Watch This 1965 Ford Mustang Come Back to Life After Sitting for 44 Years

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. Tech Editor, Jalopnik. Owner of far too many Jeeps (Including a Jeep Comanche). Follow my instagram (@davidntracy). Always interested in hearing from engineers—email me.

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David Tracy

Worth noting in case anyone’s interested: That looks to be a ’66 grille.