A Big Milestone….

Eight and a half years ago, way back on October 28th 2012 I wrote my first post on my little ol’ blog. I had nothing planned other than to share with a few friends what I was getting up to and how I was getting along with my Mustang restoration. Ultimately I could look back in a few years time and take a trip down memory lane with the photos I had taken a certain points of the restoration.

Delivery of my project car 17th September 2011, before it went to Mustang Maniac where I had professional help & guidance on my restoration over the years. Those guys have become some of my best mates of mine as a result.

When I attend car shows or via my blog and emails etc. I often get asked how I clean and detail my cars;

Some of the Car Shows and photo opportunities;

I get asked how I fitted things, how I upgraded this or that, I even get asked for advice on their own restoration projects.

That got me to thinking about adding extra sections like the tools (a selection of them here), that I used on project and since use, considering that I’m just a weekend warrior with a spanner.

Products that I used to keep our daily cars clean and the Mustang fully detailed.

My merchandise I bought over the years or have been given since I started my journey with the Mustang.

I even get requests to review items, all of which I buy if I think I could use them myself. As a result of all these things, my blog has evolved into an entity of it’s own.

Fast forward a number of years to 2021 where I my little ol’ blog has reached a massive milestone. This is not intended as some bragging rights by the way, but more like myself being proud of the result. Somebody within the USA this morning 15th May 2021 made my day:

My blog has just passed 1,000,000 hits!

I am absolutely amazed to think this could ever happen, I remember getting excited about getting ten hits in one day!

I value every single one of you that has followed me or just pops in for a quick read, like or even the odd comment. I would like to say a massive “Thank You” from the very bottom of my heart.

I don’t actually get anything from my blog/website on WordPress, other than some add money that goes straight to the hosting and my domain fees. It’s sort of self sufficient in a way. If anything I’m out of pocket, but reading the comments and seeing the views more than make up for it. Hopefully I can help somebody, somewhere with something.

My first follower was Debbie Nuessle (click here for her latest venture), from across the pond. We both started blogs within a few days of each other, both revolving around our love of American Muscle cars, especially Ford Mustangs of course. We keep in touch outside of the Blog circle and have become good friends.

I have a number of followers who ‘like’ the posts I put up after even after all these years, thank you all, it means a lot to me. I have such a range of followers; a very talented and well-known Soprano opera singer; Charlotte Hoather (click here for her blog), mechanics, engineers, oil rig mover, artists, photographers, builders, wildlife photographers, fellow classic car owners, writers, product manufacturers, shops, brands, a few younger bloggers, students, world travellers, petrol heads, gear heads, car clubs, writers, novelists, journalists, teachers, photojournalists, professional bloggers, social influencers, religious followers, the list just goes on. (There is even ‘ahem’ some adult orientated content following me!) The full list makes for some amazing reading.

Just in case anybody is interested in some of the more selective stats;

I have a total of 2,700 followers, of which 871 are on WordPress, 2,300 on social media, just over 2000 on Facebook, which is not my favourite of all the platforms I must admit.

I have been visited by 199 countries and the top ten countries in order are; USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, China, France, Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand.

There are stunning islands that have visited me, Mauritius, Seychelles & Maldives. Some of those Islands are so small they wouldn’t be able to fit a Mustang on them! My bucket list is to spend a few days on these islands to chill and take in some sun.

The more obscure countries with a single visit are: Burkina Faso, Falkland Islands, Kosovo, Tonga, Northern Mariana Islands.

To date I have posted 340 blogs including this one over the eight and half years I have been posting on this blog.

These figures are quite low compared to some of you mega stars out, there with you super popular blogs I know that. But for me, like I said earlier, I’m honestly humbled and grateful to every single one of you who wants to look at a blog all about one man and his Mustang!

A huge “Thank You” to you all.

Here’s to the next one million!

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Sentimental Value

I started driving and passed my driving test at the tender age of 17. On that day when I returned home my dad gave me a car which was worth nothing to be honest at the time. The car was a 1977 Audi 100 LS a similar colour to this in red, faded red, orange and various shades of rust and sun bleaching.

His logic was that it had big bumpers and stop minor accidents. The car was also due an MOT and road tax, he wasn’t stupid. As an apprentice in my first year at the time it cost me a few weeks wages for some welding and a number of parts including an exhaust to get it through. It would have been cheaper to buy a newer car of my own in fact. The head gasket went six months later and it was then towed to a scrap yard! The ol’ man had his second car a Mercedes that he used from there on in. I then bought another Audi, a 100 5E Avant this time.

Anyway the same day he dumped sorry gave me the car he also gave me a Krooklok which was my mother’s father’s. My grandad gave it to my ol’ man when he stopped driving due to illness. He said I was to have it one day when I started driving as I was there when he gave it to him. Luckily he kept my Grandad’s wishes and he gave it to me.

My maternal grandparents had nothing. They rented all their lives, lived in a flat in Battersea, London. The flat was a stones throw from Battersea park. I spent many treasured school holidays living with them, I loved it there and them. I remember going out with them as a young kid with my Grandad driving his Ford Anglia and then his Ford Cortina, he would park it up and use the Krooklok as well. Grandad was a Ford man through and through.

I kept that Krooklok and treasured it in all my cars except the last two as I lost the key when I moved house and couldn’t use it, I was gutted. But, I kept it safe as it is pretty much the only thing I have of my grandparents. I hoped that I would find the key one day.

I was speaking to Adam at Mustang Maniac who told me to give it to him as he knew a locksmith who would make a key for it. Sure enough, a few weeks later I had the lock back and now it was working. The plan now was to put it back in the Mustang as it was from the same year, almost. So I thought I would post about my restoration of the lock and little history of the company, “Krooklok”.

I have tried to find as much information on the brand and the company as I could, some of which may be subjective based on the tiniest pieces of information from the internet. (I would be delighted if somebody could give me some more accurate details and I will acknowledge your corrections.)

“Krooklok” is the brand name and originally made by a company Johnson and Starley Ltd. who were based in Northampton, UK. There is virtually nothing online about the company or who owned it. I have tried to find out with little success, a company of the same name in the same area is now a heating supplies company.

In 1964 the company designed a lock that was in effect a telescopic bar with a hook at each end that was linked around the steering wheel and the other end hooked either round the brake or clutch pedal. In the centre of the bar was a locking barrel that locked a sprung loaded ball bearing into a recessed top part of the bar. With the key locked design the telescopic mechanism couldn’t be extended to release from the steering wheel. This was a visual deterant to stop thieves driving of with the car. The design would stop the pedals from being depressed or turning the steering wheel. The thief would have to remove the lock before attempting to drive off, potentially exposing themselves to what they were doing. Let’s face it, security in the 60’s wasn’t great and these Krookloks exploded onto the market. This was not a little company release but advertising at top sporting events mostly car oriented, Formula 1, rallies and amateur classes of motorsport.

Advertising was quite widespread and appeared in many magazines and a number of football programs. The earliest advert I could find was from 1965 from the Halfords catalogue.

The cost was fairly hefty 47 shillings and 6 pence. That worked out at roughly £2.37 at the time. In todays money that is around £37.50 in modern day money allowing for inflation over the fifty odd years. The price wasn’t exactly at the cheap end of the market but was a substantial lump of metal to have in the car.

A selection of more adverts from the early days in the mid 1960s to the early 1970s just after UK currency decimalisation in 1971 where the prices show the new money GBP.

In 1968 it looks like Krooklok ventured across the pond to the USA and applied for and was granted a Patent for the “Krooklok”.

For the UK I cant find an actual date that they were stamped on the locks, but it looks to have been granted around 1965 or 1966 at the latest. On the back of the barrel section is the trademark and the patent numbers. The registered design for Krooklok is 914608.

On the left is my own personal Krooklok which was made before the patents were issued, making this a very early and rare example. On the right is a slightly later dated Krooklok with the granted patents applied.

Over the years the design changed. The first itteration was a metal bar with a vinyl sleeve at the lock end in order to stop the metal hook marking the steering wheel. This sleeve was a nondescript grey colour and not really visible when fitted. Again a picture of my own restored lock with the original grey sleeve.

From outside the vehicle the “visible deterrent” wasn’t very visible especially at night. After the feedback was noted Krooklok introduced a new improved bright red sleeve that replaced the grey.

Moving on around a couple of years, the red vinyl sleeve was added at the opposite end of the lock for the pedals. This was to give more visibility and to protect the cosmetics of pedals. Early models came with plastic sleeve packaging, later models came with cardboard boxes.

Much later variations replaced the the nice chrome lock tower with a matching red middle section. The design also took a distinctive “twist” (literally) and the “hooks” changed from the facing each other on the same plane, now they were being set at right angles. This was intended to make fitting easier and stop the twisting of the original design to make it fit. This twist was down to the fact that as safety improved on vehicles the pedal design and steering wheels made some fitting to some vehicles a little more awkward.

My Krooklok on the top with the polished chrome lock tower, and the latest design at the bottom. The red locking section didn’t last long and was replaced with a contrasting yellow locking section, but this was just a cosmetic change. The steering wheel end has also seen a further modification to add plastic wings at the side hook to make it even more visible.

The pedal end was simply double indented or punched both parts together on one side and not the other. As the material construction is hardened steel this seems to be adequate but not ideal. This design hasn’t changed over the years and was hidden with the later pedal sleeve cover mentioned above.

The locking design was quite ingenious with a simple spring loaded ball bearing. The ball bearing is then locked into one of a number milled recesses that matched the diameter of the ball bearing. My lock before and after the cleaning to remove 50 years of grime.

Sliding the center section out to allow for a generous length of adjustment makes a very solid clatter as the bearing lifts and is sprung back into the next hole. The unit feels very strong and sturdy once fitted.

As the krooklok became more popular a couple of years later the advertising was added to the car window which stated that the vehicle was protected by “Krooklok”. The design saw a few variations of a the window sticker design, size and colours that warned potential thieves of the fitted Krooklok. The design started with a simple red warning design to more eye catching multi colour designs.

As time marched on Krooklok made other products, like locking wheel nuts, wheel clamps & tow bar clamps.

The Krooklock success still continues today with other companies making similar designs with similar sounding names to jump on the band wagon. Companies like, Stoplock, Disklok, Autolok, Xlock etc. The designs vary from pedal to steering wheel locks, to the more common bar through the steering wheel design.

After all the years the “Krooklok” still remains a strong brand name that started and set the standards of third party vehicle security.

Click here for a link to my own Krooklok that I restored for my own vehicle. The best part is that this particular model is period correct for my ’66 Mustang.

The Restoration

This Krooklok is 55 years old being made in 1965 from what I can work out. It had never been cleaned in all that time and needed some serious pampering to get back to its original condition. The state of the lock was rusted and the extension was very stiff and not free running. The rust was so bad on the back I couldn’t see any marking and wondered if it was an original Krooklok. The original coating was a dull steel colour but that had been replaced by rust and oxidisation.

The first thing I decided to do was to apply a little metal polish to see what happened.

Some serious rubbing and multiple applications removed some of the grime, enough to show me the marking on the back of the chrome locking tower. But, it wasn’t man enough to remove the pitting. I got out the Dremel and attached a nylon buffing pad to the base of the locking tower which removed plenty more before it eventually disappeared to nothing. When I saw the markings were there and the “Pats Pending” I realised this was a rare early model.

I started to buff the rest of the shaft and although it came up better it still wasn’t good enough.

I now started to move up the aggressive scale until I found something that was just enough to do the job back to bare metal. This is usually the wrong way round of course as you start aggressive and then work back to finer grades to remove the previous marks. I settled on a light buff of 180grit sand paper to take the worst of grime and rusting off, then followed with 240grit.

I could see that the steel would buff to a really nice shine. Although this wasn’t original I kept going. Starting with the Dremel 240grit sand paper discs which are very fine and took ages to go over the whole thing, using only the lightest pressure as the discs were much smaller and delicate. I then used 320grit to 400grit by hand to finish the look.

Once the sanding had finished it was back again to metal polish and the Dremel felt buffing pads which would flick the polish everywhere when I used too much.

The Metal bar both inside and outside started to polish up like the chrome and looked great. I had to keep working the notches with the Dremel and a small pointed buffing pad to clean them out.

A number of passes would bring the steel almost to a mirror finish. Which pleased me and saddened me at the same time. The cleaning also took the patina away from the lock and it’s age. Due to the rusting and pitting there wasn’t much choice. The item will never be worth a lot of money so it’s not as though I ruined it. As the inside of my Mustang has a lot of chrome brightwork inside it wouldn’t look out of place, but would even compliment it.

The steering wheel end sleeve was very dirty, I allowed a citrus cleaner to soak a rag in order to loosen a lot of the grime off. This was done by wrapping the damp citrus soaked cloth around the hook. Once that was wiped of after a few minutes the heavy duty cleaners were applied and the handle came back to its almost original colour. The chrome locking tower only needed a little metal polish to bring that back to its former glory.

The completed item gets more buffing and an application of wax to prevent the atmosphere tarnishing the metal again.

The only thing left to do was lubricate the mechanism, a thin application of light oil to the sides and drop into the first few holes. I worked the lock in and out a few times and some dirty oil ran out. I cleaned the lock up again and repeated until the oil was clean. Now the extension moves in and out smoothly. The lock remained free and little squirt of Gibbs in the lock for the tumbles allowed the key to slide in effortlessly, turn and remove just like a good lock should do.

In total it took me around 4 hours to clean and buff to a shine. I am well delighted with the lock.

The lock will now be with me in my Mustang at car shows. I can now think how proud my Grandad would have been to see my restored Mustang and his Krooklok sitting in it looking all sparkly and shiny.

After all, I’m now Classic Ford man through and through with my Grandad’s blessing.

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Wings & Wheels

Weekend just gone I attended the Stowmarket Carnival which was held over two days with a classic car section on Sunday. The general public was let in from eleven onwards, but the cars had to be in before nine thirty, although they were still being let in at ten thirty. So, I decided to take my photos sooner than later without too many people around, and before more cars arrived. A nice mix of cars and some top quality restorations on show. It was one of the first days this year I could get my show board out without the wind and rain because the sun was out all day, I even had to apply sun cream, twice! There were stalls, a dog shows, live singing, and a fun fair too.

I follow on Instagram a group of ladies called ‘_modifiedgirls’ and they also have a website called ‘https://modifiedgirls.co.uk/’ I mentioned this because I see a FTO being lovingly cleaned by a couple of ladies. Without trying to appear anything other than a genuine car fan I got talking to Tara Ashton who confirmed that she was a member of the Modified Girls scene. We had a chat about cars and I have to say that these ladies do know their stuff. I also think it’s fantastic to see members of the fairer sex enjoying the car show scene along with the guys. Here is her FTO she rocked up in to the show. I said I would give her a shout out on my blog, consider it done.

This Mk1 Ford Escort GT was a preproduction model and was used by the media to review the car. A nice example with some serious provenance.

There was mixture of a few hot rods, kit cars, more modern cars and some restorations to wonderful standards. Did you know the Fiat 500 number was the engine size in CCs? That’s 500 cc’s or half a litre, for our US friends that’s 30.5Ci  Abarth gave the engine a stage 1 modification up to 595cc (36.3Ci) which made 31bhp.

Triumph models were varied, Stag, TR6, Dolomite, Spitfire. I almost bought a Stag when I was looking for a classic car, but when I saw the Mustang, my mind was made up. But I still like the look of those stags. 🙂

Some of the other cars that took my attention, I didn’t bother with the Nissan Skylines, as for the Golf GTI’s, Jags, Vauxhall Corsa etc, I could have gone down the road to the Asda car park and seen as many as I wanted. Is that a harsh thing to say?

From the heading I mentioned wings as well as the wheels. The Saturday they had a fly by of a Spitfire (the classic WW2 plane – not the car being propelled through the air). On Sunday we were treated to a WW2 Lancaster Bomber. If I had of known I would have taken a proper camera not just a cell phone. But I tried my best to capture this incredible plane that did three low(ish) fly overs.

I turned this into a black and white picture, I think it works better than the colour pics. I took a video of he final fly over, the trouble is you just get to hear the fabulous noise.

I took this video of the last fly over, the trouble is that the video didn’t pick up the incredible sound the plane made. 🙁

To finish the post I must be going soft in the head or getting sentimental in my old age. I had a guy Andrew who loved my car and was looking all over it. He made a good presentation to me on why he should sit in my car. I let him sit in it after emptying his pockets of keys etc. so as to not to damage the upholstery, I even took a picture of him in my car, just because I said I would. Consider that done as well.

It was a hot day, but I’m not complaining about the weather for a change. 😀 I spoke to lots of people and had a great day. More of the same next time I hope.

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Was It Worth It?

My last post was all about how my replica Autolite battery had dies a very sudden death without warning. I managed to recreate the battery with a top cover from Mustang Maniac and battery from Toyota of all people. That page can be found here. I promised that I would take the old one apart to see just what was inside. The project took me a lot longer than I thought it would and you will see why as I go along.

The old battery case I wanted to keep, and possibly place a similar battery inside it at a later date maybe? So the work was going to be slow and careful so I didn’t destroy the case. As I knew there was another battery in there I wasn’t sure what to expect either. So the battery was taken into the shed for a plan of action.

When you undo the cell caps on this replica it’s quite obvious that there is a smaller battery in there and a large cavity at one end. By deduction that would mean that the terminals for the inner battery would be connected to the to top posts via cables.

I could see that the top was fitted originally there was a gap at the back corner where it hadn’t seated correctly, from the left corner of the pic below. So that was going to be my starting point.

side (top left of the picture shows the slightly raised corner)

The Dremel was out and a cutting disk will be used to go around the seam.

The dust from the battery was incredible. The closest I can put this to is a laser printer black toner cartridge powder. Rub it and it stains what it touches. Just the back cut had created a black cloud and difficult to breathe.

So the face mask when on and ventilation made better. The battery was turned over in turn for each side that needed the cuts. Some parts needed to be cut a little deeper as the mould on the inside hadn’t been cut through completely.

Once I had freed the lid I could see one wire that was holding it in place. That wire would have to be cut, then I could get to the other side which was tucked into the corner.

This corner cable was difficult as the battery was holding the cable tight against the case. I think during assembly the gel battery was attached to the lid and then lowered into a resin that held the battery in place and set hard to hold it in place. There would be no other explanation from what I could see.

The resin at the bottom had set like hard plastic and couldn’t be pulled or peeled out-of-the-way. This was a problem as I couldn’t see any other option only to cut the bottom out as well. I managed to bend the cable to the lid out the way to make the cut to remove the top completely. Now I could turn the battery upside down and cut the bottom out. Now I had to be extra careful so that I didn’t cut through the inner battery causing untold problems I wasn’t prepared for. I had lots of old towels to hand and thick gloves at this point to mop up any spillage.

With the bottom of the case cut through the battery was still not coming out. Closer inspection down the side I could see the resin had gone up the side of the battery too, yet another issue. I had various steel pallet knives that I use for filling in holes on walls with plaster etc. The plan now would mean gentle taps to try to crack the resin away without cracking the case itself. I did manage to keep breaking the thin blade to a jagged edge. This actually helped to cut through the resin, like a saw tooth. Those gentle taps turned into more force as I realised I was not getting through the resin.

After what seemed like hours the battery started to loosen and cracks could be heard when the resin was starting to separate from the case and the bottom panel with the battery still attached. Eventually it all came free and I could see why I had such a problem.