1969 Convertible from the year 1994
Back in the mid-1980’s and early 1990’s, there were a lot of “daily driver” Mustangs in western Washington. By the mid-1990’s I noticed fewer and fewer on the road. By the late 1990’s, I also noticed a very sharp decline in the availability of used original parts at all local swap meets. The classified sections selling Mustangs and Mustang parts within the local newspapers were also dwindling. I remember the day when you could look at local newspaper, AutoTrader, and Little Nickel ads and come up with a Fastback Mustang project. It may have taken a few weeks of searching, but one would turn up. Now, in 2009, it seems like finding a similar project is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
At the recent Portland, Oregon Swap Meet that we attended, finding original Mustang parts was difficult. Oh sure, there were Mustang parts, but the quantity of them were dismal. Our vendor booths seemed to be the only ones with an abundance of parts. But, after all, I have collected Mustangs and parts for the past 20 years and have amassed quite a collection. As an avid collector, however, I still continue to search for more parts whenever I can!
Original 1968 Shelby GT 350 Mustang Interior
How do you decide to purchase original parts or reproduction parts for your Classic Mustang? In most cases, original parts fit the best. Reproduction parts are often flimsy and not of the finest quality. For instance, original Mustang fenders fit and line up nicely with the door, while some reproduction fenders are made of a lesser gauge steel and do not line up well.
In the early days of the reproduction industry, the parts were made with presses and dyes that were worn down from the original assembly line machinery. As a result, these inferior reproduction parts did not offer the best fit, nor did they offer the quality that the original parts did. In recent years, reproduction parts have gotten better, but are still of inferior quality.
Ford recently began to offer original Ford tooling body panels. These panels offer good fit and quality, but still need a little fitting work when installing them on a Mustang. Unfortunately, these tooling parts are expensive and run about double the price of other reproduction parts.
Original parts, being between 40-45 years old, often need a little clean-up. However, once original parts have been restored and placed on a Mustang, the Mustang’s appearance and value have been preserved and the fit is all-original.