My story is similar. I had a 67 coupe in high school. Sold it as it needed a lot of work. Many moons later I found my 66 Vert and have been working on it. I found a very decent running stang with very little rust. I did not grow up around anyone who worked on cars. I have been learning as I go. I spend hours on here researching before doing anything. I spent good money on bad purchases a few years ago and now strive to spend what disposable income I have available for parts on the correct parts! Already getting ready to replace shocks that are new - just not happy with them.
I have replaced the entire cooling system. Installed a new intake and Holley 4v. I installed headers and had stainless steel exhaust installed. I replaced the entire suspension and installed a front disc brake upgrade kit with new master cylinder.
This winter I had a new vert top installed and now have the entire interior gutted. Stripped down, painted and reupholstered all the seats and am currently in the process of insulating the floor boards for my new Mass back carpet install.
Next winter, I plan to pull and rebuild the 289 (with a friends help, but I will do all the work). I may have to have the C-4 transmission rebuilt as well.
After all this is completed, I will begin saving for paint. I have the classic mustang rust in the front corners of both doors. One is bubbling up in the paint and the other has barely come through the paint. Those will be repaired, car stripped and re-sprayed.
My point is this: if you don't have the time/funds/knowledge to completely restore a rust bucket, make sure you shop around until you find something you can work with. I admire the guys who do bring the dead back to life. I have really enjoyed owner this car so far. It is fun to cruise in and everyone loves it. Lots of thumbs up. Plus now, you can really hear me coming if I want you to. I have acquried so much knowledge from the fine folks on this site and youtube is your friend. I am no longer reluctent to tear anything apart.
Good luck and keep us posted.
1966 Mustang Convertible