Couple Of Upgrades

It’s been a long time since I have changed anything or added anything to my car. I was at a car show recently and something caught my eye that I decided I wanted to change. That part was under the hood that nobody would really notice to be honest. That part was hood pin and safety catch. There was nothing wrong what so ever with the old ones what so ever. Except that I thought there was just too much blue and it needed to be broken up a little. It’s standard for the safety catch to be car coloured as mine was. The hood pin itself was fine if not a little tarnished after fifty-two years as it was the original parts.

So I had a word with Adam at Mustang Maniac and he said “You need a little stainless steel, with some nice bolts to go with it, not just chrome.”

The safety catch is held in place just by two bolts and like for like swap out. I got a couple of Adam’s new ‘Ford’ branded stainless steel bolts to go with it all. I just love these bolts which looked even better after a good polish up.

Undo the two bolts for the safety catch and it will expose the hood pin itself which again is a simple nut to hold it in place.

The swap out is a simple reverse procedure, hood pin and then the safety catch. You have to make sure the hood pin is set correctly, to shallow and the hood will not close, to long and the hood will bounce and vibrate at speed. I created a detailed page on how to change these parts in detail here, or go to the top menu ‘How To.. Projects/Engine Bay/Changing the hood pin and safety catch’

The difference is subtle yet instantly visible if that makes sense, it also matches the hood lip trim.

Before and after side by side. Just another little something to clean now. 😉

On the ’66 Mustangs all models there hazard switch that fitted as standard. The official place for these to be fitted was in the glove box on the upper left hand corner as in this picture I found on the net for the correct location.

Depending if the car hazard switch was fitted later or somebody on the production wanted to fit it somewhere else, it could have been anywhere. The most common alternative was under the dash on the passenger side, sometimes on the drivers side. When I first got my car there was this random switch that I didn’t know what it was for. It was so rusty I couldn’t read anything and it virtually fell to bits when it was touched, not to mention all the wires were cut from it and been melted due to the under dash fire.

I now realise that this random switch was the original position of my factory hazard switch. Now I had a problem as my wiring loom was an American Autowire upgrade kit and wouldn’t work directly with standard hazard switch and pigtail loom. Another conversation at Mustang Maniac and research came up with an accessory kit for the factory hazard switch. Considering the cost of the wire loom in the first place I think it was a bit much to charge for this extra mini loom in my opinion. Anyway, rant over. Adam made a special order for me and the kit came in a couple of weeks later. I popped down to see the guys and also picked up the switch as well.

The wire loom and switch.

The AA kit is a bridge under the steering column that just connects the male to female and the female to male sections for the column (indicators, horn brake switch etc), with the extra wires running from it for the hazard switch. I have created a detailed walkthrough on how to hit it up here, or got to the main menu ‘How To.. Projects/Electrical/American Autowire Hazard switch installation’.

The switch is great quality and just needed to be assembled.

The wire connections for the AA kit was supposed to fit the original hazard pigtail loom, but as I didn’t have (no need for my fitting), I cut the supplied connector off and fitted some heat shrink tubing to each wire, then the spade connectors with a factory look crimp.

I then checked the wiring diagram for the correct fitting onto the back of the switch.

I now had a decision to either replace the switch in the ‘correct’ location, or the position that the car had it fitted at the time. I went for the car’s location at the time. Yes there will be the experts that moan it’s not in the correct place, but I have seen a few cars where this was the ‘original’ location. I also understand that some dealers fitted them under the dash to save taking out the glove box liner as it was easier!

Plugged in connectors with heat shrink tube looked pretty cool, even though nobody will ever see it.

Under the dash next to my aircon on the passenger side there are two bolt holes which were used originally, so there was no drilling or measuring for this project either. A case of bolts through the switch bracket, through the dash holes and the backing plate, nuts on the back of the plate and tighten up.

The last part is to connect up the steering column, this is done last as the live power feed is taken from the brake switch, connecting it up first would mean having live or hot wire about as you are connecting up. Not ideal!

The hazard switch now works without the key in the ignition and with the engine on. The old hazard switches worked by putting the switch on and then indicating to trigger the four way flash. To finish the installation, I spend half hour or so wrapping the new loom extension in factory look loom fabric tape, I find it just so therapeutic.

I just hope I never get to use the hazards for a real emergency. I enjoyed my few hours of pottering around on the car, just because I could.

Thanks to Adam at Mustang Maniac (again) who put the special order in for me so I could get this all working.

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Mustang Convoy To Helmingham Hall

The second of a two show weekend was held at Helmingham Hall, another very big and well supported car show, this show is aimed at the car enthusiast more than a simple family day out. There was talk of this show being a let down due to the very well advertised second day for the Festival of Wheels which was being held as well in a similar location. This beautiful building is so well photographed it’s hard to take something a little different. It was a perfect day for a car show too.

I was supposed to meet up at around eight in the morning with the rest of the Mustang going to the show. Unfortunately one of our dogs decided to do a Houdini special on me and disappear down the road. This obviously meant that I was going to play silly chase with the little guy, which in turn made me late. I eventually caught him after couple of minutes and the walk of shame back home. I jumped in the Mustang and set off for the show. At the turning I supposed to meet the guys they were all on there way out and I was flagged down to join them. What a result. There was about thirty Mustangs all in convoy. All be it only four including mine were classic Mustangs. As we pulled into the show ground I managed to grab a picture of the cars in front and some of those that followed me into the show ground.

Simply Mustangs had a great showing and looked pretty impressive.

There was such a diverse range of cars on show I selected just some of the ones I liked best. On a post like this there is not much need for lots of words, the pictures do the talking.

I was very pleased that I went to this show instead of the Festival of Wheels as it was so much bigger, better organised and much busier.

Thanks to the Simply Mustangs UK on Facebook for letting join them and making me feel very welcome.

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Tool Kit At The Ready

Last weekend was a double car show, firstly there was an all weekend event at the Ipswich Festival of Wheels, and the other was at Helmingham Hall on the Sunday. Saturday was no problem as I would be at the Festival of Wheels and the Sunday could be FoW again or Helmingham. So I was going to choose at the end of the day. The Bury Retro Car Club had a stand for both days at the FoW, well it was more like a marked out bit of land to be exact. I was unsure of the exact time it started so I decided to get there earlier rather than later. I rocked up to the main gates at about eight thirty in the morning and it was pretty quiet.

I was directed to the area and parked up.

A little while later I was joined by some more of the club members and I felt relieved that I was not the only one. The guys were camping there over the weekend and nice atmosphere throughout the, I even managed to sit by the side of the camper van with a pretty awesome awning to stay out of the sun.

We were in the allotted area next to a Mustang club as well, which was quite nice, although it wasn’t filled to capacity either.

This was the first show of this type and it was obviously aimed more at the family rather than the out-and-out enthusiasts from what I could see. There was plenty for the younger ones and the event was nowhere full. Perhaps everybody was waiting for the Sunday as seems to be case for these all weekend shows. By about ten in the morning the place was as busy as it was going to get so I set of for some pics.

There was racing influence as well from the Speedway and stock Cars which Ipswich is well known for.

There was a nice selection of trucks and vans from the UK and the USA, the Transit with hundreds of glowing and pulsing LEDs took my eye.

OK there was a huge USA rig that was transporting a great idea of motorised small version trucks for the little ones to ride in as well as the dads to accompany their kids.

There were a few fast UK Fords to be seen, many of which are starting to command some serious money to buy one.

A promise of some ‘Super Cars’ and ‘Film Cars’ were to be on show as well, I only spotted one of each, perhaps there was more on the Sunday.

One car that was getting a lot of attention was this Ford Popular, all chrome and was allegedly driven there from a Kent to Suffolk and “not trailored here”, a distance of around one hundred miles or so. There was not a spec of dirt on it anywhere, not even in the tyre grooves, let alone how he managed to carry all the mirrors and equipment with him as well. Maybe a convoy down to the show but he seemed to be on his own. What do you think?

There was a few stalls there and a few stalls that belonged in a craft fair more so than a car show.

Back to my main story, during the day I had a guy talking to me who had just bought his red ’68 Mustang Coupe and he explained that it needed a little bit of work doing to it. We chatted away for about thirty minutes or so before he had a look around the show. About an hour or two later he came back to me with a couple of guys with him and he looked worried. He asked me to borrow my key to open his trunk as he had locked his keys in there. The car was open luckily and I explained that my ’66 key was a different design. He was now starting to stress a little and I said don’t worry we can get into the trunk. I took out my travel tool kit and we walked to his car, where I explained to take the seats out and the card backing behind the seat back he should be able to reach in and get the keys. His friend helped him take the out seats and used my tools for the nuts and bolts that needed to be undone. A few minutes later the keys were located and all was good in the world again.

The decision was simple and the end of the day, I was going to Helmingham Hall on the Sunday where I took more yet more photos. I will post those pictures later in the week.

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Where Time Stands Still

A few weeks ago I was looking for some more local car shows when I stumbled across an advert for Horham Air Base – home to the 95th Bomber Squadron, which is near Diss in Norfolk. One advert said it was a seventy-fifth anniversary of the squadron coming to the UK, on another advert it said there was going to be an Americana Day including a car show too. So I decided that this was an event I wanted to go to, I hadn’t been to the airfield and the theme was American based too. It also means that this was the third day in a row of car related events, I’m lucky to have a very understanding wife! I arrived early and was pointed to where I should park, at that time there was just three of us. I locked the car up and went to have a look around the airbase with its “American museum in the UK” as it has been advertised.

What I wasn’t expecting was people volunteers who were all be dressed in the 40’s clothing and period army uniforms as well. There was plenty of army vehicles parked along the hedges leading to the entrance.

Walking through the narrow entrance was the old style tin huts that were in remarkable condition and beautifully looked after. There was no entrance fee, as the site appeared to be surviving on the donations from the guests on the day. For the moment I pretty much had the place to myself before it officially opened to the public.

Inside the huts there were traders selling their historic items, books and period clothing.

There was a stall where a guy was selling original adverts from magazines, he was also playing the original 78’s to give the place such an authentic feel of the war era. It sort of made me feel humble to be honest to wonder what it must have been like to live here, knowing your next mission could be your last.

Walking from one hut to another was like a rabbit warren that just seemed to go on for miles. There was a bar, dance hall, officers mess and an entrance room/hall with lots of displays and models that was serving tea and coffees. Everything that was on display had a description to it. It would have taken days to read everything.

The little bits I found interesting was the posters and notes stuck to the doors;

There was the museum that wasn’t huge, but it really packed the artefacts in there. The whole area was done with sensitivity for the fallen aircrews and referenced the guys that didn’t make it back from their missions. There were uniforms and photos, personal objects, maps and medals, money and paper work. All just incredible to see with such attention to all the small details that makes a difference.

There was bombs, seats, various parts from the bomber planes along with a mock-up of the rear gunner on the bombers.

I must have spent hours in there because I was getting hungry and more people were coming in, as well as the unmistakable smell of the BBQ that was wafting around outside tormenting me, I just had to treat myself as it was getting near lunchtime now. The place was buzzing and outside the DJ was playing some original 78’s for the guests all sitting around eating and having the odd beer. There was a guy there whose father was in the “Desert Rats” and had dedicated himself to carrying on the stories that his father had passed down to him. The stories he told me about the conditions in the desert were just amazing. He had original rations for the troops, equipment and the uniform too. I hope these memoirs can be retold in years to come. It makes me sad to think that the it could all be forgotten one day.

The least area to explore and perhaps was my favourite little area, was the Military Police hut. I was in there on my own and I was literally standing in room where time had stood still. Everything was left just how it was back then, almost untouched, even down to the old magazine on the table.

I walked back to the car and found that the field allocated for the show cars had filled up. I would say some of the cars here are better than some official shows that I have been too in the past. The first pic is the early birds with virtually nobody else from the public here.

Some of the other cars that turned up for the day.

A great day on personal point of view, I had a little glimpse back in time to what it was like to live in those days.

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Drag Racing & A Local Fête.

The weekend has been very busy for me and it turned out to be all car related which all started on Friday. The “A602 Street and Strip Rods” had hired out Santa Pod Raceway 1/4 mile drag strip for a private day of racing. Mustang Maniac were invited along with some friends if they wanted to come along and watch or race. I got a phone call to ask if I wanted to go, pretty stupid question really, so I booked the day off work and arranged to meet some of the Mustang Maniac guys and follow them up to the “Pod” early in the morning. I had deliberated whether to take my Mustang and thrash it down the strip or not. You only needed to pay a single fee of £50 and you could go race as many times as you liked for the day. In the end I thought better of it and decided against it and settled for watching the others race. The reason was simple in a way, I didn’t want to blow something up that I had spent years restoring, just to see how fast it goes.

Yogi had his car there a sweet ’69 that has all sorts of things done to it and he achieved his personal best of 11.4 for the day, he was not happy as he messed up a gear change on that run. Other runs he was just playing around with tyre pressures to see if he could get better times. which were all pretty much the same time.

Yogi’s best friend Spence had his “Green Grinch” running just a second and a little bit behind Yogi.

Adam had taken up his 1000bhp UBB (Ultimate Bad Boy as it was officially named by the guys who built it). Adam’s first attempt was a cracking 12.4 with no burn-outs and just pulled it up to the line and nailed it when the tree turned green.

Back in the paddock there were some pretty serious cars from the Pro Mod class.

There was a huge assortment of cars running, from Toyota Prius and a Land rover medical van to Ford Kugas and Porsches. The Porsches couldn’t beat Yogi’s best of the day and they seemed to be a little disgruntled that a fifty year old car blitzed the best they could rustle up, even with their launch control, paddle shift gear boxes and aero styling.

In a wat I sort of wished that I had taken my car for a blast down the quarter, but after seeing a well tuned car crack an engine block, I was glad I didn’t run in the end.

What a great day was had by all, great atmosphere and everybody was just amazing, and it’s honestly not as easy as some of the guys make it look!

Saturday on the other hand was a completely different day in terms of pace. The Bury Retro Car Club that I am a member of had asked for thirty cars to be available for a mini show. I offered my car as I knew the sun was going to be out. There was going to be a Fête in a little village called Risby, about twenty miles away from me. A senior club official lives in the village and knew they were holding the Fête for a local hospice charity. The cars were to be there as an added attraction to the usual village fête antics, there was the tombola’s, tug of war, Morris dancers (that I find pretty unnerving), book stalls, cake stalls, bouncy castle, kiddies face painting, a very popular BBQ and bar etc. The only racing during the day was the children’s races where all the children won a little something, a light-hearted dog show with categories like; dog with the waggiest tale, the curliest tale, best biscuit catcher, cutest dog, softest coat, floppiest ears, the dog that the judges want to take home etc. Again all of which was great fun to see, especially when the dogs ignore the owners and started chasing the biscuits that wasn’t even for them! 😀

Anyway the cars were allocated a roped of area of the car park so the visitors could see the cars as an added attraction to the day. The down side? The car park area was a large stoned gravel area, in the hot sun moving the dried and baking hot stones cause clouds of dust that all seemed to settle on my car. My beloved blue car was sort of grey by the end of the day. So I had to wash it very carefully when I got home to get the dust and sand of the paint work.

The day was a great success with virtually all the village showing up at some point. From what I understand they made a fair amount of money for hospice charity as well.

For once I was a nice change to be able to use my car for a good cause and charity. Sunday (today) I was at another event which I shall post probably tomorrow as it deserves a post of its own.

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Cars On The Green

Over the weekend I attended perhaps my favourite car show, Cars on the Green in Bury St Edmunds. Sunday morning I looked out the window and there was a tiny few specs of rain. Now I don’t take the car out in the wet in case it shrinks in the water. So I waited for a while before I made the decision to go. I arrived some twenty minutes later and I almost had to put the wipers on and was uttering the odd colourful blue words at the rain. It must have done the trick as the sun showed itself as I pulled in to the show.

There was some great cars there and it’s always a nice atmosphere at this show. I was on the Bury Retro Car Club stand (patch of grass) shared with some great people from the club too. I took up station under a tree unfortunately, which was leaking sap like water through a cheese grater. So much so, that as I was sending a message to my wife I could feel the sap on the phone screen.

I always give the car a quick spray with some ‘quick detailer’ to take off the dust from the road just so the car looks her best while on show. With the sap falling like it was, I decided not to touch the paint in case I damaged it. Yes, I always carry (a lot) cleaning products, but in the location where I was it would have pointless to try to keep clean. So with a heavy heart I let the car get dirty, well what I call dirty anyway. 😦

The public was allowed into the show from ten in the morning onwards, it was great to see lots of Dads on Father’s Day with their little ones for the day. I think I may have spotted the odd spouse or two who was, erm – not into cars should we say! I started my slow stroll around the massive venue and took some pictures of the cars that caught my eye. I tried to limit myself for the number of pictures otherwise it’s just picture overload. I will start with some UK cars which are starting to command some quite serious money now.

Then some good old American Muscle.

The Cars on the Green show is classed show for all cars, classics, modern, vans, trucks, modified and new, all of which were well represented. On a side note I have spotted over the last few shows that I have attended, there are a few almost new cars creeping into the classic car events. Now I am petrol head and love cars, so if somebody wants to show their car then fine with me. But, what is the point of taking a two-year old Volvo (example car), that is plain standard stock and parking it next to a genuine classic car. Perhaps that is such a controversial thing to say, and I certainly don’t want to offend anybody. I can sort of understand it, the car show scene is full of great people who always seem to help each other out when another car is in trouble.

Perhaps when the organisers of the events say “classic car show” the cars should be at least fifteen years old? What do you think? That way I can get to see more of the old cars that I personally go to see. I really hope that I haven’t upset anybody with that statement, it wasn’t my intention to do so. Perhaps I need to wind my neck in?

Back to this show, there was a couple of live bands and singers, fairground rides for the children, plenty of food stands and stalls for all things cars and couple of random ones as well nothing to do with cars. Lots of people turned up for the day along with a number of seriously well-behaved dogs too.

Perhaps my favourite pic? This one, where the Land Rover stand had an electric toy version of their vehicles for sale. This little lady just loved it and the guys all to their credit let her stay in it for a while. Well done guys, I think they made that little girl’s day.

After my walk around I sat back in the comfy chair and watched the world go by and had some great conversations with people I have been talking to via email; hi Simon!

I can’t wait for this weekend as it might be two shows, Saturday and the Sunday.

If it doesn’t rain of course.

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The Classic Car Code

My first trip of the year in my car was fine, but I had a few scary moments there and back. There were idiots with no consideration slicing across the front of my car, the other was to avoid all the trenches or pot holes in the road. The roads in the UK are complete joke right now to be honest after the snow, sun and rain. I think that I compressed my spine by an inch and shook a filling out my tooth due to all the mega craters in the road. I guess that’s what you get when stiffen the suspension in order to make the car handle a bit better.

During the round trip I had a thought to myself wondering if these people realise what us Classic Car owners are thinking while we drive along? So, I had a little fun and came up with this little list in my head then wrote it down before I forgot it;

  1. We treat everybody on the road as somebody who can’t drive properly.
  2. We seriously believe that other road users want to crash into us at every junction.
  3. Pulling out from a junction at the last-minute in front of us really is a problem.
  4. We never trust somebody’s indicator as being their true intention.
  5. We give ourselves extra space to the car in front to allow us time to slow and stop as our brakes may not be as good as modern cars.
  6. We give ourselves extra space to avoid the chance of any stones being flicked up causing a stone chip on our paint jobs.
  7. Our paint jobs can cost as much as a small family car.
  8. Stone chips may look tiny to you, but to us they look as big as a satellite dish and just as ugly.
  9. It may look like we are drunk while driving although we’re not. We are avoiding the pot holes in the road, you normal car drivers wouldn’t give a second glance to.
  10. Pot holes are like moon craters or trenches for classic cars.
  11. We spend as much time looking at the road conditions as we do predicting traffic.
  12. If you wish to overtake us we don’t mind, but don’t chop across the front of our car, give us space, see points 4, 5 & 6.
  13. We will avoid a crash at all costs and we will take extra care.
  14. We will avoid mud. That mud stores moisture and starts the rust process off.
  15. We are paranoid about rust. We can hear our cars rusting in the garage!
  16. We don’t drive close to side of the road where there are hedges as they are a potential for paint damage.
  17. We will stop rather than drive past or through a bush or hedge.
  18. We will slow down for large puddles.
  19. We don’t like rain.
  20. We will do everything we can to protect our cars from water damage.
  21. Tailgating makes us nervous, we won’t speed up just because you want to go faster.
  22. Because we tinker around on our cars doesn’t mean anything is wrong.
  23. If you see our car and you don’t like what you see, don’t tell us because we don’t care.
  24. We are happy to talk to anybody about our cars, but please don’t tell what our cars should look like or what we have done wrong in restoring it.
  25. We will drive around endlessly looking for a safe place to park.
  26. If our car is parked somewhere you can guarantee we can still see it.
  27. There is no need to touch our cars.
  28. Finger prints on our paint is a problem for us. We will clean it off.
  29. Leaning on our cars is definitely not acceptable.
  30. The tinkle of zips, belts, buckles or the metallic sound of a ring will damage our paint.
  31. Young children with ice creams are a potential for more unnecessary cleaning.
  32. Dogs using our tyres as a mobile toilet is not acceptable. We will clean it off.
  33. We don’t like parking under trees because tree sap can ruin paint. We will clean it off.
  34. Birds mess on the car will cause serious damage to paint work. We will clean it off.
  35. Dead insects on our cars is unsightly and can cause damage. We will clean it off.
  36. Cleaning our cars is a pleasure and some of our cleaning products can cost as much as a tank of fuel.
  37. The “You missed a bit” cleaning joke isn’t funny, honestly.
  38. No we won’t clean your car when we have finished ours.
  39. Yes we do need to clean our car if its been in the garage, it gets dusty.
  40. We tend not to thrash our cars around just to prove a point for you.
  41. The grip from our tyres may not be as good as modern-day compounds.
  42. A set of traffic lights is not a cue for drag race with you.
  43. The interior of our classic cars are cleaned with the same care as the outside.
  44. Adding fuel to our cars means we will wipe off every single spilt drop.
  45. We carry spare fluids in the trunk for all eventualities under the hood.
  46. We sit by our cars at car shows to keep an eye on our cars.
  47. No you can’t sit in it – don’t ask.
  48. No we won’t start our car up just so you can hear it, wait untill we leave.
  49. There are two prices for our classic car parts, the proper price and the price we tell our partners.
  50. A classic car is not “just a car” to us, it’s a way of life.

I hope I haven’t missed anything and made a few people smile and say – “yep that’s me!” If I have missed something that needs to be on this list, please let me know and I shall amend it. Although this is a little bit of fun, there is also a serious note to the points too. When I see any Classic Car on the road and I am in my daily workhorse car; I give them plenty of room now.

I just couldn’t do a post with no picture of a car that wouldn’t be right.


Posted in Articles, Car, Driving my car | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments