March 3, 2013

Saleen 351

Now that Steve Saleen has regained control of his namesake brand, as announced in April 2012, he's ready to resume building Saleen Mustangs as his SMS Supercars brand is integrated into Saleen. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, he announced the new 700-horsepower Saleen 351, a name that brings back memories of the legendary Saleen S351s from the 1990s.

"Since regaining the Saleen brand, I really want to bring it all together with the heritage that Saleen is known for," Saleen said. "With the current Saleen (with a Coyote 5.0L, or 302 cubic-inches) Mustang, it provides all the right features to bring back and update the S351 model."

The Saleen 351 will be based on a Saleen-engineered 351 cubic-inch version of the Coyote 5.0-liter. With a Saleen 296 supercharger system, it will produce 700 horsepower and 655 lb-ft of torque. Saleen will also add a high-performance clutch to the six-speed transmission and a 3.73:1 rear axle ratio. The Saleen 351 package also includes an S4 suspension, 20-inch wheel and tire package, multi-piston brake system, and Saleen design elements that utilizes the Red Butterfly Center Ram Air Induction to allow cooler outside air into the intake system under open throttle conditions.

"Everything about this project has been mindful of the goal to create the most potent Mustang on the market," said Al Wagner, VP of Engineering. "I think we have certainly pushed the bar in the production Mustang segment with our 351 offering. Once the project came together I couldn't help but think—if the 302 Mustang is using a Coyote engine, the 351 is definitely the gray wolf of the class."

To find out more about Saleen, visit www.saleen.com

Joe Oros: 1917-2012

How it is possible that we lost Mustang stylist and designer Joe Oros last year and few noticed? His death didn't make national news, yet what he did a half century ago changed American automotive culture forever. Oros passed away in August. He was 96.

Over his career, Oros designed kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners, furniture, homes, sculptures, paintings, and automobiles, including the clay model that eventually became the 1965 Mustang. He was married to Betty, who also made automotive history as Detroit's first female automotive stylist.

Born in 1917, Oros showed incredible artistic talent early in life. His intelligence so impressed educators that he was moved from third to fifth grade. He graduated from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1939 and later attended the General Motors School of Automotive Design under the tutorage of stylist great Harley Earl. For a time, Oros designed Cadillacs at GM. His drive and talent thrust Oros to stardom as a respected stylist at General Motors before moving to the George Walker Design Agency.

When George Walker joined Ford, Oros came with him to design the all-new, post-war '49 Ford, which saved Ford Motor Company. In time, Oros would pencil the '55-'57 Thunderbird and '57-‘59 Fords. In the early 1960s as the design chief at the Ford studio, he produced the winning clay model in a design contest to determine the shape of Ford's future four-seat sporty car. The design ultimately became the 1965 Mustang. Oros retired from Ford in 1968.

In 1995, Joe and Betty Oros invited me into their Santa Barbara, California, home. Oros was understandably proud of Betty. Both sat with me in their mid-century home and hauled out some of their best design efforts. Oros told me that his vision for the Mustang was women, who he believed would dominate the sporty car market. He wanted a long nose, short deck, and a mouthy Ferrari grille. He imagined something sporty but not overstated.

The world is much richer thanks to Joe Oros' contributions. He has left us with many reminders of what he accomplished, including Mustang, which will be around for generations to admire and treasure. —Jim Smart

Mustang Six Association

Six-cylinder owners of the world, unite! That's the cry from Rick Mitchell, who has created the Mustang Six Association, an organization "dedicated to preserving the history and promoting the future of '65-'73 six-cylinder Mustangs." If Rick's name sounds familiar, it's likely because you remember him from the 1966 Sprint 200 Registry, which he formed in 1983. It later evolved into the Early Six Mustang Registry for '65-'66 six-cylinder Mustangs.

With the Mustang Six Association, Rick plans to publish a number of e-publications for members, including Sprint Print for '66 Sprint 200s, Six Classics for all other six-cylinder Mustangs, Mustang Six Interviews with owners and other individuals, Mustang Six Showcase photo essays, Mustang Six Blasts for news bulletins, and Mustang Six Treks about visits to shows. Rick also plans to develop a '66 Sprint 200 Online Resource Library that members can access to learn about the Sprint 200, including history, identification, and detailing information for shows.

Members will receive the e-publications automatically. There is no membership fee, but as a member-driven organization, Rick does ask for a favorite six-cylinder Mustang story and other input for the newsletters. To join, send an email to remitchell22@aol.com with a note about how you became associated with six-cylinder Mustangs.

Taylor Midwest Mustang Tour

At 71 and suffering from Parkinson's Disease, Batesville, Arkansas' Jerry Taylor doesn't know how much longer he will be able to drive his '66 Mustang hardtop, "Blue Bayou." So last summer, Jerry decided to take the Mustang and his 14 year-old granddaughter, Kate, on a trip around the Midwest to visit friends and family. When Jerry's wife, Dianne, heard about the plans, she invited herself along too—"in case something happened," Jerry said.

Acquired in April 2011, the Mustang is a six-cylinder car that was converted to a '71 302 V-8 by a previous owner. Although Jerry admits that the paint is nothing special, the hardtop has been upgraded with a Mustang II rack-and-pinion steering, a tilt column, an aftermarket radio, a console, an electric cooling fan, air-conditioning, and a steel plate behind the rear seat for protection in case of a rearend crash. Jerry notes that the front disc brakes are from an S-10 Chevy pickup, adding "The front and rear wheels have different bolt patterns so I carry two different spares."

Just before the start of the trip, Dianne tried to convince Jerry to take the couple's '05 Buick instead. Jerry nixed the idea: "I ruled that out as killing half the fun."

Traveling 300-400 miles per day and avoiding the Interstates when possible, the trip took 10 days and carried the trio through Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. As Jerry explains it, "We circled the state of Iowa but never drove into it."

Jerry provided us with the trip highlights and lowlights:

"The first day out we lost the cell phone and found it just about the time we got the service stopped. The next morning, we left a suit bag full of clothes in the motel. They were kind enough to package them up and mail them to us.

"With daily highs in the 100s, we hoped the A/C kept working. The underdash unit is Ford but not Mustang. It has three vents which meant one for each of us. The person in the back seat had to sit on the hump to get much benefit.

"Kate turned out to be vegetarian but she would eat shrimp. That cost us a couple of shrimp dinners.

"We were stopped once by police. In northern Minnesota, a kind officer noticed that our front novelty plate didn't match the rear Arkansas antique plate. He said they needed to match, so he took the front one off.

"Only once did the Mustang not start—at a gas stop in Norfolk, Nebraska with the temperature near 100. I grabbed a screwdriver, jumped the starter solenoid, and away we went.

"Day five got us to northern Minnesota and the origin of the Mississippi River. Kate got her chance to ‘walk across the Mississippi' on the rocks.

"The Minnesota map we were using was about as old as the car. We finally figured out that they had changed the number of the road we were looking for.

"At lunch just north of St. Louis, we put the emergency brake on but not hard enough to notice when going forward. We drove about 50 miles that way. When we got to the bridge crossing the Mississippi, I touched the brakes and the pedal went to the floor. I quickly pumped the pedal and released the emergency brake, which slowly restored the brakes. First time I ever had seriously faded brakes.

"On the next to last day, we ran an unattended toll booth for lack of pocket change. A kind native told us about the website for unpaid tolls so when we got home we guessed the time and location of the violation and paid the $1.10.

"Total miles were over 2,700. Total gas bill was $444.

"My wife says that if she goes on tour next year, we're taking the Buick."

Steeda Certified Boss 302

At the 2012 SEMA Show, Steeda Autosports debuted its new Steeda Certified Boss 302 Laguna Seca in the Nitto Tire display. The Boss becomes part of Steeda's line-up of Certified vehicles, which also includes the Mustang V-6, GT, and Shelby GT 500. Each car is serialized.

For its Certified Boss 302, Steeda starts with the already-impressive Laguna Seca model and improves on its great handling and performance with track-tested Steeda equipment, including a watts linkage kit, coil-over adjustable suspension, Tokico D-spec dampers, bump steer kit, Competition front and adjustable rear sway bar, Tri-Ax shifter, cold-air intake kit with custom calibration, axle-back exhaust, 13-inch slotted rear brake rotors, and HRE 20-inch wheels with Nitto tires.

For more information, visit www.steeda.com or call 954/629-1233 for information about Steeda Certified dealers in your area.

Titus Art

Automotive artist Jim Gerdom pays tribute to Shelby driver and '67 Trans-Am champion Jerry Titus with this new print of the Terlingua Racing Team '67 Mustang. Measuring 9x18, the print is limited to 500 signed and numbered editions. Price is $30, plus $5 shipping, from: Design Factory, P.O. Box 14037, Lenexa, KS 66285; 888/269-9933. You can view and order the Titus print and all other Gerdom prints, including many Mustangs, at www.designfactory.com

News Fix

Lauren Fix was honored with the 2012 “Woman of the Year” award from SEMA's Businesswomen's Network at last November's SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Known today at “The Car Coach” as she specializes in educating women about cars, Lauren has connections to the Mustang parts industry; her husband is Paul Fix, owner of Classic Tube, and her brother is Michael Jonas, president of Stainless Steel Brakes.

The inaugural Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance, scheduled for May 5 in Pinehurst, North Carolina, will honor Lee Holman with the first-ever Pinehurst Concours Lifetime Achievement Award and feature a special display of cars from the Holman & Moody collection.

Our friends at Mustang Project took home the 2012 SEMA Media Award for their innovative LED Bullet Mirror Kit.

Roush Performance's Phase 1 superchargers for '11-'13 Mustang GTs are now 50-state legal.

The National Auto Sport Association (NASA) has renewed its agreement with the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School based at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, which names the Ford Racing High Performance Driving School the Official Driving School of NASA.

The Mustang Club of America has announced its elected officers for 2013-2014: Steve Prewitt (president), Ed Hockaday (vice-president), Jim Keenan (secretary), and Chris Hall (treasurer).

Mark Hovander is currently restoring the first '65 Shelby G.T. 350, 5S003. He plans to have the car completed in early 2014 for debut at the Amelia Island Concours before touring the U.S. as part of the Mustang's 50th anniversary.

Our friends at Gateway Classic Mustang participated in the first episode of “Are You Faster Than a Redneck?” with their yellow '67 Mustang hardtop. The show debuts on SPEED on February 22, right after a NASCAR truck race.

Flaming River is now offering powder coating services for their steering products.

In the January issue, we failed to credit Bob Fria for the “Mustang: 50 Years Ago” piece in Pony Tales about the 1962 styling mockup with a Cougar grille emblem. Bob is the author of Mustang Genesis, an excellent book about the creation of the Mustang.

Also in the January issue's “NewsDesk,” we reported that a '67 Shelby G.T. 500 Super Snake had sold for $330,000 at the Las Vegas Barrett-Jackson auction. We've learned that it was an Eleanor-like Shelby continuation and not the original Super Snake, which was powered by a 427 and driven by Carroll Shelby for a Goodyear tire test.