Mark Houlahan
Brand Manager, 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 [www.americanautowire.com; (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 [www.customautosound.com; (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 [www.fatmanfab.com; (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 river.com; (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.

Heidts Hot Rod & Muscle Car Parts
We're not exactly sure when the whole Mustang II front crossmember craze took off in the hot rod world, but at one point rodders were scouring junkyards all over for these frontends out of the second gen Mustang. Along came Heidts [www.heidts.com; (800) 841-8188] and its version of the Mustang II suspension system for rodders more than 25 years ago. Today, Heidts has moved forward into the muscle car market and has designed plenty of suspension and chassis products for the classic Mustang. This year one of its first new Ford products is the Superide II for the popular '66-'67 Fairlane, allowing for the fitment of big-blocks and modulars while improving steering, braking, and suspension in one swipe of the credit card. We're also encouraged to hear a Ford version of its G-Machine suspension line currently used on Heidts' brand-X in-house project. A classic Mustang is in its shop now for fitment trials. Stay tuned for more on the G-Machine kit too.

Holley
When it comes to carburetion, the one name everyone knows, even your grandma, is Holley [www.holley.com; (800) HOLLEY1]. While its big splash at PRI was the new line of EFI systems (due any day now), Holley launched its latest line of carburetors at this year's Hotrod & Restoration show. Dubbed the Ultra carburetor (available as a Double Pumper or a vacuum secondary Street Avenger), they are touted as "Ultra cool, Ultra fast, and Ultra light." The carbs feature lightweight aluminum polished bodies, billet metering blocks, and baseplates available in red, blue, or black, and fast calibrations for right-out-of-the-box and ready-to-run use.

Ididit
Long a supplier of steering columns, column-shift conversions, column mounts, and more to the street rod hobby, ididit [www.ididit.com; (517) 424-0577] has recently entered the Ford market with its line of Retrofit Made to Fit Series steering columns. Already available for '65-'66, ididit now has '67-'68 columns ready for release with the '69 on the way. Hopefully it plans to get a '70-specific column done by the end of the year. The eight-way tilt columns feature Mustang-style billet knobs, direct plug-in Ford wiring (and adapters for aftermarket harnesses), plus Ford-splined column shafts to allow the owner to reuse desirable or original Ford steering wheels. They are available now in paintable steel, chrome, and powdercoat black.

Painless Performance
Many of our readers know Painless Performance [www.painlessperformance.com; (817) 244-6212] as "the wire harness company," but in reality Painless does a lot more than make wiring harnesses. From diesel-engine programmers to drag race control panels, Painless dabbles in a lot of things automotive. Its PERFECT line of EFI conversion kits has been steadily growing and is a great answer for the muscle car and street rod crowd looking to do an engine swap. Its latest offering for Ford engines is this new dual throttle body system for the Ford flathead. Designed to work with popular three-bolt "dual carb" manifolds, it includes throttle bodies, fuel rails, wiring, ECM, injectors, and everything you need to get EFI up and running on your classic flattie-powered project.

QA1 Motorsports
We can remember back in the '90s when Ford's MN12 chassis Thunderbird Super Coupe arrived with electronic ride control. Essentially a driver-adjustable electric shock and strut setup to adjust ride firmness, we loved how at the flick of a switch we could ride in comfort or carve corners. Now you can do the same thing in your classic Mustang or Ford using the wireless remote adjusting system from QA1 [www.qa1.net; (800) 721-7761]. Compatible with any of QA1's adjustable shocks and struts, the new wireless kit allows up to 20,000 options to precisely adjust shock valving, including compression and rebound (depending upon shock), right from the driver seat.

Ridetech
There's something special about "riding on air," AirRide that is. The people at RideTech [www.ridetech.com; (812) 481-4787] have been mastering the art of air suspension in muscle cars, street rods, and hot rods for a long time now and their RidePro e3 air suspension control system is their latest all-inclusive control system for your air ride setup. The new RidePro e3 includes all of the great features the e2 version had, including three different ride height profiles, ride height on startup mode, and more, but now includes an automatic calibration process that calculates the weight and cross-load automatically. Finally, the new e3 system includes built-in diagnostics with error detection and troubleshooting menus to help find any faults quickly and easily.

Rocksolid Floors
RockSolid Floors [www.rocksolidfloors.com; (866) 765-4474] came out swinging two years ago with its DIY garage floor coating system. The polyurea-based coating comes in several colors with contrasting or complementing broadcast chips to give your garage floor a professional shop appearance. The epoxy-free coating is easy to install, won't lift under your vehicle's tire weight, and is low-odor for a simple afternoon job. This year, RockSolid Floors has launched its one-day installation kit featuring burst pouches. No longer do you need measuring cups and have to deal with pouring from a can. The A and B mix agents are in the same pouch, separated by a seal. Simply roll it up and break the seal, mix, and pour. You'll have a great-looking garage floor in no time flat.

Stainless Steel Brakes Corp.
The folks at Stainless Steel Brakes [www.ssbrakes.com; (800) 448-7722] know a thing or two about braking, and it's not all about street performance either. Their new line of Competition brakes is getting a lot of attention. These new Competition Series rear discs are designed for high-performance street and strip use. The light, yet strong, four-piston calipers feature stainless steel pistons, larger pads, and necessary installation hardware. The rotors are cross-drilled and slotted and feature SSBC's Xtra Life plating on the surface. An integral parking brake is found beneath the rotor. Applications are for 9-inch rears and matching front brakes are available too.

Vintage Air
Right about now some of our readers are sweating it out in their classic Mustangs and wishing they had an effective air conditioning system in their ride to make it through another sticky summer. Fear not, the refrigeration experts at Vintage Air [www.vintageair.com; (800) 862-6658] are keeping your comfort in check with their latest SureFit systems for '65-'70 Mustangs. These new SureFit systems feature the latest Gen IV hardware, including evaporator, compressor (with mounting bracket), condenser, hose kit, and more. Best of all, the system is completely electronically controlled via your original dash controls. No more vacuum hoses to leak or break and the electronic blend door allows for OE-type perfect temperature control in all driving conditions and weather.

Jack Roush receives Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award
Every year the Hotrod & Restoration show holds an opening breakfast on Friday morning where product awards are given out and the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award is presented. This year, the award, which is given to a person who exemplifies the words "industry pioneer," was presented to Jack Roush. Roush, of course, is the chairman of Roush Enterprises and CEO/co-owner of Roush/Fenway Racing. Roush, a longtime fan of the Blue Oval, shared stories during the opening breakfast of his performance automotive career at Ford as an engineer for several years before leaving to start his own company, as well as his racing exploits in drag racing, road racing, and NASCAR. Racing during his off-time, he eventually partnered with Wayne Gapp and the Gapp & Roush team was born, racing in NHRA and IHRA events through the '70s, while Roush sold the very parts he engineered for his race team to others. Today he is a busy man with the Roush Industries engineering firm, Roush Performance line of vehicles and parts, and of course his NASCAR teams.