That was an exciting time for me, last October, and because I had prepared for it fairly well I had confidence all would go smoothly. I had sent the thing out for paint and knew I would go nuts without something(s) to work on while it was gone, so I had saved a few things. I redid the center console for instance, and recovered some interior panels, worked on the instrument cluster, painted some gray centered wheels to black. Stuff like that. I still ran out of things to do for it, but then discovered my wife had been laying in wait, ready to strike, with a two page long "Honey Do List" she slapped down in front of me saying "Here". Hmm, yes dear.
When the car was still in primer I had assembled it to near completion. All lights and bezels, the door handles and mirrors, the bumpers, gas cap, front and side moldings, all of those things. That was huge. I had driven it around the block a few times but without a windshield it was worse than a vert or even riding a motorbike without a helmet. I was mostly seeing if anything was going to fall off it. Did the instruments read? Yes. Was anything leaking anywhere? No. Would it overheat with the A/C going? No. It even tracked more or less straight, at least at 25mph anyways. I had done only the most rudimentary of home driveway alignments on it, you know, the kind using plastic bags and Murphy's Oil Soap and a tape measure and string and squinting eyeballs.
So this thread is about the benefit of pre-assembly before paint. Yeah, you have to take much apart just to put it back on later, rebag and box, notes on this or that for fitment. But then you know there will be few issues when the time comes. A minimum of stressful surprises. I remember when it came back just sitting in my garage and asking myself where do I want to start? Should I go from front to back? Or how about from the inside out? I took my time and just started knocking things out willy-nilly. It didn't really matter the order, this wasn't an assembly line situation. Damn, that was fun. I paid a guy to help me with the front and back glass and trim, and then suddenly realized it was complete, except for some more general paint buffing and exterior emblems I was gonna put on after that. It even had a full tank of gas, filled in my garage two gallons at a time so I could check the fuel gauge accuracy. It was spot on.
It had been nearly ten years since I started the project.
I put the license plate on.
It was getting late in the afternoon and there were storms in the area. I went in the house and asked my wife if she wanted to go for a drive. I was smiling, and she guessed, and the look on her face was a mixture of astonishment and realization and surprise. It was beautiful and I have it framed in my mind.
I posted this pic here once before but it seems appropriate I do so again. It was taken by my wife with her phone camera about fifteen minutes later a few miles from home. We just managed to jump back in the car right before it started raining, a real downpour.
I found out the windshield wipers worked too.
As you can plainly see I don't have much going today, a run to the post office and the library and the bank is all. I'll take the mustang, of course.
Good morning VMF!