreaming of radical modifications. However, we practiced restraint and focused on a more practical objective.

Although the high-mileage Cleveland motor ran, it had water in the oil. At minimum, it would need the head gaskets replaced.

When you go as far as replacing heads gaskets on a 98,000 mile motor, it's hard not to justify a complete rebuild. We avoided a long-term and costly venture by drawing the line at rebuilding just the cylinder heads.


Concours Parts & Accessories
Concours Parts has been serving Classic Thunderbird enthusiasts with quality restoration parts since owner Larry Evenson began having custom gaskets and grommets made in 1969. Each year since then, an increasing number of Ford models have been deemed collector cars. As the "collectible" list grows longer, so does the Concours Parts inventory.

In addition to announcing their new 1962-1972 Fairlane & 1968-1971 Torino Catalog, Concours parts also offers a wide array of restoration parts for 1960-1972 Galaxie owners. However, the list doesn't stop there.

FordMuscle turned to Concours Parts for Roof Rail & Door weatherstripping to put a stop to the moisture intrusion on our 1972 Mercury Montego.

See www.concoursparts.com to discover their complete line. Or call toll free at 1-800-722-0009 to speak with a customer service representative.


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