‘Ladies & gentlemen – the Mustang’

Two weeks ago Mustang and Chrysler fans around the world mourned the loss of a huge figure in the automotive industry.

Lido Anthony Iacocca better known as ‘Lee’ Iacocca was born on 15 October 1924 and died 2 July 2019, he was 94.

Vice President of Ford Motor Company and he was the man responsible for bringing us the Ford Mustang in 1964. This famous picture below of Lee giving his introduction speech for the Mustang at the World Trade Fair Sunday 13th April 1964. That speech ended with the those famous five words ‘Ladies & gentlemen – the Mustang’. At that moment history was made with the car going on to sell an unprecedented 22,000 cars that weekend alone with 420,000 in its first year, a record still to this day.

The full speech that Lee gave to the World Trade Fair 1964 can be found here.

Our Lee Iacocca Obituary:

Lee was born and brought up in Allentown, in the Pennsylvania steel belt. His father had landed as an immigrant at Ellis Island in 1902 and at the time of Lee’s birth was the owner of a successful hot dog restaurant, with a streetwise business sense that the young Lee inherited. The family was close and loving, and Lee was a bright student.

A childhood bout of rheumatic fever spared him from call-up in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, and after graduating in engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Iacocca joined Ford in 1946 at its River Rouge plant at Dearborn, Michigan. At that time the founder of the company, the first Henry Ford, was still alive. It was very much a family business; Henry Ford II never tired of reminding Iacocca that it was “my name on the front of the building”.

Iacocca soon realised his future lay in sales and the marketing of automobiles rather than the designing of them. He proved himself a success selling Ford trucks in New York and rose quickly through the hierarchy. He was assistant general sales manager of Ford’s Philadelphia district when his slick “56 for 56” finance promotion ($56 a month over three years) got him noticed by the Dearborn executives. It was estimated by his boss, Robert McNamara, vice-president of the Ford division and future defense secretary in the Kennedy administration – to have helped shift an additional 75,000 Fords in the not-very-popular 1956 range. In 1960 Iacocca was made general manager of Ford division, the biggest division in the world’s second largest company.

Work started in the early sixties for a new car and the Mustang was born out of recognition that the market was changing and that there was a pent-up demand for a smaller, sportier car for a generation of postwar baby boomers who wanted a practical sports car with four seats. Demographics were analysed and suggested that the average age of the population was falling and that a younger, better educated generation of buyers was increasingly in the market for a second car that was almost always smaller and sportier. For once the market was looking for a car, rather than the other way around.

There was no big money to create an all-new car, so the Mustang – developed for a relatively modest $75m – was designed around the basic Ford Falcon compact, reskinned with a handsome long nose/short tail body. It had strong overtones of European sophistication when most American cars were still big, cumbersome and sometimes ugly.

The new car was not christened Mustang until relatively close to its debut at the World’s Fair in 1964, but at a basic price of well under $2,500 it probably wouldn’t have mattered what it was called to be honest. American car buyers, worked into a frenzy by a slick marketing campaign, went mad for the Mustang, seduced by its styling, its youthful flavour and a bewildering range of options that meant it was possible to specify a personal vehicle. Most buyers spent a further $1,000 on extras such as V8 engines, automatic transmission and sportier seats.

At the height of his fame he was one of the most powerful and celebrated of US business leaders. Not only was he responsible for arguably Ford’s most successful car, but the turn around of fortunes for Chrysler too. At the relatively young age of 39 he had his first taste of fame with an unprecedented front covers of Time, Newsweek, and lead feature in Life magazines all at the same publication time, the first and only time this has happened, all down to the Mustang launch. (These magazines are difficult to track down in good condition, and often referred to as the ‘Holy Grail’ of a completed trilogy collection.) Lee has since featured on the these magazine covers numerous times since then for himself, Ford and Chrysler.

Things did not last or go well at Ford. In 1978 Lee managed to get Ford Motor Company $2bn into the black that year, despite presiding over an increasingly out-of-touch range of cars and ever more pressure from Japanese and European imports. Huge headlines were made when Henry Ford II publicly undermining and the dismissal of Lee in the same year, actions which were often seen as cruel and brutal at the time.

Two weeks after his humiliating departure from Ford, Iacocca took on the presidency of the ailing Chrysler Corporation, weakest of the American motor industry “big three”.

By cutting its workforce and rationalising its product range (with smaller, more efficient models such as the Mini Van and front-wheel-drive K-Car concepts that Henry Ford had refused to sanction), Lee was able to turn Chrysler’s fortunes around. By the early 1980’s, he was even able to pay back the huge government-guaranteed loans used to fund the restructuring of the company, seven years ahead of schedule.  His starring role in the TV ads for the “European-sized” K-Car (“If you can find a better car, buy it” was his famous pay-off line) made him one of America’s most recognisable businessmen, and the success of the new models added lustre to Iacocca’s reputation as the ultimate “comeback kid” and the most resilient figure in a brutally tough industry.

Iacocca married Mary McCleary in 1956; she died of complications of diabetes in 1983. Lee is survived by their daughters, Kathryn and Lia. Two further marriages ended in divorce.

Little Known facts:

  • Lee Iacocca’s profile was high enough to feature on the list of celebrities the cult leader Charles Manson planned to kill.
  • In 1982, Ronald Reagan appointed Iacocca to head the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which was created to raise funds for the renovation and preservation of the Statue of Liberty. He continues to serve on the board of the foundation.
  • He was the author and co-author of several best-selling books.
  • In 1999, Iacocca was the head of EV Global Motors Co. a company formed to develop and market electric bikes with a top speed of 15 mph and a range of 20 miles between recharging at wall outlets.
  • He was a strong advocate for better medical treatment of diabetes. In 2000, Iacocca founded Olivio Premium Products, which manufactures the Olivio line of food products made from olive oil. He donated all profits from the company to diabetes research.

Why was the Mustang called a Pony car?

The best answer seems to be that this is an American car classification for affordable, compact, highly styled coupés or convertibles with a sporty or performance-oriented image. Common characteristics include rear-wheel drive, a long hood, a short trunk, a wide range of options to individualize each car and use of mass-produced parts shared with other models.  Other answers seem to revolve around the galloping horse for the badge.

R.I.P. Lee Iacocca.

At Mustang Maniac we send our thoughts and respects to his family, in such sad times.

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Racing at Santa Pod 2019

We have a big post for you today with lots of pics from the Mustang Owners Club Of Great Britain orgnised day trip to Santa Pod which was a couple of days ago. Mustang Maniac was invited to come and play, which of course was challenge accepted. Yogi had his engine in and completed mid week which has just a handful of miles on the engine since the rebuild. So for this time Yogi was not running flat out as normal, he was still running the engine in, revs turned down a bit and gently does it. For Yogi, it was mostly taking passengers down the quarter mile for a little fun. A well turned out meeting and not just for Mustangs ready to tear up the strip either.

Less chat from me and on with the pics. This year the pics were not taken by our usual source on the day, but by Mustang Maniac’s own in house Professional Photographer; Chris Tilley from Drive Photography. Pop over and give him a like:

http://www.facebook.com/drivephotography

There is a great video on YouTube of the day that Chris has created here:

Morning briefing before the fun begins.

The cars ready to race.

Action for the rest of the day, in no particular order;

Is it just me, or this a menacing shot? Yogi comes out to play!

Yogi did have a run on his own and found out his traction issues were compounded by the extra horses he had under the hood, he did declare than he needs better tyres before he plays properly next time. All in all, he was fairly happy with the day’s running.

Everybody was interested in the times between the Mustang 2.3lt EcoBoost vs the V8 bigger brother, it was not the wipe out as expected. Adam bringing home the “Enos 350” Eco boost in just 0.5second behind the V8s. Now that is impressive from an engine around half the size of the V8s.

Yogi with one of his passenger runs.

A fantastic days fun, and we must put out a big thanks to Roy & Jacqui from the MOCGB who were the principle organisers this year. Thank You.

Why do we do these things?

Put us down for more next year! 🙂

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Tops Off For Charity!

Britain has just been basking in the hottest day of the year so far, and we can pretty much guarantee that the yard will get some soft top visitors, we were not disappointed. Friends of ours rocked at the open invite to the local cafe for an early breakfast, then a mini cruise back to the yard.

Lance in the ’70’s interpretation of the convertible, and Spence in the late ’60’s  version of a convertible. With just a few years between each car, they both had a ride out in each others cars to compare. We managed to capture a little ‘Bromance’  going on and the pair of course played up for the camera. We understand from a reliable source that there is a rainbow coloured version of the photos out there on social media too.

Obviously discussions were had which was the best year for the convertible. All taken in the best of spirits, they never did get to the bottom of who’s car was best. Well, they did depending who you ask of course. As far as Mustang Maniac is concerned – both cars looked great. It was a dead heat for results in the heat of a glorious sunny day.

A little Charity:

Last Sunday a good friend of ours Gary W. sent us some pictures and some words to sum up what was going on for the day;

“It was the Little Waltham Open Garden and Classic Car Show in aid of Farleigh Hospice.

I went last year and it was a great show.   I got an email a few weeks ago from the organiser who remembered my car and asked if I’d bring it along this year.

Part of her request was for me to drive ‘Elvis’ around the village so they could collect donations as we went along.

Clearly I agreed as I like using my old car to raise money for certain domestic based charities.  I also let people sit in it and be photographed with ‘Elvis’ for a donation to the charity.

It was a great day and my car spent a lot of time on idle slowly chugging around the village – it performed faultlessly thanks to the great work and care provided by Mustang Maniac.

A great day was had by all.”

Not a pink ’55 Cadillac Fleetwood, but we think Elvis looked just great in a rare Mustang! Thanks to Gary for taking the time out to send us the Pics and words.

Yogi’s Engine Update:

Next Friday the 5th, is the Mustang Owners Club of Great Britain annual trip to the Santa Pod drag strip. Yogi’s engine has been built and is now in the process of being tuned on the dyno.

Yogi has the figures for how many hundreds of horse power he has at the mercy of his right foot. But he is keeping that a secret for now. The engine turned up at the yard this weekend and now Yogi will be getting his car ready for some drag action.

Take care in the sun, and have a beer for us!

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Getting Tied up

We had a visitor this week in a very nice ’73 convertible. This was a looking a little worse for where when we first saw it, but it has now been fully detailed, the colour is back and she looks great.

This shape was not the most popular of styles at the time, but as time has rolled on this model 351 4v Cleveland soft top is a quiet effortless cruiser. These cars now hold their own at car shows and the prices are starting to reflect that as well.

WebShop: 

Mustang Maniac not only sells parts to the domestic market, but we also keep a certain few little things back for our ‘racing’ customers that are not on the WebShop. one of those components is the ‘Tie Rod Adjusting Sleeves.’ now the normal option is the tube that had been cut away with clamps at each end. These are absolutely fine for everyday use. But can cause some issue on the race track.

To counter that problem we stock these steel versions that have been zinc and colour passivated. They are a solid tube with the correct left and right hand threads with the corresponding lock nuts. They are solid in the middle for extra strength where the spanner can go to adjust the tracking.

We have been told by Adam that these will be going in the WebShop soon after we spotted the delivery!

The third option is the new in Scott Drake billet part for their Tie Rod Adjusting Sleeve. This is more expensive and laser etched. The link for it on the WebShop is here.

This is very lightweight and offers that optional bling for the show car or track.

Here are the comparisons.

We have also been asked what our ‘ENOS’ range is. Well it stands for:

“Economy New Old Stock” 

This can be anything that we have left over from a large order, discontinued lines, or budget versions of the more expensive products. Such as emblems, wing mirrors, radiators etc. Ideal for those that are restoring a Mustang with the intention to sell on when completed or those on a tight budget to complete the project.

News:

The new 2020 Mustang has been revealed and it’s going to be a monster!

After making its debut in Detroit in January, Ford decided to keep just about every major detail of its Mustang Shelby GT500 a secret. Now, over half a year later, Ford has finally seen fit to tell us how much horsepower it makes.

Ford on Wednesday finally announced the GT500’s output. Its 5.2-liter supercharged V8 puts out an impressive 760 horsepower and 625 pound-feet of torque. Not only is it the most powerful street-legal Ford ever built, the automaker says this engine is also the most power- and torque-dense supercharged production V8.

Of course, that much power means the V8 will be generating a heck of a lot of heat, but Ford already planned for that. Earlier this year, we learned that Ford leaned on the help of supercomputers to map airflow around the vehicle and find the optimal amount of cooling for each component. If you made the radiator or intercooler too big, it might starve the transmission cooler or the airflow over the engine itself, so Ford crunched a bunch of numbers to make the airflow as efficient at removing heat as possible.

When the GT500 debuted, Ford told us It would be capable of a 0-to-60-mph run in the mid-3-second range, with quarter-mile times under 11 seconds, and that definitely seems doable in the GT500 now that we know the engine specs. Mated to a mandatory dual-clutch transmission (sorry, stick fans), this car is about one thing and one thing only: dominating the track.

The first examples of the GT500 won’t make their way to their lucky owners until the fall, and we’re unsure of the cost still. In late January, Ford auctioned off GT500 VIN 001, and it crossed the block with a high bid of $1.1 million, all of which went to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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Volts That Jolt…

We start this week with a cautionary note to continue on with the electrical theme from the previous post. This time it wasn’t a modification, more a case of some damage limitation. There’s an old saying that says ‘It’s volt that jolt, mills that kill!’ We will explain more a little further down. This nice rare coloured coupe came in and was reported that it had some ‘electrical issues’ should we say. We investigated and found that the battery had shorted out and was getting very warm, not only that, a wire had burnt through. All of which could lead to a electrical failure as in this case, possibly leading to a fire or worse case; lethal exposure.

The heavy gauge wires were just wrapped in coloured insulating tape, which in this case didn’t insulate enough, handling these wires could kill you or us. Use the correct wires for the job intended, if you are uncertain about what you are doing, please leave it to the professionals. That’s all we can say, we see it often and sometimes we are amazed these cars still keep working.

(On a personal note; A very close friend of mine had a brother who had an accident while he was working under the hood of a car, he touched a wire while trying to start the car. The resulting shock caused his body to spasm violently. That spasm caused him to smash his head onto the hood and cracked his open skull. He died from the head wound, burns and organ while in a comma a couple of days later. He had just turned into his forties.)

Back to the little saying about volts and amps;  it would seem that a shock of 10,000 volts would be more deadly than 100 volts. But this isn’t so! Individuals have been electrocuted by appliances using ordinary house currents of 110 / 240 volts and by electrical apparatus in industry using as little as 42 volts direct current. The real measure of a shock’s intensity lies in the amount of current (amperes) forced though the body, and not the voltage. Any electrical device used on a house wiring circuit can, under certain conditions, transmit a fatal current.

While any amount of current over 10 milliamps (0.01 amp) is capable of producing painful to severe shock, currents between 100 and 200 mA (0.1 to 0.2 amp) are lethal. Currents above 200 milliamps (0.2 amp), while producing severe burns and unconsciousness, do not usually cause death if the victim is given immediate attention. Resuscitation, consisting of artificial respiration will usually revive the victim.  After a person is knocked out by an electrical shock it is impossible to tell how much current has passed through the vital organs of his body.

The point of all this is simple, if you don’t know what you are doing, please leave it to the professionals as we said above. The modern day car batteries for these early Mustangs easily produce 600amps to well over 800amps on cranking. We found this little chart to put this into perspective.

Customers Cars:

Austin Collins had brought his ’67 convertible into us for a few little bits to be done.

First up was a general tune up; timings and that elusive dark art of carburetor settings.

Next up was a little internal TLC, the rear trims needed replacements each side.

Still on the interior, Austin had seen on our little ol’ blog where we previously made some upgrades to bring these old Mustangs into the modern era. Hardly anybody uses the lighter socket these days and it’s a bit of a waste of space, unless you smoke in the car of course. With so much of the modern day connectivity using USB, such as after market SatNav, phones, music players etc. we stock these upgrades as standard now. We replace the lighter socket with a new modern and dual functional fitting. Hidden out of sight it still looks stock and doesn’t ruin the old school look. As a side note the voltage readings can also give you an idea of any potential electrical issues.

The Yogi Mach1

Yogi recently posted this on social media of his new updated engine with the 950cfm carb.

We we have a few more of the engine being built.

We are so looking forward to giving this a good thrashing down our little test route we use, only to 30mph and 70mph of course. 😉

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An Unusual Light Modification

Back to normal with the blog posts now as the Enfield Pageant has finished and we can put our cars away again, until the next show that is. We may do some more locals shows but we are not sure which ones yet. We could even be making a trip to the Santa Pod Drag Strip too, providing Yogi gets his engine back in time. Then his 50 year old car will show the modern boys just how its done, ripping up the track as he goes down it!

Customers Cars

We have had an imported coupe come into us for a little suspension work, well a lot actually. Coming in from a dry USA state, the pros are that there is no real rust to the metal, one of the cons are that the rubbers tend to perish. The suspension was pretty shot and didn’t drive very well at all, so it was decided a fresh setup to replace the old.

While the suspension was out we renewed the fuel lines as well as they had a few dents in them along with a large piece of perished rubber up to the carb. So Yogi does his thing again.

The new suspension perches gone in with new shocks, the springs were more than acceptable for now.

The the car was then set up using our own Geo settings to make these imports work properly in the UK, road tested and rechecked. We have been asked for these Geometry setup guides many times now, the response is always the same from us; No, we wont give out the settings as we had to work them out for ourselves, that’s for each year and model. So please don’t ask us again, (you know who you are).

The car was requested to also have a UK light modification for the side lights and headlights to be in one unit like the modern cars. We thought about it and done the mod while switching over the headlights to the left side of the road UK compliant lenses.

The standard lights were to have side running lights within them and not change the front indicators as per our bespoke LED setup to be white with amber flashing. this was different to what we normally do, but relished the challenge and they came out very well.

Caption This Photo:

OK, it’s official that some of our readers have a gutter sense of humour (as do we), but we can’t possibly post those responses on a family blog. Paul was amused and took it all in his stride as did we, some of those responses amused us no end.

The best response (that we could post); “Yogi wasn’t in here when I last looked” from Brian Rand. Followed by “I really love my tent!” Andrew Grant. By the last comment I think you can guess where the majority of comments were going. 😀

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Enfield Pageant Of Motoring 2019

The annual trip to our local big car show; the Enfield Pageant of Motoring didn’t disappoint again this year. Each of the three days we had different cars for people to look at. There was a steady stream of visitors on the Saturday as the sun was out (a very pleasant change), and the Sunday started off well, but then the unforecasted (is that even a word?) rain started to fall, lightly at first then getting heavier through the evening just as Yogi & Paul were getting their tents set up.

We wanted to have a little fun this week. Paul is seen here doing what ever it was he needed to do on the Monday after a couple of nights out camping after a few beers.

Please caption this photo in the comments, it’s just for fun:

The best, wittiest comment will be posted up with your name, just how bad could the comments get? We hope to see a good selection of silly and daft sense of humour that we know our customers and followers have. We will let you know what Paul’s response is as well after he has picked his favorite, providing that we can post such a response. 😀

Saturday’s panoramic view of the field and our stand before we got busy.

Yogi in good mood as we let him out of his cave, he brought along his F150 truck! Rumour has it that the back of the truck had copious amounts of beer for the weekends camping!

The John Wick car got lots of attention, especially as the new film has just hit the cinemas.

On the Sunday we had a different batch of cars.

The white ‘Prototype’ Shelby got a bit of TLC under the hood with a little engine bay detailing. We even had a visitor that told us this wasn’t a proper Shelby! We didn’t argue as he knows best obviously. Not that we are good friends with Shelby American or anything, but what we do we know?

This little lady always turns a few heads too.

The rest of the stand as the cars rolled in.

The other cars that took our fancy at the show, in no particular order.

The car that started the Group B insane rallying, the mighty Audi Quattro and it’s big rival the Ford Sierra Cosworth side by side.

Some beautiful old ladies here.

The rest of the field was for the family and stalls selling all sorts of stuff. Anything from car shells to a parrot!

We think Adam’s wife took him ‘shopping’ around the car show stalls! We don’t need to caption this one, as people who know Adam will know exactly what he is thinking. We definitely can’t put that on a family blog! But, if you wanted to add a comment for Adam’s pic – feel free. You know you want to 😀

All that remains for us is to say a very big thank you to all the customers who loaned us their cars, to our customers who came to say hello, visitors who showed an interest and to our new customers. A couple of them liked our work so much and our attitude for all things Mustang, they are now on the Mustang Maniac waiting list for for a proper restoration job that you would be proud to take to a car show!

Thank You‘ for making this another successful Enfield Pageant.

Cheers

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