Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Older, Some Really Old

            The recent All Ford Show sponsored by the Tri-State Mustang Club featured not only a huge array of Mustangs but some older Ford classics as well. Ranging from the car that put Ford on the map, the Model T, to the Super Deluxe from the 1940s, to trucks and even a chopped hot rod. There were a number of older classics to please everyone. Enjoy the pictures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dad Finishes What His Son Starts

            Back in 1999 Jerry McGrath’s son bought a 1972 Mach 1 Mustang in Pennsylvania. As Jerry put it, “The car was a project.” So much so that Jerry took over the job.
            “I’m retired now so I put money into when I can,” Jerry said. “It’s been a struggle.”
            But it’s a struggle that is paying off. While there are still some things to be done, Jerry’s Mach 1 is really starting to take form. The first time we saw the car was a couple of months ago and it hadn’t been painted.
            “I just got it painted,” he said of a task that took him over a year to complete. The Viper Red color, beautifully put on by Southern Ohio Collision, is a little lighter than the original color but Jerry picked it because he liked it. And it adds to the “turn your head” quality of the car.
            It may be true that the color of the car is eye-catching, it’s growl, when he fires up the 351 Cleveland and pushes it through its four speed Hurst shifter that really makes you notice this car as it flies down the road.
            The car has the original interior but Jerry pointed out that he needs to do a few more things to get the car where he wants it. “I still need to get the air conditioning done,” Jerry said. “I need to find a new tach and get a steering wheel” to replace the original one that now sports a crack.
            Even as the car is coming together nicely, Jerry is able to talk about some of the problems he encountered along the way. Having to straighten out all the seams was just the first of many challenges he’s encountered. “The hardest part was getting the sway bars in,” he said.
            “While I was driving it I heard this clunk,” Jerry said of another difficult time in the car’s restoration. “The left rear brake just came apart.” As he fixed that, other parts started shaking loose or coming apart. “Basically we had to take it all apart and put it all back together again,” he added, grinning at the situation now, unlike when it happened.
            Despite all of the problems, Jerry wouldn’t trade it in for anything. And even though it isn’t in show condition yet, he still likes to take it shows, like he did at the recent 31st Annual Tri-State Mustang Club All Ford Show.
            Car shows and his friends he sees at them aren’t the real reason Jerry enjoys the car. “I drive it a lot,” he said, a wry grin forcing itself on his face. “Every chance I get.”

Monday, August 29, 2011

You Can't Be In a Bad Mood in This Car

            It’s probably a natural thing for Lynn Klopfstein to love classic Mustangs. She learned to drive in her dad’s 1964 ½ pony. “It was bronze with a white top,” she fondly remembered.
            So, three years ago when she went looking for a car to drive and show, she didn’t look beyond these classics from her own past. She knew pretty much what she wanted, a mid-60s mustang with a drop top. “Yeah, I wanted a rag top,” she said.
            What she found was a 1966 convertible up in Columbus. She explained that the guy who owned it needed tuition money for his kid.
            In the three years that she’s owned the car she has done very little work to it. “We took off the split headers that the guy had put on and went back to the original exhaust,” Lynn said. In fact, she pointed out, that the car is as original as you can get, even down to the original owner’s manual. In order to round out the standard collection of books and materials, she went looking on line and found what she was missing.
            Since she’s owned this Mustang, Lynn said that she drives it every chance she gets. “I’m out there every pretty day that I get a chance,” she pointed out, adding that the car “especially likes the back roads.”
            She added that she likes to drive the Spring Time Yellow convertible with the top down but was quick to point out that she shows it with the top up.
            “I was at a show and the rules said that I had to have the top up. I realized that it looks really good with the top up,” Lynn said.
            And it also shows well, too. While Lynn said she only shows it about once a month, it is a consistent trophy winner. Up to the 31st Annual Tri-State All-Ford Show it had won in each of the shows it had entered.
            But showing it isn’t the real reason Lynn loves this car. It’s for driving. “Especially if I’m in a bad mood. You can’t be in a bad mood in that car,” Lynn said with a smile.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Latest Steve Weber Update

            Early this spring I met Steve Weber at a really cool car show, the Annual ACE Car Show in Armco Park where he was showing off the beginning of a restoration on his 1957 International S100 pickup truck. Since then he has been giving me updates about his progress complete with pictures. Last month he sent me some updated pictures and somehow they got lost in my files.
            Though he drives it around, he had taken the truck completely apart back in July and this last group of pictures shows how he’s put it back together.
            This is Steve’s first restoration project and already he’s told me that he’s learned a great deal. One thing he has for sure learned is that every restoration project is different but what he’s learned on this one will be easily applied to his next one.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Keeping It As Original As Possible

            Eight years ago Bob Grear’s father bought a 1948 Ford Super Deluxe sedan coupe from a man in Springfield, OH. Bob helped his father to restore the car and make it as original as possible. For the past two years, since Bob has owned the car, he has maintained that attitude.
“The car was in pretty rough shape,” Bob said recently of the car when his father got it. But three years of restoration has turned it into a top trophy winner at car shows all around the region.
“The hardest was the floorboards. They had to be welded in,” Bob explained when asked what the most difficult part of the restoration entailed. “We started to do the body work but let a shop finish it,” he continued.
Part of that body work included a new paint job for the skin. “Originally it was maroon,”
 he said but added that his mother picked out the current color, Toreador Red.
“It has the original engine, transmission and suspension,” Bob said. Since it did have a solid, original foundation, he noted, “We wanted to keep it as original as possible.”
Bob pointed out that because it is in such good shape and so original that it has won numerous trophies at car shows. But that isn’t the only reason he keeps and enjoys the car so much.
“It’s a fun car to drive,” he said. “It really turns heads.”

 He drives it at least once a week, usually going to a car show, but sometimes just for the fun of wheeling around in such a beautiful classic.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More Mustang Madness

          Growing up in the suburbs there was a guy who lived up the street. He was older, the oldest kid on the block. His younger brother was the same age as my older brother. So it was natural, I suppose, that he became someone all the kids on the block sort of looked up to.
          He was the first to get his driver's license. He got a job working, first at a gas station and later driving some heavy equipment around the rail yard. With the money he earned he bought a 1968 Ford Mustang. While the pony had been roaming the streets since the middle of 1964, it wasn't until 1967 that there was a major change in the car.
           One of the biggest changes that came in '67 was the availability of a big block V-8 which offered power options up to 390 horse power and 460 foot pounds of torque all growling in 427 cubic inches of raw power. While those bigger, faster options were inexpensive by today's standards, a teen age boy couldn't very easily afford them and so my neighbor settled for the 289 cubic incher that pushed 270 horses at 312 foot pounds of torque. Still a nice ride but lacking some of the giddyup  of the bigger engines.
          That was a summer when the guy who drove our Mr. Softee truck just happened to own a 1965 Chevy Corvette (C2) that sported a 327 cubic inch small block V-8 pushing 375 horses under the hood.
           Well, as guys often do, these two began bragging about their cars and when push came to shove, it was decided the only way to settle things was to head to the local drag strip, Edgewater Park, and settle this like men.
          It seemed as though half of the neighborhood was there that night. My brother and I shelled out the extra money to get pit passes that allowed us to wander around the cars that were going to race as the evening's entertainment.
          When we saw our neighbor we noticed that he wasn't prepping his 289 for the race but rather had a 427 belonging to a friend of his. Knowing that the two drivers had put money on the outcome of the race, my brother, being fair minded, and I found our ice cream man and let him know what was happening.
          I half expected the Mr. Softee driver to be mad and go charging after our neighbor but he just smiled and said, with a shrug, "That's OK, we eat Fords for breakfast."
          In the end, the Chevy won the race; not so much because it was a better car but because our Mr. Softee man was a better, more experienced driver. Our neighbor got blown off the start and never had a chance. He reluctantly paid up and never again made a big deal about how great his car was. But it was a great car and still is.
          Wandering around the 31st Annual Tri-State Mustang Club All Ford show recently and shooting pictures of these classic automobiles reminded me of that story many summers ago. I don't know what happened to the Mr. Softee driver and proud Vette owner. He didn't have that route the next summer. My neighbor graduated high school, got married and a few years later was killed when the forklift he was driving overturned.
           That day at the race track I was climbing down from up in the bleachers rather then cross a bunch of bodies when something on the ground caught my eye. I moved some dirt and there, looking up at my 13-year-old eyes was a $50 bill. That was a lot of money back then.
          Enjoy these pictures taken at the All Ford show. Leave a comment or drop me a line if you have any great car memories from when you were growing up.