Weighing Up The Costs

Mustang Maniac are trying to maintain an uninterrupted service to our customers via our online WebShop. Over the last week or so we have been getting emails from our various freight handlers which basically state that a surcharge for weight has now been introduced. Some are charging more than others, we can’t help but think that some people are just cashing in on the Coronavirus band wagon. We know some shops are charging stupid money to make a quick buck of other people’s hardships.

These charges are basically (on average) amounting to an eye watering $1.05 per 1kg of weight, regardless the size of the order. Taking into account the Pound to Dollar exchange rate this becomes a double whammy for us. That’s all before Mustang Maniac has to pay our normal import duty and taxes on top of those additional charges. To give you an example; a pallet of stock was ordered before the government introduced CV lock down. We have calculated that the surcharges alone will now run well into four figures just for that single order. Then we have to add our overheads on top of that, which we will absorb this time. As a business model we simply can’t sustain for two or three times a month. We would then be in a situation where we are selling the parts at a loss. So we have no choice but to pass these additional charges on to our customers which leaves us with a dilemma; Do we stop ordering and wait for the pandemic to finish keeping costs down, or do we order and pass the short term charges on and keep going? We know many people are working on their cars during this stressful time as they can’t go out, and not having any stock to support our customers really goes against what we stand for. We will continue to order stock in the mean time, as long as it still sells.

However, this strategy can only continue as we are, and always have been totally reliant on the couriers, shipping and freight companies we deal with to a) get the pallets of stock to us b) enabling us to keep getting the orders out to our customers. The alternative which has always been an option is that the current stock is available to be collected directly from us. Let us know when ordering that you will be picking up from us. We in turn will leave your order in a safe place where it can be easily picked up.

To protect us and our customers;

On a temporary basis we will no longer able to offer our legendary tea, coffee, biscuits and our conversation hospitality within our offices, which are closed to the general public for now. Our regulars have been amazingly supportive and understanding of this measure and totally get it.

Keep safe and stay at home. Sooner we all do it, the quicker we can all get back to normal and get on with what we enjoy – restoring and looking after Mustangs.

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Getting On The Right Side

Another busy week with a couple of drop in services left with us. We managed to hand back three larger project cars to their owners who were more than happy with the hand overs. We were tempted to ask for payment in toilet rolls due to the the stupidity of people stockpiling them here in the UK. When we last checked the Coronavirus didn’t effect the functionality of the bowels, it attacked the lungs! More people die of flu and complications each year than the pandemic Corona outbreak. Never the less, we are now binge watching The Walking Dead for tips on how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse – Not! Anyway back to being sensible, we have had a rare car in this week..

Customer Cars

Before we get into the car itself we need to give you a little history of the car. There is not a huge amount of info on Ruddspeed, but we have found some information:

In November 1945 Ken Rudd started a business from a disused stable in Worthing, from these humble beginnings of working on general engineering for local farmers he graduated to more specialised work on sports cars, he called the company K.N. Rudd (Engineering) Ltd. With a steady flow of work he soon ran out of space, so had to move to new premises in Worthing’s Victoria Road.

In 1953 he had become sufficiently well know as a competition driver to be invited by Donald Healey to understudy for him at Le Mans. At the motor show that year he bought himself an Ace which he raced until 1958, the AC marque was to be the backbone his business.

He formed Ruddspeed Ltd, to undertake tuning conversions for Austin Healeys, Volvos, Alfas and later converting Ford Mustangs to Right Hand Drive cars. He also occasionally worked on one-off projects for customers.

“Sadly Ken passed away in 2010, but his aim was always to take a good car and make them even better, we here at Ruddspeed wish to continue with that tradition.”

A couple of nice adverts featuring the Rudd Mustangs.

You probably guessed now that we had one of these rare Ruddspeed right hand drive conversions with us. The car has been over here in the UK since it was new, and obviously has suffered due to our weather. The car had door skins a good few years ago and were now showing signs of the dreaded rust worm again on the doors. Knowing full well that the same would happen again it was decided to put new doors on. The customer wanted to buy a couple of doors from us and fit them himself. Such a task is not simple and they need to be ‘fitted’ not just bolted on. Sometimes that ‘fitting’ means cutting the doors or patching bit on to make the gaps correct. On top of that there needs to be two paint jobs, inside the doors as the outsides.

Mustang Maniac to the rescue, with new doors and proper matched paint job to the rest of the car.

This car has a little history as Adam had a chance to buy it a number of years ago, but decided to pass on it. However he was glad to see her back and now ready for the road again.

Cervini Convertible

A much more modern little lady now which has had a Cervini body kit fitted to her. A nice kit on a convertible which prompts you to get out of the way. The Cervini was parked up next to Adams ‘latest’ Hertz GT-H which is now been added to the growing Hertz/Shelby collection!

It’s still business as usual for now at Mustang Maniac in this cray world of Coronavirus, if you feel the need to donate a few toilet rolls, just let us know. 😀

Oh the irony!

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Sharing The Love

A quick update this week as we have been doing some work on a little project behind the scenes which we can’t share, just for now that is. However, Yogi has finished the required update builds for the ’67 Coupe we have been working on.

Customer Cars:

The ’67 Coupe car has been wheeled out and is now ready for the final fettling.

A pretty looking little lady that will handle like a new car now, disc conversion to stop her, Borgeson steering to handle the corners with driver feedback and an upgraded sway bar. Wing mirrors on, bumpers and lights.

The upgrades are not cheap options, but what you do get is a huge difference that certainly makes it worth while to upgrade.

The best thing about this little lady? It’s owned by a lady. It’s so good to see the fairer sex enjoying these classic cars too. It’s one make of car that makes us all feel equal and proud to drive a First Gen Mustang. We have a number of female owners of Mustangs on our books now, and we hope that number continues to grow as well.

Shares:

A very close friend of ours has presented us with a little something special for us. We have been given a couple of Ford Shares Certificates.

These Original Share Certificates are becoming more difficult to find due to the now normal online trading. Such a shame that you can’t see these wonderful items any more.

Now we really do have shares in Ford Motor Company.

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All Change

This week we have had the start of the car show season vehicles in. The general once over and service that is unique to Mustang Maniac. In fact it has been mentioned that we look after each Mustang that comes into us as if it’s our very own first born!

Customer Cars

The ’67 Coupe is having the rest of the front end suspension swap out which requires a lot of new parts. Some of those parts were in our heavy parts storage unit. To save carrying them about we have our very own cross yard transportation method. As we are environmentally friendly where we can be, we found this shopping cart in the middle of nowhere, by the side of the road. We picked it up, repaired it and cleaned it up. What it was doing there we couldn’t begin to guess why to be honest. We could return it, but we don’t know who owned it. We would obviously have to charge for our time, recovery, storage and effort to fix the cart if it was to be claimed after all these years that we have had it! The parts were then transported into Yogi’s cave ready for the work to be done.

The old parts were taken off and carefully inspected to see if they could be reused. More on that a little later.

The springs and shocks were replaced, new upper and lower control arms along with new perches which were fitted the correct way round.

The steering was our ever popular Borgeson swap out and is a very much worth while upgrade for these old ladies. The old power steering and brakes before the swap outs.

The mater brake cylinder was removed which allows easier access to fit the new steering box.

The steering centre link, idler arms, Pitman arm, the tie rod ends were all swapped out for new parts.

The sway bar was replaced with our 1″ upgrade while we were at it for body roll control.

The brakes were going to be upgraded to our own slotted and vented disc set up. We mentioned earlier that Yogi checked over the spindles, they surprisingly had little wear so he refurbished them to look as good as new.

The bearings were greased and prepped ready for installation.

The new brakes now fitted and in place.

Back up to the top end of the engine bay, the new master cylinder and servo were fitted along with the new power steering pump.

Of course the new master cylinder was bench bled before fitting and then the time consuming task of the full system bleed. Next task would be into the Geo room where we set up the steering and suspension before the road test. After the road test we would recheck the Geo to settle down and then re-bleed the brakes just to be sure.

When the owner gets to drive this car they will think that it’s not even their car, such are the differences.

Before anybody emails us to ask for the geometry set ups – we won’t tell you. We have trialled and errored the setups for the optimum stability and control over the years and we have done the hard work to find that Mustang sweet spot.

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Seal Of Approval

Our normal workload you can pretty much guarantee we will end up fixing somebody else’s problems. This week we have a little selection of the basics being fitting incorrectly or not even fitted at all.

Customer Cars

We were asked to do a few jobs on on this Fastback, one of which is to fit the trunk rubber in the correct place. In other words on the deck lid and not on the channels of the rear quarters. This would trap water and cause rust issues as well. Not only that it’s a quick way of doing it. AS to do it properly the truck lid has to be removed and stuck on correctly, then the alignment has to be done. The other thing is that it looks a little messy as well if it’s not stuck on with perfectly straight lines.

The next job was to sort out the window regulators, which usually involves the rollers and replacing the grease or the mechanism depending how badly they are worn.

First thing is the membranes was missing which causes all sorts of damp issues. We removed the entire mechanism in order to see what the problem was. The usual springs had lost tension, pretty worn and the mechanism had a lot of play. So we couldn’t save these ones and new ones were fitted. We also checked the door mechanisms while we were at it too.

The fitting of the water shield is often left of as it can me a little messy with the gasket seal for it. All back together again on this side then we check the other side as well. As there is significantly less where on the passenger side we suspect this wont be as bad. We won’t know until we dig it all out again.

Starting Issues

Another car that had some pretty random starting issues was left with us for a few ours. Starting from the starter motor is a good place as any to find the problems, we didn’t need to look much further. The wrong starter motor was fitted, and in order to make it fit some spacer was used.

Surely the time and effort it takes to fabricate something like this would have cost more in time and effort than to just fit the correct part. Needless to say the correct starter was fitted and the customer drove away happy a few hours later.

Suspension Issues

A ’67 coupe with us has needed a bit of an overhaul all round. This suspension would need to be stripped down and fitted back together again properly. The big problem was that the spring perches were on the wrong way round.

We haven’t finished the tear down yet but from the looks of it the bushes in the perches are shoot so a new pair is on the cards at least. We will need to get the springs out to see if there is any damage as well.

The brakes are needing a once over as well. With such fundamental errors on the suspension there is no way we will leave the brakes unchecked.

Once we have that little lot sorted out we will need to check the steering as well then of to the Geo workshop for alignment.

Keeping It Stock

Some customers want to keep as much of their car original as they can. One of those requests came with a leaking power steering pump can. More often than not it’s far easier to swap out. Yogi likes a little challenge and started to do a little fine brazing on the original can. The leak was small but enough to make a mess under pressure.

The working innards were removed from the can to see if it could be saved. Which of course Yogi managed to do. Obviously time consuming but the original was saved.

A rub down to remove the old paint, undercoat and top coats it will look as good as new again. A nicely restored power steering pump can.

As you can see, the basics are essential, if they are not correct, then we get very suspicious of the rest of the car. Cutting corners, lack of knowledge, laziness we don’t know the history of course. But what we do know is that if the car comes to us, it will here how it should be, often better than the factory builds!

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Under The Weather

This week has seen a second storm to hit the UK and the country starts to grind to a halt, again. To make things worse both Adam and Yogi have had a virus – no, not the Corona Virus before anybody says anything. It’s much worse – Man Flu. This is a deadly form of a cold that only men get and can only be understood by men. It’s a much more potent form than anything a woman can get it should be noted. This type of virus can only be cured by favourite meals, copious cups of tea during the day, watching car racing on the TV with their feet up when they get home, beer for medicinal purposes, as well as being waited on for their every whim by their respective wives. To ensure a speedy recovery, it has been noted that buying them loads of car parts will speed up the recovery process. Seriously though both of them have had a rough time, but still manage to ‘power through’ the week. As latest storm causes chaos to the country, Mustang Maniac carries on business as usual.

Get well soon guys!

Customer Cars

We have had ‘The Onion’ in this week for a bit of special attention. The polished exhaust was to be test fitted, ready for the final fitting later on.

This is another bespoke, one off and hand crafted pipe fitting. Made extra tricky due to the fact this is a convertible model. Yogi cut, bent, welded, a little swaging and fitted the whole thing together. It always take a little longer to get the parts to fit perfectly on a hand made system, and make it look good enough to be in keeping with the overall presentation of the car.

The all important finish for the exhausts was the tips. these can be twin ports, wheel barrow handles, sides or what ever you want. This little lady was having just the turn downs showing. Nothing to shout here I am, as you will hear it anyway.

While the car was up on the ramps the back up lamps were to have our bespoke LED kit fitted. hidden behind stock parts these make a serious upgrade to see where you are going.

The only down side is that the exhaust will have to come back off again soon when the EFI sensors need to be fitted. As we have just banded it together for now this won’t take long and refit will only take a quarter of the time. We suspect just enough time for the owner to get very OCD about it an polish the fabricated parts. 😀

We will bring you more when the EFI gets fully fitted and the tuning takes place for the carb, engine and the management system.

Project Resto Mod

Yogi has been fitting the front bumper to the car, de-chromed, de-bolted it and attached to the front end. There has been many applications of filler to smooth out the imperfections in prep for the paint stage.

To make the ‘Eleanor’ style mouldings fit with no overhang or gaps, the moulds were rubbed down, filled, rubbed down again ready for the fine filler.

The guys are quite pleased with the results so far, and have already talked about a couple more ‘bits & pieces’ they want to do, which hasn’t been seen on Mustang yet. The bear loves a good Resto-Mod.

WebShop

We would like to say thanks for the interest shown in the ‘Barra’ engines a few weeks ago. Yes we have three now in stock with more on the way! We have had an email trying to buy one from us as well, sorry, they are not for sale, well not just yet anyway.

There has been a little rush of cashing in of our ever popular gift vouchers this month. We were more than happy to see some new faces in the shop to pick up their parts. We even showed a few around our yard and workshop while we were at it. The vouchers bought for Christmas last year are still valid until the end of the year, so there is no rush to cash them in, unless you want to of course. 🙂

There was such a run on the vouchers in November we had to get more printed quickly and was turned around in a day by our friends at Linards.

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That Slippery Slope

This week we unpacked a new pallet of stock which arrived with some new items that we hadn’t previously had on the shelf. One of the reasons being that Scott Drake didn’t make them or no longer making them. Our new suppliers ACP have come up trumps for us to replenish and expand the range of stock, not just for the First Generation Mustangs but also the Second Generation too. Adam was very pleased with the products’s quality and the packaging. Some even came in double box packaging, which should stop the moaning about the damaged packaging. Just saying!

Customer Cars

A car we have with us has had the front valance swapped over as it had some previous damage, through no fault of the owner.

A wheel alignment was need before we took her on a road test before we were happy.

Another vehicle needed to have the current shift selector removed and replaced with a stock one. Yep, you read that right a new stock gear shift. The current aftermarket part worked fine, but wasn’t to the owners liking.

Time to get serious now; during the removal of the shift we followed the electrics back to make sure all was OK. Then we found this;

The Neutral Safety switch has been bypassed. Often seen as a temporary measure when the switch to the gearbox becomes misaligned or (rarely) fails. The example above is not a temporary measure, its soldered. Not only that – it was exposed wires too. We can’t begin to explain how dangerous this is. You could start the car in any gear in effect. So if the car fires up, the car lurches and moves, potentially causing damage or injury to somebody standing near by. That’s without the mention of a fire risk. DON’T DO IT!

’66 Coupe Engine Swap Out

A slippery slope this one, once you start this game, it gets expensive with that quest for power. There are so many things that can be done to these early Mustangs. Carburettors, fuel pumps, filters, manifolds, ignition, exhausts etc. They, all give better performance of course, however, you get used to the power and soon you forget what you had, your current performance doesn’t scare you anymore, then you want more. That thirst for power gets you along with the thirst of the engine for fuel. Eventually there is nothing else you can do except take the beating heart out of the car and replace it with something on steroids. That’s what has happened here. Out goes the trusty ol’ 289Ci for something else.

In comes the next stage, one of our of the shelf ‘stock’ 347 Stroker engines.

This particular spec engine has an Edelbrock 289 intake manifold bolted to a rather nice and thirsty 750 Holley carb. We have KB hyper pistons, high lift cam from Summit Racing, Edelbrock Performer RPM Heads, along with the usual electronic ignition taken from the old engine. The engine was fitted, wired and plumbed in, Yogi and Paul making light work of the task.

With everything in place we took a couple of videos. The first one here was the very first turn key of the new engine. Watching the video you will notice the timing is way out on first attempt with some blow back. Yogi then moves the distributor to where he thinks it should be with his left hand, without any equipment to tell him where. The engine then fires and runs. That is experience and skill. Towards the end of the video Yogi moves the timing a little more and starts to settle the carb into a state where it runs under it’s own initial settings. Next up Paul takes the car for a blast, sorry, road test. Yogi’s ear for tuning didn’t need any further adjustments apart from a little idle correction to pedal position.

After the road test and final mixture adjustments the car sounds like this on idle.

To many petrol heads out there, that’s the sound of heaven.

Other News

Adam has been bringing up his new grand daughters the right way. He has got hold of some cute tee-shirts for them. He even took a couple of photo’s to show you. The first photo’s of Maeve and Macy.

We happen to think that Adam’s taste in baby clothing is pretty awesome and should start his own Mustang Maniac clothing Range. Would there be a market for it? Let us know. 😉

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