The Restoration of a Vintage Mustang
Project Begins

The number one task on my to-do list was to treat the unprimed steel inside the cowl (an air chamber in front of the windshield) before rust ate its way through. This would require a fair amount of work:

In addition to all of this, while not strictly required, I also elected to remove the engine in order to get better access to the spot welds around the cowl's perimeter.

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Disassembled. There's no turning back.
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The windshield had to go, cowl or no cowl. (For details, click here.)
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The engine on a stand.
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The cowl cover with spot welds drilled out. (For details, click here.)
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Inside the cowla, rust is visible around the vents, but it's not too late. (For details, click here.)
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Untreated, the rust will continue to eat through the cowl. (For details, click here.)

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Cowl Repair

Many Mustang owners/restorers consider a rusting cowl to be the number one nemesis of vintage Mustang restoration.

The cowl is an enclosed chamber between the engine compartment and passenger compartment. Air enters the cowl through the vent in front of the windshield and is channeled into the passenger compartment at the driver's feet and into the heater box on the passenger side.

Along with air, an assortment of rain, dirt, leaves, and debris passes through the cowl. Metal cylinders inside the cowl serve as barriers diverting this flotsam to drainage channels, bypassing the vents that open into the passenger compartment.

Over the span of many years, the drainage channels become clogged, preventing water from exiting the cowl. Left untreated, rust eventually, inevitably eats through the metal cylinders that keep water out of the passenger compartment.


Also high on my initial list of objectives was a new windshield. The old one had become so pitted that I could barely see through it when driving into the sun.

Wish List

Before breaking the first weld on the cowl, I drew up a wish list. In addition to the cowl and windshield, the list grew to contain the following items:

Disassembly Begins

First, the fenders and hood came off, then out came the radiator, off came the driveshaft, and finally out came the engine and transmission as a unit.

With the engine out and steering linkage exposed, and me thinking about upgrading to power steering, it soon became clear that there was more to add to the list.

Next: Work Goes On

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