March 1, 2005

Cobra Jet CoversI purchased a '69 R-Code Mach 1 with 47,000 miles from the original owner. He says the valve covers were original with the car when he purchased it from the dealer. The part number for the valve covers is C9ZE-6583-B. These are aluminum-finned with "428 Cobra Jet," with the "snake" between "428" and "Cobra Jet." I have every reason to believe him since the car has been stored since 1971. I get some different opinions on this subject. Would you please set the record straight?Domenic FlorioVia e-mail

The '69 Mustang with the 428 Cobra Jet engine option used three different valve covers. Mustangs built prior to February 14, 1969 used the stamped-steel, chrome-plated "Power by Ford" valve cover. Cars built after February 14, 1969, used the C9ZZ-6582 finned-aluminum valve covers.

There are two styles of finned-aluminum valve covers. The most common are the standard covers. But the rarest and most desirable are the style you have with the raised 428 Cobra Jet and snake in the cover. The cover was most common on the Shelby Mustang and cars with the Super Cobra Jet engine option. However, this cover could have been original to any Cobra Jet built after February 14, 1969. Not all Shelbys or SCJ cars had the snake covers. This topic remains a little controversial.

A good indication your covers have not been replaced or tampered with is the presence of the silver cork valve-cover gaskets. These gaskets are slightly thicker than service gaskets and have the silver coating rather than the tan cork color.

Your covers are definitely correct for your Mach 1 if it was built after February 14, 1969.

Top Down, Top Up?I have a question for you as the Mustang Club of America's national judge for authenticity. At MCA shows, why are Concours convertibles judged with the tops up? Why would anyone want to show their convertible with the top up on a beautiful sunny day? This rule has irritated me for many years. Why not make it optional?John NearyKansas City, MO

For several reasons, the MCA rules state the top must be up on all convertibles in MCA National shows. The main reason, in my opinion, is the top must be judged. If the owner isn't present when the judging team gets to a car with the top down, we have a problem. If the top is down, the side windows are most likely also down, which makes the glass condition hard to judge.

Many car owners in Concours classes do not want to put the top down for fear of wrinkles. I understand the desire to have the top down in driven classes. However, problems during judging outweigh the positives

In my opinion, nearly all MCA members who are certified judges or any member who has helped judge will agree with MCA's policy on convertible tops.

GT TemplatesI have a '66 Mustang convertible that's nearing completion of a restoration. We replaced the fenders and most of the sheetmetal due to rust. Because the car is an original A-code, I want to add the GT option. Is there a guide for drilling the holes for GT badges and Mustang letters on the fenders? I'm also looking for advice for locating the GT stripes. We don't have anything to reference out here in North Dakota.Jonathon MurphyVia the Internet

You're in luck. National Parts Depot has a template kit in its catalog for GT stripes and emblems. Contact NPD's Michigan store at 800/521-6104 or visit the Web site at

Repro Shocks Or NotI have a chance to purchase what I believe is a nice set of Boss 302 rear shocks. The number on the shocks is Autolite P02F-1800-B1. The shocks look brand new, but they aren't in boxes. I know there was a good reproduction Autolite shock several years ago. Is there any way to determine whether a shock with the P02F-18080-B1 number is original or a reproduction? These shocks are pricey, so I want to make sure they are originals, not reproductions.Donny SilvaColumbus, OH