December 16, 2004

Shine On...

Taillight reflector dishes tend to tarnish with age. Their galvanizedsurfaces fade and go dull, making for dim performance. Brighten them upwith a high-heat silver finish from VHT. This is an everlasting silverfinish, which will keep your taillights bright for years to come. Whileyou're at it, step up to halogen lamps for brighter performance. Formore information, contact National Parts Depot, (800) 874-7595;www.NPDlink.com.

Glad Hand

If you drive a classic Mustang, Falcon, or Comet, you're familiar withthose really crummy, dash-mounted hand brakes that don't stand a chanceof holding these rides on a slight grade, much less a steep one. In1974, Ford began using a pull-up hand brake between the bucket seats ofMustangs. You can install a pull-up hand brake in your classic Mustang,Falcon, or Comet, as long as you're using bucket seats. A localfabrication shop or auto repair shop can cut and swage a new end on yourparking-brake cable to get it to the correct length. Then, parking iseasy.

Intermittent Operation

Did you know you can install intermittent windshield wipers in yourvintage Ford? Available at an affordable price from DDK Technologies isthis easy-to-install intermittent-wiper system that plugs right intoyour vintage Ford's electrical system. Plug it in, and drill a hole forthe rotary switch. It's that easy. For more information, contact DDKTechnologies at (919) 522-1024.

Tighten It Up

Vintage Fords fall short in the handling department because they lackthe technology. Step up to new technology with urethane or polyurethanebushings at the stabilizer links, sway bar, and control arms. Urethanebushings stiffen up a sloppy ride. However, urethane bushings can benoisy, and they also give you a harder ride. Polyurethane bushings havea certain amount of "give" in their function, which quiets operation andabsorbs road shock. Info: Mustangs Plus, (800) 999-4289 or (209)944-9977; www.mustangsplus.com.

H.O. To Go

If you want to get into a bit more power for your vintage ride, think5.0 H.O. Expensive, you say? Especially with all that fuelie conversionand whatnot. Well, not really; at least if you do it our way. In thepast, we bought a running 5.0 H.O. from a salvage yard and used it inour ride with a set of inexpensive headers; or, even cheaper--theoriginal exhaust manifolds. The price is low on these engines now (whenyou can find them); and, unless the engine has had the snot beat out ofit, the little 302 will run for a good long while--giving you time tosave up for the rebuild that will net you eye-bleeding performance. Wealso recommend getting the fuel injection when you buy the engine, andsetting it aside for later since the harness and fuel delivery stuff canbe costly. You will need the conversion damper (PN 05896) from MustangsPlus that allows you to run the 5.0 with your old water pump and V-stylepulleys (the 5.0 uses a reverse-rotation pump that is not compatiblewith the vintage cooling system). You will also need the Mustangs Plusflexplate (for automatics, PN 06115). But these costs are minimal whencompared to the cost of adding an AOD or a five-speed. Info: MustangsPlus, (800) 999-4289 or (209) 944-9977; www.mustangsplus.com.

Cut!

So you want that cool nose-down stance on your restomod but don't wantto spend the dough on new drop coils. Take a tip from the old guys andcut. The benefits are twofold: You get that fly-lower look and a higher(stiffer) spring rate.

Of course, like everything, there is a right way and a wrong way to cutthe coils. Never use a blowtorch to hack off sections of coil. Alwaysuse a fiberglass cutoff wheel and a high-speed grinder for the cut.Also, don't cut a lot of coil and work in small increments,re-installing after each cut. Sure, it will get tedious after a while,but it will keep you from having to call the parts house and say, "Yes,I need two front coils for my Ford."

If you want to get the overall low look, you can get a set of loweringblocks for the rear springs fairly cheaply.