Las Vegas – Scott Drake

Monday 31st October 2016. This was the first full day in Las Vegas before the SEMA Show 2016 started on Tuesday. Adam always takes the advantage to pop in and see the Scott Drake guys.  Adam is one of the few genuinely authorised suppliers, not just selling the odd few bits now and again claiming to be a authorised supplier. The trip out to Drake’s takes in a highway, it’s difficult to comprehend that Las Vegas is basically in the middle of a desert surround by mountains wherever you look.

As Adam is a very well-respected client we were all taken for a VIP guided tour around their offices, warehouses, storage area and manufacturing area. Obviously some things were confidential and we were asked not to post the photos, so we obviously respect that request, but we can show you the huge scale of their operation. On arrival you are greeted with a massive building which is only half of the plot.

The entrance has the reception area, a display of a few parts and a seating area. Most of the staff were preparing for SEMA so they were on a skeleton staff there, but Adam’s personal account handler had arranged to meet us.

Passed the reception area is the main workstations and few offices. The workstations were showing account details etc so we can’t show that part, but we can show you the gold mine of memorabilia in one of the offices.

Past the desk area is rest area for the staff, which has some amazing stuff on their walls. There is the fifteen stage process of how the wheels are made.

On the other walls there are the rough Die Casting raw mouldings of the various parts for various cars.

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Past this break out area there is the main warehouse at the back. The first thing you notice walking in is a bench with half a car on it. The warehouse itself has rack after rack of parts that are stacked full floor to the ceiling.

The wheels are shipped in from the manufacturers and inspected before they are released to the chrome plating area. The newly chromed parts are then inspected again before they area assembled in-house. For confidentiality reasons we won’t show how it’s all done, but it’s a very cleaver process.

The rims are fitted to the centres and put on pallets ready for another inspection.

The other parts are batch tested also and any parts that are not up to their high standards are scrapped.

We left through a side door and taken to another huge storage area which is not usually seen by anybody. This is where some of the rare cars are stored, we were all buzzing with excitement. First up was a drag car which has been quite successful in its time.

Most of the cars are covered in a layer of dust waiting some dedicated attention.

And the cream of the of crop is the genuine Shelby GT500. The dilemma here is to restore it to her full glory or leave her as she is. The current thinking is to leave her as she is, totally authentic and rapidly rising in value.

Under the covers is a rare Sunbeam Tiger which has the original v8 engine shoehorned in it still.

With the tour completed we taken to another are where the meeting rooms are. The was a table laid out with a batch of some new products that were being discussed. Again for obvious reason we can’t show you those particular items, but we can show you some others. In the corner there was a hood which has a genuine Carroll Shelby signature on it.

A personalised autograph to Scott Drake.

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After the tour we were taken out to lunch at a wonderful place called “Mustang Sally’s Diner” of course just down the road which was attached to a Ford dealership.

The Ford Dealership next door had one or two cars and trucks for sale!

After we had finished lunch and Adam had concluded business we set of back to Vegas where we would spend Halloween on the old strip Fremont Street.

Mustang Maniac would like to thank everybody at Scott Drake Automotive Group once again for their very generous hospitality. 

Driving Us Nuts

This week as we had a random call with a customer who wanted some wheel nuts. Nothing odd there you might think, but this is a mine field when look into it, and to cut a potentially long blog post short, we didn’t send any out to the customer as he didn’t know what he wanted. Needless to say the comments were not flattering and we were deemed as awkward. In actual fact it was the exact opposite, let me explain. We could have sent a set of standard nuts out, charged him and thought no more of it, but we will not have it on our conscience that he had fitted the wrong ones fitted to his wheels or studs then had an accident, or damaged his wheels. Yes, you did read that right – accident. Think about this for a moment, in each corner of a car there is a wheel, that wheel is held on by 4 or 5 nuts or bolts, that’s it. If they come off then no wheel and you have an accident, or damage to the wheel which could crack it, fatigue it, uneven wear and tear all sorts of issues. In fact would you believe that most of the restorations we see imported to us, from various places around the world with after market wheels, they have the wrong nuts fitted for that wheel! Yes, everybody knows there are steel wheels, alloy wheels, mag wheels, carbon wheels, one nut does not fit all.

So here is an attempt at trying to explain basics without getting into too much technical detail, this will apply to new cars as well as Classic Mustangs.

There are 3 basic type fastener seats;

  1. Conical Seat – cone shape
  2. Spherical Seat – round or ball shape
  3. Flat Washer – commonly known as Mag Type

lug4

Different seats for different nuts or fasteners, the angles of the seat must match the wheel in order to centre it correctly.

lug2

There are several different thread sizes used today by vehicle manufacturers;

  1. 12mm X 1.25
  2. 12mm X 1.5
  3. 12mm X 1.75
  4. 14mm X 1.5
  5. 14mm X 2.0
  6. 7/16″ X 20
  7. 1/2″ X 20
  8. 9/16″ X 18

When I mentioned about accidents here is an exaggerated view of what could happen. The wheels could get damaged as a result with movement, under acceleration or braking loads the holes on the wheel may elongate causing some serious issues should we say.

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Two other things to remember;

1) do not put oil or lubricant on the threads of either the stud or lugs nuts/bolts

2) re-torque the lug nuts/bolts after 25-50 miles.

Proper Thread Engagement

This is critically important. Make sure you have a minimum thread engagement of the diameter of the vehicle stud (as recommended by SAE – Society of Automotive Engineers). An example is, if the stud size of your vehicle is “½” then you will need a minimum of “½” of threads into the lug nut. If for some reason you do not have this minimum then it is recommended that you use an Extended Thread  Type nut (see illustration above).

Proper Torque (tightening)

This is also very important. Over tightening lug nuts/bolts can fatigue the vehicle studs or lug bolts. Use the SAE recommended torque listed below as a guideline for passenger cars and light trucks;
12mm, 7/16″, 1/2″ = 85 ft/lbs (+/- 5 ft/lbs)
14mm, 9/16″ = 115 ft/lbs (+/- 5 ft/lbs)

Mustang Specific Now:

We have a little table below that should help with the basics as fitted from stock.

lug

At Mustang Maniac we stock a large range of wheels, stock, after market and specialist even racing, we stock an even larger range of wheel nuts, hopefully we will have everything you need for your wheels. The various guides above only scratch the surface, an example is that some washer based nuts also have the correct way round to fit them too, then there are the offset washers to enable various fittings that could be a generic fit wheel or custom wheels or where space is tight to the centre hub. Here we have a selection of our range of our chrome nuts where we try to show the differences side by side.

nuts1

There are open-ended nuts, closed nuts, short nuts, long nuts, chrome nuts, steel nuts, alloy nuts, black nuts, left hand thread nuts, right hand thread nuts, long shank, short shank etc. ALL of which make a crucial difference to your wheels.

nuts4

nuts5

nuts7

So as you can see when we ask what sort of wheel nuts you want – it’s a sensible question not us being awkward at all, we are looking out for you. Simple reason is that we do have a conscience and won’t just sell you anything, but we can’t validate what you order from our WebShop of course. So please make sure you have the correct fasteners for your wheels.

We will plan to copy this post as an article shortly too ready for easy access. Was this any use to you out there, please let us know.

Customer Cars:

Acapulco Coupe has taken some leaps forward again this week. Yogi has finished fitting up the custom exhaust and made a good job of the step down from the headers to the pipes. The only thing to be careful of here is the lowest point of the car is the flange fittings for the exhaust now.

The rest of the exhaust has now been aligned up correctly and fastened up. We are going to wait and see how she sounds and performs if we need to add a cross flow pipe.

exhaust6

We have also used something called copper-nickel for the transmission lines and fuel lines. Although they look copper now they will tone down and look more like steel as they age nicely. We use our own custom-made and design brass fittings to the bottom of the radiator.

She even has a new set of boots we have just fitted and balanced.

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We even got to the point where we have filled her up with fluids to check for any static leaks before we fire her up.

Short Weeks

Easter week for us has turned out to be very busy and we are trying to squeeze in 5 days work into four for the next couple of weeks. That is often easier said than done unfortunately. We have had nearly all the parts delivered for some of the cars. We have had new stock in as well as an unusual newer generation Mustang for some minor work to be done on her. We have decided that we are going to recommend that when we do an engine rebuild or restoration we would like to have aluminium sprayed exhaust headers used. This will protect the exhaust, they don’t discolour and look amazing even after a year. For the relatively small cost and the big difference it makes, we think it’s worth while. We have added them to the 302 – 350bhp we will be fitting into our convertible project car.

We detailed this engine and fitted the aluminium coated headers, and after a year they look as good as new. Of course we can fit the polished stainless version, but they will go blue and require a lot of cleaning to keep them looking in top class condition.

Cars:

We have had the seats arrive from the upholsterer and the full leather seats look perfect in the car and the smell on new leather in a classic car is really an amazing smell. The seats are black but the flash on the camera has lightened them up a little. We have also sent the centre console away now to match the seats as we wanted it to all match. Although what was there was fine, but we wanted that little extra special touch. The scuff strips will be fitted once the inside seating and console are finished. That’s it. she’s as good as done.

Stock:

We have had some great looking parts in this week. For those who want to detail their engine then we have some nice air-filters for you.

We have had some nice fill chrome rocker covers come in as well, we have a variation of these in black and chrome which also looks fantastic on the car.

 

all chrome

all chrome

Lights:

It seems as though we have a theme over the last few months of custom lighting again. We produce out own custom-made LED light kits, but this time we had a request for mirror lights. Now these are nothing new and you can buy them off the shelf, but not ours. We have had these made specially for us in Amber lighting instead of the standard red. They make a difference to say the least. We understand that some people will like them and some won’t. We have them so give us a call for more details. We will putting up a YouTube clip of the lights working and a sequential bonnet set too.

 

As it’s Easter we will have observation test – it’s not hard honestly.  Last week we mentioned we were going to do a little spring cleaning and we have stuck to that. So we decided to see if you can spot the difference on these two pictures.

Yep, we pulled out the white Shelby GT350 for a blast. She responded well to a little road test where the acceleration, gearbox and temperatures were all checked. A little fact for you, did you know that the gearbox on this car does not go into fourth until 110mph under heavy acceleration! Not that you can try that on our roads of course, but on tracks etc. it’s an awesome ride. We even took a customer out for a spin in her to as he showed some interest. He needed a little sit down and some fresh air when we got back. It was a brisk road test to say the least.

KR Replica Update

Things are moving on very nicely with the KR replica. We are now finishing the custom exhaust, rear lights and detail of the engine. The inside has the shifter in place and the custom wiring location is looking very good for that under the hood minimalistic look which was a request for this build. The sound proofing is in to insulate the cabin from the bark of the exhausts. The air conditioning has been piped up and the rest of the water pipes are being fitted. The oil sump is polished, the exhaust is polished, the door strikers are polished and the whole look of the car just begs your attention. The rear lights have had some of our bespoke LED lighting units fitted into the classic all red lenses that will flash orange for the indicators, but they can’t be seen until used which will maintain that stock factory look. Detail on this car is fantastic and has to be seen to be believed.

Our Yard:

Meanwhile all this great work has been going on with the KR we were caught unaware by a flash flood. It looks like a small section of a stream not to far from us was blocked and water backed up very quickly and crept into the yard. The water also got to one of the workshops, but we fired the pump up and drained it all out, but as the stream was full it was a bit of a nightmare to be honest. We would like to point out that the customers cars were out of the way in other work shops so they were safe which is a priority of course. The one workshop with water and a customer car was lifted into the air, Sorted. The dogs were a little confused by the water although a couple of them didn’t seem to mind! It could have been a lot worse.

Don’t forget to visit our new Webpages: www.mustangmaniac.co.uk

Stainless Steel Stock

Chrome vs Stainless Steel

As promised from the last post we have got around to unpacking and labelling up some new stock. We have had a few enquiries about polished stainless steel instead of chrome in the past. We have ordered in one of items on a bespoke arrangement, so we though we would try some various items. There are two camps and very much sit on each side of the fence. Chrome will or won’t get you home as the saying goes. Many manufacturers make claims for their chrome work some are better than others should we say. At the end of the day chrome finish is just a thin layer on the outside of the part, like paint in fact. For that reason chrome plating tends to be brittle and gets chips and scratches on it over time. On the other hand stainless steel is not as shiny as chrome plating, but the appearance lies somewhere around shiny chrome plating and dull aluminium. Stainless steel is just steel that has about 20% chrome mixed with it which prevents most rust. As a result stainless steel is far better at maintaining its appearance over time scratches and dents don’t affect it. If the part gets some rust spots in it, just buy some stainless steel polish and buff the rust out, simple as that. Areas where the car can be weathered are prone to the chrome pitting if not cared for, so the areas that can be abused are the engine, such as the alternators etc need to be looked after.

As a result of the enquiries we have got our first small batch of stock for our stainless steel line to see how the sales go, we have already sold a few bits and like the dip stick we recommend these in places instead of chrome. The initial sales look promising, polish the parts up well and you will hardly notice the difference, except that it will keep its appearance a lot better. The first batch of products is the Dip Stick for a ’65-’67, hood latch for a ’67-’68 and a battery hold down kit for ’67 – ’70. Let us know if you want any particular parts and we will see how they go. We have added a section under the new parts for Stainless Steel.  Give us a call for prices and dispatch.

All Hands To The Pump

Has the world’s weather has gone crazy?

America is being thrashed by snow gales and stupid cold temperatures that are breaking records, the UK is seeing more rain than it can cope with, again. Last year we had droughts and hose pipe bans would you believe. We have not escaped completely unscathed, but we have been here before and we are well prepared, in fact, a bit like cracking an egg with hammer to be precise. The pits that some of the cars sit over in the lesser used work shops can turn into small swimming pools if we don’t kept an eye on them. With that in mind, a while ago we purchased a water pump for that very reason. It wasn’t an ordinary pump as you would expect. It’s a pump from the old British Army fire engines, named the Green Goddess. The original brief was to design a portable pump that could be carried by two men (they would have to be big men mind you) to the source of the water and used to pump water back for the hoses for a fire. It can move a staggering one thousand litres in a minute. Where am I going with this?  Well, it has a car engine as the power source – of course. The engine was used for racing and was also known as the Coventry Climax which was later fitted into the more common road car known as the Hillman Imp in road spec of course. However in race spec for its class, the Hillman Imp was pretty good racer thanks to the very versatile engine that was light, strong and would rev its little cylinders out all day long.

The pump looked to have seen better days and had not been started for a number of years. We found out that the magneto wasn’t working, hence no life. But we had a plan, we fitted it with a coil and battery to spark her into life and it now works. We will get round to fixing the magneto, but for now we like the retro wind up handle and the power from a battery and coil, the hand cabled throttle control, the one gallon fuel tank, the tiny water tank etc. We will also paint it back to its proper green colour and restore it properly, but for now its doing it’s job, and doing it very well. It was a good buy for historical reasons and also does a brilliant job decades on.

pump1

The down side of this pump, we start it up, it clears the water, it being the pits fill up again, we start the pump and the cycle repeats. The current drainage works fine and is always pretty good except for the most adverse condition like we are having now. So we have to keep watch, we can even have some fun with it and rev it up for max pump or slow it down for a more sustained pumping, which is still too fast for what we really need. We would rather have it that way round than having a pump that can’t keep up to be honest. The other issue with the design is the open air, the rain on it can make things a little damp should we say. But, we have Gibbs Brand, a generous spray with the Gibbs keeps the parts water tight and she starts pretty much first time, every time now.

The high winds also had an effect on some of the trees unfortunately, so we decided to cut a rather precarious looking tree down before it damaged anything. We also had a little lake form where the debris from the trees blocked some drainage, we cleared the blockage and the pump sorted the rest out as well.

Wikipedia has some good notes on the Hillman Imp which I have added at the bottom, along with the Green Goddess and Coventry Climax engines, there is much too much information to post here on it all but it’s worth a quick look.

The Hillman Imp

The engine

The Racer

New Stock:

We have had some new stock items delivered to us and we are very pleased with, we will post these very soon once we have had time to catch our breath. Stainless Steel parts that looks like polished chrome no less!! Interested? We were.

Quick Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coventry_Climax

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillman_Imp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Goddess