Planning A Daily Driver Build. Need Some Advice...

BallzDeep38

New Member
Mar 26, 2011
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I am looking to plan on getting a 64-68 coupe to make my semi-daily driver. This will have some restomod upgrades to it to help make it safer and more reliable (and some more power if it can be fit in there). My goal is to get a 300-350 FWHP 302/5.0 capable of 30 MPG on the highway (I commute 110 miles/day), T-5 trans, improved braking and steering, and some creatures comforts like a nice stereo. So, Im considering buying a used 5.0 mustang (1990-1995) to pirate the engine/computer/accessories, and trans from. The motor and trans will get a full rebuild. As far as the rest of the car, what else should I pull before I get rid of the remains? Can I use the disc brakes, as a pretty easy upgrade, or should I stick to a kit? Is the rear end worth keeping for this project? The car will be a street car with an occassional trip to the drag strip (maybe once a year, and would never see drag slicks, drag radials would be the stickiest tires I would run). Anyone have any advice here?
 
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rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
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start with chassis and suspension and brake upgrades. you want the chassis to be as stiff as possible, remember that the stiffer the chassis the less spring rate you need to get the handling you want. that means subframe connectors, torque boxes, etc.

as for the brakes, use a kit to put disc brakes on the front, and the larger F150 drums out back. this will give you the best braking for a daily driver for a reasonable cost.

when building your engine, you want to take a systems approach and select parts that compliment each other, IE cams, heads, intake, and exhaust should all be selected for the rpm range you are going to spend 80% of the time in. for the street that means 1000-5000 rpm.

the hard part is going to be getting the desired 30mpg, even with overdrive and EFI it will be tough. be prepared to accept more like 25-27mpg.
 

BallzDeep38

New Member
Mar 26, 2011
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That makes it sound like buying the whole car is a waste then. Maybe Ill just look for a engine/trans/computer and go from there. Sub frame connectors are in the plans as well as new sway bars and bracing up front. Is there a reason you recommend larger drums, as opposed to discs in the rear?

As for the engine combo my plan is achieve my ideal highway rpm between 75-85 mph. So, my differential gear will most likely be changed to get me there. Im thinking something along the lines of a stock cam or maybe a slightly different cam to get me more torque at my cruising rpms, GT40p or AFR 165 heads, Cobra/GT40 intake. Hopefully something like this will get me into the 300-350 fwhp range and not hurt too bad in the mileage department.

What cruising rpm should I be targeting to maximize my mpg? 1600-2000? 2000-2400? 2400-2800?
My goal of 30 mpg is what I am targeting. If I were to fall short and only get 27, I wouldnt be crushed, especially since my 95 acura integra is getting me 28-29.
 

n8rfastback

Member
May 28, 2014
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Keep cruising rpm as low as you can for best mileage. Right around 1600 is fine. You'll need a t5 with really low geared 5th, some of them are like a .6? I think, and if you keep the factory 8" with 2.80 gears you'll be in ok shape for mileage. I was getting exactly 20 mpg with my 302, 2.80 gears, and T5 with a .7 final gear, but its doggy off the line. I only have bolt ons and am easily way under 300 hp. Adding hp will only make the mileage better as long as you keep it efficient and keep the rpms down.
 

rbohm

SN Certified Technician
Apr 12, 2002
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tucson,az
That makes it sound like buying the whole car is a waste then. Maybe Ill just look for a engine/trans/computer and go from there. Sub frame connectors are in the plans as well as new sway bars and bracing up front. Is there a reason you recommend larger drums, as opposed to discs in the rear?
the larger drums because it is easier to hook up the emergency brake cable, but if you want rear discs, go ahead and install them. if you shop around though the drums can be cheaper to buy than the disc brakes.

As for the engine combo my plan is achieve my ideal highway rpm between 75-85 mph. So, my differential gear will most likely be changed to get me there. Im thinking something along the lines of a stock cam or maybe a slightly different cam to get me more torque at my cruising rpms, GT40p or AFR 165 heads, Cobra/GT40 intake. Hopefully something like this will get me into the 300-350 fwhp range and not hurt too bad in the mileage department.
a mild aftermarket cam will get you closer to your goals than a stock cam will, especially with aftermarket heads. you dont want to go to wild though on the cam, again select one that operates best in the 1000-5000 rpm range.

What cruising rpm should I be targeting to maximize my mpg? 1600-2000? 2000-2400? 2400-2800?
My goal of 30 mpg is what I am targeting. If I were to fall short and only get 27, I wouldnt be crushed, especially since my 95 acura integra is getting me 28-29.
1600-2000 rpm is about where you are going to get your best fuel economy with a V8. so to figure out what rear gear you need, start with what tire you are going to use, and what overdrive ratio you have, and then play with the numbers.

the formulas you will use are;

for tire size section width x 2 x (aspect ratio/100) / 25.4 + wheel diameter. example;

(225 x 2 x (60/100) / 25.4) + 15= 25.62

for what gear you need;

(engine rpm x tire size) / (mph x 336)= rear gear ratio.

example;

(2386 x 25.62) / (65 x 336) = 2.80.

to figure out what rear gear you want with the overdrive just take the calculated final drive ratio and divide it by the overdrive ratio.

example;

2.80/.7od=4.00:1 rear gear.