A Little Village Day Out

A ‘Bank Holiday’ in the UK usually means one thing, rain. Not all the time but most of the time as a rule of thumb. But this weekend is different as it has been a gloriously sunny weekend for all three days. Yesterday was a local village about 20 miles away, Bardwell where their little village green pays host to a small friendly car show with around two hundred pre booked cars to exhibit.

On arrival the cars were allocated their own parking spaces with a numbered peg in the ground. There was an option to be ‘judged’ in different categories, but you had to pay extra for that. I wasn’t worried about that side of things and just wanted to have a day in the sun and enjoy a bit of people watching. I was parked up next to a newer S197 Mustang and on the other side of me was 280CE Mercedes. The owner of the Merc and his wife were sitting in their deckchairs with me and we had some good ol’ chats throughout the day.

With all the cars parked in place the gates opened at ten sharp to where the public was allowed in. There was a constant stream all day and the atmosphere was fantastic. I decided to go for a little walk after I had wiped the dust and dead bugs from the front of the car cleaned the glass on my car. I think the bugs had Lemmings DNA in them. I do believe that I managed to hit every bug on the way there, it certainly seemed like it though 🙂

I tried to get a few scenic shots in of the show, the best of it was that there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky – all day.

On my last post I took a picture of the back end of my car next to another 65 coupe, this show I managed to repeat it with the S197 convertible.

I saw this car come in and I made sure that it would be my first port of call. The car was a Lamborghini Countach. I had posters of this car on my wall as a kid at school, next to the Mustangs and many Debbie Harry ones. By todays super car performances this isn’t that devastating now, however it’s still no slouch by any stretch of the imagination and will hold its own against most cars. In its day this car destroyed pretty much destroyed everything around that dared to try. Not to everybody’s taste I get that, but what a car it is to see in the flesh and still looks good. Is it automotive art or pure automotive porn?

So I walked around clockwise and no particular order, there where a couple of super cars parked next to a super small car;

At one end of the end green opposite to the main gate was the village pond, I think these cars had the best spot of the day, beautiful backdrop and also the coolest place in the shade on the green.

There was an outside perimeter of cars and a couple of rows in the middle.

There was a healthy helping of luxury cars past and present;

I past this little lady on the way to the show that was just minding it’s own business and chugging along at 20mph or so.

There was a few UK fords in the show and I grouped them together here, most of them being Capri(s);

The USA contingent were scattered around, with only two Mustangs being there. Similar story to the Corvettes old and new side by side.

The rest of the cars that I took a fancy to on my rounds, a few of which I have seen a few times before at local shows.

Just outside the main green there was motorbike collection. I have never seen such amazing bikes with levels of luxury to rival a car. Some of the custom artwork had to be seen to be believed. How on earth do these things stay upright?

Celebrity Spot:

Roy Mcfruin.

This gentleman may not be an A-lister in the general definition of a celeb, but to me – he is. I could of spoken to him for hours and wished I could of done so. I had so many questions, but not enough time to answer them all. 🙁

Roy found me by my car and started talking to me about my car. He told me how he picked up Henry Ford II from the airport as he was given a 66′ Mustang Coupe as a company car. I was so intrigued I asked more; it turns out that Roy was working the SVT in the early ’60s when they were relocated to the Slough works just outside Heathrow Airport in the UK. He told me how he was there developing the GT40’s ready for the infamous 1966 annihilation of Ferrari at Le Mans. He had flown to Dearborn a number of times to the Ford head offices. He was there at the iconic Le Mans 1,2,3 win in the garages. He met Carroll Shelby and of course the race drivers. What amazing stories, I actually met a man who helped shaped the History of the Ford Motor Racing legend that lives on today. Such a nice guy, I hope to catch up with him again.

Thank you for your time with me Roy.

Entertainment from ‘The Nightingales’.

At mid day and two in the afternoon the ‘The Nightingales’ took to the stage to sing a flurry of tunes. They were very good and I stood there for ages watching them. They sang everything from queen to The Twist and of course Mustang Sally. There was a group who looked like they came in the Chevy Bel-Air who were doing some really good Jive and Rock & Roll dancing. Petticoats and flared dresses were cool to look at, but I bet they weren’t so cool to wear and dance around in the hot sun. A great atmosphere with the dancing.

And to finish up the Canine Corner, some very hot looking dogs out for the day.

It was a great day out, I spoke to a couple old friends, made new friends and even allowed a couple of people to sit my car. The drive home was strategically timed, as the awards were being given out at one end of the field furthest away from me, I made an exit to avoid the rush. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and drive home was so relaxed.

It was great to be out and about again. 🙂

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Making Things

Today is my car’s birthday. This day fifty four years ago on the 11th July 1966 my car rolled off the Ford production line at Dearborn, Michigan. USA.

1966. A Mustang hardtop coupe comes down the final assembly line at DAP.

Speaking of things being built, I was bought a model kit a while ago which was the LEGO GT500 kit, which I reviewed here. I thoroughly enjoyed it of course and wasted a good few hours making it. For my birthday (which was a good few months ago), I was bought another kit from my wife. I think it was to keep me quiet to be honest. This time it was a Technical kit which can cost between £75 and £150 depending on where you buy it. This kit is not an official LEGO kit but is pretty much identical to the real thing. I have done a full review of this kit here.

The kit is based on the official Hoonigan v2 made by LEGO with 3168 pieces. Model kits of this type differ in the fact it doesn’t rely on bricks, it relies on pegs and holes to fit together.

There is an option to be powered by motors and remote control which are purchased separately. An option I didn’t want to go for.

In the box was fourteen bags of parts, none of which were numbered like the Lego kits. There were bigger bags, the wheels, sheet of stickers, and then there were smaller bags of the pegs or fixings of different sizes and colours.

The instructions are not brilliant due to the fact that the print colours did vary a bit and the difference between the light grey and brown was difficult to spot on some pages.

There is a distinct pattern for the build as its cleverly build in a modular style. The smaller build part instructions are clear enough with arrows of what goes where. With the modular parts being added to the bigger build, it can be difficult to see where some bits are fitted together on the complex diagrams.

The model starts from the inside out, you build the differentials and gearing for the rear of the car. The diff then gets added to a bit of chassis which is ready for the next bit and so on.

As you build a part you can check the movement and operation. Little cogs marry up and are held by splines in part holes to allow it to move.

The rear suspension was fun and the way the whole section moves is very clever indeed. What starts out quite flimsy then with more parts it’s bolstered up and quite solid.

With the tunnel section completed in the middle the floor pans are added and all of a sudden the scale of the model becomes clear.

The build of the engine block has working pistons for you to see running off their own cam shaft.

The front suspension is complex and perhaps the hardest part of the model for me. Lining up the mini half shafts and gearing was a bit fiddly with my big hands. The curved sections are a long flexible spline that has tubes slid over it and the ends plugged into a termination point. Things like the headlights look great but can be easily dislodged, a little more on that later.

The fenders are built up to complete the look with the hood. The hood has a large cut out in the centre and does the frame of the hood a little fragile. Silver parts are added to the engine for the turbos and exhaust pipes.

The bag of silver parts some of which were obvious for the engine parts, the rest were for the seats sides and head rest. The steering wheel inside the car could in theory move the wheels, but it’s not strong enough for that and jumped a tooth or two on the cog, I had to jump it back again to centre the steering back up. But if you move the steering rack the steering inside the car will move fine.

The seats fit well into the car, but you have to be careful of the dash area not to dislodge the delicate steering joints.

The rear quarters are added and the wheel arches. Again these are twin flexible splines where the tiles are slid over and have to be even spaced out to look right. The fitting is plugged into termination pieces at each end and has to bend like a rainbow shape to fit. Give them a knock and they will come off which is very annoying.

Behind the seats is reinforced with more building. There is a silver part of the interior roll cage behind the drivers seat that attaches one end and just left to flap about inside.

This aggravated me and with some bits that were obviously going to be left over I made a little mod and attached it to a spare hole and attached it properly. Seen below with the left hand elbow joint. Also adding a little more stability.

The doors were straight forward enough, with a complex hinge mechanism which allows the door to open wide. The attachment to the rest of the car was more awkward as the one of the rubber bands that holds the doors shut pinged out of place which resulted in a deconstruction to refit the bands. Terrible idea I think as the band will perish and break leaving the doors to flap around at a later date.

The back of the car’s light panel gets built with lots of red and black thin bricks to make the tail lights. The result is a very effective and convincing light panel. Although no lights work on this car at all.

The trunk opens and closes with a hinge idea the same as the front hood.

The roof using the last of the long flexible splines threads the roof panels for the A pillars.

The front wheel arches are based on the same principle as the rears were and fitted into place, again not to a very secure fitting. But it does give a nice gentle curve with flat bricks.

The wheels were required to be fitted about two thirds of the way into the build. I kept knocking them off while turning the model over and around to work on different sections. So I fitted them as the last things on the car.

Once the model is built it does look really good and a pretty good representation of Ken Block’s Hoonigan v2.

Grievances I found with the model:

Wheel Hubs: A critical part of the ‘movable’ model. The wheel hubs; they are terrible. The wheels are held firmly in place to the hubs (brake discs) by three pegs. When you try to push the wheels into place the suspension moves and the tiny part of the UJ (universal Joint) that also has two little pins to turn the wheels from the gears pops out and there is no drive. If you are to power this model I promise you that the drive hubs will break loose on the front due to single point of fitting a UJ. This has to be the case as the wheels turn for the steering, rotate for the movement (using the two pins to stop it spinning within the hub), and to move up and down for the suspension. A three-way movement ball that is only a couple of millimetres wide at its widest part. I had to deconstruct the front end (twice until I learned my lesson), and some of the steering section to refit the part back onto the spline. The problem is that the spline is not long enough and allows a backward movement from the hub which should never happen. You could get round the spline movement by a blob of superglue to the UJ fitting end onto the spline.

Motorised Option: During the build for the suspension and the steering the motors instructions are an option. This will require a few tweaks to the construction. The motors will drive the rear wills via a diff and the front wheels via the second diff. The problem is that that the splines and cogs are a bit to delicate for my liking.

There is a super clever option to allow the car to ‘drift’ under it’s own power by a configuration of the diff. I have no idea how fast these motors are supposed to go. But guessing there is a drift option it should have a fair amount of speed to move the model.

Decals: These are cheap and obviously don’t say the correct branding due to the copy right. It’s very clever how the use of fonts and slight rearranging of characters can lead you to misread it as you know what it should say. The decals are not the water based style which leaves very little visible evidence of the background or clear parts. These stickers are self adhesive and clearly show on the black bricks of the model. The air bubbles are a nightmare and ruin the smooth outline. The decals are not cut correctly for some parts that go over some raised surfaces, such as the ford logo on the front, a sharp scalpel to cat the deal to allow it to lay flatter makes a big difference. An option is to even leave the stickers off the car. It will still look great.

These cheap decals seriously lets the model down for me unfortunately.

Tyres & Rims: The just slip over the rims and can be moved on the rims once fitted. I suspect that a bit of serious drifting will dislodge the tyres on the rims. This can be cured of course by a few well placed blobs of super glue to hold the tyres to the rims. But if you scrub the rather thin tyres out it will become a nightmare to replace them. The rims themselves don’t actually look like the real car! Something to do with copyright maybe I don’t know. But it’s a bit of big ‘error’.

Doors: The hinges are helped to stay shut via twisted elastic bands. Give it time like I mentioned above the bands will perish and the doors won’t stay shut if under it’s own power. They will probably fly open and shut depending on where it goes I guess.

Build Quality: Some of the parts will be knocked of and dislodged fairly easily, such as the headlights, front air splitter, the turbo parts of the engine and wheel arches in particular. Nothing which a bit of superglue wouldn’t sort out.

There are two options for the model and the static option looks great in a cabinet for display. The model is large and heavy. Trying to push the vehicle along will hear all sorts of teeth jumping and the engine pistons (which you can’t see anyway with the hood down) in particular getting stuck.

If you are going to motorise this then you need to beef it up with some superglue! The wheel hubs will dislocate from the centre of the wheels, this can be easily done by just pushing the car along, or trying to turn the wheels on steering lock.

The underside of the car has cut outs for the cogs, this allows for dirt and debris to contaminate the meshing of the cogs and will cause problems.

As the sales blurb says itself; “It is not really a toy, but rather a model for the showcase”.

The majority of the car is a real fun build and took me many hours to complete. There were no parts missing and all the parts fitted together correctly. The kit is indeed a challenge to build and I liked that. It sounds like a I had a downer on the model, but I actually don’t. If the model is left alone it will look great.

Now I have completed this model I need to look for the next one, quite where I’m going to put them is a challenge as well. The model is a lot of money and I hope it gives a rough idea of what it’s like as a model and to build it before maybe buying it.

Keep safe and take care.

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A Mustang Plaque Idea

This little project has been bouncing around in my head for a number of years now and I finally got round to doing something about it. When my car was restored I kept the original Mustang Coral from the grill for a while even though one of the support legs was broken. But, I repaired it and fitted back to the completed car as i wanted the original on the car, people kept saying “why the old Coral it’s a bit knackered?” Eventually seeds of doubt were sown, then I got worried that the Coral would fracture again and fall off causing all sorts of damage. It was a sad day when I took it off, but I replaced it with a nice shiny one and I stopped getting the same question. So, I still had the original Coral, and some original emblems that were on the fender. Those 289 emblems were pitted and in a poor way but I kept them regardless. To me the “Coral” was the “soul” of the car and that image was to become an instantly recognisable icon around the world. I wanted something different, this was that idea.

Firstly I bought a plinth of wood from eBay that was a few inches bigger than the Coral itself. This can be any wood you like of course, but I wanted something dark(ish) to show of the chrome.

The Coral it sits slightly higher up than the anchor points or legs that secure it to the grill. So if you want the Coral to sit in the middle you need to measure closer to the bottom. You can clearly see the step here in this picture.

In my case it wanted it to sit slightly higher up as there was going to be a custom plaque at the bottom with the car’s details, more on that little later. I measured from the legs to each side the centre point and marked the spots. I used tiny pilot holes to make sure that the holes lined up with the holes on the bottom of the Coral legs. Once everything was spot on I drilled to a larger hole for the screws and counter sunk the holes so the screw head would not sit proud of the wood.

The Coral legs were held to the grill by fine thread screws, but one of the legs had been stripped and wasn’t very good at holding anything. A self tapping screw was the way to go now with the soft metal inside the legs. The depth limit was checked and then cut down the screw had a max depth to hold it firmly in place.

The wood was untreated and would need a coat of varnish. The decision was to go for a quick drying clear satin with a couple of coats all round. Starting on the back to see how it would look and application before the front attempted. To avoid any brush marks a large foam brush was the way to go, that decision turned out to be an inspired choice. An old piece of plastic packaging was used to hold the varnish that I would need.

I have marked the area that was untreated as I was applying the varnish. Once the varnish had dried (which only took twenty minutes a coat), I applied a second coat and allowed that to dry. The process was repeated once the wood was turned over ready for the front and sides.

The front came out really well, perhaps the very fine sand paper of the surface helped with that. The wood’s grain was pulled through by the varnish and a turned a bit darker to compliment the chrome.

From the back of the wood the screws were tightened up to hold the coral in place.