Another weekend almost over but I managed to get work done on the car. I also managed to get a service done on the wife’s car, her cherished VW Golf. We purchased all the parts on Saturday morning, the air filter, oil filter, oil etc and I was left to my own devices on Saturday afternoon to do it all while she went out again. It did feel strange having to get my metric tools out from the different Snap On drawer and not the imperial sets though. The air filter was encased in a massive slap of plastic on top of the engine. There were more pipes and wires coming out of the engine than a robot research facility. To get to the spark plugs it was a performance as there was a channel of wires with their own coils attached at the top. They were hidden under another plastic trunking system, that in turn had wires attached to it all over the place. The whole thing was nightmare.
What I am getting at here is the basic principle of the engine has not changed at all. The cylinders are there, the pistons, the spark mechanism etc. OK, the engines may have gotten bigger and smaller, they may have changed shape a little in configuration, the ideal number of cylinders is still in debate. Fuel injection is squirted into the cylinders, four valves instead of two. But why hasn’t technology moved on to the principle itself? Yes we will have electric cars eventually but not for a while yet, that will be a major leap. The Mustang’s air filter sits on top of carburettor held on by a single wing nut, that sits on top of an inlet manifold with four bolts, it draws in fuel and mixes it, burns it then chucks the waste out the back. Fuel injection mixes it with the air and burns it and chucks it out the back. Same thing, OK, so it’s more efficient now, but I feel at home under the hood on the older engine. The new engines have computer this, and wire that, control box this. Are they more reliable? I don’t think so. If my Mustang timing goes out a bit, dust of my timing gun, turn the distributer and re-tighten. Done. New car, download the software, plug-in an expensive decoder, type in what you want. Reset the warning light on the dash. unplug unit and write out a huge bill. Luckily I have a great mechanic Will at Park Garage who looks after my modern cars for me when they play up, but I know he loves the classics too. I’m sure he would rather get a socket set on a v8 header than plug-in a laptop! What has happened to computers in the last forty years? Size of a building to start with, now there is more technology in a cell phone than put man on the moon.
Once tuned up a forty-seven year old Muscle Car will give a vast majority of modern cars a run for their money, even if they don’t it will give you a bigger smile while driving it than a plain old euro box! I didn’t enjoy the round of Golf as I did working on my car. There was no sense of achievement, or is it just me?
Sunday I worked on my car, well the parts in the Man Cave at least. The rain made sure I wasn’t gonna push her out the garage for today anyway. I was just tinkering around and decided to polish the chrome on my factory option aircon unit. That little polish gave me a great idea I will share with you. The front of the unit has the classic “camera case” black dimpled look. It had worn almost down to the bare metal around the dials and the nozzles. Now the chrome sparkles and the black suddenly looks wrong. I had this idea a while ago to polish it with black boot polish, it didn’t work and just rubbed straight off. Can you see where I am going with this now? Today I thought why not spray it? There is chrome lettering on the front as well as the badge. These would need to be masked off to stop the over spray. What black would I use, gloss, undercoat, primer? The original black is a matt black or a dull satin from what I can see. With the decision made I got out some plastic sheets, (ok it was a thin packaging bag), not the paper masking kind like you should use in a spray shop. I used the electrical insulating tape as that can be moved a little in place and was such a smallish area and fiddly to do. I masked it all up and done a tiny test spray with Eastwoods Under Hood Satin black on the back of the unit near the top out-of-the-way. Once it dried it looked brilliant. I completed the masking up at the front, I removed the old air direction nozzles and sprayed the front with a couple of very light spray passes. It still left the dimpled finished as the original had, but just blackened up the front. I still wanted the authentic look and I believe I now have that. All that is left to do is get some artists paints mix up the colour and paint in the colours of the badge. Try doing that on a modern car!
The best part of the whole thing is I found a date stamp on the back of the unit – 28th June 1966
Here are some pictures of the process, the full guide of what and how I did it can be found under the Photos – Inside the Car – Factory Aircon Tidy Up. The pics here don’t really show how thin the paint was as you can see the bare metal underneath.
Factory Fitted Aircon Tidy Up click here.