1964 – 1973 Mustang Autolite Replica Battery (Group 24)
Crank Amps – 780
Cold Crank Amps – 700
Length 10 3/4 inches
Width 6 3/4 inches
Cost: £200 – £400
Depending where you buy this battery from can be extremes of price ranges. Within the UK the import charges are wicked and hence we pay the USA price as well as the import charge on top. I worked it out that if I was to import the battery, the shipping charge (of the weight) and import duty would be more than the full USA purchase price. Then you know that you are being screwed over by your government! But is this battery worth it?
There was no battery in the car when I got it. The battery was not important at the time as I needed to rewire it before I could even think about a battery. I reviewed the American Autowire Update Kit which I have reviewed Under Reviews – Car Parts or click here for a short cut to it. The choice was to get a battery that would turn the engine over and it would be a modern battery regardless. I enquired about batteries and they were around the £80 – £120 mark for the type of cranking amps I was after. This was approximately half the price of the replica Autolite battery. After having a word with my financial manager (the wife), we decided if we are going to do this we may as well do it right, a modern “Halfords special” sitting in a classic car would look rubbish. I researched around the net and discovered there was a halfway house solution, this was a replica top to the battery that makes it look original, but the sides would still say Halfords, Bosh Lucas or whoever it happens to be. I have got a picture of the top just for comparison.
So a full Autolite replica battery it was to be, but is it worth two or three times the cost of a standard battery?
In the Box:
Well the box was a very tightly fitted box and a padding from the supplier at the time. It is rumoured that these are made to order. It took about five weeks to arrive before it was shipped to me. A total of six weeks from order to arrival. The supplier is noted for not having the stock to hand on some products and can lead to delays. Late delivery from the States or the order wasn’t processed I just don’t know. There was the battery and a folded A$ sheet of four pages. The top of the battery had a massive plastic tag attached to the terminals saying do not top up etc. Unfortunately I don’t have that as I through it away long before the seed of the blog was implanted in my mind. I have attached the manual (fold out sheet) here as I have noticed a few searches for the information that has landed on my blog.
The case is a hard plastic and very robust. It does not bend or feel cheap by any means. The raised lettering on the top is painted with the Autolite red and suspect it’s hand painted on as there are some untidy edges and a few overspills. I don’t mind as it adds a little character. I don’t have the original to compare it to either at close up. All the correct information is on there, the tag at the top, the writing on the side to say “55 Amps”, the front also has the Autolite Logo on the woven finish as the originals had. everything about this battery looks original. The six red caps on the top all unscrew and look genuine. there is only one complaint on the construction that I can see, on the back left as you look at it the top does not look pushed it down fully, I have tried to push it down to no avail. I tried to pull it up and it’s not going anywhere. In that respect I’m not worried as you can’t notice it. I am being extra critical here due to the money involved. The clever part is inside the battery; the power for this battery comes from a sealed unit that sites inside the battery. This is the reason for the do not top up or fill etc on the warnings. The dry cell is approx two-thirds of the case and there is plenty of empty space inside it. I have removed the caps to show this as much as possible. The terminals are nicely finished and the overall feel of the battery is very good.
The battery is the exact size of the original so its fits in the battery tray fine, you can secure it by the bottom or the over top clamp in black or billet chrome as you heart takes you. The last picture here shows the solar charger I have attached to keep this topped up. The review is under Reviews – Accessories, or click here for the short cut.
I think I can give a long-term analysis on this due to the amount of time I have had it. I placed a voltmeter on the terminals and it reads 12.84 or 12.83 virtually all the time. This is a testament to the solar charger doing its job but also the battery holding the charge. When I haven’t started the car for a while I have to pump the fuel to the carb, this can take around thirty seconds or so. I let the car rest and the fire about a minute later. The battery shows signs of fatigue and spins the engine over at a very healthy speed in order for the ignition to fire. Every turn of the key the engine has cranked over, the car had been out in sub-zero temperatures and high heat and the car always turns over. At 780 cranking amps I expect it to be good, this battery is the best part of fifteen times more powerful than the original 55 amp supplied on the cars. With my one wire alternator at 100amps I hope the electrics will be more than enough to outlast me.
Rating: 9 – 10 >>—–> See the Update below!
The reason for the lower score is the slightly raised corner of my battery, perhaps mine was the Friday afternoon effort. along with the splashed paint.
Am I pleased with it? Yes.
Is it overpriced? Not if you buy it from the USA, at the original cost, but the UK price that will include import duty this is a difficult pill to swallow. So in that respect Yes it is over priced!
The battery looks right in the engine bay and looks part of the car. Many people won’t know the difference between the batteries, but when I go to a car show and I pull the hood, the other enthusiasts will notice it and appreciate it. They are not common in the UK, but it’s worth it. It was an extravagance for the gamble of the turning the car over after the re-wire, but it was worth it. Would I recommend it? Yes. If you have a classic Mustang, you have got to have one of these. The performance is modern-day technology in old school case. That is restoration at it’s best.
The battery died a sudden death with virtually no warning. I had to replace it with something but I didn’t want a modern battery to spoil the engine bay look. So I made one with the replica top and new wet celled battery.
Click here for the process.
Or cut and paste this link below which can be found under the “how too projects / Electrical.”
The battery Itself is dead and lasted 5 years but only two years while driving. With that in mind I have to reconsider the score.
What is INSIDE this battery? Well I took it apart after it was dead and posted it here, or cut and paste the link here to your browser.
Revised Rating: 6 – 10
Frankly I was expecting a longer use time than two years. But its a well made and great looking peace of equipment that is expensive for what it is! If it was half the price, then I would have kept the same score.