Writings On The Wall

It’s not often I get an idea late at night and remember it the next morning. Last week was one of those days where I picked up my phone in the middle of the night, and made a note of it. In the process I managed to keep myself awake for ages and regretted it the next day at work. So what was my idea?

I have been looking around for literally years now trying to find a cleaner for my BF Goodrich white lettered tyres. To be exact it’s not the tyres, but the actual raised white lettering on the tyres. I have tried all sorts of cleaners and even read about using a fine grade sandpaper to rub the surface of the letters to remove the old dirty coat and leave the clean underneath. Then I thought of “toothpaste.” I have seen people clean old plastic headlight lenses with toothpaste to bring them back to life. After all up to fifty percent of toothpaste is in fact abrasives, all be it in a mild form of course. My thought was around the “whitening” sort of paste. My tyres are pretty clean and protected, but the tops of the letters and some of the letters have gone a brown tinge over time and not the sparkly white that they once were.

As my toothbrush was wearing out I decided to have a go and see what happened. I used Meguiar’s degreaser first to remove the old tyre gel and treatments. After that it was a wipe over with some Auto Finesse “Citrus Power” Bug and Grime Remover. No I’m not on commission before you ask!

As the toothpaste was almost empty I took it out to the garage before the wife noticed it had gone along with my toothbrush.

With most of the dirt and grime removed I sprayed some more citrus on and used that as the lather agent for the paste and got to work scrubbing.

It made a nice little mess but nothing some more Citrus Power couldn’t cope with. Once messy mixture was removed I found that it had actually worked and brought some white back to the letters. The final step was to re-coat the tyres with some AutoGlym Instant Tyre Dressing and allowed it to dry.

The other wheels followed a similar technique and used a tiny splash of water to activate the toothpaste and seemed to work a little better.

Before shots of the dirty letters than can clearly be seen:

The cleaning process:

The after shots:

I am well chuffed with the results. I suspect that next time I will use a white toothpaste which is a little more coarse. As this is still a working idea in progress I will tweak and modify the process until I am fully happy with the results. The best part of all this is that a tube of unbranded toothpaste is cheap and will last forever and a day. I’m not sure that I will need to carry a tube with me to a car show though. Only when I need to clean the writings on the (side) wall of the tyres. Let me know if you have tried similar ideas or have a better idea for the white letters, or indeed the full white wall tyres themselves.

In case you are wondering; yes the wife did notice the toothbrush and paste had gone and asked me where it was. Once I had explained that I cleaned my car tyres with it, she didn’t speak, instead I got another one of those “looks” of disbelief. You know the sort of “look” that women have perfected when a man does something daft. Me on the other hand, I know that I have done something pretty cool using just a little outside the box thinking.

Remember before this goes viral all over the internet – you read it here first. 🙂

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Restoration Finished?

This weekend was the last weekend at Mustang Maniac before the Birmingham NEC Classic Car Show. There was lots of tiny little jobs to do and tweak but priorities have to be played. Yogi was getting parts ordered up for me that I would need to fit the cards so I could get them from the stores. On my return I was given my instructions on how to fit them. The door cards cover the inner workings of the door and finish the interior, they are a notorious pain in the butt to fit and look good. Although my interior is a Pony spec I didn’t like the Pony door cards. So Adam ordered mine up as a special order for what I wanted. Hopefully just something very subtle different to the standard ones you see out there. The cards a dry fitted to the door to see where the mechanisms need to come through. This was fairly simple as I just got a little dirty dust and put it on the tops of the mechanism. This left a mark on the white underside so I knew exactly where to punch the holes out. John came up trumps with a set of punches to cut the holes, that way the holes are clean and shouldn’t run. The little clips on the back of these door cards slot into cut outs in the card itself, and the metal legs press into the metal of the door frame. Simple so it sounds, but the reality is every clip (around thirty in total) has to be aligned to the holes and pressed in until it snaps into place. Press in the wrong place and may damage the cards. There is a wax sheet that is held in place same principle as the rear quarters were. On top of that was two springs, these keep the door car pressed against the door handles to avoid any bow or sag in the card. The handles for the door opening and the window winders are a single screw secure. The arm rest comes in two parts; the chrome base and the coloured arm pad on top of that which in turn is held in place with two screws underneath.

The cards in place.



At his point Paul who originally sprayed my car came back to “Mop” the paint work, “Glaze” it and then a final “Wax”. This was a professional detail going on here now and was being made to look her best for the show. The rubber parts were masked over as was the vent to avoid any debris going down there.

The process was the roof, trunk, hood, then the sides. The was repeated for the glaze and the waxing.


After each process had been done I just stood there in disbelief looking at how good it was. Paul took great delight in telling me “Don’t worry, it will get better”. OMG was he right. the depth of gloss on this car staggering. Paul said he doesn’t often get to shine them up after he has painted them as the customer takes them away and that’s it. So after one year Paul is back finishing his beautiful work of art he has created for me.

Glaze going on.

Then the last step was the wax to be hand applied and ;eft for twenty minutes and hand buffed off.

I can’t begin to tell you just how delighted I am with the paint and finish. The reflection in the poor light and rain in a workshop is still nothing short of incredible. Now I know how much time and effort these Concours cars are prepped. Paul spent four hours doing my car, and that’s a professional detailing.



Paul (a different Paul this time) was down during the week and said he would kindly fit the badges up for me. These take a little time to get right and in the correct places. Why? Because these were going to be stuck in place and no holes drilled in the fenders to take the clips on the back of the badges. The process involved in a lot of measuring and patience. Due to the timescales involved I wouldn’t have had time to do it all on Saturday. So a big Thank You to Paul & Yogi on their help.


The messy part got saved until later which was the wheels. The “Raised White Lettering” is coated in a blue protective film which needs to be cleaned off. Yogi gave me a pot of his road film cleaner (the last he had) and told be to just rub it till the protective film starts to come of. Plenty of elbow grease later the results are awesome. The before during and after pics. Before you say the wheels don’t look shiny – I know, they have a coating of Gibbs Brand Lubricant on them to protect from any moisture. They will be buffed up at the show.


The tyres were then treated to some tyre dressing to give them back that nice new look, what am I on about?  They are new!

1966 Ford Mustang Restoration is FINISHED!

How long has it taken (time wise so far) from purchase to restoration completion?

4 years 1 months 21 days
or 49 months 21 days
or 216 weeks 0 days
or 1512 days

I could work it out as man hours (I hate to think just how many, but at least a couple of thousand hours), perhaps I will work it out one day. I have spent at least one full day a weekend on the car and sometimes the other day too, cleaning, prepping, painting, making the bits for the car etc. I even spent hours in the shed after work in the summer months, working into the darkness preparing bits that would be needed for fitting to the car.

That was the all main jobs done, so technically that that’s the restoration finished. But there are some small things I need to do still, technically it’s ready for MOT all important road worthy test, then the full road testing for final set ups. I expect there will be the odd problem running in and settling down after sixteen years of nothing, such as carb, timing, first few quick oil changes, antifreeze etc. Then it will be onto the full Registration and her UK plates to be fitted.

Speaking of number plates – I pretty much think this says it all, they say a picture speaks a thousand words. These plates have been made specially for the Car Show as Mustang Maniac and LAR will be transporting my car to the show for me. Thanks to Lance for the great looking plates.


I owe a huge debt of thanks to all the guys at Mustang Maniac and the associated people who helped me with my project.

Adam – Inspiration, mentor, Owner, restorer, mechanic, body work, fitter, parts, advice, storage, help, banter, forum and everything else in between. Without whom none of this would have been possible.

Yogi – Inspiration, mechanic, panel beater, body work, fitter, paint sprayer, advice, help, banter, forum and giving me the nick name “Sat Nav” . Thanks Mate!!

John – Mechanic, bodywork, advice, help, banter, cooking great stews in the depth of winter.

Terry – Mechanic, panel beater, body work, fitter, paint sprayer, advice, help, banter.

Paul the Paint – Paint sprayer, body work, fitter, advice, help, banter.

Chris – Advice, fitter, banter, help, forum, Jaffa cakes and goodies.

(BT) Paul – Mechanic, fitter, advice, banter, help, forum, cakes and goodies.

Lance (OCD) – Advice, printing requirements, help, banter, keep an eye out for my OCD, forum, cakes and goodies.

Sam – Helping hand and banter.

As you can see there are a couple of common themes going on here, the first is “help”; whenever I have a question I am not just answered, but shown as well. The guys time and patience spent with me as well as my sometimes (what must seem like) daft questions goes way above their call of duty.

The second is “banter”; the non stop ribbing for who ever is the chosen poor soul at the time makes it just a fun place to be and work in. The guys are all just brilliant and such a pleasure to work with and long may it continue. 🙂 On my  next car????

Then of course there is my Wife who bought the car for me in the first place. For four years she has put up with me working on the car away from home, working on the car at home. Writing about my car on the blog. Buying things for the car using my new best friend, Mr Credit Card. She has supported me, shouted at me for cleaning parts on the kitchen table, had frothy fit when I was spraying parts in the utility room (it was in the winter and needed to be warm). Put up with me storing parts in the house ready to go down the workshops next morning. Through it all she has supported me regardless, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Well, maybe a 1969 fastback for my next milestone birthday perhaps? 🙂 My “hobby” you started me on has turned into a way of life now.

Thank you Darling I honestly appreciate it.

I would like to point out that is not the end of the blog though – oh no!

There will be many more posts to come and there will be pictures of the other little jobs that need doing. So you see, it’s still going to be business as usual for me, maybe just not as often being posted each week.

I will of course take some photos of the car at the NEC Show this coming weekend with the car in its completed state, that way you can see the full effect, as indeed will I for the first time. I really hope to see you there, if you are there at the show, please come and say hello.

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A Promise Kept

A tired start to the day on Saturday with me retuning my radio to something soothing on the way to Mustang Maniac. Maybe it’s my age showing, but I just wanted to chill on the way and enjoy my drive. As Saturday was Valentine’s Day of course, my wife decided that it would be OK for me to spend some time with the other love of my life, my car. That was on the condition I wasn’t late home and bought the diner. Of course I agreed and made sure I would leave on time, so I just have to say “Thank you Darlin'”.

I arrived early and the slow wakeup had changed into get up and go by the time I got there. Adam and the guys were moving stuff around to make space and filling up their scrap pile. If I wasn’t mistaken I swear they were even sorting out their stores! A conversation was had on what I should be doing next, the main next job is for the transmission to be overhauled, but as the engine stands are being used at the moment we went to plan B. This revised plan was to start laying out the wiring and finish the insulation matting in the car. There was only one sheet left so I covered as much as I could for now and used the smaller off cuts to finish the gaps at the front.

As the back of the car is pretty much completed now I have added the all important iconic filler cap it would be easier to run the cables there. Yes, before you say it, the picture is of a 69/70 cap, but it was what came with the car and I didn’t know any better when I bought the car, and to be honest I quite like it. I dare say I will change it later for the correct ’66 one, but for now it will do. I have taken a picture of the stainless tank underneath, but it hasn’t come out to well unfortunatly.

The wires have been carefully stored and were in a box all neatly coiled up when I took them out of the car. When I put them away I placed them in the box so as not to get them knotted up. As I went to lift them out they were knotted and all entwined. Just how does that happen? I found the rear loom and took it to the trunk, laid it out for each side lights, once I was happy I threaded them through, but not made it final. I spent most of my time re-taping the wires up and making them look presentable as time just flew by. I used a little tape just to hold the light pigtails in place.

The next part was to unravel the spaghetti mess that had been created for me. It seems as though the gremlin that plagues me at home has been squatting in my wiring loom box! I managed to sort the wire loom into their particular junctions and placed it in the car ready for next week.

By the time the loom was laid out roughly, it was time to keep my promise and leave early afternoon to go home to my wife.

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And We’re Off

The day of work at Mustang Maniac couldn’t come round quick enough for me, clock watching only seemed to make the time go slower. Why was I more eager this week than previously? The simple answer is that I would be working on my freshly painted new shell fitting new parts. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would be doing as that was down to Yogi to let me know.

Before I get onto the day’s events I have to make a statement “I am a doughnut!” Happy now Yogi? I had to put that statement within the first paragraph or Yogi was gonna tell everybody about my daft as I was getting tired school boy error. It was one of those funny moments shared between a professional and his apprentice! I may explain it later depends how this write-up goes. 🙂

I arrived at the offices early to find Yogi with a fancy wipe clean Snap On board with a list of parts on it. We had our usual chat and listened to the conversation taking place. The list was new parts for my car and I was asked about what I wanted to do with the car stance. More of that a bit later. The important parts were going to be the upper and lower control arms which as the name suggests controls the efficiency and operation of the suspension. Old worn parts here could cause problems when it goes to the Geo Workshop later for tracking, camber and toe set ups. New parts it was to be especially around the suspension and steering. I walked into Al’s (Yogi’s) workshop and there was car still covered and looking very peaceful under her cover. I was informed that the fuel line has been fitted first as it’s a major pain to fit after the parts are fitted. The line hasn’t been fastened properly yet as the brake lines will need to go on as well at the same clips, but you get the idea anyway.

We discussed the plan of action and what we were going to do, shortly after we planned the day the parts turned up fresh from Mustang Maniacs stores.

The first job was to lift the car of the trolley, This was done via large axle stands and a large lengths of wood that would be supported under the car. The ramp was lowered until the strain was taken up, slowly the clamp bolts were undone and the trolley lifted away. The supporting blocks of rubber were mounted onto the ramps and another milestone was reached. No photo’s at this point as it was all hands to each corner and simultaneous actions required to prevent damage. This can be done in front and back but takes a while. A celebratory smile from myself was brighter than the sun that just started to show through the clouds. We (being Yogi and me), got a work table out and unwrapped by refurbished spindles, tie rods and their relevant bolts. Things were getting really exciting.

restored parts
Spindles and tie rods

The bottom control arms were fitted into place via the single heavy bolt and left to dangle, these were the first parts to be bolted back onto the car and I couldn’t believe that I was actually doing it. Yogi was prepping the bits showing me what to do and then letting me get on with it. I learned a little saying that is so true: “Finger tight, until you know it’s right.” This was the order of the day that allows you to move things around to fit should you need too.


The top control arms were fitted into the inner wing mounts and the spindles bolted into place. This joined up the two control arms. The Tie rods were next to be bolted into place which linked the control arms to the front of the chassis.

We decided it was time to bring in the axle over from the panel shop where I had been working for the previous couple of weeks. The main axle shaft was black and the diff painted to the original Red Oxide primer colour scheme as it would have been straight from the factory.

The stainless steel shackles for the leaf springs were mounted to the rear chassis legs. The front of the leaf springs were lifted into place and lightly bolted lightly into place, the rear bushes were fitted into the chassis legs and the back of the of the leaf springs also lifted up into place, a little joggling around to get the bolts aligned through the holes to hold it all in place.

What followed was a complicated procedure of resting the axle on a support and lifting one side over the leaf springs to be seated correctly on the top of the leaf springs locating lug. The shock mounting plates were then clamped to the leaf springs and axle via the large U-bolts and tightened up, hard. The rest of the rear suspension bolts were now tightened up as well.

After lunch it was back to the front again, we were going to fit up the new spring perches that were a couple of bolts onto the lower control arm.

The uprated 1″ anti-roll bar will make a big difference to the handling of the car as well as the Export brace and Monte Carlo bars that will be fitted. Due to the size of the anti-roll bar this now runs very close to the tie rods and is a two-man job to fit with damaging any paintwork on components. The anti roll bar U-clamps were put into place to hold the bar and then the bottom mounting arms and bushing fitted to the lower control arms. Once we were happy with the alignment we bolted it up properly.

During this point of fitting the anti-roll bar bushing kit I had a couple of the rubbers in my hand and noticed they were different. I started to panic having a senior moment thinking that I had fitted the wrong parts somewhere. I held my hand out to Yogi with the parts to show him the different parts. He looked at them, turned one over and it was of course the same, simultaneously he laughing out “doughnut”. A few minutes of laughing followed with me saying “I can assume that this will not be mentioned outside these walls then”. To which Yogi laughed back with “not if you mention that you are a doughnut in the first paragraph of your blog!” I agreed. But, as I have called myself a doughnut and ‘fessed up to my school boy error, I needn’t of mentioned it earlier, does that make me a double doughnut? But it was worth it and I thoroughly enjoyed the banter. The final quick job rather than the fitting the front springs and shocks was to hook up the hand brake cables to the tunnel brackets so that they didn’t get in the way.

Now it was almost time to put the car away and Terry and John popped in to see how progress was getting on. But before we covered her back up I bestowed a little prezzie on the car my lovely wife got for me:


It was a great day, and I loved every minute of it, thanks to the MM guys.

Previously posts I mentioned that I would get some pics of the inside of the car, I haven’t forgotten:

I can’t wait for next week. 🙂

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Looking Good

A long week and the weekend couldn’t get here fast enough so I can get down to Mustang Maniac. I arrived with change of clothes and a packed lunch. The dogs were in high spirits and enjoying the sun running around the now spacious yard. Adam looked over the car with me and gave me my instructions for the day. Final clean up of the left side and remove the shock tower bracket that had been badly welded on. I wanted to replace the brakes with a nice smart export brace so they needed to come of anyway. I have seen some were the export brace sits over the top of the brackets and it looks a poor job. So while I was at this stage it was an ideal time to remove the first one. It was a case of the angle grinder to reduce the weld to as thin as possible then lever the old bracket off the shock tower. With the bracket off I was able to grind down the weld almost flat. I have become a lot better at using the angle grinder with finesse and can grind away quite accurately now with only the bits I want removed.

Cleaning up the metal to make sure no rust was about and wire wool the tight spaces to leave a fresh bare surface.

With my ears still ringing from the whine of the angle grinder it was time for some peace and quiet and start the stipple of the red oxide. This was to continue to edges where I didn’t need welding and again stop about an inch in to allow welding to be done. Of course there will be some bits that I may have to go over again when the repair welds start, but that can’t be helped. I completed the complete left hand side inner fenders and the fire wall now. Adam came to give me a hand a little later so we could roll the car over ready for next week’s more of the same all be it on he other side. What a difference it makes to see the red oxide on there. The pictures here were taken as soon as I had finished, so it was a little wet in some places.

Sunday the wife wanted me to give her a hand with the garden as she wanted to get our lovely bamboos out the garden, as they were start in to go a bit mental. I came home Saturday evening to find the big bushes cut down but the stumps or shoots still in the ground. The ground was soaked by the rain in the morning so it wasn’t to bad to dig. What I wasn’t expecting was the shoots to travel as far sideways as they did. Under the loose laid patio in the corner, and to the fences. We lifted the slabs up to find a find a complex web of infiltration from the roots that was more complex than a cold war spy drama, it was everywhere. We eventually got it all up but it was a pain. Tip: Don’t plant bamboo in the ground unless you have a couple of giant pandas coming to stay to keep it under control.

In case you are wondering, I did manage to sneak a couple of hours in at the man cave while she was out. I started to clean up and strip down down the steering setup. But shoosh, don’t tell the wife! I will create a step by step process and add it soon. I can’t do a Sunday without a little tinkering on the car or car bits now can I?

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Neglected blog and subtle hints

Don’t worry I am still here.

OK, I admit it I havent posted properly for a little while, two weeks actually. The word “post” is not in my good books with me at the moment. Let me explain, I have had the past week off as holiday, and I do use that term “holiday” very loosely in this update. I have been promising to replace our broken fence for the last 2 years now. But, I have had important things to do since then, like do my Mustang up! But my wife loves her garden as much as I love my car, the fact her prized climbing Hydrangea were getting damaged due to the fence being broken as it was swaying more than front row of a Barry Manilow concert. When the wind blows, the fence moves and bits break of, I get it in the neck and I promise to fix it, then I go on the car. I have been getting plenty of subtle hints though, let me take you back to Christmas just gone. When I was asked what I wanted for Christmas the standard response is, “bits for my car” or “tools”. Come opening prezzie time at Christmas I got some car bits, brilliant. Snap On vouchers, awesome. Then I got given few extra goodies that “I may like!” given to me in order; All Fat Max tools, hammer (OK I can use that on the car), small spirit level (can’t see how I can use that on the car, check the stance of the car? Nice thought though). General purpose hand saw for wood, (definitely can’t use that on the car, but I can change it, I will have to be careful how I phrase it!) Fine toothed wood hand saw, (now I was wondering what was going on.) Then came a long heavy object, yes, a 1″ Snap On breaker bar, Nope, it was a massive sledge-hammer. Now I can’t use that on the car, then the penny started to drop with the final little prezzie gardening gloves. OK, I had been saying that I need a sledge hammer to break the old concreate, I need spirit levels for the posts, I need saws etc. Last Friday we, or should I say, “I” had delivered nine panels, eight concrete posts, one wood post and a gate, three trellis, oh and post mix. Great, not. Saturday I was greeted with “we can paint the panels before we put them up”. To be fair it was a nice(ish) day and we had a laugh. So Saturday was a write off. Sunday, Mark came round to help put up the fence. He’s a good man, he works hard and is better with a shovel than I am. Well I am getting on a bit now, that’s my excuse anyway. We had fun getting the old spikes out, trying to work around the plants that can’t be dug up or it will kill them and trying to avoid tree roots. Sunday was a write off. Monday, Mark came back to finish the last two panels with me. It didn’t take too long. (Thanks to Mark for help on the fence, grand job mate). That left me with a part fence to cut down and gravel board to fit in the space. Then we had to go into town, on the way back we got some door furniture for the gate. Monday was a write off. Tuesday was about cutting the trellis to fit inside the concrete posts and hang the gate. Tuesday was a write off. That evening the wife was printing out some lesson plans and my printer decided to produce a collection of drive rollers and cogs out the front with half the paper. This was greeted with panic as the lesson plans needed to be done. Wednesday morning we checked the net and found a printer we liked. So off we went to get it. We got to the store which was empty and we were pounced on like a lion that hadn’t been fed for a few days. I brushed them away and looked at the printer, not bad, but the replacement cartridges were only £10 cheaper than the poxy printer. Are the manufactures having a laugh or what? Do they fill the cartridges up with mermaid tears or what? Anyway, we found one we liked and took it home. I went on the car when we got back to prep ready getting the drive shaft out and backing plate off for the brakes. Two hours later it was out and the brake plate as well. that evening the printer works well after a lengthy performance to set it up. Thursday I went to see Adam at Mustang Manic, I had a great laugh with him and got a complete hand brake kit for the car and a couple of drive shaft oil seals. A great day. Friday I spent all day cleaning up the plate and drive shaft with anti rust treatments. Great day. Today I put the backing plate and brakes together, put the drive shaft back in and got some of the Hand brake or Emergency Brake in place. Epic day.

So as you can see I have been busy, the wife is pleased with her fence and has been in the garden pottering about. I have been on the car for the last couple of days and will be again tomorrow. I will post a photo set of the drive shaft and rear brake build. I have added a review of my Metal Works tap and die set, which can be found under the Tool Reviews or click here for a quick link. I will post again very soon.

Am I forgiven?

Heres a little teaser of what I have been up to!

drive shaft being removed
drive shaft being removed

Note: I used all the tools I got for Christmas putting that fence up, these women are cute, but I don’t do subtle I just need to be told. oh, she did! Come to that I have used my tools from Snap On too, I don’t need to be told to use them though. 🙂

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Last book review?

Its late again, I’m in trouble for staying up working on my blog. But my wife does understand that sometimes the Mustang takes over my life and it seems to be one of those nights. I will make it up to her so don’t worry.

Anyway I have posted another and my last book review that I have regarding Mustangs. If I get anymore I will also review them too. The last but not least is “How to restore your Mustang, 1964 1/2 – 1973”. It’s a great manual and a favourite of mine. I will move on to the more practical side of the restoration now. Go to the button for the review or click here.

If the weather is ok this weekend I will try to get both fenders on. I will let you know how it all goes.

Don’t forget to vote on the polls, and keep warm!

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