Winterising Your Car

Now we are at the end of the car show season it’s time to put my pride and joy away and tuck her up for the winter. This is more important than the hotter climates like the USA or Europe. The point is that when you pull the car back out again the car has been as protected as it possibly could have been. I have been asked a few times what my process is over the winter.

One of the most important things I do is to make sure the car is running on fumes. This is due to the fact that the ethanol fuels will ‘go off’ after a few months as it absorbs the moisture from the air. My car tends to run like a bag of nails when the car starts if it has fuel that has been standing. It seems that my carb settings and timings are sensitive to bad fuel, as a result I only use Shell V-Power premium fuel. It’s more expensive but the car does run so much better for it. I do have a five gallon jerry can that I fill up with fresh fuel when I need to move the car again for the first time in the new year.

The classic Mustangs have a lot of chrome and unless protected that chrome could start to pit, usually down to moisture and humidity. I have in my garage a dehumidifier and a radiator with an independent thermostat which keeps the chill away from the garage. The theory is that the car never goes below freezing. I have written an article about humidity and car storage here.

The thing to consider is the environment where the car is to be stored. A decent amount of dry air circulation around the car, and in an ideal situation not standing on a cold concrete floor as this will cause damp issues rising up to the car. I have laid some heavy plastic tiles which insulates the cold floor and the car which I also wrote about here.

First and most obvious is to wash the car, but make sure it’s thoroughly dry, especially if you don’t have a dehumidifier before you put the car away. Use a dedicated car blower if you can rather than a drying towel.

I then wax the car with a longevity wax rather than a show car wax. This will form a micro barrier to the elements, not that it should be needed in a climate controlled environment. It doesn’t matter what wax you use just something to protect it. I used Chemical Guys Quick Detailer P40 this year as the car had a wax a couple of weeks ago. So this was a top up more than anything as this product has a level of carnauba wax as well.

The big piece of work is the wheels. These wheels are chrome and need proper protection. I always clean them and apply a wheel wax during the car show season. But over the winter there is a little process I follow. I clean the tyres and the chrome as normal then I apply a squirt of Gibbs directly into the join of the wheel at the top and allow it run down to the bottom where it will puddle. WD40 or similar will do the same thing. You want enough to penetrate into the gap all the way round but not wate it so it runs out. Don’t wipe it away, just soak up the excess as it pools at the bottom. You won’t be able to get the wax right where you want it, so a penetrating product will get where you cant.

With the excess spray wiped away it was time to protect the chrome. I use Angel Wax Bilberry, it smells wonderful and gives great results. This wax is much softer than normal paint wax and is just like spreading a room temperature butter.

Ideally you will allow the product to cure and then buff it away. I apply it liberally but I don’t buff it completely away. This will leave a thicker barrier than you really need, but I just like a thick layer. This will make the chrome dull, but just make sure the wheel is fully coated.

The rubber tyres can be susceptible to cracking and I over apply an amount of Meguiar’s Endurance tyre gel. This product protects the tyres and keeps the rubber nourished. Applying this much will usually give rise sling as the car rotates. But as the car is now stationary it won’t be a problem. While you are at the wheels check the tyre pressure to make sure they are correct so they don’t deform.

If you have metal dust caps like I do, before putting them back on, squirt a tiny amount of WD40 or similar product that will make sure the cap doesn’t corrode metal to metal.

Glass is given a good clean, to make sure nothing is stuck and will be difficult to remove after a time of being laid up.

Where the rain or water car wash water can get into the car I make sure there is some water repellent applied. This is especially at the end of the rain drip rails that goes into the rear quarters. I squirted an amount onto the drip rails so it follows the same path as the water.

As the doors will be shut you don’t want the weather seal to stick and possibly tear when you go to open the door again. I use a Chemical Guys Tyre + Trim Gel which is dry to the touch almost straight away. I could have used this on the tyres obviously, but I prefer the Endurance.

It’s applied around the door frame and also to the rubbers under the door. Around the screen glass both front and rear there is a layer of black mastic, not how they came from the factory, but it seals the windows properly. The top right photo below shows an arrow where the before and after on the sealant.

The two images above is the trunk area where the before and after can be clearly seen as it’s applied. For the chrome trim and the wipers these are given a a layer of wax, again not buffed to a shine. Before shutting the car up, open the windows a little so that the car doesn’t sweat and go mouldy. Allowing a change of air will help prevent this as well. Having an open ventilation into the garage can have a minor advantage for fresh air, but it doesn’t allow for the dehumidifier to control the moisture in the garage environment.

The battery trickle charger CTEK MXs 5.0 is connected as I always do when the car is in the garage.

I removed the screen washer bottle and rinsed it out and hung it up to allow it to dry. Previously I have left water in the bag and it had gone bad and stank with things trying to grow in it. I had a bit of a job to get it clean again, I won’t be making that mistake again.

Inside the car is a quick vacuum out. I tend to keep a couple of old air fresheners for the winter, give them a quick spritz them with Mitchell & King Leather scent. I hang the air fresheners back in the car being sure to make sure they are free hanging and not touching anything. Inside the car I tend not to pull the parking brake on as this may seize in place. If you’re worried about the theft you could use a T Park Handle lock here for a bit more peace of mind.

Finally the car cover goes on and the humidity gauge goes on top of the car in the middle to get the average reading of the garage. the sweet spot is 50%, with a couple of percent either side.

Last thing is to turn the dehumidifier on which I have already got set up from the previous years which sits around the fifty percent mark all year round now. On the back of the unit there is a filter which is removed, cleaned and replaced. It doesn’t hurt to squirt a little air freshener towards the back of the unit in order to give it a little freshen up.

I do have a little tip regarding the dehumidifier, hang an air freshener near the unit, this will fill the garage with your scent of choice. The downside is that the freshener tends to get dried out fairly quickly due to the functionality of the dehumidifier.

With the car now laid up for the winter I still tend to open the garage up in the nicer weather once or twice a month to let some fresh air in and make sure there are no leaks and that the dehumidifier and the the battery trickle charger are still working ok.

When the new season starts I have to remove all the waxes, and the over application of trim on the paint. this isn’t much of an issue as I give the car a service, grease, check the brakes, full valet and good once over before the first show anyway.

I hope that helps a little and gives you some tips to store the car short term.

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Hennessey Performance Cars & Coffee 2023

I thought that the Stonham Barns (parts one to three) was going to be the last car show of the year for me. For all intense and purpose it was as the second show at Stonham Barns on the trot would be rained on and I wouldn’t go anyway. That was until I was checking on my Facebook page very early this morning after one of the dogs decided to stand on my face as he wanted to go out. I was laying there trying to get back to sleep while the dogs settled back down, I stumbled across a post that said coffee and cars at a little place about ten miles away from me. I checked the weather and it was going to rain early afternoon. This ‘gathering’ was a simple turn up, have a social coffee or bacon sandwich and look at some cars that may turn up.

Hennessey Performance based in Suffolk are a Performance Parts Stockist, specialising in Prestige & Performance vehicles, they sell things like alloy wheels, heat management wrap, oils, merchandise etc. Not to be confused with the Hennessey tuners in the USA.

I made the decision to go, a couple of hours in the morning and then back home again would be ideal. I got the car out and remembered that I needed fuel from sitting in the last stupid traffic jam from the last show at Stonham. The event was only a few miles away, I thought that driving conservatively there and back again I wouldn’t need to top up. Over the winter I always run the fuel down as it goes off in the tank and causes running issues next time I start it up in the summer.

I have driven past this place a few times, but didn’t realise it was there. There was no traffic jam this time and I just pulled straight into the yard and was directed where to park up in a really nice position.

I got out and had a quick look around looking at the cars still coming in. Some were directed onto the grass field to the right adjacent to the yard on the left as you drove in, others were directed onto the yard for parking.

Directly opposite me on the edge of the field was a line of black cars that looked pretty cool. Just to the other side of where I parked was the coffee and food barn with three super cars parked out the front of it.

I decided to go for a wander and pick Marts Car of the Show, what I picked even surprised myself. This was going to be difficult as there were super cars there worth hundreds of thousands of pounds each. It would have been so easy to pick any one of the McLarens, Ferrari’s, Aston Martin, Nissan GTRs or the odd Lambo. There were so many Porsches there I didn’t take many pics of those, also there was plenty of the out of the showroom Ford Focus STs or a couple of year old BMWs and so on, I didn’t want this post to look like a Tesco’s parking lot filled with expensive cars you can see just about anywhere. It was obvious that this gathering was going to have a distinctly modern feel about it.

As this was a ‘performance’ gathering there was some great cars of yester year that were now becoming classics in their own right.

As I got to the end of the row opposite me I wandered down the row of cars on the field to see what was there.

I wandered back to the main area a rather nice Ferrari pulled in. I have a very big soft spot for these 308s anyway, and for me was the runner up for Marts Car of the Show as it was a really nice example in an unusual colour for a Ferrari, which suited it.

Back to the main area again and the cars will still coming in.

The three cars parked out the front of the refreshments;

I wandered back to my car and was asked if I could lift the hood, for once I hadn’t done it as not many other cars had it.

Just behind where I had parked up there were some units that were opened up, one was the Hennessey unit to flog their stuff.

The other had a track car in bits doing something to it to make it go faster I guess.

Marts car of the ‘gathering’ rather than ‘show’ was this little Suzuki Cappuccino. It has a 0.6ltr engine which is the size of a piece of A4 paper. The owner hadn’t had it long and he uses it as his daily driver. This isn’t a UK spec as it had been imported from Japan a few months ago.

Outside the merchandise unit there were some stools which had now become free, so I decided to assume the position and take some different photo angles of my car and watch the world go by for a while.

I left just after mid day as a number of other cars were starting to leave. It was a another gentle drive home and the fuel was almost on the empty line. That was fine with me as I was going to prep the car for the winter storage.

It was a good gathering and spoke to a few nice people, not as many as I normally do at a proper car show. The conversations I was listening to was about the amount of boost and what type of horsepower they were running. Me, no boost just a v8 with plenty of torque that will drive along in top gear gear at 25mph. I do believe I was the oldest car there apart from the ‘hot rod’ and the Pontiac station wagon that wasn’t a runner. I would make a point to go to this one again that’s for sure. A good way to end my run of car shows for the year.

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Stonham Barns Classic Car Show 2023 (part 3)

The start of this post was the walk back towards my car which will take in the centre arena which only had a dozen or so cars in it. I was now at the far end of the field and there was a few military vehicles on show.

The cars in the centre ring were ‘movie cars’ and a couple of other random things. Not many cars look good in pink, but I expect a big Caddy to be pink!

This is a replica Bullitt car with the resident keeping a watching brief on the big bad Charger. These pair get around together and I have seen them at the Enfield Pageant. The Bullitt car was a 390ci big block, unfortunately this replica is only a 302ci.

This replica GT40 is a CAV GTR made in 2009 is an awesome looking lady that’s for sure. The trumpet intakes just scream classic car and I’m a bit partial to that look, I would like to think that the 390ci under this hood sounds as good as it looks.

This 6.2lt Rally Fighter looked a lot of fun.

Eleanor was there, but it wasn’t the best replica I have seen to be honest.

There was few traders and auto jumble there, but nothing that exciting, it was more of a car boot sale and my money stayed firmly in my wallet.

Marts Car of the Show

My favourite there was this Lamborghini Espada Series 3 from 1975. A rare car with a total of 1217 Espadas made between 1968 – 1978. The styling of this car still holds up today, yes it’s a super car and really liked the Peerless, it’s the first Lambo Espada I have seen and I wanted to go home in it. After I had taken my Mustang home of course.

I eventually got back to my car as the lunch time sunshine was beating down. I took a couple more picks of the club cars, a couple didn’t make it as they broke down sitting in the stupid traffic jam.

The best part of the afternoon? The big white tent was still empty apart from a few bales of hay. So I got my chair out and put it in the tent where I could still see my car. I sat down with a well earned drink as it was getting warm, no need for the sun creme. About an hour or so after I sat down the rest of the club returned and we all sat in the tent for chat. So the selfish traders were standing in the beating sun while we were nice and cool in the shade.

The corruption I eluded to in the first post was something I have come to expect from this show, and all the shows held at this venue come to that. The prizes were announced at just past 3pm. The compare said and I quote; “The car of the show goes to my ol’ mate…”. Yeah yeah, yeah – what ever! I didn’t need to hear anymore and switched off at that point. Some might say it’s jealousy or sour grapes. Nope, I have mentioned this happens before from this show, so I was expecting it. In fact I didn’t even give my car a wipe over as I usually do when I get to a show as I knew it wouldn’t matter. There were some beautiful cars that deserved to win and I feel sorry for those guys. I had a great day talking to the guys in the tent.

At around three fifteen I started to see a few cars leaving before the 4pm closing time. I said my goodbyes and packed up to come home making sure I missed the rush to get out. The organisation of the show this year was bad, traffic jams to get in, spaces not marked out correctly, and cars parked in weird lines. It wasn’t all bad like I say, I spoke to few people and enjoyed my day, the sun was out mostly and I sat in a cool tent. I was spotted by Matthew Filby and Emily Silkstone who kindly took the ‘Culford Car Show Pro Shoot’ photos a couple of posts back. Great to see you guys again. 🙂

I got home and made sure I cleaned the car this time and covered her up in the garage. That show could be the last one of the year for me, depending on weather there might be another. I was thinking about posting what I do when I lay my car up for the winter, would anybody be interested?

I have come across a some documentation for fasteners used by Ford between 1955 and 1973. Not the most riveting of reading for most people, but all those little symbols mean something on the top of the fasters – bolts and screws etc. I will do a little post on that soon. If your into concours car shows, have a classic Ford, then this document could be the difference of winning and losing!

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Stonham Barns Classic Car Show 2023 (part 2)

Carrying on from my post part one of the show, I moved down the line of cars and came across a true iconic cars ever made, the classic Model T tourer. The only thing I didn’t like was the ‘slow vehicle’ slapped across the back of it, but I could see why they did it. This little gem almost got my vote!

Another poster of cars I had on wall was of the white Lotus Esprit from the James Bond movie, The spy who loved me. So this one is in black, but who cares? It’s still a stunning looking car to this day.

This car is a Jaguar kit car and was a popular vehicle, I did like the hood ornament as it was rather unique!