Boys & Their Toys

I have started to venture into the very dangerous and addictive world of Ford Mustang Memorabilia. I waste research many hours on eBay looking for things to add to my collection. I am given things by Adam at Mustang Maniac and also a very good friend of mine Gary W. It’s his fault that I am now spending money to get these little golden nuggets of historic items where I can, instead of buying paint to decorate the house like I promised the wife I would over a year ago. I fact the wife has banned me from going there because I come home with all these ideas of what I can add to my ‘Man-Cave’ sanctuary or ‘garage’, or as my wife tends to call it ‘Garbage’, (a play on garage or trash), due to old collectible oil cans in there, old Mustang parts, memorabilia, books, signs, flags etc.

At the beginning of the year I was a lucky man to be given a AMF Wen-Mac 1966 Ford Mustang GT Dealer promo  1/12th scale model. There is very little information out there on these models such as how many were made, how many each dealer got etc etc. All I know is that I now have one.

The only information I could find by good ol’ Google is pretty common and a little insider knowledge from Gary who gave me my ‘toy’ as it was to be marketed back then, I of course prefer the term ‘model’.

At he launch of the new Mustang in 64, Ford Marketing decided on three promotional products to support the launch:
One: was a pretty familiar ‘dealer promo model’ much as other makers had done since the late 50s. Based on 1/25 scale, AMT produced nicely detailed models of both the coupe and fastback for dealers to put on sales men’s desks and to give to certain customers.

AMT went on to produce construction kits. Nowadays, dealer promo models in complete condition can fetch over $100 – even in worn condition.
Two: was a child’s pedal car – also made by AMF which sold very well. Original unrestored pedal cars can now fetch over $2000.

Three: was a larger scale model produced by the popular model maker Wen-Mac and featured either a ‘battery electric’ or ‘gas powered (glow plug petrol)’ 1/12 scale model of the 66 Mustang coupe – available in one single colour of red. Featuring in many Mustang media ads, it was a nicely detailed model that a child could use on the lounge carpet with fixable steering and with working headlights. There was a conversion kit for $2.50 to run from ‘electric’ battery power to ‘gas’ for racing buffs that included a tiny gasoline engine and slicks. A pic of a complete model from the net as it would have been then.

A remote-control throttle could also be added. It was $10 extra for all of this in 1966. The model was on sale for $6 at the time or $4.95 during the Christmas season.

In 1967 Wen-Mac also introduced this ’67 fastback model – in light blue.

Both of the models are now very collectable with hard to find complete models in good condition and boxes fetching $150-$200.

My car is in great condition so I can’t complain what so ever. I may look out for a motor one day if I ever see one for sale or take it from a damaged donor model as it were.

The model had a little electric motor (unfortunately mine is missing) that allowed the car to run forwards or backwards. The steering could be set to left or right.

The front and rear headlights were also working when the car ran. Many of the cars have the model engine missing and or the motor for that provides drive to the wheels, sometimes it’s the hood missing too.

If anybody can give any additional information I would appreciate it and will update this page with it.

Of course, if you have any early Mustang memorabilia you want to ‘donate’ to a good home and increase a fledgling collection, – contact me and we can sort something out. 😉

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Last weekend I attended a car show in the beautiful village of Lavenham in Suffolk, not far away from me. The weather was forecast to be cloudy and rain at five in the afternoon. That would be perfect as the show was to finish at four. I would get home before the rain. The morning arrived and I looked at the sky, broken clouds with a hint of sun, do I or don’t I go? There was an outside chance that there would be rain, my car might get wet. I have a ‘paid for’ weather app and it’s usually right. Then I have my lovely wife who simply said “it’s gonna rain, you might as well stay at home and do a little more decorating.” That killed it – I was going. I’m not saying I hate painting and decorating, but I would rather stick certain parts of my anatomy in a bear trap to get out of it. Setting of I was watching the clouds so far so good.

I arrived and was directed to the USA car club area, there was one other Corvette there and he looked pleased to see me arrive. We had a chat about the weather and we both agreed it wasn’t going to rain.

There was a few cars turning up, but not the massive influx as you would expect. The set up was good for the show, a circle in the middle where all the cars faced outwards to the other cars facing inwards to the circle  from around the outside. Well that was the theory at least. The event opened, and a few people turned up to see what was going on.

The pictures above was pretty much the all the cars there and only took me half hour max to walk around. Then I got the call “Are sure you don’t want to come home as it’s raining here now?” I’m literally only twenty minutes away from home in this village. I walked back to the car and was pleased to see two more Corvettes had arrived.

We of course talked about weather, it wasn’t going to rain. I told them that my local weather girl, had predicted rain – although my ‘paid for’ app was still saying no rain. Unmistakable clouds were now forming.

The tea room was selling hot cups of tea. Then I saw it, the first umbrella went up, then the wave of rain-swept across the field.

Within a few minutes it was carnage, soft tops were going back up, bonnets (hoods) were being closed, windows being wound up, people diving into their cars as more umbrellas went up. My car was now starting to shrink in the rain. Although I was very pleased with the wax beading as I studied it.

Cars were starting up and began to leave. I, of course being the optimist put my cowl guard on thinking that the rain would stop soon. As my ‘paid for app’ said no rain.

I called the wife while running for a tent for cover, who told me the rain was getting worse at home. My ‘paid for’ that wasn’t cheap, that I bought especially for the car show weather forecasts, was still saying ‘cloudy – no rain’. Half an hour later I admitted defeat, the cowl cover came off and stored in the boot (trunk). I started up and set off home, with the language now as blue as my car! It was almost a good car show for the two hours or so that I was there. Almost home I called the wife to open the garage for me so that I could drive straight into it. The car got dried off as best I could and put the dehumidifier on full blast to absorb every last drop of moisture in the garage and from under the car.

Now that the car was dried I came into the house, and I was greeted with that look only women can give, the ‘I told you so’ look. Nothing was said, nothing needed to be said, she was right, (again). My ‘paid for’ app now said, ‘80% chance of rain’, really? I could have phoned them and told them it was raining, and got my money back while I was at it.

Oh, what did I do for the rest of the day? Yep – painting! 😦

Putting the rubbish bin out later in the evening ready for Monday morning collection, I made a detour via the garage to check the humidity, all was quite dry in there now, so I was quite pleased in that respect. I reset the dehumidifier back down to its normal setting for my garage, the dust sheet went back on and closed up. It was such a shame the rain stopped play, the Lavenham Show is held in a beautiful village, a great little drive to get there and is always supported well with all the proceeds going to the county’s Air Ambulance trust.

Maybe next year we will have some sun.

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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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