The Mustang and the Manhole

I have to give a big THANK YOU! to the guys over at the Brandywine MD fire house for helping me out with my mustang this afternoon!  I was worried sick that I might have caused serious damage to the car, but they really saved the day!

You see, I went out to a cruise-in at the fire house this afternoon, and as I was parking the car at the show, I drove over a manhole cover that collapsed beneath the weight of the car!!!  Apparently the welded steel tabs that hold the cover snapped, and the front end of the car sank into the hole!  I immediately froze, terrified I had snapped the A-arm or wrecked the suspension, and imagine my shock when I stepped out of the car and found this!:

IMG_0612

Of all the places for it to happen, I was lucky it was at the fire department!  Aside from the hideous embarassment of it all, at least they had airbags on hand to lift the car and get it out without causing any damage!  Believe it or not, I didn’t have any damage to the body panel or paint, and only a slight nick to the lower chrome trim.  I did catch serious hell from the Chevy guys there, but I was just glad there was no serious damage!  It could have been a whole lot worse, and the guys at the fire house did decide to put cones up around the manhole cover after the little run in with my car!

Paul McCartney at Fedex Field

Getting Ready for Paul McCartney!

Getting Ready for Paul McCartney!

You may or may not have been aware, but Sir Paul McCartney played at FedEx Field in Landover, MD Saturday Night.  I went to see the show, and while the music was great, pretty much everything else was a train wreck.  I drove the pink mustang out to the show because I was at the Mustang Mania V car show in Columbia, MD earlier in the day.  I got to the stadium 2.5 hours before the show, and it’s a good thing I did!

The show started about 1 1/2 hours late due to traffic being completely abysmal, supposedly people were stuck for as long as 2 hours trying to get in to the stadium!  It was fortunate that we had avoided getting there at the last minute, because I’m not sure the car would have been too happy with a 2 hour traffic jam to get into the show.

Once I was inside I found that the water stopped running in the bathrooms due to a blocked up pipe, supposedly they had it fixed 25 minutes before the start of the show, but the show started at 9pm, and I found the water had stopped at 7:25, so that’s at least an hour with no running water in the stadium.  Hardly the picture of sanitary conditions.

Food concessions were almost as bad.  After waiting for 20 minutes to get sodas, I found the credit machines had crashed (Cash only, folks!), the soda taps weren’t working, and they were waiting on the beer kegs to be changed out.  Essentially it was $5 bottles of water or nothing!  I spent $200 on tickets for the show, but the condition of the facilities certainly didn’t reflect it!

Paul McCartney Rocking FedEx Field!

Paul McCartney Rocking FedEx Field!

The mass exodus at the end of the show was also a nightmare.  I assumed I would wait until the rush died down so that I wouldn’t get caught in a heavy back-up with a 1965 mustang.  I waited for nearly 1.5 hours and the traffic was still heavily congested!  I took my chances, and ended up getting out of the complex about 2 hours after the show ended.

90,000 people go to FedEx Field for Redskins Games, but 50,000 concert goers was apparently overwhelming.  Don’t forget that they charged a $10 parking fee per ticket, but you don’t get that money back if there’s  more than one ticket holder in your car!  Oh, there’s also more seats than parking spaces there, so they were essentially charging for a commodity that didn’t “technically” exist!

McCartney himself was awesome, 2.5 hours of great tunes from a legendary artist, but FedEx Field really short changed their patrons, IMHO.  How do you charge $10 for parking 50,000 times if there’s only 22,001 seats?  It should be illegal to charge money for a parking spot that

  1. Isn’t used
  2. Doesn’t actually exist!

I will say this much:  If McCartney comes back in town, I hope he goes to another venue.  I’d love to see him again, but there’s no way I’ll ever pay to see another concert at FedEx Field!

Motorcraft 2100 Carburetor is finished!

Motorcraft 2100 Carburetor

I’ve got the Carburetor finished, and it’s running great!  As it turns out, the inlet valves were almost completely gummed up, which would probably be why the car was stalling out so badly, and the gaskets were pretty much falling apart. (10 years of storage will do that!)

I got an electric choke to replace the original, but I haven’t actually installed it because the vacumn pump seems to be working perfectly after the rebuild (My original suspicion was that the original choke was shot).  I’m hanging onto the electric choke as a backup, and I’ve finished replacing the convertible top and interior, so I’ll post that good stuff in a bit!
1965 mustang carburetor

1965 mustang carburetor

Motorcraft 2100 Carburetor

Motorcraft 2100 Carburetor

Motorcraft 2100 Carburetor

Restoring the Air Cleaner

1965 factory pink mustangI have to admit, the air cleaner on my car was in rough shape.  The paint had been re-sprayed once, and the paint job was poor at best.  The paint was chipping away, exposing the original paint, and there was some severe overspray on both the box as well as the snorkel.

Strip it Baby!

The first task was to strip off all of the original paint, and see if here was any rust hiding underneath the original paint.  To strip the paint, I went to Home Depot and asked for the most caustic paint stripper they had.  It was a rather hot day when I stripped it, and even though I was working in the shade, the paint stripper was boiling as it hit the metal!

I was dismayed to see that there was rust hiding underneath the original paint, particularly in the divot for the distributor cap.  The rust had just started to pit the metal at that point, but otherwise the box was in decent shape, so I decided to take the entire box, lid, and snorkel and brush them down with a heavy wire wheel to eliminate any trace of rust.

Painting The Cleaner

I repainted the cleaner back to it’s factory original colors:  Gold Lid, Gold Box, and Black Snorkel.  I ordered the paint from CJ Pony Parts (Don’t get me started on them again, let’s just say I recommend using another vendor).  I ended up with 4 coats of paint on each part, with wet sanding between each coat.  The finished product looks great, and I can’t wait to get them back on the car!  My next project is getting the valve covers repainted, which I suspect is going to be an identical process to restoring the air cleaner (Albeit much faster!)

I’ll have photos of the Air Cleaner up this weekend.

1965 Mustang Data Plate Woes

I took a trip up to CJ Pony Parts about 3 weeks ago to gather parts, paint, etc. for the mustang. Al told, I spent a little over $1,000 on the order, and included in that was a $35 restamped data door plate to replace the original.  My original door plate had been sprayed over, and I wanted to make sure that the plate was clearly visible due to the rarity of the car.

datafront

New and Old Data Plate, Notice the different font and spacing (VIN has been partially blurred out)

Last week my new data plate came in the mail and for some reason the stamping style was completely different from the original.  I know that different stamp styles were used based on point of origin, date produced, etc., but all that info is on the door plate, so there shouldn’t have been an error like this.

I called CJ and they told me that Marti Auto Works did their stamping, and I would need to get in touch with them.  When I called Marti, they said they had no record of doing the work and needed the order number.  What followed was a flurry of calls back and forth that went something like this:

Call to CJ:  They gave me the order number, told me to call back Marti. (Spoke to Earl)

Call to Marti: They said the order number was incorrect, please have CJ give them a call to straighten this out. (Spoke to Christie)

Call to CJ:  They gave me a different order number, told me I could just call Marti back myself. (Spoke to Earl)

Call to Marti:  They still couldn’t find the order, they again told me CJ should be the one calling them since they placed the order, and could I please email them photos of the original and re-pop plates. (Spoke to Christie)

Call to CJ:  Asked to speak with Jeremy (The guy who did my order 3 weeks ago), asked if he was sure that Marti did their plates.  He checked and said it was someone else.  I explained the situation again, and the run-around I’ve been getting, and he said I need to talk to customer service.  I talked to customer service, they asked for photos of the plates to see how bad the error was, and I sent them.

Call from Marti:  Christie calls me, says that she looked at the plates, and it was obvious that it was not something they did.  I explained to her what CJ told me, apologized profusely for harassing them, and asked them to go ahead and re-pop the plate, since they weren’t at fault but actually took the time to help figure this out.

datarear

CJ Pony Parts doesn't seem to care about how shoddy their re-pops look!

This took up a good chunk of my day, and I felt terrible about pestering Marti when it wasn’t their fault.  CJ Pony Parts managed to make me look like a real asshole for complaining about a mistake they didn’t make; Thanks CJ!  They also couldn’t be bothered to apologize for the mis-stamp, or for pawning me off onto the wrong manufacturer.  I really feel like CJ did a piss poor job here, and I’m fairly certain I learned my lesson.  I’m not going to be buying my parts from CJ in the near future!

Marti said it was going to take a few weeks to get the plate stamped, which is fine with me.  I highly recommend you consider Marti if you’re getting a plate restamped, because who knows what you’re going to get with CJ!

BTW:  Marti charged me $10 less than CJ did!

This 1965 carburetor needs help!

I bought my mustang as a running convertible. That doesn’t mean it ran WELL, it just ran. I have the receipts from the engine/carburetor rebuild, and mechanically speaking the car idles fine. Once I got the car home I found that the carburetor was not operating properly. It would start without hesitation, but the choke didn’t want to move.

The previous owner had compensated by setting the choke more than 90 degrees too rich. The problem is that at 30 mph, the car wants to stall out. Certainly not what I would consider a safe driver.

There is also a significant amount of carbon of the choke valve and a ton of rust on the spring coil. Not only that, but the choke piston is completely missing! The vacumn works just fine, but without the choke piston, that doesn’t matter too much!

I decided to completely disassemble the carburetor, clean the engine paint overspray, replace the gaskets, and dip every nut and bolt. The goal is to restore the carburetor to “new” condition. I scoured a mustang junkyard for a replacement piston, but in the end I’ve decided to replace the choke with an electric, rather than manual, choke. This should provide greater reliability, and although not “original”, it will be unseen beneath the air intake, so I’d be very surprised if anyone noticed.

I’ll post photos once I get the carburetor finished, in the meantime I’m planning on stripping and repainting the air intake and valve covers back to a high quality gold finish.

What The F@*# Did I Just Buy?!? Part 2

1965 factory pink mustangMy brother Thomas and I decided to make the trip up to Martinsburg, WVA to take a look at this car.  We left straight from work, and 3 hours (and several winding backroads) later we had arrived.  The owner uncovered the car, and we searched high and low for some indication of what the original paint color may have been  We were almost hoping to find a trace of vintage burgundy or poppy red, something that would justify that this car was not originally pink.

As it turned out, the original paint did indeed seem to be pink.  The gentleman was asking $11,500, and based on the shape of the car, the price certainly seemed fair.  I had brought Thomas along with me to help me examine the car in detail, and get his instinct on it.  There was a litle bit of bondo sitting in the drivers rear quarter (common), but the floor pans seemed fair, the engine ran and idled well, but the convertible top was pretty much shot.

The owner said that the top needed a new rear curtain, but closer inspection showed several small stress tears, and excessive rubbing on the interior.  I was confident at this point that the car was genuine, but I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to get involved with a “chick’s car”.  I thanked the owner and started the 3 hour drive home.

The owner informed me that he had 3 people coming the next day, and if I wanted it, I needed to make a move quickly.  On the drive home, I started estimating the price of making it driveable:

Retuning, New Top, New Steeing Wheel, Paint Touch-up, New Trim, New Carpet, New Wheel Inserts, New Seat Belts, Rust Remediation, and a Power Steering Leak.

1965 factory pink mustangOverall, not a terrible list.  Slightly expensive (The top alone would be $1,300), but most of the work I could do myself, so I just need the money for parts.  Even after all of the work was done, I suspected that I could still come out ahead.

Rule #1 (For me, at least) is that I don’t get into a car project that I suspect I’m going to loose money on.  Maintenance costs are one thing, but I don’t want to spend $30,000 on a classic car that I can’t break even on.  I look at classics as an investment!

The numbers seemed to work on the car, so 9am the next morning I called the owner back and offered him $10,000.  I explained that because of the surface rust pockets coming up I’m forced to do some decent preservation work, and the top is more or less shot (getting stuck in the rain with a topless car stinks).

He agreed to the price, and I dropped off a deposit check.  I got back up there a week later, trailer in tow, and brought the mustang home.  I stopped at a gas station on the way back, and ended up with a crowd of people around the car shocked to see the pink mustang on the trailer.  Any car that can grab that sort of attention at 11pm is worth getting in my book!

Is that your Mom’s car?

I pulled up to a traffic signal today, top down, enjoying the sunshine, when a woman in a Cadillac pulled up next to my pink ’65 Mustang.

I knew she wanted to say something, and as I rolled down the window, she asked: “Is that your mom’s car?”.

I couldn’t resist, so I piped up and told her “No, I asked them to paint the car Poppy Red, and they the paint shop thought I said Pepto”.

Her jaw dropped! She responded by saying “Well, I LOVE the color! Are you going to have it fixed?”. I told her I haven’t decided yet as I pulled away, and got a good laugh as I took off.

I have a feeling this is just the beginning of a very long journey that’s going to be filled with plenty of gawkers. I knew a straight man driving a pink mustang would draw attention, but this car easily gets three times the attention of any other classic car I’ve ever driven!

What The F@*# Did I Just Buy?!? Part 1

I might have lost my mind, the jury is still out on that one.  I decided I wanted to buy a sports car, and with the wife’s approval, started looking for a new toy.

7I had it all worked out in my mind; British; hand-built; small; and terrifingly fast.  Perhaps an old Lotus 7, or an Austin Healey.  Heck, I was even willing to consider something as large as a Sunbeam, as long as it looked good and turned heads, I wasn’t going to be too picky.

Even the wife got into it, searching Ebay and Craigslist, waiting for a good deal on a solid car for weekending and car shows.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have let her help me, because odds are that without her help I’d be driving a Lotus Europa right now instead of a (comparatively) huge V-8 Ford Mustang.

brownMy wife likes finding cars that she knows I’ll hate.  She enjoys seeing me turn queasy over the latest classifieds advertising someone elses backyard mistake.  I know better than to try and shove a 350 small block in a Spitfire 1500, or put a rattle-can paintjob on a ’69 Z-28 Camaro, but apparently this isn’t common knowledge  (I also don’t care that your “rare” MGB was ordered in chocolate brown and still has the original paint.  It still looks like poop).  Searching for cars online is a lesson in patience, and I’m lucky some of these advertisers can’t hear what I’m thinking.

Lo and Behold, my wife pipes up one night and says “hey, this guy says he has a factory pink ’65 Mustang Convertible for sale”.  “That’s nice, but pink wasn’t a factory color in 1965, he must be wrong”, I say, thinking that’s the end of the conversation.  “It’s in nice shape”, she says, “and he’s only asking $11,500, you should look at this.”.

It’s obvious I’m not going to get out of this, and if looking at a photo online makes her happy, so be it.  Hell, I’m curious to see what an antique pink Mustang looks like, anyways.  Little did I know that I was about to kiss my little imaginary Lotus goodbye.