Under The Hood

37-mile 1973 Ford Mustang convertible offers rare view to past

An inside and outside glimpse at a time capsule 1973 Mustang convertible

This spring, Sue Eldred bought the car of her dreams: a convertible. With just 37 miles on the odometer, the 40-some-year-old convertible turned out to be much more special than what she originally considered. It was a true time capsule “barn find” with significant historical value.

Eldred’s 1973 Mustang was originally bought by Judith Blohm from Stocker Ford-Mercury in West Bend, Wis. When Blohm learned Ford would stop building Mustang convertibles after the 1973 model year, she hopped in her 1968 Mustang convertible, drove to West Bend and ordered a new 1973 Mustang convertible in Dark Green Metallic with a 250-cid six-cylinder and a three-speed manual transmission. There was no way Blohm was going to be without a convertible pony to drive.

It turns out that Blohm is still driving her 1968 Mustang convertible, as well as a 1966 Mustang convertible. Since she never wore out those earlier Mustang convertibles, she decided in late 2014 to part with the unused ’73 Mustang convertible she had kept in reserve. Jody Stuck of Midwest Classic Restoration & Body Works in Oneida, Wisconsin, was the lucky purchaser. Stuck had barely begun to touch the Mustang when Eldred walked in his shop doors last winter looking for a convertible.

We caught up with the low-mileage 1973 Mustang convertible this spring as Stuck was preparing to deliver it to Eldred. We photographed the car shortly after Stuck made it drivable, at which time it showed 37 miles on the odometer and some 40 years of dust on the exterior. After it was detailed by John Eckrich of J&J Detailing in Neenah, Wisconsin, we photographed it again. The dust was gone and the odometer was up to 38 miles.

Readying the Mustang for the road was a relatively easy process for Stuck. He replaced the fuel tank and master cylinder, and rebuilt the carburetor. It fired right up. Stuck also put new tires on the original green steel wheels, but gave all the original parts to the new owners. Included in that box of parts was the original oil filter, which is shown still in place in these pictures). For safety, Stuck ran a hone through each original wheel cylinder and reassembled them with the original parts. As another safety measure, Stuck replaced the brake hoses, but kept the originals with the car. Even the clips that hold the brake drums to the rear axle are still present, although they were usually tossed during a Mustang’s first brake job. The battery is also (obviously) not original.

Enjoy these images of this rare time capsule — perhaps they’ll help you restore your own 1970s Mustang.

This Mustang will be at the 2015 Iola Old Car Show in Iola, Wis., July 9-11.

If you want to learn more about Mustangs or Fords in general, here are links to publications I trust on the topic:

Standard Catalog of Ford 1903-2002 The ultimate source on Ford facts and data

Nothin’ But Muscle A fun read with plenty of info muscle Mustangs

 

The 1973 Mustang with 40-some years of dust.

The 1973 Mustang with 40-some years of dust.

A rear view of the Mustang convertible. Note the original tires have been removed from car in these photos. They have been set aside for safe keeping (and safe driving).

A rear view of the Mustang convertible. Note the original tires have been removed from car in these photos. They have been set aside for safe keeping (and safe driving).

The original window sticker still clings to the driver's rear side window.

The original window sticker still clings to the driver’s rear side window.

The 250-cid six-cylinder was started by the original owner on occasion while the car was parked on blocks in a barn.

The 250-cid six-cylinder was started by the original owner on occasion while the car was parked on blocks in a barn.

Note the black and blue paint beneath the air cleaner.

Note the black and blue paint beneath the air cleaner cover.

The original air filter is in place.

The original air filter is in place.

Note the location of stickers around the engine compartment and the overspray patterns, including the spray on the oil filter. When the engine was painted Ford blue, the oil filter was clearly installed already.

Note the location of stickers around the engine compartment and the overspray patterns, including the spray on the oil filter. When the engine was painted Ford blue, the oil filter was clearly installed already.

Close-up of stickers on the valve cover.

Close-up of stickers on the valve cover.

Note the rough finish of the overspray on the original oil filter.

Note the rough finish of the overspray on the original oil filter.

Detail of sticker on the passenger fender in the engine compartment.

Detail of sticker on the passenger fender in the engine compartment.

This "G" sticker is inside the driver's door jamb, at the cowl.

This “G” sticker is inside the driver’s door jamb, at the cowl.

Note the paint marks on the trunk-mounted spare tire wheel.

Note the paint marks on the trunk-mounted spare tire wheel.

This photo shows the correct mounting position for the spare tire instruction sheet.

This photo shows the correct mounting position for the spare tire instruction sheet.

A view from behind the passenger side rear corner of the Mustang. Note the stripes on the leaf spring and the finish beneath the car. Note: The gas tank had to be replaced and is not original.

A view from behind the passenger side rear corner of the Mustang. Note the stripes on the leaf spring and the finish beneath the car. Note: The gas tank had to be replaced and is not original.

A white stripe was painted on the rear ale housing by the factory. Also notice the red paint mark on the rear shock.

A white stripe was painted on the rear ale housing by the factory. Also notice the red paint mark on the rear shock.

The dealer never removed this sticker from the rear valance panel of the car, not did it remove the brackets that sticker instructed them to remove.

The dealer never removed this sticker from the rear valance panel of the car, not did it remove the rear tie down plates (brackets) that the sticker instructed them to remove.

The interior of a 37-mile 1973 Ford product. This image was also taken before the car's detailing.

The interior of a 37-mile 1973 Ford product. This image was also taken before the car’s detailing.

By the time it was detailed, the Mustang's odometer had rolled over to 38 miles.

By the time it was detailed, the Mustang’s odometer had rolled over to 38 miles.

The detailed interior.

The detailed interior.

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