Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
June 2, 2010

While not the parts trove of hardware like the annual SEMA and PRI shows, the Hotrod & Restoration show held each March in Indianapolis, does hold a special place in our car-infested minds. It's mostly due to the fact that these hotrod-based companies, like Lokar, American Autowire, Heidts, and others are ever so quickly migrating into the muscle car and classic car parts arena, and we don't want to miss out on a single new part that's being released. Not to mention, Indy is just a cool town to visit!

Each March we look forward to hitting downtown Indy and the convention center to see what's new, discuss projects and product ideas with companies, and get to see these new parts firsthand. Several of the companies that display each year are certainly hard-core hotrod or street rod product manufacturers, and when we examine their products and see a fitment for them in the classic Ford or Mustang arena the reaction when we tell them is usually along the lines of "Really? These will fit?" And there you go, now there's some trick new part that'll be offered for our market.

This year's show, like the SEMA and PRI shows before it, was a little light on displaying companies and foot traffic, but the companies we spoke with had encouraging words for us when mentioning increased sales, more phone calls, more catalog requests, and the like. So things are looking up, but we expect people to still be cautious for a little while longer. We can't say we blame the consumer, as the last year or two has been a real eye-opener for many people, and we've seen a lot of projects sold off midway through or not even started due to the economy. Hopefully 2010 will be the turnaround point, and from what we've been hearing, we think it will. Check out these trick new parts for your next project and get building!

American Autowire
The team over at American Autowire [; (800) 482-WIRE] has been making a name for itself in the classic Ford marketplace with its '65-'66 and '67-'68 Mustang wiring harness kits, which include such niceties as headlamp relays, a new ignition and headlamp switch, and more. While speaking with American Autowire at the show we learned that its next products in development are the wiring harnesses for '69 and '70 Mustangs, with a '69 Mustang in its shop right now for fitment and measurement checks. Stay tuned for info when it is released.

Custom Autosound
A name synonymous with our hobby is Custom Autosound [; (800) 888-8637]. For more than 25 years it's been creating direct-fit car stereos for classic cars so we don't have to cut our dashes up in the name of good music reproduction. Its Secretaudio SST has gone through a few revisions over the years and Custom Autosound released the latest version at this year's Hotrod & Restoration show. The latest unit, which allows the main guts to be hidden out of view with just a small LCD display for access, now has iPod and MP3/USB connectivity, satellite radio input, and an RF remote that works up to 40 feet away (no line of sight needed). The Secretaudio SST is great for custom interiors, console mounting, or hiding under the dash, while still giving you plenty of audio source options.

Fatman Fabrications
Every time we speak with Brent Vandervort at Fatman Fabrications [; (704) 545-0369] he has some trick new suspension part on the horizon. While known for many street rod and hotrod suspension products, Brent has released a plethora of suspension goodies for classic Mustangs, Falcons, Fairlanes, and other muscle car Fords. His latest in the Ford lineup of goodies are these new tubular control arms for '57-'64 fullsize Fords. The arms feature revised suspension geometry for modern alignment settings, improved bushings, and screw-in ball joints.

Flaming River
We all know that Flaming River [www.flaming; (800) 648-8022] is the leader in steering when it comes to hot rods and, of course, classic Mustangs and Fords. Every time we hit a car show or cruise night we spot a Mustang with a Flaming River tilt column, steering box, or rack-and-pinion setup. Now the company has come out with something, while not directly for the classic Mustang or Ford (yet), we can see it possibly being a big help in more custom builds, and that is its new billet universal mount power rack-and-pinion system. The rack, which is dimensionally interchangeable with the Mustang II rack many use, features the option of front or rear steering, and adjustable pinion angle to aid in steering shaft position, which can reduce the number of joints required and improve joint angle.