Lesson Learned

There is so much on the Mustang forums here in the UK about prices of parts for our beloved Mustangs. It’s a well known fact that the cost of living has gone insane amounts, partly due to the Covid pandemic over the last couple of years. There have been shortages of materials, that then means shortage of parts which ultimately leads to supply and demand shortages.

Fact: costs of freight have quadrupled from the USA to the UK. I can state that as I have seen the import duty charged for the last couple of months compared to what they were two years ago to Mustang Maniac. Will the costs go down again? I very much doubt it, so the whole economy suffers in one way or another. Indeed Adam (from Mustang Maniac) had even predicted this a while ago on their blog too.

So where am I going with this? Companies are now careful about what they buy and what they keep in stock, sometimes ordering the parts once they have been paid. I have even heard it said that ‘Stock that sits on the shelf isn’t paying the bills’. I usually ask Mustang Maniac to get me the odd bits and pieces from the USA which he does for me without a problem. To save him the bother this time as I know how busy he gets, I thought I would have a go myself. Here is the story of how it went for me.

I saw a picture of a rather nice PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation) valve on an engine that was built ready to be put back into their project car and yes it was a Mustang. This part was required as part of legislation by California state I believe to clean the pollution up. The part is to basically allow a controlled air leak back to the carb to reburn any dirty emissions from the ‘blow by’ of the pistons back into the combustion cycle.

It took me a little while to find where they were being sold, eventually I found it at Summit Racing. I liked the look of the polished aluminum tower with a right angle outlet, something a little different here in the UK, that’s all it was – pure cosmetics.

As it was on another Mustang small block engine, it was treat time for Mart. So I added the part to the basket. The part was $27.50 which worked out to £21.93 this side of the pond.

First thing to hit me was the “Shipping Costs” at $30.63 or £24.42 in the UK.

This is is more than the cost of the part in the first place. Heart was ruling head at this point as I ordered it at a total of $58.13 or £46.35 in UK. That is a lot of money around ten times the price for a standard PCV valve at $4 or so. This was going to be a luxury part.

The part was ordered on Friday 5th May 2022 when I was given a link to a tracking page.

It took nine days to get to the export facility. The part eventually arrived at the UK distribution on Tuesday 24th May 2022, within ten hours of it landing in the UK it was delivered. The six days between 18th to the 24th I assume it was in a row boat heading across the pond to our little ol’ island.

For $30 I expected the part to be flown over by a beautiful Golden Eagle with my part clutched in it’s talons. No need to comment on the postage times as they a plain to see. The 24hr service from Parcel Force in the UK was impressive – but it comes at a cost of course.

The part was in my hand early afternoon and I couldn’t wait to get to the car after work with a little tinkering to be done. The first thing I did was to compare the parts, with the old valve on top, the new one underneath. Diameter of the fitting was correct at 3/4″ fitting to valve cover grommet.

On a side note, the quality of the part wasn’t great, it was marked and tarnished on the surface, you can clearly see it in the picture. I have no doubt I could buff it and polish it up, but why should I have too?

Then I checked the underside for the ventilation hole which was significantly smaller. The new one on the right, the old on the left.

Before I dismantled the old setup, I had already built the new one with a piece of spare vacuum hose ready to be a direct replacement to the original which I know is was working fine. The spring in the new valve was also much stronger than the current one. A little press of the inner plate with a small screw driver confirmed that.

I fired the car up and allowed it to warm up properly. To swap them over it was a simple case to pull out the old valve from the top of the rocker cover and the other end pulls of the vacuum input on the base of the carb. Then I quickly swap them over, literally five seconds or so. I checked the valve was fine by placing my thumb over the bottom and it sucked my thumb to form a seal just as I expect it to before pushing it into the grommet on top of the valve cover.

With the new setup pipe fully in place the car started to cough and splutter with a significant drop to the idle revs. When I selected a drive gear the engine tried it’s best to hang on, but it stalled out. I started the car up again and I had to throttle the gas to keep the engine alive. To keep the engine alive on its own I had to turn the idle adjustment screw up by well over a turn and a half, which is a lot to keep the engine from stalling out. The car didn’t seem to happy with that, I wasn’t happy to make that much adjustment either.

I was disappointed with the product and the results from it, so I swapped the old one back in and reversed the changes I had just made – all was good again.

What valuable lesson have I learned?

The PCV valves are different and will effect on the running of the engine as expected. But, how the valve and current settings are now are fine. To make this part work, I would have to mess with mixtures and idle to which is not good, I was hoping for a straight swap which it should be.

The point to make is that I now have a part in the UK which won’t really work on my car. I could send it back. Lets just say it cost me another $30 to get back to the USA. Then I would have to wait for Summit to reimbursed the cost of the part and not the shipping I paid to send it back. That would mean that I would have spent $60 on shipping with a new total of around $90, just to get my £22 back. That means I would have lost £50 or so on shipping. It’s just not worth it.

However, if I had of purchased the part from the UK, I could have returned it and got a refund with just a fraction of the shipping costs as the part is incompatible or so it seems. My head told me no at the time, and my head was right.

People in the UK are quick to moan (a lot in fact), at the costs of UK shipping and the costs of the parts. The UK supplier would have to put their shipping costs and taxes on the part, along with their business mark-up which is constantly under a squeeze now days. So lets say that part now cost £60 + £5 shipping; I could have returned it and I could have of gotten my money back if it was the wrong part sent to me. But, as it wasn’t the wrong part, it was the part I had ordered, so technically they are under no obligation to take it back unless it’s faulty or mis-sold.

The moral of the story is yes, you can get it cheaper from the USA, pay the shipping, pay the import costs, taxes and whatever anybody else tries to rip you of for. Then you have to wait unless you pay a premium for the postage to get to you in a reasonable amount of time. What if it’s faulty or the wrong part? The decision is yours at the end of the day send it back, or keep it depending on the original amount of money for the part I guess. I’m not on any retainer for this post from anybody – it’s my own findings. I may have another crack at this part later on once I have spoken to the experts at Mustang Maniac for guidance. I like to think that I’m supporting local business who do all the hard work and store these parts until I want them. when you know what’s involved and what could go wrong, the costs aren’t that bad.

I’m not even sure if this will be helpful to anybody to be honest – I just wanted to get it of my chest.

Please let me know what you think or have any points to add.

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Road Test

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. mud1 mud2 mud3 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. tyremark


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: ticket 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! badge1 badge2 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.

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Lots Of New Parts

I intended to post this last night as normal on a Sunday, but the time I got half way through it all it was getting late. So it has been delayed until today, but I think it will be worth the wait.

So the weekend just gone I knew what my tasks were going to be at Mustang Maniac, not cleaning up this time, but adding the last bits of pipe work and connections to the engine. I arrived and found Adam moving a load of new orders around in the offices and stock rooms where we discussed the plan of action for the day. I was given a collection of parts and made my way to the workshop.


As I opened the door and found my new Magnum 500 wheels fitted with their tyres, one was already partly on the car, the guys thought that I would like to fit them on myself, which of course I did. The wheels were a special shipping order by Adam (as the last set were sold early last week), they arrived within the week ready to be fitted with tyres and balanced. All I can say is OMG they look awesome on the car. Thanks Adam for getting them so quickly. The protective paint over the white lettering will be left on for now until in the mean time of working on the car so they don’t get scuffed.

As I was looking under the car Adam arrived with even more parts which were going to be fitted. Adam showed me the exhaust pipes that Yogi had fabricated as a custom fit from the oversized headers. As the main pipes was slightly smaller than the three-inch header bores the step down was made to fit. As these headers sit low under the car, care was taken to clamp them up to give as much clearance as possible. At this point there is no H-pipe crossover as I wanted to hear what the engine note was like without it. This will be a mod that Yogi can do at a later date (but he don’t know it yet) if I don’t like it. Due to the larger exhaust pipes the standard hand brake lever will catch the pipes and so had to be modified to be out-of-the-way of the exhaust. Yogi worked his magic and redesigned the part which now has a gentle S-curve to it. You can just make it out after the white headers on the right hand side in these pics.

I was told to take my carb back off again as I hadn’t put the correct gaskets in place. Adam spotted it on my blog and thought I had the correct ones. The gaskets would have worked what I had on there, but not how it should have been and could have caused engine running issues or not as smooth as it should be. So here is the correct sequence with the 4v gaskets and not the open style that I had previously had a half and half mixture of.

Yogi has also been busy fitting the transmission cooling lines to the radiator which are made of Copper-Nickel. They look like copper to start with but are much tougher, harder to bend and will dull down and weather to look like the stock steel pipes. The fittings at the radiator are unique to Mustang Maniac as they were designed by them and have them made in batches. These hand crafted pipes are designed to follow the original route at the front but take a more custom line due to the headers and the starter motor.

To get the starter motor in is a simple job, two bolts one top and one bottom, however, due to the space that is taken up by the headers this is no easy feat to achieve. In order to get the starter in place I had to remove the idle arm link and massage the transmission pipes out-of-the-way to fit it in place.

The transmission pipes will come up behind the starter and be joined by the starter motor power lead when that gets added next week. You can see the mounting hole for the starter and then it’s a case of wiggle it in place and get a bolt in. The starter is a heavy bit of metal and the ideal scenario is to get it fitted in quick as possible before your arms start to ache.

With the starter in place it was back on with the suspension linkage. Now it was time to let the car back down again and work on the top of the engine. While I was under the engine I fitted the new oil filter ready to be filled up. Adam disappeared for a few minutes and turned back up with my rocker covers that I had been aching to fit. The black “289 Powered by Ford” set with their new gaskets. He laid them on my now ever decreasing parts boxes and said “I have been saving these for you.”

We removed the old rocker covers that were just resting in place, fitted the new gaskets to the new covers and started to fit the new covers in place.

With the left side bank cover going on we then added some quality oil into the car to allow it to settle down to a level while we work on other bits.


The transmission oil was added to the gearbox about half to start with then that was allowed to settle.


While that was settling the front fan and power steering pump belts were added and tensioned correctly.

It got busy with the battery tray and drilled the back location hole and tightened it all up ready for the Autolite battery to be put in place week.


The PCV pipe was added to the right bank rocker cover and the carb spacer, brake booster pipe fitted to the back of the engine block, the ignition coil was added where I custom fitted the wires to fit their new location to look neat. Water was added to the radiator and the satisfactory gurgle and bubbling of the engine block was like a music to my ears. Just for now that is most of the pipe work and fluids added to the car. Of course the levels will be checked and topped up again after it has been fired up.


Yet again the day was a long one yet I didn’t notice as time flies when you’re having fun, which I certainly was.

Last weeks homework:

That was all about my old spare wheel. The wheel was filthy dirty and needed some work.

The wheel was given a proper clean inside and out to see what needed to be done in way of repairs. The result wasn’t to bad at all under the gunge. The rough bits of paint and rust were removed with wire wool and thoroughly degreased again.

The tyre was in pretty good shape and was masked up and given a couple of light layers of red oxide primer and allowed to dry in the sun. before adding the last coats of the full painted oxide.

The gloss black was applied after an hour or so once the red oxide had fully dried. This again was added in light layers and built up to give the final look.

The masking was removed and the white wall cleaned along with the rubber tyre. The final result is a good a new spare wheel which will go into the trunk later on.

Another large post I know but we got so much done and I hope it was worth the wait.  Will we turn the key next week? I’m not so sure as there is a little more to be done on the wiring, connecting and tidying up etc and I have ordered a part for the carb to make the fuel line look neater. But it won’t be far away at all now. 🙂

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Making Headway

Looking forward to the long weekend as I could get to Mustang Maniac on Saturday and rest for a day on Sunday then do some homework which I had in mind on the bank holiday Monday. Saturday morning I loaded up the car and went to the garage to pick up my sockets and tools bag, I walked in picked up the stuff and put them in the boot and shut the garage door. Realising I forgot the ratchets I went to open the door Again. Locked. I searched my pocket, no keys. I went to the back of the car and checked the tool bag, no keys. I then had the cold sweat feeling, I put the keys on the service trolley in the garage. Now I always unlock the garage, lock it again and put the keys in my pocket. That way when I shut the door it’s already locked and so I don’t forget. Get the spare key, there is no spare key! When we bought the house there was only one key for the garage and I have been meaning to get one cut ever since for a number of years now should we say. At this point it’s dilemma time, do I try to get into the garage or leave it until Sunday? I decided to leave it, and went to say goodbye to the wife who could hear me havin’ my own little rant to myself out the front. She didn’t laugh (yet), but used some of the words that I was using previously to describe my stupidity back to me. Her stifled laughter didn’t last to long as I got in my car with the right hump. All sorts of things were running through my mind, locksmith? Replacement door? I just didn’t know what to think, all the way to the yard I was fretting and nothing on the radio calmed me down, cyclists two abreast down country lanes gave me the hump, getting stuck behind a bus down country lanes gave me the hump. Eventually I got to MM and bumped straight into Adam and Chris. I explained what I had done with my garage, they explained the best way to “re-gain entry” back into my garage when I got home. How do they know these things? Anyway, Sunday I tried their techniques to open the door. Now I needed a replacement part, I took the old one with me and took it to place I know who stock all that sort of stuff. Got home and replaced the handle and lock with a stronger quality one. All fixed again and now I have two keys.


If you need another key, get one cut before it’s to late!

I unloaded half the tools I normally take to the yard and went to the workshop. Where Adam showed me the head liner that had been fitted. It looks great and gives it new lease of life. There were a couple of fold marks near the edges that would drop out shortly under the pressure of the headliner bows. I was well pleased and decided to go for a celebration Cherry Bakewell cake with the guys in the boys club.

Next was some exhaust work, as the parts had been sprayed last week and they were waiting for Yogi who didn’t get a chance to re-hang the exhaust as he was busy on other cars. So as I watched him last week I had a go myself, I soon realised it’s not as easy as he made it look. I eventually got it all back in place and aligned it up best I could get it. Just in case Yogi wanted to move bits I didn’t clamp it up hard, but just a tiny pinch to hold the brackets in place. There was not a lot of room to manoeuvre under there but it’s hanging in place and ready for Yogi to do his thing with the three-inch headers to the main pipes. I know they are not aligned up square and neat, but they will do just for now.

The next part was the carburettor fitting, I removed the old tape from the inlet port that kept the area clean. I rubbed the area down clean ready for the gaskets to be fitted back in place. John joined me and we worked out the sequence of gaskets to be fitted. The first gasket was to seal the intake to the carb spacer.

Then comes the carb spacer, not essential but these give extra torque and power to the engine and make things run that much nicer. This spacer sits on top of the previous gasket.

The next part is the gasket for the bottom of the carb and then the car itself.

The sits on top and is bolted down for bolts each corner.


With the carb in place the throttle linkage was connected to the butterfly controls of the carb and the vacuum advance line. I’m not sure I like the pipe and may change that to look neater.

Adam joined me late in the day we got to grips with the pipe work. We fitted up the new black silicon pipes with my new clamps which turned out to be a real pig to fit in position due to the bulk of the T-bar fittings at the top. We eventually got there but I needed to order two more clamps for the top hose. The clamps should have fitted, but they wouldn’t fit over the pipes and the ridge at the end of the water pump. I will order the next size up they should be with me by the time I get to MM next week.

Feeling a little worse for wear at 7.30pm we decided to call it a day. I had forgotten all about my locked up key, that was until I got on the dual carriageway, put the car in cruise control and reflected on the day, what a stupid boy I had been I thought to myself. OK I didn’t use those exact words but it sort of means the same thing.

My homework? Well that was to bring home a wheel and tyre from my collection. Adam tells me I had different steel wheels from different cars and only one of which was a Mustang wheel. The wheels were welded on some, riveted on others, different sizes and slightly different designs all that I hadn’t noticed. The only good bit about it all was that the Mustang wheel had the best tyre of the bunch on it. I will clean up the wheel and use that for my spare should I ever need it that is.

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Primer All Over

The week was another anticipated trip to Mustang Maniac where I was going to finish painting my engine and putting a few bits back on it ready for the car to come back from paint. Somehow I don’t think my painting is up to the standard of the paint job my cars body work is getting. I’m not sure where to start, on the bodywork or the engine? So I think I will start with the bodywork. The car is being primed and block still at the moment and any hidden metal joins are being sealed up and coated to make the whole thing look seamless. An attention to detail many don’t consider.

The hood has now been masked up and given the primer treatment now and the parts are coming of and going on the car like you wouldn’t believe.

With the car bits removed they are all treated and sprayed in exactly the same levels of details.


The parts when cured are then put back on the car for fit and keep them all together ready for more block work.

I so want to get down there to see how it’s all done!

As I was saying earlier the engine intake manifold was back from shot blasting and John kindly jet washed it all out for me to get rid of the debris left overs, after all the last thing you want in your car’s engine is sand! The intake was allowed to dry thoroughly by the time I got there a few days later. The exposed surfaces were now showing signs of light surface rust again as expected from the exposed metal and elements. The gasket faces needed to be cleaned up again and I lightly polished up the faces ready for the gasket fitting.

The gaskets were laid over the intake ports and the intake was carefully lowered onto the gaskets making sure they did not move.

The head was lightly bolted down finger tight and then torqued to the thirteen or fifteen pound required to hold it in place. The pot of blue paint used from the engine block was now opened and two coats of engine enamel applied when they were cured. A cover of masking tape was placed over the carb intake holes to stop any undesirable debris getting in the engine.

engpaint19We decided that the best plan here was to know put the old rocker (or valve) covers back on just in case we needed to adjust any of the springs back up again to save damage to new covers and gaskets. I also then mounted the fuel pump back on the side after it had been cleaned up along with the fuel pipe to the carb.

With the pump in place there was not a lot more I could do until the paint has fully cured.

The story so far for the engine. Next week I may be able to get the senders fitted and the fittings for the pipe works. Then it will start to look a bit more like a working engine rather than the work of art that it is at the moment.


You just know full well it’s gonna stay looking like this. I have even bought the soft tooth brushes already to clean it when I get her home!

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A Round Of Golf?

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


 Finished Article:

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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.

Quick Link:

Factory Fitted Aircon Tidy Up click here.

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