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Restomod News
By Ron Bramlett
May, 2008

August 29th to 31st; An "Eventful" Weekend!

The Mustang Club of America's "Grand National Show" and the Northern California Shelby Club's "Mini Nats" are two great annual Mustang events. From an activities stand point, one's showing and the other's going. The MCA Grand National Show is where you're always able to see some of the finest examples of original and restored Mustangs compete for the Gold. And at the Nor Cal Mini Nats, you're always able to see, and hear, some of the fastest and rarest Mustangs fly around the race track. This year, since both events are scheduled on the same date, Cindy and I had a tough decision to make. Which event to attend.

As much as we hate to miss being at Mini Nats XXV, Cindy and I will be attending the MCA Grand National Show in Park City, Utah. MCA shows west of the Mississippi are rare and the fact that this is the Grand National, the MCA's most prestigious show of the year, makes it even more thrilling to attend! Add to that the fact that our good friends, Mike and Joyce Epperson and all of the other Northern Utah Mustang Owners Association members, are hosting this years' MCA Grand National is even more reason for us to attend. Cindy and I have been members of NUMOA for many years and have made many good friends in the club.

If memory serves me correctly, this will be the first Mini Nats I've missed since 1998. At that time, I was battling cancer and was scheduled to undergo what turned out to be life saving surgery the week before Mini Nats. For some strange reason, the doctor insisted that we not postpone the surgery so I could attend the event. To this day, I've often wondered if he was a Chevy man. I didn't ask him at the time because, after all, he was the guy who was going to be slicing me open in a couple of days. No reason to get the old "Ford's better than Chevy" battle going just before surgery with the guy whose going to have a knife in his hand!

As it turned out, even though I missed attending Mini Nats in 1998, the operation was a success and I've been able to attend Mini Nats every year since. I've also wondered if I may have misjudged the doctor and been a little too hard on him. I wonder this because when you look at my scar(s) from the surgery, you can see the skill and craftsmanship in which he made nice, straight incisions and placed the stitches very evenly apart. His craftsmanship really suggest to me that he must have been a Ford man. And, the fact that I'm still here speaks volumes. Anyway, I completed all of my radiation and chemo treatments just in time for Cindy and I to drive back to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Mustang's 35th Anniversary Show with the driving group, Mustangs In Motion in early April, 1999. In fact, it was during that trip that we met the Eppersons. The 35th Anniversary Show was hosted by the MCA of which Cindy and I have been proud members of for many, many years. In 2006, I was elected to the National Board of Directors for the MCA so you can see that these two clubs, the MCA and the Nor Cal Shelby Club, are both very important parts of our lives. To them, I would just like to ask one thing. "Hey, people! The next time you guys and gals are making plans for big, important events, will you please consult each other over the dates so that Cindy and I don't have to make this decision ever again? We would really, really, appreciate it!" There. I asked in a nice, polite way, didn't I? I'm not under the illusion that it will do any good, but at least I asked. Making a decision like this is tough!

Mini Nats 25 At Thunderhill

Here's your first warning that Mini Nats 25 at Thunderhill Raceway Park in Willows, California is coming up fast. Just like the cars that will be flying around the track! So, you had better start planning to get that Show Car and/or Track Car ready for action. Since this is the 25th year that the Nor Cal Shelby Club has hosted Mini Nats, look for it to be not only a great event, but a very special event as well. For all of the up dates as they become available, be sure to visit www.norcal-saac.org on a regular basis. There, you will find the calendar of events for the weekend, the list of whose registered for the track and show events, which car they've entered and, most importantly, if the event is filling up and you might not be able to register. This is especially true of the track time. There are only so many slots available and once they're filled, you may find yourself on the waiting list, which isn't good. So be sure to make your plans and register early.

One other point I would like to make is this. A big part of the Mini Nats program is the social events that the Nor Cal Shelby Club puts on through out the weekend. If you come to the event and don't attend these functions, such as the Saturday Night Banquet, you miss half the reason for attending in the first place. The Saturday Night Banquet always includes guest speakers that you want to hear, not just speakers to fill the time. These speakers include racecar drivers, Shelby team personnel who were "there" in the '60's, and sometimes, even Carroll Shelby himself. (I don't know if that will happen this year.....) Also, there are always hilarious antics with surprise awards thrown in for good measure. The club also has the presentation of the Big Wheel Award, a club award that goes to someone each year who has done something of an impaired nature at the event. Our good friend, the late Bo Cheadle, won the Big Wheel award one year for leaving the top down on his wife's Sunbeam Tiger and then parking it in a place where the sprinklers watered the entire interior of the car while we all had dinner. You get the idea of the Big Wheel Award! Nor Cal always holds a first class raffle with great prizes and the banquet always has really good food! On top of that, you always meet someone who is running a car in your class that you end up bench racing with during the evening and then you see them the next day at the track. Suddenly, your running with a friend instead of just another car. That makes it more fun right there. If you don't attend these events, you're really missing out. This is because the people who run the club are great people.

I have been a member of the Nor Cal Shelby Club for many years and enjoy every event I go to for one reason and one reason only. The people who are in charge of running the club and putting on the events are some of the nicest, most down to earth people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. And most of them do not own Shelbys! Here's an example. I've know Richard Ravel, who is the Mini Nats XXV Chairperson, for several years. Here's how I met him. At one of the Mini Nats Banquets, we gave a set of 1965 Style Steel Wheels as a raffle prize. When the winning ticket was pulled, Richard was the lucky winner of the new Style Steel Wheels worth several hundred dollars. The only problem was that Richard didn't need them. He didn't have a 1965 Mustang for them to go on. But a young man at another table did. And he was very disappointed not to win them. To make a long story short, Richard gave the wheels to the young man. Just gave them to him. He didn't sell them to him, you understand. He just gave them to him because he couldn't use them and the young man could. This is just one example of the fellowship and friendship that I've seen and experienced over and over during my many years as a member of the Nor Cal Shelby Club. That's the kind of people who make up the club!

Don't go thinking that someone is going to give you expensive parts just because you go to these events. But, you will get the friendship of the other members which can be even more rewarding. Over the years, I've seen many small children including my own, grow into young adults and take part in the Nor Cal events. To say that's special is an understatement. Although Cindy and I will not be able to attend Mini Nats this year, Mustangs Plus will be sponsoring Mini Nats XXV and will have Mustangs there to give rides to our customers in and for them to enjoy. As always, we encourage all of you to come out and see just exactly what this event is all about. From the car show, to driving on the track and everything in between. It's not just about showing the cars. It's not about driving the cars fast. When all is said and done, Mini Nats is all about fellowship and friendship with Mustang and Ford fans who, just like you, enjoy being a Mustang and Ford enthusiast! Isn't that the recipe for a wonder event and club? Cindy and I will look forward to seeing you all at Mini Nats XXVI in 2009!

Mustang Club of America Grand National Show In Park City, Utah

MCA shows west of the Mississippi are rare. So, being from the west coast, it's great to see an MCA Grand National Show being held in Park City, Utah which is about 50 northeast of Salt Lake City. While the location is not right in our own back yard, it is close enough for all of us on the west coast to make our best effort to attend. So consider this your first official invitation from all of us at Mustangs Plus to get on the band wagon and head to Utah!

For 2008, the MCA has added several other classes to their program including a Restomod Class with all of us in the west in mind. So, if you're one of those Restomod Mustang owners who have questioned if the MCA has anything to offer to you, the MCA has made it clear that they want to include you, and your Restomod Mustang, in their national shows. Let's get to those shows and make sure we take advantage of the new Restomod Class and show them some great Restomod Mustangs from the west! Also, this is the MCA's Grand National show for 2008 is the MCA's most prestigious show of the year. For it to be held in Utah and hosted by the Northern Utah Mustang Owners Association is great for us on the west coast. And, NUMOA is no stranger to putting on great Mustang shows. In 2004 they hosted their first MCA Regional Mustang Show. To this day, I still have people come up to me who attended and tell me what a wonderful show it was. In fact, I'm sure that show gave a lot of inspiration to the members of the Diablo Valley Mustang Association (DVMA) and the Bay Area Mustang Association (BAMA) to hold their MCA Regional Mustang Show in Concord last year. Again, I have people tell me all the time that they had a wonderful time at that show, too!

Look for more details in the next Restomod Magazine on the MCA Grand National Show in Park City, Utah. Also, for up to date details, be sure to go to NUMOA's website at www.numoa.com . There, you'll find all the hotel information and how to enter your Mustang and other Ford for the show. There are over 180+ MCA Regional Clubs and over 12,000 Mustang owners world wide who support the MCA as members. If you would also like to also support the MCA by joining, please visit the Mustang Club of America website at www.mustang.org and join today. You know all of us at Mustangs Plus believe that it's the Mustang clubs and their members who make the Mustang hobby what it is today! So get out there and join your local Mustang club and the MCA today!

Smog Control Bill "Out of Control" In California!

We're all for clean air, but there's another side of this proposal that most people, including our Senators, they just don't get. As with all past smog bills, Senate Bill #SB1549 has very little to do with what comes out of the tail pipe. As much as I hate to think it, this bill probably has more to do with getting old cars off the roads than with trying to get cleaner air.

If you don't believe that, consider this, I have a 1966 Mustang GT that has a 5.0L Electronic Fuel Injection engine and 5-speed transmission installed in it. The main reason I did this is so that I would get better gas mileage. I now get 26 to 29 mpg on the highway instead of 14 to 14 mpg as I did when the car was stock. And everyone will agree that the new engine with the fuel injection is much better than the stock engine with a carburetor and automatic transmission. But, this car will not pass the California smog test. In fact, it will never even have the emissions checked that come out of the tail pipe. Why? Because the engine and transmission, even though they are newer and more efficient, are not the stock style units. And because of that, the car will not pass the visual inspection of the smog check program. So it fails the smog test before the emissions are ever even measured at the tail pipe. Period!

You see, SB1549 would basically stop a 1966 to 1975 Mustang owner, or any other car for that matter, from being able to put a chrome air cleaner on his engine because then the car would not pass the visual inspection. Even though it would not stop the car from functioning as original. Don't be fooled. Emissions out of the tail pipe have nothing to do with it. As another example, my all original 1966 Ford Mustang Factory High Performance GT (an original paint car that I bought in 1981 from the original owner and have spent the past 27 years trying to keep as original as possible...) went unlicensed for many years because it had a mechanical advance distributor. You see, the smog shops couldn't cut the vacuum advance line and plug it off as required by the then current smog requirements for 1966 model automobiles. It came down to the state of California actually wanting me to drill a hole in the stock intake manifold to put a vacuum tube into it so that the smog shop could plug it off as required by the current smog check program! I didn't understand it, either. And that was after I spent several weeks convincing the people in Sacramento that the car came from the factory with that very distributor!

In 1996, California Senate Bill #SB42 was passed into law. It removed cars that were 30 old from the smog check program. My understanding was that it was because there was so few of them in relationship to all the newer cars on the roads and the cost of the program was so much. SB42 was to be a rolling 30 year program so that cars would drop off and out of the smog check program when they became 30 years old. However, about 5 years into the program, Sacramento stopped taking cars off the rolling 30 and 1976 became the first year model you had to get the smog checks on. Now, the way I understand it, they are looking to go back all the way to 1966. Or, are they wanting to go further back? Anyway, since the state has allowed the older cars to have 12 years of not being a part of the smog check program, who, with an older car, is going to spend the money to make sure these parts work on their car? That brings up the fact that the parts to bring most of these older cars back into compliance, especially with a 12 year absence from the program, are not available for sale anymore. So how would you smog one to begin with? I wonder if all the Senators understand that.

It stands to reason that if the state wanted clean air, then they would put a program into effect to measure the pollution that each car is putting out and not worry about a visual inspection that your car could fail because the air cleaner and carburetor were not stock and original. This bill is probably more about getting older cars off the road than about clean air. And that's where classic car enthusiast and environmentalist are bumping heads. Anyone who thinks that an old car enthusiast wouldn't spend the money to make his car safer and more fuel efficient in this day and age $4.00 a gallon gas and so many unsafe drivers on the road are just not looking at the big picture. That's one of the biggest parts of the classic car hobby. Mileage and safety. If you are in California, write your Senator and tell them to not vote for this bill, Senate Bill #SB1549. If it passes here, your county, or state, just may be next!

2009 Mustang Lover's Cruise Dates Set

This will be the first of many invitations you will get for you and your loved ones to come join Cindy and me on the next "Mustang Lovers Cruise" which is set for February 1st to February 8th, 2009. (See the full page flyer and the article on this years cruise in this edition of Restomod Magazine) On this years cruise, we had a wonderful time and it was all in beautiful, warm weather! Besides the great people and activities, it was great to get away from the drab and dreary California weather we usually have in early February here in Northern California. Yes, I know our weather is not as bad as other parts of the states. In fact, there were many Mustangers from the northern states where their friends and family back home were lucky if the temperature hit a high of +10 degrees! They had come on the cruise and were soaking up the sun and having fun instead of being cooped up at home and shoveling snow! Boy, did they have smiles on their faces because of the warm weather!

Be sure to check out all the information in this months Restomod Magazine and make plans to come with us next February. Yes, it's going to cost a little money, but you know what? You'll have a great time and a boat load of memories that will last you a lifetime! (Yes, there was a pun intended!) If you do nothing else, take the 1 page flyer out of this magazine and tape it to your refrigerator door just to remind you and your husband that the time is drawing nearer to the cruise! Ladies, you may be pleasantly surprised one day when your husband says to you, "Hey, let's go that cruise! It looks like a lot of fun!" Then, you'll just have to agree with him and come on the cruise! After all, it will be his idea, won't it?

 

Until Next Time,
Happy Restomod'n!
               -Ron Bramlett