Knock Knock…

We start this week with a Park & Pic of a unique car a genuine Shelby GT350R, a race car owned by our friend and customer Larry Tucker. This is not your usual add a few stickers effort like so many do and think that it adds 100bhp or something. This is a fully stripped out Shelby FIA inspected race car and goes just like it looks!

We wish every success to Larry with his little trips around the track, just bring her back in one piece with a few added bits of silverware maybe. 😀

Epic Engine Fail

It can be said that the Ford V8s are a tough cookies and they are pretty bullet proof as long as they are maintained well. On a rare occasion we get an engine in that has a major problem. A customer had bought his car into us saying that there was a “knocking” noise from the engine. The 302ci engine was running, well sort of, but it didn’t sound too good that’s for sure. Yogi was eager to get on with the diagnosis and he was pretty sure what it was, but to what degree? His first job was to have look at the oil which was a messy mixture that resembled gravy more than oil; a bad sign. The “oil” was drained and a total of three gallons of gravy came out. Slightly more than the normal oil quota and was left to dry out. The engine was taken out the car and put onto one of our stands for a close up look. It was decided to video the removal of the oil sump pan as there was a rattle and a tinkling of falling metal when the engine was turned upside down; now a very bad sign.

You can see a smashed piston and connecting rod fall out in the video. Something as catastrophic as this would entail much more damage than a new piston. Inspection showed that the block had a hole punched through it and was now a nothin’ more than scrap. The picture here show the hole in the block:

Damage to a spark plug where a piston has slammed into it.

Some of the shrapnel that was pulled from the depths of the engine.

There was nothing that can be done except for Yogi reading the belated mechanics “last rites” before it goes to the great scrap yard in the sky.

R.I.P 302ci.

Customer Cars:

The black convertible is now back together again and ready for her last road test before we hand her back. She looks a real head turner again and now leak free from the replacement cowl.

The new carpet was laid and our ever popular LED dash bulb upgrades fitted.

Cast your vote time:

Our friend Spence (the other half of the Bully Brothers with Yogi), bought his car “The Grinch” in for a little once over and a treat for his lady. The trouble is we were undecided on look and Adam is asking our readers what they think; Black or Alloy rims?

Please vote it will make Adam happy and it only takes two clicks. 🙂

A Two Week Reminder

In two weeks time is our local Mustang Maniac car show at Enfield, which is always popular. Come and visit us and see some of best Mustangs in the country on our very own stand.

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.

Homework

A busy week here at Mustang Maniac big projects continue on the “Rust in Piece” and to an engine refit with a set of LED light upgrade at the rear on a car we have had for a while now. Apart from the busy days with work on the car Adam has been doing some homework. Most of the time he will only read Mustang related Magazines, articles or books being “Haynes” style, every so often an odd American car magazine. This week has seen him wandering around with a book in his hand, looking at a car looking at the book and wandering off again. Why? Well the Race car is back from a paint shop and now needs to be fitted out. The car is going to be entered into the highly competitive world of Classic Car racing, the car will need to conform to the FIA Regulations. The regulations are a mine field at the best of times, but they are very strict on what can and can’t be used in racing. As such we need to make sure this car fits with the rules. No extra strengthening here or no lightening there etc. on this car. We originally had the car come into us with a modified bodywork so that had to be changed for the current rules. Then it was sent of to be dipped of all rust and then painted. The paint job is a very nice paint job considering that it’s going racing and will probably pick up a few knocks in her future life. We are expecting the FIA representative to take a look at the work soon and sign of the car as meeting the required standards.

As the car arrived to us

Arrived back after the strip dipping

Once some of the panels were repaired we then released the car for paint and she came back looking like this. The hood is fitted with a full set of pins to hold it in place rather than the standard hinges. This will probably be the prettiest car on the start line. We have even taken a few arty pics with the USA flag and chequered flag we have on our wall. We hope this little lady will see plenty of those in her forthcoming career.

The interior and underside have also been given some nice attention too.

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Rust in Piece – Continued.

This has seen a lot of popularity from the responses we have been getting so we will be giving more updates on this as we move along with the project which is going very well so far.  The front firewall has now been replaced along with the corresponding panels and the sill fronts have been welded into place. We tried to rescue the bottom of the pillars that were offering no structural support at all, but we had to replace them.

The rear section wheel arches were rusted badly and a hole strip had to be cut away and replaced with new strips of shaped metal and welded into place. The drop panels have been welded in and we need to complete the outer arches and finish it all off for a final clean up.

Customer Cars

The ’66 Coupe full restoration has taken another step forward with some specialised sound proofing being added to the flooring, this will make a huge difference to the car, especially as the exhausts are expected to be on louder side of standard should we say.

The drivers fresh air vent and wipers have been fitted as well.

Export

We have a fine example of a car that has been brought back from Europe and we have been asked to look her over for anything that needs doing. This is a genuine export car with an I6 engine. We will grab some more photo’s of her soon, but here is nice shot we took after the first road test late yesterday.

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