How Can Something So Crappy Be Concours Correct?

It takes a lot of work to duplicate the as-delivered appearance. Here you can see the different colors and overspray that were present when the car was new.
This is the only exterior part of the body that got new paint. Someday it will all look clean and new, but we're still enjoying the rough patina.

To be concours correct by MCA standards, you need to have three different colors and obvious overspray underneath the car. If you over-restore it, it won’t be factory correct. You will lose points and value.

To make a rough old Mustang concours correct underneath for Mustang Cub of America judging takes a lot of work. It took our body man, Tom Prescott, 111 hours to get just the underside, the engine compartment and the trunk of our Shelby GT 350 painted to concours standards. This did include fixing rust around the lip of the trunk, but did not include any work on the outside of the body, except where the trunk lip repair moved into the top of the rear quarter panel.

We also had at least a hundred of our own hours, scraping, dismantling, steam-cleaning and detailing parts to put back on the chassis. Our instinct would be to make the paint uniform underneath. We would either paint the whole chassis with the red-oxide type primer that Ford used, or better yet paint it Lime Gold. What Ford did originally on a Mustang is paint the entire underside red-oxide primer, then they came back in and painted some of the body color underneath—mostly by overspray. Then they painted the rocker panel seam and the engine compartment semi-gloss black. Seam sealer also needs to be brushed on—some under this previously mentioned paint and some over it.

To learn exactly how Ford did it, we went to Orlando Mustang and studied some of their MCA award-winning cars. These guys know every trick and tip to restore a Mustang to award-winning condition and they were willing to share this information. We took pictures and notes and they even provided us with a set of concours guidelines that we could follow.

For paint, we used PPG DP 974 to duplicate the red oxide primer. We duplicated the original satin black finish with Mathews N923 semi-gloss black. On smaller pieces we used either powder coating for high wear pieces and Eastwood Chassis Black on most everything else.

To be concours-correct by MCA standards, you need to have three different colors and obvious overspray underneath the car. If you over-restore it, it won’t be factory correct— you will lose points and value. They also publish a whole list of what color each component should be. Oddly, a lot of the pieces underneath an early Mustang were left bare metal, which turns quickly into rust. For these items, like brake rotors and brakes drums, it is acceptable to paint them in the color closest to bare steel. Eastwood makes a lot of products to duplicate this look and we had good luck with their cast grey paint and their paint products for the pieces that were supposed to look that way. 

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