Garage Built - Project '92 Vert (aka: Weekend Cruiser)

Posted by Kevin W. on Oct 30th 2017

Garage Built - Project '92 Vert (aka: Weekend Cruiser)

We have all had that one love when it comes to cars. For our owner that love has always been the Fox Body Mustang. This is one of the longest running body styles to date, from 1979 to 1993, a whopping 14 years! So now on to our story. This "Garage Built" project from came about a few months ago when we were finally able to get to work on our Project '92 Vert which we now have dubbed the Weekend Cruiser (aka: The wife's car). We obtained this car from a small family run car lot in Indiana where when first seen looked like this car was a little worse for wear. The convertible top was not in the best of shape, the cloth seats were very faded but overall ok, and of course the carpet had seen its better days. We took this car for a test drive and were amazed at how good it road. A small problem we had noticed though while on the road test was that the transmission did not seem to have overdrive. Not a big deal to us because we have plans to swap it to a manual anyway.

With the purchase made, we drove the little convertible back home and let it sit in the garage to relax for a little while in its new home. We would take it out occasionally for a little weekend cruise through the back roads of Ohio visiting some of our friends and enjoying the good times.

After about 6 months, some of the transformations started to take place. We removed the anemic automatic transmission from behind the 2.3L 4-cylinder engine and prepped the car for its manual conversion. With a new clutch and flywheel sourced, and a spare clutch pedal assembly we had lying around, the swap commenced. We removed the knee panel cover and brace to gain access to all of the bolts to be able to drop down the steering column. With the steering column lowered to the floor and out of the way we removed the factory brake pedal assembly and installed a freshened clutch / brake pedal assembly. Installed a new adjustable clutch cable and quadrant kit (Part # 15055) from and got everything installed in an afternoon. We also turned our attention the the ragged out looking convertible top. We sought out the assistance from a local upholsterer in the Cincinnati area that did a great job making our little car look so much better. Now we could enjoy the car for a little while shifting the gears till the next phase came along. Well that next phase wouldn't happen for about a year, with a move across country that would pause the next upgrades for a little while.

Now that the move is complete, the faded cloth seats started to bug us a little bit. We contacted our friends at TMI and ordered a set of period correct vinyl upholstery and new front seat foam for the driver and passenger as well as new Crystal Blue Carpet. What an amazing improvement. The look of this car was really starting to transform.

With the convertible top and the interior complete for now, we needed to do a little more to the outside of the car so we turned our attention to the wheels. The rubber coated 14 inch wheels that Ford put on was just not going to cut it for the plan of this car and the 4-Lug hubs were a little dated as well. We needed an upgrade. On the front end of the car we wanted to do a couple of basic upgrades, but looking to the future we wanted to do a simple upgrade to start off this build, with bigger plans in the future that would make the next upgrade to the front brakes and suspension a little easier. With this in mind we installed a new set of Monroe Monro-matic Struts for basic street driving and ride comfort mated to a set of SN95 Front spindles and a pair of SN95 Front Lower Control Arms, with a pair of SN95 GT Calipers and Rotors for some improved stopping power. Next we moved to the rear of the car. With a plan to upgrade the rear axle in the not so distant future, we went with a common inexpensive upgrade to by doing an axle and drum swap. Using 2 right side axles from a ford ranger, and the rear drums we were able to retain the factory 7.5 inch rear housing and get the look we were after, and finished it all off with a set of factory 5-star wheels from a 2001 Mustang GT. So for now, the basic 5-Lug swap complete.

(March 2017) Now the real work begins. There has been a lot of planning over the past few years. We were at a bit of a break with our Convertible Weekend Cruiser Project with a lot going on and a new addition to our family. Now that family life has settled down , it is time to focus back on Project '92 Vert, our Garage Built Weekend Cruiser. We have got some big plans in store for this fun little ride. Now for the news that some may already know... Swap Time!

We have gone back and forth on the idea of which way to go with our swap. Since this car is originally a 2.3L 4-cylinder car, we had considered heavily on taking that route by going with the new 2.3L EcoBoost engine, but with so many parts being available that are off the shelf items for other years of Mustangs, it makes the most sense to go with the "Swap of Greatness" by doing a 5.0L Coyote Swap. We acquired our Coyote engine used via our local Ford Dealer and started laying out our plan as to how we want to take the build. So here it is, we are going to keep the car looking stock per say. The body on this car is in almost excellent condition. The paint is barely faded and when washed and waxed looks amazing. The rear will need an upgrade to handle the added power as will the transmission, the poor t-5 that we have just won't cut the mustard. We have started with removing the existing engine from the engine bay and all of the unwanted items that we will not use. In addition to that we removed all of the engine bay harnesses and clips as well as the wiper motor so we could prep the engine bay for some replacement front inner fender panels purchased from the kind folks at Scott Rod Fabrication who know how to make quality parts. We did remove the front bumper cover, front fenders and hood so once the front inner fender panels are welded in and completely installed, the engine bay will be completely repainted to a bright factory finish thanks to the team at Karl Malone's Body & Paint. Check out some of the pictures below to see the progress of the bodywork.

Update - June 3, 2017

So our "Project '92 Vert" is well underway. A few weeks ago we dropped it off at one of the local collisions centers Karl Malone's Body & Paint, to aid us in completing the finishing touches on the engine bay. They have been great and #LaifEkberg has been very nice to work with. After waiting our turn to get into there busy shop, the car was able to get pulled inside yesterday and properly weld in the front inner fender panels from Scott Rod Fab, giving our Fox Body Convertible a clean and fresh look in the engine bay. Once complete we will bring our Vert back to our home garage and get ready for the install of the Coyote engine and the awesome products that we've got in store from the team at Mishimoto Automotive. Thanks to everyone for following us and showing your support.

Well a little bit more progress to show on our Project '92 Vert - Weekend Cruiser. Got the small bend fixed on the passenger side frame rail and have the seam sealer as well as some filler laid down. Big thanks to the team Karl Malone's Body & Paint for your help on this project.

Update - August 5, 2017

Been working on a lot of the rust scale that was on the car. Doing a little grinding with and sealing then off to paint. Cleaning up all the little rust spots that seem to keep magically appearing in the engine bay of the Garage Build - Project '92 Vert (a Weekend Cruiser).

Here are some pics below of the rust that has been sealed and the front inner fenderlanels were also primed.

Update - September 4th 2017

With the engine bay prepped and ready for final sanding and painting we moved over to the underside of the car. We have decided to complete removal of all remaining items like fuel and brake lines as well as any loose hardware and any rust as well. We will be finishing the underside of project as well with some sound deadening material.

With the last piece being the fuel line we can now sand the bottom of the car and prep if for the sound deadening material and undercoating.

Update - October 22, 2017

Getting closer to finishing up the final fit and finish on suspension components for or 1992 Fox Body, we wanted to take a few moments to clean up its stall in the garage to clean up a lot of the rust scale that had fallen on the garage floor from when we removed the four lower plates on the underside of the car that were riveted into place from the factory to make way for the subframe connectors. Currently we have left the steel "L" shaped bars that are riveted to the pinch welds, we may remove them buy have mot fully decided. We will also be cleaning up the floor in the rear near the spare tire well and the passenger rear frame rail. Once all of that is removed and protected with rust inhibitor we will get it over to the body shop for paint of engine bay and underside. 

With the car out side of the garage catching some rays, we wanted to take a moment to test fit the Mishimoto Performance Radiator to help us keep cool. We must say it is an impressive piece and looks well. Check out the pictures below of some more shots of the radiator.

- Here is a view from the inside of the engine bay looking at the Radiator.

Update - November 5, 2017

With seeing the build quality of the cars at the 2017 SEMA Show, we decided to go ahead and add the Scott Rod Fab strut tower panels into he engine bay to finish off the smooth look. This will give it a more finished look. #quality This is the first of the 8 panels to be installed.

All right, the gears are now turning at full speed. Our Garage Build - Project ‘92 Vert (aka: Weekend Cruiser) has a new and improved vision. We have found an awesome interior design and matching door panels, but we are not stopping there! We are going to be tackling the whole interior not just the seats and carpet! In addition to that I cool idea for the audio system and onboard management systems. Also plan to incorporate an air ride system as well as a whole bunch more! Too much stuff to list. Keep watching in the coming months to see more updates!

Update - November 24, 2017

Well more progress has taken place in the form of welding up the remainder of the strut towers for that smooth finish. The installation of the Scott Rod Fab panels went fairly smooth and we were excited to see the somewhat finished look. Now mind you, we do not claim to be the best welder, but of course not everybody is. We used the tools available in our garage to put fourth our best effort to achieve a desired result. 

Now we plan to finish welding up the firewall and get ready for fitment of the AC Assembly from Vintage Air. 

Update - December 31, 2017

Pretty excited, got the two larger holes from the factory HVAC box welded up today and the holes drilled for the Vintage Air, Inc. firewall bracket. Tack welded some spacers in place so I can fit it all into place easier when I get the car painted and the Dynamat in place. Excited for the next stages of this build.

All right... No turning back now. We put a couple of tacks down on the panels, not sure about the burst on the panel on the right but hey that is what grinders are for right? In the next picture you can see a little bit of a cleaner job and the 4 bolts for the new Vintage Air Gen IV Magnum Kit poking through. After a bit of decision making we think the placement of the bracket will work good for us. (see below)

Mocking up the Vintage Air Gen IV HVAC unit in the Garage Build - Project '92 Vert. With the placement set, and all the holes marked for the bracket on the firewall, fabrication can commence.