Did early Ford Mustangs have crappy paint jobs?

Way back during my adolescence (late '70s, early '80s) when I was first starting to take an interest in cars, I noticed something “odd”. There were still a lot of early-model Ford Mustangs on the road back then, and I started to notice that there was one particular style of Mustang (which I believe would have been the 1964-66? models) where it seemed that almost every one I saw had either big patches of primer all over it or a brand new, shiny paint job. Basically, they looked like they had just been repainted, or the owners were getting ready to have them repainted.

I found myself wondering if those early Mustangs were painted on the cheap by the factory. Mind you, I grew up in western Washington state, but far enough from the coast that salty air wasn’t a factor, and the weather was pretty mild year-round. And it only seemed to be the Mustangs. There were plenty of other early-to-mid-1960s cars on the road at the time, and the vast majority of them appeared to have their original paint jobs, in good condition. Heck, when my dad sold his 1955 Chevy in 1970, I don’t recall its paint falling off …

Mustang fans, what can you tell me?

My dad is in the Mustang restoration business in a partner sort of way, and I’ve got a 66. I’m not aware of any particular paint issues that other cars at the time didn’t have.

I think it’s the style that was popular among the groder/hesher/motorhead crowd; the car tuners of the day. They buy the car, intend to turn it into a street racer, and painting is among the things they do to customize it. Many in the motorhead crowd left their cars coated in primer, without paint; it gave them street cred of a sort, telling the world that they’re not just the owner of a car, but that they also work on it too. Fuckin’ a!

I’ve noticed the same thing with some other cars from the late 1960s through the mid-70s. In the early 1980s, the streets of my hometown were filled with either red or primer gray Chevrolet Novas and Camaros, Pontiac Firebirds, and the like.

That makes a strange kind of sense :wink:

So maybe it was more of a regional thing. While I certainly saw '67 - '69 Camaros and Firebirds with fresh paint, I saw many more with original paint, and very few covered with primer. Of course, I realize that could simply mean that Mustangs were more popular in my area and/or less expensive than the GM cars, resulting in more of them on the road to provide a bigger sample size.

Of course, a primered-up Corvette was a rare sight indeed …

See #2. Fuckin’ A.

I’ve had a few Mustangs and the paint on the '65-66 models (and maybe even later) didn’t do much to protect the metal from rust. It’s nearly impossible to find one without any rust damage.

This wasn’t necessarily specific to Fords, it’s just that they made a LOT of Mustangs and they became a collectible, so there’s still a lot of them around.

The floor pans had a tendency to completely dissolve in rust, as did the rocker panels. The cowl vent tended to hold water and then rust out on the bottom allowing water to run into the car from under the dash. Interestingly, I don’t remember ever having trouble with rust on the roof or trunklid, but the top of the drop-in fuel tanks always had a lot of rust and usually required a new tank.