Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
August 1, 2007
We didn't see as many crate-engine dealers at HRR as we have in years past, but Roush Performance had its typical display setup with all sorts of offerings. From a 302ci engine for a nice street project all the way to 588 cubes of big-block power, Roush has a crate engine for every project. We also spotted its new modular engine crate offering that debuted at the show.

Held every March in Indianapolis, Indiana, the Hotrod & Restoration (HRR) trade show offers a different look at what's new in parts and accessories for our classic Fords.

You can find shiny wheels at SEMA and that killer new stroker engine kit at the PRI show, but the HRR show is more about the hot-rod mentality-looking good, being comfortable, and getting noticed. You'll see upgraded fuel-system parts, air-conditioning kits, LED taillight conversions, EFI conversion products, and much more.

This year's show highlighted the 75th anniversary of the '32 Ford, arguably the car that started the popular hot-rodding culture half a century ago. But don't think this show is just about street rods with flame paint jobs and running boards. The hot-rod mentality is quickly moving from street rods and cars of the '50s into our cars of the '60s and early '70s. Billet interior trim, custom steering wheels, updated wiring with more circuits for accessories, better handling suspensions, and more are creeping into our classic Fords, and we think it's a great way to expand the love for our cars.

Flaming River Rapids Steering Wheel
Thunderbird Rack-and-PinionA visit to Flaming River's [; (800) 648-8022] new products section was where we spotted the company's latest steering-wheel creation, the Rapids (PN FR20162; $400.67). This fresh, new billet and leather design offers a central horn button centered within the billet spokes with black leather overwrap on the rim between the spokes. The Rapids steering wheel is 13.8 inches in diameter and requires its own adapter (FR20162AD; $92.60) to mount.

Flaming River also had its new Thunderbird rack-and-pinion cradle kit at the show ($2,820 for an aftermarket wheel column kit; $2,950 for an OE wheel column kit). Designed to work with the company's recently released Thunderbird tilt column (included with the rack kit but also available separately for original or aftermarket steering wheels), the Thunderbird rack-and-pinion kit is a true bolt-on, with no welding or frame modifications required for 292 Y-block-powered '55-'57 'Birds, and it retains the stock turning radius.

Aeromotive H.O. Fuel Pump Kit
This new fuel pump kit, PN 17245, from Aeromotive [; (913) 647-7300] is an all-inclusive system for carbureted street cars and can handle up to 600 hp without the need for a separate fuel-pressure regulator. Internally regulated to 7 psi, the billet H.O. fuel pump flows 550 lb/hr or 90 gph (at 5 psi) with 3/8-inch NPT inlets and outlets. The kit includes Aeromotive's own fuel filter, braided fuel line, fittings, wiring, relays, and terminals for under $600.

BrakeQuip Custom Brake Hoses
We stopped at the BrakeQuip [; (877) 431-0075] booth when we spied the company's colored brake hoses. Depending upon your level of custom-build needs, a colored brake hose or even a custom line/hose might be in your future. While BrakeQuip doesn't sell direct, it can-through its phone or online customer service-direct you to your nearest BrakeQuip dealer and they'll be glad to make up whatever you need, pressure test it, and have you on your way. Lest you think that stainless braided lines are overkill, BrakeQuip has over 500 brake fittings and can make rubber brake hoses as well for all sorts of custom brake projects.

Grant Products Heritage Diablo Wheel
Known for more than 40 years as the largest manufacturer of steering wheels, Grant Products [; (800) 952-6947] has an interesting wheel for those who love flames. The Heritage Diablo steering wheel features a polished-aluminum three-spoke design with CNC-cut flame licks and a polished billet-aluminum horn button with a Grant oval logo. The Heritage Diablo wheel measures 14-3/4 inches in diameter with a 2-1/2-inch dish. Grip options include a flame-pattern, high-gloss grip in black or white; and a black leather or mahogany wood grip. Pricing runs $414 for the leather grip, $425 for mahogany, and $440 for the flame pattern.

Ididit Cable Shift-Linkage Kit
If you're running a column-shift early Ford, you know what a hassle it can be to find parts for an overdrive-trans conversion, or trying to fit aftermarket headers to your car with all of the column shift linkage and bell cranks in the way. Ididit [; (517) 424-0577] has an answer with its cable shift-linkage kit for column-shift cars. The kits are available for stock Ford columns, C4, C6, and AOD transmissions, with prices starting at less than $150. Each kit comes with the appro-priate transmission bracket, column bracket, and heavy-duty shift cable. Now you can keep the cool look of your ride's column shift while cleaning up the engine bay and making room for your favorite headers.

Inglese Weber TSD Induction System
When bench racing, there's always something sexy about saying you have Weber induction. But check out this new getup-Twin Side Draft (TSD) induction from Weber by Inglese [; (866) 450-8089]. The TSD system bolts to any standard four-bolt Holley or Quadrajet intake manifold surface and gives the owner two dual-throat Webers with an undeniable visual impact. The system is also available for dual-quad manifolds and supercharged applications as well. Pricing on the single TSD starts at $1,150.

Meguiars Hot Rims Mag & Aluminum Polish
When it comes to restomods and classic show cars, there's always aluminum bits that need polishing. From those Torque Thrust IIs to that Sanden compressor under the hood, a little elbow grease is required now and then to keep these polished-aluminum parts looking their best. We picked up a sample of Meguiars [; (800) 347-5700] new Hot Rims Mag & Aluminum Polish (PN G13508; $6.99) to try. This polish comes in an 8-ounce can with a screw-top lid and has the texture of a wax product (no runny white liquid in a bottle). The polish applied easily (with a bonus cinnamon scent) and worked extremely well on the bare aluminum parts we applied it to. Pick some up for yourself-we need all of ours.

Old Air Products '64-'68 Mustang A/C System With Electronic Controls
The guys at Old Air Products [; (817) 531-2665] tweaked its Hurricane heating and cooling systems to utilize electronic controls that work off of the factory Mustang dash-control panel. The Hurricane system mounts in place of the stock heater assembly for '65-'68 Mustangs (with all hoses exiting the blower motor opening in the firewall via a custom mounting plate) and provides full heating and cooling functions with molded-ABS underdash vents. The Hurricane system retails for $1,165.

Roush Performance 588R Performance Engine
Roush Performance [www.roush; (800) 59-ROUSH] has been building small-block crate engines for several years and FE-based engines for more than a year. Now the builders at Roush have tackled the Lima-based 460 platform with the company's new 588R big-block crate assembly. Based on a Ford Racing Performance Parts A-460/Eliminator Sportsman 460 block and making an estimated 630 hp, the 588R features a 4.500-inch nodular-iron crank swinging forged 4340-steel, H-beam rods that have forged pistons at the small end. A Roush-spec'd roller cam opens the 2.200-inch intake and 1.760-inch exhaust valves seated in 290cc Super Cobra Jet aluminum heads. A single-plane intake with a Holley HP 1,000-cfm carb sits on top of the whole shootin' match.

Scott Drake New Parts Finishes
Scott Drake [; (800) 999-0289] had some of its more popular items on display that now carry new finishes. Many of the parts, including Monte Carlo bars, strut braces, and more, are now available in an optional black or silver powdercoat finish, as well as the previous chrome option. So, if you wanted a Monte Carlo bar, the standard gloss-black paint wasn't doing it for you, and the chrome was too much bling, the new satin-black or silver-powder finishes will probably be just right.

Totally Stainless Total-Loc Header Bolts
If you've ever opened the hood of your classic Ford to find a header bolt missing (and the rest just finger-tight), then you know what a pain in the gasket header bolts can be to keep tight. It takes only a few loose bolts to blow out a gasket and embarrass you at the local cruise scene-or worse, hurt your engine. Forget the gimmicks, the clips, the safety wire, and all that, and swap out your current bolts for these new Total-Loc header bolts (PN 6-5599; $66.50) from Totally Stainless [; (800) 767-4781]. Made from stainless steel, they feature Nord-Lock washers that are captured on the bolt. After the fastener is tightened, the ramping action of the washers creates a lock, preventing the loosening of the fastener by vibration (they can be removed with hand tools) because the ramp angle is steeper than the thread pitch of the fastener.

We were so impressed with the demo, we took a set of them back with us to install on our FFR Cobra replica project.

Unisteer Performance Products
'60-'65 Falcon/Comet Rack-And-Pinion Steering
While new products are typically developed for Mustangs, they are sometimes used on other Fords if the fit is similar. This is the case with Unisteer Performance Products [; (800) 338-9080]. After the company came out with its Mustang manual rack-and-pinion conversion kit two years ago, it looked at other Ford markets and has now released its latest rack-and-pinion conversion kit for the '60-'65 Falcon and Comet. Available in both manual and power-steering versions (and black powdercoat or chrome brackets), the rack-and-pinion kit is a bolt-in system that comes complete with all hardware, such as tie-rod ends and steering shafts. Prices start at $1,200.

Stainless Steel Brakes Corp. Combo Master Cylinder
Leave it to the mad scientists at Stainless Steel Brakes [; (800) 448-7722] to come up with a one-stop-shopping solution that solves several problems at once when building a custom braking system. SSBC's new Combo master cylinder features a billet-aluminum, oval-bowl, master cylinder compatible with disc/drum or disc/disc applications. It includes a built-in adjustable proportioning valve to adjust rear-brake bias at the master cylinder. The Combo master cylinder also incorporates a built-in brake-light switch, alleviating switch problems when using custom pedal assemblies or aftermarket wiring harnesses. SSBC's Combo master cylinder retails for $529.

Ford Family Honored
On March 2, 2007, during the HRR's Grand Opening Breakfast cosponsored by Meguiars, the Petersen Automotive Museum and Hotrod & Restoration honored the Ford family as the recipient of the 2007 Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. Edsel B. Ford ll, a true car enthusiast, was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the Ford family. This is the first time the award has been given to an entire family instead of one individual. And there could be no more fitting family member to represent the Ford family than Edsel B. Ford ll, as it was his grandfather, Edsel B. Ford-son of Henry Ford-that designed the '32 Ford, commonly called the "Deuce." The '32 Ford is what the hot-rod market was built on.

Edsel Ford (left) shares one of his stories with Barry Meguiar during the Hotrod & Restoration Grand Opening breakfast.

After accepting the Petersen award from Petersen Automotive Museum Director Dick Messer, Edsel had a public chat with Car Crazy host and detailing authority Barry Meguiar. The conversation ran from Ford's financial situation (and Edsel didn't sugarcoat it), to memories of his father and grandfather, cars he's owned, and the juvenile diabetes foundation he champions. Finally, Edsel signed a '32 Deuce pedal car that was to be auctioned at the HRR show.

Previously honored recipients include Wally Parks, Carroll Shelby, George Barris, Vic Edelbrock, and Andy Granatelli.