Last Of The First Generation

Mustang Maniac has its own huge selection of Mustangs around the yard and their various storage locations, until now there hasn’t been a ’73 in the fleet. Everybody knows the ’71 Mach1 which was used in the bond film “Diamonds are Forever” which was a big change in design, but there is the often forgotten ’73 which was the last of the “First Generation” Mustangs. Adam has managed to pick up pretty amazing example of one of these cars, again in red to match his ’71 Mach1.  This car not only looks fantastic but also drives beautifully. Adam had the keys for only a few minutes and then threw the keys at me for a test drive. Hell Yeah!

Adam said “it’s a ’73 – not everyone’s cup of tea”.

I wasn’t expecting to much from the car as I am quite biased to the ’64 – ’69 cars. Opening the door and I was greeted by an original plush interior which had moved away from the all vinyl seats.

A turn of the key and the 351 fired up and there was a burble and that was it, shutting the door and the noise was almost gone, thinking to myself that this makes a nice change. Disengage the park brake and select drive, release the foot brake and we crept forward. No rattles or vibrations, no moans or groans. A little gas and we were at the gates to turn right, the power steering more positive than the earlier models. Pulling out onto the main road a little more gas as I was propelled forward without any fuss or excessive noise, you just knew there was a big engine in there. Now I am not going to say which route I took for the test drive, but an accelerating BMW was a little further back than he was expecting to be before I even got into top gear should we say. The car just cruised effortlessly at 70mph and there was no noise from the convertible roof, no wind drafts and all was how it was meant to be in the ’73. Reluctantly I turned to make my return back to the yard and I wondered what she would be like on kick-down. So with a nice clear road, very slightly damp peace of tarmac and nobody about – I stamped on it. The quiet had now dissipated and the cabin was filled with an angry 351 wanting to get up and go, the tyres lit up from 20mph, traction gone and the car snakes up the tarmac leaving a nice set of 11’s behind, this car shifts. The smile on my face returned to sensible concentration again as I lifted of the gas after a couple of seconds. I had grown to love this car by the time I back to the yard about ten minutes later. Going around corners it was no hassle and just drove like a good Ford Granada used too. I think I want this car, OK – I have thought about it and I do want this car. The paperwork Adam has with the car is the Marti Report, the original purchase slip and documents from the original owner, the options sheet and huge wad of receipts for services and the import sheets.

It may well not be every-bodies cup of tea, but this is a great car and I would love this car as a daily driver. Opinion changed – I also like the last of the first generations too. This has to be one of the best examples we have seen of this model within our yard!

Shelby GT500 DeAgostini 1:8th Model Update

We are only a couple of issues away from the completion now. We have updated the build page, click here for the link or cut and past the link below to visit the page.

https://mustangmaniac.org/shelby-gt500-18th-scale-model/

The icon rear light clusters have been fitted now along with the rear LED boards. The windscreen is now in place and the trunk in place.

 

The Great Debate again.

We have had a number of conversations in the office with the customers about the no need for MOT’s for cars over forty years old. The poll is still a huge 87% against the ruling now. One conversation was around the “Hot Rod” scene. Many of the cars are heavily modified of course and could lose their date related plates. Would they need to have a specialist to inspect them before allowing them on the road? We still can’t believe this government wants to play around with a system that works and virtually nobody wants to change. Absolutely ridiculous. Please leave any thoughts or comments for us about this or anything else you want to mention.

SEMA 2017

Adam is getting ready to make his yearly trim to Las Vegas for the SEMA show and looking forward to it. We are hoping to bring you some photo’s again from the event, but probably not on the scale as last years coverage.

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 4 (Part 2 of 2)

Friday 4th November 2016. The last post for our SEMA 2016 tour and we have a few (OK. quite a few) pics of the SEMA Cruise. The vehicles all drive out from the halls to their collection trucks or just drive them to where they are kept. These fantastic looking cars on the stand with all that polished chrome drive past you so you can hear them as well. The marshals are pretty keen to stop any burn outs or erratic driving should we say. But, there is nothing to stop them revving the engines and pulling away quickly should we say! Chris and Mart stayed for a couple of hours to watch the cruise, it can go on for four or five hours. We tried to grab a varied selection of cars and trucks, so it’s enough of our words and on with the cruise:

Chris and Mart walked back to the house where they meet up with the rest of the guys before setting out for the evening. On the way they called into a shopping mall and was met with a busy Voting station.

After we had all meet up again back at the house it was time to grab our last taste of nightlife in Las Vegas. Adam had arranged to meet some family for a get together over a beer. Then it was off for a proper steak, or should we say a side of a cow!

Our final pic here is Yogi looking over the Bellagio water fountains. We asked him what he was thinking, “I was just thinking what an amazing trip it has been” he replied.

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We can’t improve on his thoughts and agree with him one hundred percent. It was indeed an amazing trip in more ways than one. All six of us never had a cross word spoken, we laughed all the time, the ripping into each other style of banter was just how it should be, we enjoyed the SEMA show obviously along with the other attractions we visited. This trip for many reasons will stay with us for such awesome memories.

Thanks to Adam for making it all happen, from the rest of the Mustang Maniac crew.

Thank you for following our journey to Las Vegas.

Same again next year? Oh, yeah! 

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 4 (Part 1 of 2)

Friday 4th November 2016. This was our last day at SEMA Show and we just didn’t know where the time had gone. We called it our double marathon. Why? By the time the four days at SEMA and our 6 days in total at Las Vegas, we had walked just a little of fifty-three Miles according to the step counts on our phones. Some were a little more and some were a little less but the average seemed to be fifty-three miles. Just wandering around you wouldn’t have thought it possible. That just gives you an idea of how big the scale of the show is. Of course we walked up and down the Las Vegas strips a few times and walked to and from parking, it’s still a huge amount of miles. Back to the show where we walked around the last hall and back outside to make sure we hadn’t missed any bits.de.

 

With the vast majority of the inside done we moved outside to the area we hadn’t yet seen and got our first glimpse of the stands for the SEMA Cruise later in the evening.

We even caught up with a well known face from the Fast & Furious films, Sung Kang. He was doin a little promo work for a stand.

Our Last post for SEMA 2016 will be the SEMA Cruise, what did we think of it?  Here’s a clue from Mart & Chris.

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Keep an eye out for the Cruise post which will have quite a few picture on there, not to many words we hope. 🙂

Shelby American Full Factory Tour

Friday 4th November 2016. It’s SEMA 2016 last day for us at the show, but before we picked up where we left off at SEMA, there was a trip back to the Shelby Heritage Center to be had where a full, unprecedented all access tour was coming our way. As this is a large post with lots of pictures, it’s well worth scrolling through to the end as these rare behind the scenes pics have not been in the public eye – until now!!!!

We arrived early before the doors opened at nine sharp. As a group we were hanging around by the side roller door of the factory waiting for our guide, we could already see some rather nice cars parked inside. Adam had arranged to meet with Shelby American Inc’s Director of Production and R&D, he is also their Chief Test Driver; Vince LaViolette. Vince was going to be our very own personal guide.

A few more other guests joined had by now joined our little group, thinking this was a way in. However, once the introductions had been completed with Vince we were shown in, some random other people followed us. Vince asked if they were with us and we of course said no. With that Vince advised them that we were on a private tour and that they should wait outside. The first thing to see was lines of  post ramps, all with cars in various states of their build along with the sheer scale of the factory.

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Behind us stood a very rare original GT40 owned by Bob Bondurant this was his personal car, and what a car it is too. In 1965 Bob won the FIA Manufacturers’ World Championship for Shelby American and Ford, winning seven out of ten races against the class dominating Ferrari 250 GTOs in Europe. Bob is also known for being a driving instructor to actors James Garner, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Robert Wagner and Tim Allen, Tom Cruise and Nicolas Cage to name a few.

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We were taken down the ramps and shown each of the cars in detail, and what they (Shelby) do to them to make them a “Shelby”. If you thought it was “scoops and stickers” then you are so far from the truth. The cars are ducted, cooled, tweaked, upgraded etc. but we will go into that a little later.

The cars have to be registered when they arrive at Shelby in order for the work to be done. The stock parts are removed from the car ready for the Shelby parts. This car below was going back to Australia as a rare right hand drive Shelby version. The little blue stickers on and around the car are where the body shop checks for damage, and what needs to be touched up after the series of complex engineering work has been completed.

Moving further on there was works race cars, replica GT40’s and Cobras of course.

We got up close to a Cobra being assembled. All the racks that hold the parts are covered so they don’t even put the smallest of marks on them, such is the level of care and detail.

The Cobra was waiting for the engine to be fitted and Vince explained the quality control that it all goes through before it even gets near the car.

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Moving round to the back of the factory, are the little seen areas of the body assembly. There is a huge storage area off to the side where the parts from the new cars that were removed are stored before the new bespoke Shelby parts are fitted to the car. Some of these “spare” parts are sold on or maybe modified as required.

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The car’s brakes and suspension having their upgrades fitted.

The very back of the workshop well away from the public gaze is the body paint and prep areas, the light booths will show any imperfections for the paint to be fixed.

We mentioned earlier on that the cars are all ducted and vented etc. The hoods are designed to cool the engine as every 100deg saved from the hot running engines will give around 4obhp, that’s A staggering figure just for cooling. The engines can run hot to about 400deg, but with the Shelby ducting designs this can be reduced to around 260deg, that’s why the venting is so important and the simple (in principle) way to obtain more power. This also applies to the brakes, there are cooling ducts under the cars to make sure the brake temperatures do not go out of tolerance no matter what the style of driving. The fabrication area is where each car has its own bespoke bodywork fitted or panels made for the car. Vince showed us the process for the carbon fibre and the fibreglass made on site, quite literally everything is hand finished to an impeccable standard.

Vince explains and shows us why all the little fins and ducts are there along with the benefits they produce. Nothing on a Shelby is just for show when it comes to the panels & bodywork.

Vince and Yogi discuss the finer points of body styling with Shelby’s best.

We emerged from the body shop out into the main factory area again, here more cars were being finished and some more new parts storage.

Vince explained that every single car is given a thorough road test adjusted and tested again. Vince gave us an example of one particular car even had a tiny break wobble at the rear at high-speed braking. The problem was tracked down to the position of the rear calipers being to high. A new design and fabrication was made to the calipers to re-position them, just to stop that issue that any mere mortal wouldn’t even detect, but they are there. If you think that the Shelby cars are expensive – now you know they are cheap considering what you get and what goes on behind the scenes to make your car the best it can be.

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The suspension handling is set up to the tires and their pressures when testing as on this 1000bhp just back from an initial test run. So when the owners change the wheels, tires or stance, they are undoing all that fine tuning and hours of testing done by professionals.

We walked up to the cleaning area passing more completed cars and a trucks, vince, Yogi and Adam leading the way.

The obligatory photo shoot with Mustang Maniac’s core personnel and Vince.

The crew; Gary, Jason,Yogi, Vince, Adam and Mart.

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We mentioned in an earlier post that you can sign the walls of the Shelby American Factory, which we obviously did a few days ago in the public area. This time Adam wanted to do something a little different, so the idea was born to draw around Adam and we all sign inside with a message.

Gary is quite a talented cartoonist and we put him on the spot to replicate our business card logo. We even stuck that business card in Adams silhouetted hand. What did we write? Just a message to the Shelby Factory and Cleo Shelby too from yesterdays catch up with her.

As Vince said, “there are no stickers or scoops here.”

For over two hours of Vince’s valuable time he answered our barrage of questions and showed us everything. As with most very busy people he was due at a meeting, we said our thanks and Vince departed leaving us to make our way back to the factory museum and shop. We of course took another look at the cars which are out of reach of the general public.

Then Chris and Mart took a Shelby for a spin! (OK, they just sat in it!)

That was our tour over; a rare, unique and personal guided tour around the whole of the Shelby factory. We weren’t allowed to take photo’s in couple of places, such as Vince’s own R & D area and another fabrication process area for obvious reasons. However, we were given that full unprecedented access and shown everything no stone unturned. Vince even showed us what he was working on for the 2017 Mustang in that R&D area! Not bad for a “small time parts dealer” as Adam said again.

That leaves us to say a huge thanks from all of us at Mustang Maniac to the Shelby Heritage Center and Vince LaViolette for giving us the top-level VIP treatment for the morning. An incredible insight to one of the worlds most famous names in the automotive market.

A Restoration First?

While we have been busy posting about our SEMA 2016 trip, there has been a few changes going on behind the scenes. We have removed the “graveyard” where the old cars awaiting our magical touches. And will be replaced with a “little project” Adam has in mind. Those cars will now be going into storage in the big shed for now. Yogi realising that these will be coming his way soon!

We are still planning on posting the SEMA 2016 day four as well as the Shelby Heritage Museum tour we promised you over the coming week. We had taken almost nine hundred pictures that day and we still need to sort out the better pics to upload for you.

A first for the Restoration industry?

So back to the what we do best, showing you what we do. As we like to think we are pretty unique we have made some serious decisions while we were in Las Vegas over a beer or two. We currently have our Mustang Maniac Forum that is popular, but it has started to die down. This is not unique to our forum though, it’s happened to a lot of other forums too. The mobile phone is the communication device for emails, photo’s and keeping up with the world on the go. So logging into a forum with passwords on a mobile, leaving a reply, then waiting for a response all takes just to long in this busy world of ours. So we had an idea and are very excited it, that idea has taken off very well with a small “trial” invited group of members.

We have created a Facebook Chat group called “Mustang Maniacs“.

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From there you can see some real-time updates from us along with updates from other members of the group. Now this group is going to be all about Mustangs or Fords, so there is none of this “I’m popping out for a pint of milk” rubbish. However if you said “I’m going out in my Mustang to an event” – that’s a whole new conversation to be had. We have now opened this up this new group to everybody to upload their car pictures, stories for others to comment on or just to read what we and others are up to. If you have a question – members from the Mustang Maniac forum may have that answer for you, on the group now. If you have a technical sales question; we still request you email adam@mustangmaniac.co.uk for further details as normal, we won’t be doing business on the group. There are moderators who will be keeping an eye on things too, so keep it nice and no moaning, or you could find yourself blocked. To show this all in action we had a three-way example view. We had to get a customer’s car out from storage to be moved to the panel shop. Lance “live” streamed the move to the Mustang Maniacs Group, we also took pictures of the live streaming in progress for the blog here. Filming the filming if you like.

The car being moved.

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Lance filming and the live stream

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The live feed as it happened

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Click here to see the full live feed, or copy this to your browser –  https://www.facebook.com/lance.barrington/videos/10154775131952418/

With the car moved into the workshop Yogi took a selfie for the group:

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What was he looking at?

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So we hope you can see how want it to work, a snapshot in time of Mustang Maniacs, and like minded people. We want people to interact with us, we shall try to post and upload where we can. Of course you can post your own pics and comment on others as you see fit. Remember; banter is good, moaning and insults are not. Show us your projects, tell us your thoughts, ask us what we think, send us a message, anything car related.

Let us know what you think.

So how many other car restorations out there show you what they do as it happens? Of course the blog is here to stay, and it will continue to give a little more in-depth behind the scenes as we always do. For a quick moment in time or chat with us and other members; join us at Mustang Maniacs! That leads us very nicely into the next section:

Customer’s Cars:

’67 Convertible Full Restoration

This is a new project that the Yogi will be starting soon. It’s a ’67 289cid Convertible, which needs some serious attention. We aim to bring this project to you step by step as you would expect. This is the car that was moved in the live stream from above.

We are looking for a nickname for this car now. Perhaps the owner Mark may have an idea for us?

Mach1 

The ’69 with the new front end has been taken off the jig after Yogi had welded the new panels back in place. The car was moved to Yogi ‘s work shop (Yogi says that’s an upgrade for a car accommodation), where the work can be continued under the car. The underside will need to be rubbed down in order for the final welding to be completed. The rubbing down and grinding work can be heard going on in the background of the live video we mentioned above.

The new front looks great and won’t be long before she is off to paint.

Chris’s Coupe

The last few weekends since Chris has got back from Vegas he has been working hard to get his car ready for some metal work and body prep. Chris had stripped and rubbed the inside of the engine bay down and has started to paint it. Being in the storage shed Chris had a flood light on the engine bay. from a distance it looked like a little star shining down on him!

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We suspect that the complete engine bay will be done by the end of the day (Saturday). A good start and there is nothing like seeing your first coats of paint going on the car. It transforms the whole car from a work in progress to a restoration under way.

News:

Adam like to keep an eye on things for sale and see what the Mustang Market is up to. On this occasion he contact a guy who was selling an engine. The story is that the previous owner took it out of a car and nobody knows much about the engine. Adam was sent a few photo’s and bought it straight away. Why, because he knew this was “special” to the other blocks that come up for sale. The chrome rocker covers were rusty as was the sump. No problems there as they can be replaced. But taking the rocker covers of the engine, Adam’s suspicions were correct. He had found a little diamond in the rough. Adam and Yogi

What we have here is a brand new block with a very nice set of GT40P heads on it.

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The guys continued to strip the rest of it apart to see what was going on.

This was a new rebuilt engine and the cylinders still had the honing marks on them. The timing chain was new as were the valves, cam and the cam rollers.

What did Adam think? Well, they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Speaking of thousands; Adam reckons the work that had gone into the engine and the use of Ford stamped parts, “You can easily add a nought to what I paid for this engine, bargain!” Shame that luck didn’t run with him on the card tables at Las Vegas!

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Adam pointed out the differences on the heads and how he spotted it. The GT40P heads needed better springs to make use of the valve openings depending on cam and the larger exhaust porting. Headers will need to be specific GT40P fits. The headers are right up there with the fabled “HiPo” units, apart from modern alloy heads this is about as good as it got. But a lot of people want originality and more power. What we have here is both.

Next week we intend to be concluding our SEMA 2016 posts.

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 3 (Part 2 of 2)

Thursday 3rd November 2016. SEMA has been a pretty awesome show and we have loved every minute of it so far. But, this afternoon of the third day we had a special catch up with a friend of Adam’s and and official interview. The suspense is now over as we can reveal that it was Cleo Shelby, the fifth and surviving wife of  the late Carroll Shelby. Adam had arranged to meet up with his long time friend Cleo at a place of her choosing, where he had a more private conversation shortly before Chris joined Adam with a whole heap of questions ready to ask Cleo. The rest of us being Yogi, Gary, Jason and Mart turning up a few minutes later and we all sat down with her after introductions and had a drink or three with her.

First a little about Cleo;

After the sad passing of Swedish-born Lena Dahl Shelby in a highway accident in 1997, Carroll insisted he would never marry again. Four months later he married Cleo Patricia Marguerita Shelby in Las Vegas. Cleo was a vivacious Briton who was always by his side, even as she pursued her interests in flying, art and jewellery. Carroll initially meet Cleo in 1970. About that first meeting, Cleo told us that when Carroll first saw her she was getting of a car in her full evening wear and jewellery. Carroll thought she was a princess and started to talk to her and they hit it off straight away. Carroll also told Cleo that he was going to marry her at that first encounter. He had to wait a while, they were indeed married some 27 years later. There are relatively few photo’s of Carroll and Cleo together, so we found some stock images here.

Chris was asking lots of questions in his official capacity for Classic American magazine. As this was going to be an exclusive we won’t repeat everything she told us. But, Cleo was fantastic and answered everything thrown at her from all of us at some point. Some of it will be in the interview, some of it certainly won’t. Such a classy lady and she has a great sense of humour too. We can reveal a little story about when Carroll was taken seriously ill, he needed to get to a hospital as an emergency which was miles away. Their aeroplane was standing by, but the pilot was told to “get out of the way”, as Cleo (who is fully qualified pilot) had at the time over 4000 flying hours, compared to the relatively small amount from the pilot. Needless to say Cleo got Carroll to the hospital and he was treated to fight another day. Stories like that you just don’t read about. So it seems this lovely lady can certainly lay the law down when she needs too. We didn’t take photo’s during the chat and Chris’s interview as we saved those for outside in the afternoon sun. Cleo is quite a private person and keeps herself very much to herself, but she agreed to sign our SEMA passes, and just about everything else the guys put in front of her. After an absolutely fascinating two full hours with Cleo, it was time to leave as Cleo had another meeting to attend, which it looked like she was going to be late for now. We all went outside for that impromptu photo shoot, trust us, we have quiet a few pics, here are only a small sample of the ones we took. Chris was taking the official photo’s for the Classic American Magazine to go with the interview of course, but we grabbed a few of our own too.

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The Mustang Maniac “core”, Adam & Yogi had their pic(s) taken first as you would expect.

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Then the rest of the guys also got in for a photo, Gary, Adam, Jason, Cleo, Mart & Yogi. Now there’s one for the album and to tell your grandchildren!

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There was a lot of people looking to see what was going on, and taking their photo’s of us, as we were taking ours. We did hear a comment from a guy to his friends, “Did you see who that was, how did they get to meet her?” Adam replied with, “Not bad for a small time parts dealer eh?” They looked a little blank at his response, to which Adam just smiled. This has become a little bit of an in-house, joke saying for Adam, if you know Adam then you will understand the story behind it. Adam tells us that there are some readers out there who will know exactly what it means.

We all escorted Cleo back to her car and chatted some more on the way, we were part of her entourage for the day so it seemed. We said our goodbyes, Cleo gave us all a hug and kiss. Adam had a few more quiet words before Cleo got in her car and left with a big smile and a wave. We walked back to the SEMA show still slightly shell-shocked to meet such a high-profile person in the automotive world. We asked Adam why didn’t he mention Cleo before to us? He replied with a typical Adam-ism “I know a lot of people, I don’t need to name drop.” With that, we all knew what he meant. It only leaves one thing to say to a very busy lady:

Thank you Cleo for taking some time out of your schedule to catch up with us.

Later that evening we went out to our local eatery Wingstop, 3910 S Maryland Pkwy, Las Vegas. NV 89119. We had been looked after so well by a young lady called Morgan, she had asked us where we had been, so we told her SEMA. She told us that she would love to have gone to see it. With that Adam had sparked an idea. Adam asked Chris to get her to one side as he was going for another free refill, as he had a little surprise for her. Adam had a spare ticket and wanted to give it to Morgan. 

Morgan was absolutely delighted and a little overwhelmed that some strangers would do such a thing for her, you just can’t buy smiles like this. Needless to say Adam got another hug from a young lady who was lost for words.

During the evening the beer never seemed to stop flowing for some reason. A fantastic way to end the day. Cleo made our day, so Adam (being Adam), came to the rescue and made a young lady’s day too. Morgan posted a great picture of her inside the SEMA show for the final day with big thank you to Mustang Maniac.

Las Vegas – SEMA 2016 Day 3 (Part 1 of 2)

Thursday 3rd November 2016. Today is half way through the SEMA show and there was still so much more to see. We woke up to a beautiful day and had a breakfast orange juice sitting around the pool and still we were talking about the previous day’s antics. We knew this was going to be a great day and we were looking forward to it. Potentially the highlight of the visit to Las Vegas?

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Adam had a meeting first thing with another Ford dealers and we set of early with him. As after the meeting we were going straight to the SEMA again. On the way out from Vegas we passed some famous landmarks that look pretty normal in daylight.

The roads are just spectacular, pretty straight and in the middle of a wonderful mountain range scenery situated within the Mojave Desert, Nevada. But, did you know that Las Vegas was settled in 1905 and officially incorporated in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, it was the most populated American city founded within that century (a similar distinction earned by Chicago in the 1800s). Population growth has accelerated since the 1960s, and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%. Rapid growth has continued into the 21st century, and according to a 2013 estimate, the population is 603,488 with a regional population of 2,027,828.

We arrived at the dealers and left Adam to do what he does best. While we had a look around.

Once business was completed it was time to head for SEMA, on the way back we had a couple of interesting pics. Anybody would think that Yogi and Mart had been on the medicine!

We arrived at SEMA in good time and eventually found a parking space. We wasted no time in getting into the halls to explore some more.

After the tour of the inside we found some more cars outside. This by the looks of it was where the “Ricers” were hanging out, with all the bolt on bits to their cars. You either like or loath them. But, there was the odd American their to show how it should be done.

We found what we came to see in this display area. The truck that started it all and still the king of Monster Trucks – Big Foot.

Then of course the Promotional Ladies have their own little section, there wasn’t too many in this hall, but it looked like Mart was having a good time do some promotional work too!

Our next post has the very special meeting we can’t wait to share with you.