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Thread: Pace Car Build

  1. #1

    Default Pace Car Build

    Hi all,

    I thought I would share my plans for my Pace Car Build for infromation sharing and feedback. Just to start I bought this Pace Car back in October with plans to make it all oringnal or go resto mod. Based on the amount of miles on the car, seat condtion and the fact that it has been repaint i chose the restomod path.

    My goals with this build is to make a performace street(first)/ basic track car. I want to be able to take it out on a road course for a track day or autocross event. Not to lay down blistering lap times. Just want to drive faster than I can on the street. Most of the time it will be a Sunday cruiser.

    Other goals are to keep the car the same look as the original Pace Car. This would include the TRX wheels, Recaro Seat, Paint and super cool stickers. The only problem I see with this goal is staying with 4 lug wheels will limit my options brake size.

    The Plan:

    1. Reupholster the Recaro Seats. sell a kit. and fix all the little issue with lights and things. This project has already started.

    2. Upgrade suspension

    - 87-93 V8 Spindles
    - 11' 4-lug brake kit
    - Blistein B6 HD shocks and struts
    - Maximum Motorsports K-member package with 300lbs coilovers
    - Strut tower brace
    - Maximum Motorsports full length sub frame connectors
    - Pan Hard bar (rubber upper control arm Bushings)
    - 175lbs spring in the rear Stock location (no coilover)
    - Aftermarket upper and lower rear control arms (free from a buddy)
    - New front and rear Sway Bar Eibach

    3. Engine (goal is 300hp)
    - This is one of Edelbrocks packages. Engine block has been rebuilt recently. I plan on doing and compression test and send a sample of oil of for analysis to make sure its all good to go.
    Performer Series Carb #EDE14063
    Performer 289 Intake Manifold #EDE2121
    Performer-Plus Camshaft Kit #EDE2122
    E-Street Cylinder Head #Part #EDE5023
    Performer-Link By Cloyes Timing Chain Set #EDE7820
    COMP Cams Roller Rocker Arm Magnum 3/8" Stud 1.6
    BBK headers and Mid Pipe
    Flowmaster cat Back exhaust.

    4. T-5 transmission or TKO600 Swap (next winter)

    As I complete projects or run into issues I post up some pictures and infromation

  2. #2


    I started to reupholster the seats using the TMI kit from I am attempting to do this myself with a crash course in upholster off youtube. Rear seats are easy. I think this took and day for the entire back seat. Front seat has been not so easy. It has been a lot of trial and error. I have used up a lot of the hog rings trying to get things right. I still have the lower part of the seat to do and the entire passenger seat to do.
    I did have to buy hog ring pliers and 200 hog rings.
    Also, material is a lot easy to stretch when it is warm. Doing this in garage didn't help even when it was heated. I think.
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  3. #3


    Wow, good luck with your build. Back seat came out looking great. I'm sure the front will come out looking just as good. Keep us updated with pics while you fix this bad boy up.. Again , good luck with build...

  4. #4
    FEP Supporter Fearnot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Concord NC


    Good luck on the project. I’m getting ready to start the same basic build on my PC.
    Your Seats are looking good already! My car came with NOS upholstery and I’m debating on having a shop do the seats.
    Look forward to the sharing of info.
    88 Turbo Coupe auto
    88 Turbo Coupe 5spd
    79 Fairmont Futura 4.6
    79 Capri RS - 2.3/5spd restomod
    80 Capri 5.0/5spd project
    79 Zephyr Z7 factory 5.0 sunroof
    79 Pace Car 5.0/5spd project
    85 LTD LX factory 5spd?(not documented)
    86 GT conv 5.0/5spd
    79 Pace Car 2.3/4spd - needs new home

  5. #5


    Well finished the entire driver side seat.
    I use the TMI Products Kit. One thing that I notice is that the TMI kit has a 1/2 inch pad attached. On the side bolsters on the bottom I had to cut the padding out so it would fit. After I cut the pad off which was easy it went one kind of easy. The pad is glued to the cover and it separates easily. Also, you have to do everything in a specific sequence, or it is tough to get it right. I went through a lot of hog rings to figure out the sequence. But if anyone has any question let me know. The plan is to knock out the passenger's seat tomorrow. I'll take some step by step pictures.

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  6. #6
    FEP Supporter Broncojunkie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Barboursville, WV


    Seats looking great! I had a local shop put the kit on mine. It was just one of those things I was afraid of screwing up. Not a big deal on a $400 upholstery set, but this Recaro set is high rent. Per TMI's recommendation, I went with new front seat foam. While the seats turned out nice, I will admit that the seat bottoms are slightly different than factory. The originals were deeper, but probably not as accommodating to some (ahem) "frames".

  7. #7


    Well, this weekend I swapped out all the lights out on the dash with White LEDs. That changed the color from green to blue. Got both the seats completed and put them back in the car. Fixed the broken tilt steering (pain in the butt)

    Remove the rear axle and found some concerning things with what the previous owner had done.
    1. loose bolt of the driver side rear lower control arm
    2. bolt was way too short on the upper control arm with just a few threads engaged
    3. the use of grade 2 bolts with non-lock nut nuts.
    4. both e brake cable broken
    5. some horrible welding

    Next step:
    1. Drop gas tank.
    2. wire wheel the rust to prep underbody for Eastwood undercoat rubberized undercoating
    3. Sand and paint rear end
    4. swap drums out with 93 Cobra 4 lug disk brakes
    5. new upper control arm bushing. Going with the factory rubber bushings
    6. new brake lines
    7. New Rear Diff Cover
    8. New upper control arms
    9. Reinstall rear end
    10. new sway bar

    I got to take more before and after pictures.

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  8. #8


    The past two weeks I have wire brushed all the loose rust off the rear end housing and paint with the rubberized undercoating. Started to install the Cobra rear disk and ran into some clearance issues.
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    1. I bought brackets off of eBay with dust shield for 60 bucks. I can't use the brackets because the stock axle length for drum brake requires an offset for the caliper. Still, a good purchase because the dust shields new are 60$ on LMR or 40 or 50 on eBay
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    2. I bought brackets from, painted black and installed. Note: Make sure the axle bracket is free of rust and other contamination. I use a wire brush and a file to make sure it was flat. I installed them the first time with just hitting them with a brush and some junk was between the axle and the bracket.

    Once install the bracket I put a rotor on and installed the caliper just to see the fitment. I found some clearance issues with the caliper hitting the bracket. Just took a grinder and removed enough material for the clearance
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    3. No clearance between dust Sheild Bolts and rotor. DO I NEED TO RUN DUST SHIELD?????
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    Need some feedback:

    1. Don't run dust shields

    2. Mount the dust shields on the inside. I would need to cut on them

    4. Something I hadn't thought of yet.

    Last edited by MNbuckeye; 04-28-2019 at 09:54 AM.

  9. #9
    FEP Super Member JTurbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Western MA


    Nice Pace Car build. Look forward to more updates.
    1979 Indy Pace Car Mustang 302 / 5spd
    1982 Mustang GT T-Top 302 / 4spd
    1986 SVO Mustang - 1C

  10. #10


    Well, I think I am going to swap the 7.5 to an 8.8.

  11. #11


    Quote Originally Posted by MNbuckeye View Post
    Well, I think I am going to swap the 7.5 to an 8.8.
    I'm thinking that's not even a 7.5. Looks more like a 6.75", which is even worse. But regardless, do swap it out for an 8.8.
    79 PACE CAR #1177 5.0/4R70W
    79 Capri RS 5.8/C4
    83 NCSHP SSP 5.0/SROD
    84 FHP SSP 5.0/T5
    93 LX Convertible 5.0/AOD

  12. #12


    Build is coming along great, neighbor! My Zeph had that same tiny rear. Let me know if you need anything, I'm starting to accumulate some extra parts.

    Ever hit any shows locally? I never miss Street Machine Nationals or the Apple Valley spring show.

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI, T-5
    '17 Ford Transit Connect Titanium LWB
    '14 Ford Fusion SE Manual

  13. #13


    Quote Originally Posted by ZephyrEFI View Post
    Ever hit any shows locally? I never miss Street Machine Nationals or the Apple Valley spring show.
    I haven't been to any shows. I hope I can have this thing done before July so I can hit a few.

    Other Update:

    found a bare 8.8 on eBay. The seller said nothing is wrong with and its free shipping.

    I am going to go with:
    ford racing 3.73 gears
    Auburn Pro series limited slip diff 31 spline
    New bearings and shims
    then some 31 splines 4 lug axles. (not sure why I am staying with 4 lug.)
    I have a buddy that has all the tools to set backlash and that other stuff.

  14. #14


    Quick update on the build.
    May was full of rust removal and painting the underbody.
    - Removed the tank- Sanded and painted. Inside the tank looked good.
    - Replaced tank straps. Found at national parts depot. Bought the wrong straps from Labeled that they would fit a 79, but they don't.
    - The 8.8 builds has hit some snags.
    - had a repair shop press the bearings on the diff and they damage them. Had to order new and just got them on June first
    - The pinion is in with setup bearing. Using and racetech shim kit instead of a crush sleeve on the pinion. Takes a little more to setup but way easier to torque. Next step is to install the diff and set backlash and check the pinion height.
    - I have almost all the parts on hand to finish the rear end, front end, and engine. Hopefully the next few weeks I will be able to show more progress (with Pictures).

  15. #15


    Things are coming along.

    Rear diff setup took longer than expected. I was reading the contact pattern wrong and decreased pinion shims instead of increasing. That added a lot of time.
    The axle I bought did not fit into the diff ID on one side so much that I could not get the retaining clip on. I had to turn the axle down to get it to work.
    Installed 3-inch wheel studs was a good idea as well
    I installed the exhaust and wrapped the section by the fuel line. I will let you know how that holds up.

    I am finishing a few things with the engine and front Coilover then I post some pic of that stuff.
    I have ordered a lot of incorrect parts during my build. The 79 has a lot of unique things compared to other fox bodies.

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  16. #16


    Nice work! It's going to be a totally different car to drive when you're done.

  17. #17


    Got the car out of the garage and went on a small test drive. Needs and alignment and the transmission shifts hard but should be ready to go soon.

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  18. #18


    Watch out for that diff cover hitting the spare tire well. MN_Stang has one that's similar, if not the same and had that problem.

    Car's looking great!

    '79 Mercury Zephyr ES 5.0L GT40 EFI, T-5
    '17 Ford Transit Connect Titanium LWB
    '14 Ford Fusion SE Manual

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