The weekend arrived and I was on my way to the Mustang Maniac yard. This time it felt strange as there we no tools in the back of the car. Why was I going there? Because I could and I just love bein’ there with the guys. I arrived to be greeted by Adam who was rushing around for an order that was about to be picked up. When things had calmed down a bit, we sat in the boy’s club and had tea which was washed down with biscuits that Paul bought in, donuts that Gary W. bought in and a huge Jaffa Cake that I bought in, (it was supposed to have twelve servings but six was about right though). We had a good petrol head chat and again listened to Gary’s stories about Ford in the early days. Adam announced the plan for today was to road test my car before it rains. Oh boy was I excited. Adam got the trade plates and I fired her up and let her warm up. Adam got in the car and I was to make notes on the things that needed doing as he found them. I wanted Adam to drive as he knows how the car should feel and behave where as I don’t on the old cars. I was about to be part of the inner sanctum for a full Mustang Maniac road test and what it involved. We pulled out of the gates and the first thing was “straighten the steering wheel”, it was upside down a simple fix and I made a note. We moved along slowly and the gearbox went up a gear then another all smoothly, so far so good. We increased speed a little and Adam was listening intently for noises at about twenty five mph, checking the steering and gently dabbing the brakes. We pulled onto a round about and indicated for a dual carriageway. We again was a little cautious getting up to speed this time about sixty-five mph. After a couple of minutes we pulled into petrol station and was meet by an old school pump attendant who obviously knows Adam well, “Fill her up – he’s paying” said Adam laughing. The attendant filled her up and I sold a kidney to pay for it. Seriously it wasn’t that bad at all really. We got back in the car and pulled away back onto the dual carriageway. Adam was then sensing the steering drift and directional steering listening for more noises and unexpected sounds, “need to re-do the geo as it has a tiniest of pulls”, I made a note. The exhaust was tapping something under the car over heavy bumps, I made a note. We increased speed again to see how she handled, the wind noise picked up and the first few drops of rain started, my face must have dropped. Adam instantly said if it starts properly we’ll go back. My show standard beautiful wax job was streaming the water straight off the car. It wasn’t so much the top side of the car, it’s the underside we didn’t want all clogged up. We slowed down and seemed to have gone through the little band of dampness which had now dried up again, lights on and wipers working fine. Nothing around, so Adam decided to test kick-down on the automatic box. Oh yes, it drops the gears and the car lunged forward with a snarl from the engine and the exhaust burble turned to thunder. Yep that works. We turned of to some back roads after a few minutes of national speed limit speeds, this is where Adam now does other stuff. He was checking the brakes for pull, adjustment, travel and efficiency at high speed and low speed, “need to bleed the brakes again”, I made a note. We stopped with nothing around so we could pull away again, the gearbox was checked for manual gear changes to hold the gears and check the engine braking. We did that few times and manually changed up and down on the revs. Dead straight bit of road in front of us now, when it was announced that we “had to test the carb out for full gas flow”. Hell yeah! We stopped and let a van and car go past us, nothing behind or in front now. Adam nailed the loud pedal; the car moved sideways at the back a little, and we moved forwards, the wheels were spinning and scrambling for grip on the damp road, now we were in a straight line we rapidly picking up speed. Adam was grinning to himself and so was I, but I suspect my grin was bigger than his. “Yep, the carb fuel take up seems OK” laughing. “Look out the back”, as I did I could see a line of rubber for a considerable distance should we say disappearing into the distance 😉 The next part of the road was little villages, and lots of bends and undulations. Unfortunately we had to use the kick-down function on a few occasions to accelerate up to the national speed limit of course. This was all choreographed stuff, to test the bearings, stress on the axles, engine, mounts, bolts and temperatures. Oil fine, water, fine, fuel going down! We had a GPS speed sensor which was used to check the calibration of the speedo. At seventy mph the speedo showed sixty eight. “I will take that” Said Adam, at lower speeds thirty or so it was spot on. Adam did other tracking things with the camber of the road and all was fine. Now we came out to the round about and dual carriageway again, now the rain was starting up a little again. We headed back to the yard as Adam was happy. We pulled into the yard and Yogi was waiting for the report. We read back the exhaust report and the car was up in the air within seconds. Yogi done his thing and rattle could be heard when he knocked it. He got the spanners out and fixed it, now there was no noise. We checked the diff level for oil and it was full. I walked around the car – Mud. There was mud on my car, how dare it? So that means I just had to clean it again. So to all those out there didn’t believe it would be driven on the road; here is the proof. Come to think of it, is that mud or rubber from the tyres? lol. But I was happy the tiny little niggles from the road were not major issues. More settling in issues and I was told there would be more of that to be done after a few more miles. We need to adjust the headlights as well Adam mentioned. This week providing it doesn’t rain and the guy who tests the cars has space to fit her in, the car will go for its first MOT (Ministry Of Transport (test)) after the restoration. This MOT is the road worthiness test for most vehicles each year after they are three years old and a legal requirement in the UK. I hope that will happen as it means I can then start the process to get her proper UK registration plate. Excited and nervous at the same time. After my cleaning Adam had another road test to do and I again volunteered myself to take part. We followed the same route doing the same things. This time Adam stopped just after where we “tested” the carb fuel take up under full acceleration on my car. Although the rain had now covered most of the tyre marks up, it can still be seen just about. I took a photo of it to show you some of it. I marked near the end of it and where we could see the start. You can see tyre mark on the white marking in the road a little clearer. This was only done for a controlled test and not condoned in any way at all. The road was just slippery that’s all.
A very good road test, a couple of small issues that were sorted out pretty quickly. The others will be done when the geo is re-done. Mart is a seriously happy bunny! 😀
A Special Thanks:
Thanks goes out to Gary W. (ex Ford Director) who got me a couple of very special and rare gifts. I mentioned to him that I was after an original photo of Lee Iacocca (the head of the design depart for the Mustang project). The reason being that I managed to get an autograph of Lee a while ago and I wanted to frame them together. Gary bought me in a couple of real rarities in mint condition that are so much better than a photo. It’s well known that the Mustang was launched 17 April 1964, where Henry Ford 2 commissioned Walt Disney to design the ‘Ford Pavilion’ at the 1964 New York World Fair. His idea was to use Ford convertibles (Galaxies, Fairlanes, Falcons and Mustangs) adapted and bolted to specially constructed rails to guide visitors around the vast Ford exhibition – Disney still uses this rail type design today on many of its rides. Anyway the Fair was opened on April 22 1964 with tickets costing $2.00. I now have an Original Ticket from that famous date: After your visit for the day at Ford’s there was a special souvenir plastic badge which would glow in the dark that you could collect depending on where you came from.
Gary has managed to get me a New York souvenir badge from that day. It’s in mint condition and still glows in the dark! For more photos on the story of the World Trade Fair Mustang Launch click here for the Mustang Maniac post. Thank you Gary this is serious appreciated.