Illustration for article titled Watch This 1965 Ford Mustang Come Back to Life After Sitting for 44 Years
Screenshot: classicmustangs429 (YouTube)

It turns out that there’s an extremely entertaining video series centering around a neglected 1965 Ford Mustang fastback that has allegedly not run in 44 years. Yes, 44 years. Get ready for some high-quality wrenching and a solid underdog story.


There’s something about the plight of a wrencher trying to bring a long-dead machine back to life that I just can’t resist. I find myself on the edge of my seat, rooting for the mechanic to use their wrench as a defibrillator to revive the heart of a classic piece of automotive history, anxious to see if there’s any hope.

It’s this uncertainty that made JunkyardDigs’ revival of a 1965 Ford F-250 that had been abandoned for 26 years so entertaining, and it’s what makes the recent “Fastback Revival” series from YouTuber classicmustangs429 basically irresistible:

The first video begins with an introduction to the Texas Mustang which had been sitting since 1975, and an attempt to turn the 289 cubic-inch (or 4.7-liter, in modern numbers) V8 engine over by hand via the crankshaft pulley. The good news is that the engine does rotate most of the way, though it does come to a stop, as something seems to be blocking a piston’s upward movement.


Yanking the exhaust manifolds, intake manifold, valve covers, rockers and pushrods, and accessories reveals the problem: There’s a big wad of crud on top of the piston in cylinder two. But after cleaning that, and the heads and cylinders, the wrenchers begin reassembling.

Part two is essentially just a continuation of reassembly. The Canada-based mechanics working in the cold throw on a new water pump after having to deal with some stuck and even broken bolts, they pop on a new starter, hook up a new fuel pump, install some exhaust headers, bolt up the intake manifold, and top that manifold with a glorious four-barrel carburetor.

In the final video, the host makes a fuel line to hook the pump up with the carb, installs the ignition system, pops on a new set of points, installs the radiator and fan, slips the V-belt over top of the pulleys, hooks up the battery, and loosens the distributor to adjust ignition timing.

With all that done, the world is then blessed with a moment of American V8 glory: the 289 fires up and idles.

The whole video series is—aside from the scene where someone sprays starting fluid into a cranking motor and then puts his hand over the carb (I don’t recommend this)—filled with plenty of resourceful wrenching goodness. The mechanics pull used parts off a parts car, they use an oil catch pan made of a used oil jug, the host makes his own carb gasket instead of purchasing one, and he bends the fuel line himself instead of buying one pre-made. Plus, the team torques all the intake bolts to spec, and they even decide to use properly-sized carb studs instead of just stacking washers.


It’s just some good wrenching on a fascinating underdog of an automobile. And I dig that.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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