David Stribling
December 16, 2013

Peeling Out

I'm getting ready to paint my '67 Cyclone in its original Glacier Blue (currently red). My painter says to go with a modern basecoat/clearcoat. However, doesn't that hurt the value over the original enamel paint? Also, how much orange peel should I put in the paint?

Thousand Oaks, CA

I know I'm going to get letters on this one, but here it goes. Unless you are going absolutely all original with a concours type restoration—with no exceptions—go with the basecoat/clearcoat system. The reason isn't what you think. The single-stage paints are not being used by the collision shops anymore, and I have had big problems with the mixing banks for single-stage paint getting too old and having paint problems. All the new technology is in base/clear setups, and a good painter can make a base/clear look like single-stage paint. It's getting harder and harder to shoot single-stage cars these days.

Orange peel from the factory was the result of baking the paint onto the car. This created a very slight “non smooth” surface like the peel of an orange, hence the clever name. Today's modern high volume/low pressure spray equipment creates a somewhat more peeled surface than the old high pressure systems from the '60s, but a good painter can get it just about right. The look of orange peel from baking vs. orange peel from air pressure has a difference, although slight, but some top judges can tell.

How much orange peel do you want in your show paintjob? That is the million-dollar question. The MCA (Mustang Club of America) wants to see quite a bit. In fact, I have seen some cars that were really bad—Ford would have pulled them off the line before selling them in that condition. The ISCA (International Show Car Association) doesn't want to see any, which is why I have seen some top Fords lose to GM cars in ISCA. GM was still using lacquer into the 1960s (nice and shiny). How much you should put in depends on who is going to judge the car. As a reference, though, go look at a new Ford; they still bake 'em and they still have peel in them. Get up close and you'll notice the peel, but it's not so much that you notice it a couple steps back, where the paint looks really pretty.

Tow Rig Power

I have a '96 F-150 4x4 with a 5.8L EFI and automatic trans. It is very difficult to get great advice or parts for my rig here in Australia. I am towing a fifth-wheel trailer and the engine needs help. I was thinking about supercharging the engine. The engine has been refreshed (I needed the heads done for running LPG) and is standard bore with a towing cam fitted and that's it. I hope that you can assist and recommend what I need or what would work best for my application. At 100 kph, I'm doing 1,800 rpm in Overdrive and 2,100 rpm with overdrive off. I really need to know what parts I need if I supercharged the F-150. I would probably go with a Vortech-type due to room under the hood.

I also have a PRINS-injected LPG system fitted to the vehicle. I had the rig on the dyno and there was no difference in horsepower on unleaded fuel or the LP gas. It made 160 hp; not great, but well, that's what I have to work with. I'm not concerned about big horsepower; I want torque for towing. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.

Terry Ryan
Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

I'm going to submit your questions for inclusion in my column because 1) a lot of us have towing vehicles for our classic Fords/Mustangs and someone may be in the same situation as you, and 2) LPG (Liquid Petroleum Gas) conversions as well as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) conversions (bi-fuel vehicles) are getting popular here in the states.

First off, towing a fifth-wheel with an F-150 is asking a lot. The suspension and drivetrain aren't really heavy enough, and the braking systems are not big enough to stop everything should an emergency occur. Never exceed the towing capabilities specified by the manufacturer. We'll proceed assuming you are not pushing your F-150 past the rated towing limit.

Second off, before I went spending a ton of money supercharging your engine, I would do everything else you really should do before you supercharge an engine so it will handle the boost. A really good, true dual exhaust with good headers, a good intake upgrade (not sure what is available and legal in Australia), and a good tune. There is no reason why you can't double that 160 horsepower and torque from your 5.8L with little effort and money. My bet is you can get what you need without boosting the engine.

If you really want to boost your 5.8L, remember this: When you boost the engine, you also have to supply an equal amount of fuel to the air mixture to prevent the system from leaning out. With LPG, you may be injecting the gas downstream from the throttle plate, and that might cause pressure problems with the blower or LPG system. You need to also make sure your LPG system can handle the additional fuel requirements a supercharger demands. I believe LPG also burns hotter, and that will likely bring up your exhaust temperatures and cause other problems.

Finally, for my pulling truck, I prefer turbocharging over supercharging. Where superchargers are good for instant response, the turbo system is driven off those free exhaust gasses and doesn't rob crankshaft horsepower. You are talking about pulling torque, and I think you'll be happier with a turbo. But before then, get the 5.8L breathing better with some good power parts and I think you'll pass on the blower idea.

Cruising For Control

I saw on one of your Internet posts that you had a lot of experience with the speed control systems. I took one off of a Cougar many years ago and would like to install it on my Mustang. I have completely forgotten how it was installed on the Cougar, so I'm looking for help. I would really appreciate it if you could forward this info. Thanks!

Dan Berger
Via the Internet

The biggest and most notable difference between the early Curtis Wright (left) and the Perfect Circle (right) speed control systems is the speed regulator. This unit takes the speed info from the speedometer cable and turns it into an electrical signal to turn on and off the vacuum switch to the speed servo. The Curtis wright system is extremely rare—with less than 20 probably installed from the factory. The Perfect Circle system was used up through the mid-’70s.

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The '67 cruise control system was a very rare factory item for the Mustang (around 55 cars total), with a few more (but still rare) installed on Cougars. Most systems were made by Perfect Circle, and the very early ones were made by Curtis Wright. Both cruise systems are discussed in the Ford factory shop manuals, so you'll want to get a set of reprints. Then get a copy of the '67 Wiring and Vacuum diagrams. I prefer the fullsize originals to the later reprints, which can be hard to read. The early cruise control systems were heavily dependent on vacuum.

Finally, get a hold of a copy of the Text and Illustration page from Ford, specifically section 97.1 pages 10-12. These show both the Curtis Wright and Perfect Circle systems, and all the pieces you hopefully got when you pulled it from the Cougar. If you missed something, you can then go to the parts T&I listings and get the part numbers and start looking for them by part number online. Be wary, because there are a lot of guys missing one or two parts from their projects because they didn't get it all. Good luck with the install. I hope you can pull it off because it is truly a rare setup.

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