A few months ago, we introduced you to our Weekend Wrench project car. Since then, we’ve been working hard at doing some updates that any enthusiast can tackle, and we couldn’t be more excited to share a few of them with you.
TMI Pony Door Panels
One of the interior projects the CJ team undertook with our Weekend Wrench was switching to new TMI Pony Door Panels to give the interior a breath of new life. These new panels are made with Masonite MDF wood backing, which means they will not become damaged and deformed as easily as others that use cardboard backing. They also have the original style heat seam line patterns, which keep the quality vintage look for our ’65 coupe.
This installation is a bit more involved than some of our previous upgrades, taking a total of three hours. The process is pretty straight forward, however, involving the removal of our Mustang’s original door panel and water shield, assembling the new panel for installation, and securing the new panel into your door frame. Bill demonstrates every detail in our Pony Door Panel installation video, showing how even the weekend enthusiast can easily do this at home.
A part we couldn’t wait to upgrade were the exterior mirrors on the Weekend Wrench. It was clear the original mirrors had taken a bit of wear and tear, so we turned to Scott Drake for some quality upgrades. The Scott Drake reproduction mirrors feature a flawless chrome finish and really polish off the look of our driver and passenger side doors. Bill demonstrates in our install video how simple it is to remove the original mirrors and replace with the Scott Drake versions; you can even use the original holes for the driver’s side. To add some beauty to your door frame and increase the safety of your car while driving or reversing, these mirrors are the perfect upgrade.
LED Parking Lights
One area where classic Mustangs, like our ’65 coupe, could use an upgrade is in the lighting system, so we decided to add some modernizations with a set of LED parking lights. Not only does this installation add a polished and contemporary look to the exterior, it is actually one of the easiest upgrades we’ve performed on our Weekend Wrench. The process takes only 5 minutes, and you will see in our installation video that it involves taking off the light’s lens and switching out the bulbs. Just think, within 5 minutes or less your classic Mustang could have a modern lighting feature that not only adds safety from a brighter bulb, but also some visual flare to the front end.
Remember our Forgotten Fastback project car? We’ve been making some big changes to begin bringing this 1965 Mustang back to life, including two big installations so far. Full restorations might not be for every Mustang enthusiast, but we hope you’re keeping up with our progress on this ’65 fastback!
Front Suspension Installation
One of the first things we’ve noticed here at CJ’s is how terrible our Forgotten Fastback’s suspension was, which included two 4x4s for springs and several loose parts. Our overall goal for this Fastback is to build a classic Mustang with modern updates, so we decided to go with a stock-style suspension with a few performance upgrades. For springs, upper and lower control arms, and a strut rod kit, we’ve chosen top-quality products from Scott Drake.
Scott Drake coil springs will provide a fairly stock smooth ride during normal driving for our Fastback, but as the springs compress, they will become firmer to offer the handling characteristics similar to our 600 pound performance springs. The lower control arm assembly we’ve chosen are the finest available on the market and features a riveted design for an authentic look, which is a Scott Drake practice that is unmatched by other brands. The upper control arm assembly is similarly one of the finest reproductions available.
Undertaking a bigger project like upgrading the front suspension isn’t the easiest project, taking roughly three to four hours to complete this installation process. However, the smoother ride and increased handling with a new suspension is well worth the effort, and the performance of the Scott Drake progressive rate coil springs and polyurethane bushings won’t go unnoticed when we get to take our ’65 fastback out on the road.
SSBC Front Disc Brake Conversion Kit Installation
After upgrading the suspension in our Forgotten Fastback, Bill and the rest of the CJ team decided it would be a good idea to upgrade our disc brakes with SSBC’s Conversion Kit with Dual Bowl Master Cylinder for 1965-1966 V8 Mustangs with power brakes and an automatic transmission.
The kit includes a pair of rotors, a pair of calipers, front brake pads, dual bowl master cylinder and 7″ single diaphragm booster, splash shield, brake hoses, and rotor retaining hardware, so it was another big installation for our project car.
First, Bill installs the splash shield and caliper bracket before moving on to the rotor and dust shield. Then, before mounting the caliper on the car, Bill installs the brake line. After the caliper is placed over the rotor and lined up with the bracket, the booster is prepared and then mounted where the factory master cylinder was. If you have hard brake lines already run to the master cylinder location, you’ll need to bench bleed the master cylinder before installing it on the car. While our Forgotten Fastback didn’t, Bill demonstrates the process of bench bleeding in our installation video.
We weren’t able to entirely finish our front disc brake conversion considering the work we need to do on the hard brake lines yet. When installation is complete, however, we are excited for the improved stopping power, as well as increased safety of our disc brakes and master cylinder in the fastback.
CJ’s has a long way to go until this Forgotten Fastback is road ready and restored to the classic beauty it once was. Make sure to keep an eye on our YouTube channel and website for the next installments Bill performs, don’t hesitate to connect with us on our Facebook or Twitter about any questions or suggestions you may have!
The winter was longer and colder than usual here in central PA and at CJ Pony Parts. Everyone on the Gotta Have Builds team was anxiously awaiting the warmer weather, which we knew was going to bring us to the first local NMRA race at the Maryland International Raceway (MIR) in southern Maryland. Bill and Rick jumped at the chance to race CJ’s two 2013 Mustang GTs, Gotta Have It Race and Gotta Have It Street, in the NMRA’s Roush Super Stang class.
On Friday morning, May 3, Bill and Rick started the typical three hour ride to MIR, which took over five hours that day, thanks to traffic and construction. They hauled Gotta Have It Race on the trailer and drove Gotta Have It Street to the event. Once they arrived at the track, they met up and pitted with longtime friend and racer Bob Cochran and the 1948 Ford Flatbed Truck that he races in the Detroit Locker Truck and Lightning class. The Gotta Have Builds team also shared a pit area with CJ Pony Parts’ friend/customer Bob Schaeffer and his turbo V6 Mustang. Bill and Rick quickly prepped the cars and went through registration and tech to get ready to race.
At 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, the lanes opened for a test-n-tune session. Both Bill and Rick wanted to get a handful of test runs in so they could practice on the .500 pro tree. Rick needed all the practice that he could get, as he didn’t manage to make a single clean pass until Bill reminded him to turn off traction control. After a few more passes during test and tune, Rick’s best reaction time was just a .132 and Gotta Have It Street’s best time was 13.03 @ 111.24 MPH. Bill only made a couple of passes and was having some issues dialing in the car on the radial tires required by the class. With his best test and tune pass of 11.43 @ 121.42 with a 1.41 reaction time, it was time for qualifying.
First round of qualifying was on Friday night and started at 7 p.m. Once late afternoon came around, the temperature and DA started dropping and was making for some fast passes. Rick finally had a nice clean pass and Gotta Have It Street went 12.68 @112.18 MPH. Rick even cut a decent light with a .077 off the line. Bill and Gotta Have It Race ran an almost identical 11.44 @ 121.28 MPH with a .078 reaction time, which was not as fast as we have been running; however, it was consistent, which is how you go rounds in SST.
The second and third rounds of qualifying didn’t start until Saturday afternoon. Rick and Gotta Have It Street’s best pass was a 12.50 @ 112.87 MPH with a .094 light. That was the highest MPH ever for Gotta Have It Street and only .01 from its best ever time. The previous bests were set with the much lighter Racestar Dark Star drag wheels, so 12.50 @ 112.87 is very impressive for a car that had a race weight of over 4000lbs with an Eibach coilover road race suspension, huge Ford Racing SVTPP wheels and massive SSBC brakes and only a JLT intake, SCT XCAL3 tuner and Roush exhaust helping it make more power.
In the second and third rounds of qualifying, Bill was fighting clutch issues with Gotta Have It Race. The radial tires require a different launch than a slick; for example, when you dump the clutch, they tend to spin. The second qualifier was a 11.73 at only 117.02 MPH, which was way off what it had been running before. The low MPH was an issue. Bill decided to cool the clutch way off and add a little air to the back tires for the third qualifier. Bill had a .085 light and the changes worked as Gotta Have It Race ran another 11.43 @ 120.08 and was dialed in for Sunday’s eliminations.
The first round of eliminations for the Roush Super Stang class started bright and early Sunday morning, at 9 a.m. Rick decided on a 12.70 dial-in for Gotta Have It Street, while Bill went with an 11.50 dial-in on Gotta Have It Race. Both dial-ins were slower than each car’s best runs, but Bill and Rick wanted to leave a little bit of margin for error. If they made it past the first round, the remainder of the eliminations were to be during the middle of the afternoon, meaning it would be warmer and the track would be slower. The morning air was cool and crisp and many other competitors had been breaking out and running under their dial-ins.
Rick and Gotta Have It Street were first up and paired against Larry Firestone, who finished 5th in last year’s championship. Rick got the advantage at the starting line with a .061 reaction time compared to Larry’s .099. Rick led the race through the finish line and both racers broke out running faster than their dial-in. Larry was closer to his dail-in with a 11.471 on his 11.50, while Rick ran a 12.644 on his 12.70 dail-in. This gave the win to Larry by the very small .0275 second margin.
Bill and Gotta Have It Race were only a few cars behind Rick, and he was lined up against Marco Ponce Jr. who finished 4th in points in 2012. Bill and Marco have a friendly rivalry between our 2013 GHIR and his 2012 Real Deal Boss; our car has been quicker down the quarter mile, but Marco beat us last time we ran heads up. Bill dialed-in an 11.50 to Marco’s 11.53, so it was all but a heads up race. Marco got the starting line advantage with a .053 to Bills .129 light. However, Bill made up the ground immediately, and both cars went down the track door handle to door handle. Going through the traps, both drivers lifted but Marco let off a little sooner running 11.56 on his 11.53 dial-in at only 120 mph instead of his usual 125. Bill broke out with an firstname.lastname@example.org, a little slower than the 121-122 it was running in similar air.
Both Bill and Rick were consistent but choosing the right dial is what makes SST so tough. We had a great weekend with lots of customers coming up to see the cars and check out some of the modifications they saw us do in our videos. There are still several NMRA races left in the season, so hopefully we get a chance to go out and avenge our first round losses!
After a long winter, spring has finally arrived and everyone on the Gotta Have Builds team was excited to finally be able to get Gotta Have It Race down to the track for some much needed quarter mile therapy. On Saturday, April 20, JLP Performance’s Ford Shootout became the first drag racing event of the year. See how the team did…
Last November, Bill and Gotta Have It Race were able to run consistent 11.1-11.2 passes with a best of 11.05 seconds at 123 MPH on a cold day with mine shaft air at Cecil County Dragway. Back in November, Gotta Have It Race was on Hoosier slicks and managed a 1.52 60 foot time. Since then, the team has added about 100 lbs. of weight in the form of a Maximum Motorsports 6 point roll bar and changed the shocks out for a set of Lakewood 50/50 drag shocks.
Early in the morning on Saturday, the Gotta Have Builds team gassed up and headed to Cecil County Dragway for JLP Performance’s Ford Shootout. The air was cool, but not as good as the last time out, so Bill wasn’t expecting to break any records and was just looking forward to making some passes and getting some data out of Gotta Have It Race. They arrived at Cecil County and found a nice selection of quality cars already there, so they started getting Gotta Have It Race ready to race.
Their day was almost over before it started when they found a broken valve stem on the front tire, but the team was able to make a temporary repair so Bill could run for the day. They raised the front tires to 45 PSI and dropped the slicks down to 15 PSI, then Bill headed to the line for the first pass of the day. Gotta Have It Race ended up being the first car down the track and Bill had no idea what the prep was like, so he decided to start with a 5000 RPM launch and see what happened. The track had more bite than expected and the tires shook badly, so Bill lifted, then got back in it and went 11.52@122 MPH with a 1.688 60 foot. Given the shake and the lift it was a promising pass.
Bill took Gotta Have It Race back to the pits, cooled the car down and lowered the tire pressure to 13 PSI so the tires would take more hit and hopefully not shake like the first pass. For his next pass, Bill did his usual second gear burnout and brought Gotta Have It Race to the line. The track was working so he went with a 6000 RPM launch and the car hooked better than ever before! His 60 foot was a 1.503, which was very close to the 1.40s that the Gotta Have Builds team was looking for. Three power shifts later and Bill was rewarded with an 11.19@121 MPH, which was pretty much on par with his November passes but in worse air.
The new Lakewood 50/50 drag shocks were working well with our combo, so it was time for a Hail Mary pass. The team let Gotta Have It Race cool down for an hour, then headed to the line with 12 PSI in the tires. Bill did his normal burnout and pulled the line. Caution was thrown to the wind as Bill revved Gotta Have It Race to 7000 RPMs and dumped the clutch. The car left HARD as Bill pulled both wheels off the ground on the way to a 1.501 60 foot. Again, so close to hitting the goal! Everyone felt that Bill should have been bracket racing, since he ran a near identical 11.17@122 MPH, which ended up being the best run of the day. Bill ran several 11.2 passes and had some great runs versus some other 5.0 powered cars.
Overall, it was a good and competitive day at the track. Everyone had a great time at the Ford Shootout and they are certainly looking forward to getting out on the track some more as the 2013 racing season unfolds.
While the Gotta Have Builds team doesn’t quite have their 2013 racing schedule nailed down yet, you can check out the CJ Pony Parts events page, where that information will be posted as soon as it is available.
Do you want all the features of a modern stereo, but the vintage in-dash look of the original radio in your classic Mustang? Well, now you can have just that!
RetroSound has recently rolled out their new Model Two AM/FM radio, the first classic car stereo that works with iPods and iPhones. USB and auxiliary inputs connect your iPod or iPhone to the stereo for full control through the Model Two’s faceplate, while also charging your device.
Another advanced feature by RetroSound is that this radio is Bluetooth enabled, allowing you to stream internet music from sources like Pandora and Spotify. The Bluetooth feature also allows for hands-free calling, utilizing your car’s speakers and automatically muting the music whenever a call is in progress.
The design of the Model Two radio will match the look of your classic Mustang, featuring an authentic push button design and either black or chrome faceplate and buttons. Furthermore, the LCD illumination display is customizable, with several colors to choose from for the text. This text shows song specific information like the track number and track time, as well as the artist, the name of the song, and the album in which the song appears.
The RetroSound Model Two radio will fit in any classic Mustang, and with a little time and patience, installation is an at home job. In CJ’s installation video, Bill demonstrates how to connect and mount the Model Two radio in our Weekend Wrench project car.
First, after removing the old radio, you’ll want to remove your ignition lock cylinder and then separate your ignition switch from the bezel so you can access the ignition wiring to get power for your new Model Two. Run your new stereo wire over the stud on the back of the ignition switch and then install the spacer. Once this is completed, you can return the switch into the dash; Bill provides several helpful tips on how to do this easily. Then, you’ll need to install a ground wire underneath the dash and connect your new radio to make sure everything works correctly, before completing the rest of the installation and reassembly process. Next, since the Weekend Wrench still has the original AM radio speaker, Bill decided to take advantage of the stereo capabilities of the Model Two radio and installed a new stereo speaker in the dash.
RetroSound’s “InfiniMount” system, which provides flexible mounting options, makes this radio capable of fitting in any Mustang. This shaft/bracket system will come with a vehicle specific bezel, shift and knob kit which requires assembly. Once this kit is assembled, you’ll connect your wires to the Model Two, fish it up under the dash, and fit it in place in the old radio’s slot. Secure the washers and bolts and install the knobs. Total installation only takes a couple of hours, then you’ll be enjoying much better sound out of your classic Mustang.
Make sure to check out our selection of RetroSound Model Two radios today to enjoy iPod/iPhone compatibility, Bluetooth streamed music, and hands-free calling all with top quality sound, yet maintaining the classic look you want for your Mustang.