It doesn't matter if it is your house, your toolbox, or even your car. Generally speaking, if you have something nice, there's someone out there that wants to take those nice things away from you and make them theirs (or sell them for quick cash for drugs). Whatever the reasoning, the number one thing we've always been told, drilled into our heads from a young age, is to lock it or lose it. Keeping your vehicle, garage, toolbox, or whatever locked means the contents of said items remain yours. The problem for us classic Ford owners, however, is that even though we can lock our trunks and the doors to keep the baddies out of our rides, the engine bay is easy pickings due to the external hood latch and release mechanism. In under a minute, some low-life could be making off with your battery, carburetor, or other expensive parts, leaving you stranded and steaming mad.
There are several schools of thought on keeping your hood locked and your engine bay safe. We've seen everything from your basic bicycle chain lock to cabinet locks mounted in the hood to prevent the latch from moving. At one point, an aftermarket company offered an armored cable release kit that you could install with a key that was locked from under your dash, but that product is no longer available. When we visited Gillis Performance Restorations recently to photograph a product installation on the company's resident 1968 Mustang coupe project, we witnessed yet another option for those who have some fabrication skills and a welder—the use of a stock Ford F-150/Bronco hood latch with integral cable release. With a little bit of work to your hood and your latch assembly, this rugged OE setup could easily be utilized to keep the hood secured, yet easily be opened from the passenger compartment like any modern car. Check out the work involved in these photos.