The Ronster Named As the 14th
I was both surprised and honored when I picked up the April 2009 issue of Mustang Monthly Magazine. Mustang Monthly editor Donald Farr published an article titled "45 Most Significant Mustangs Of All Time". There, nestled right in-between the `07 Shelby G.T. 500 and the `64 1\2 Indy Pace Car, was the Ronster, ranked as the 14th most significant Mustang of all time. Not bad for a little beat and battered '65 Mustang coupe that was bought from "Pick N Pull", an auto salvage yard here in Stockton, for the price of scrap metal just hours before it went into the crusher, right?
When I called Donald and thanked him for making my day, he told me that he felt the Ronster had given the term "Restomod" a face that other Mustang owners and enthusiast could relate to. And you know what? That's exactly what we wanted the Ronster to do when we built it! We wanted the Ronster to show that any enthusiast could take a Plain Jane `65 or `66 Mustang coupe and build the classic Restomod Mustang of their dreams! After all, the coupe is the least prized of the three model years built from March, 1964 through the end of production in late 1966 and there are still thousands of unrestored examples left to restore. And, while we will admit, very few enthusiast will go the distance and actually cut the top off their Mustang coupe, we've been told over and over by Mustang owners all over the world that the Ronster has been the inspiration for what their Restomod Mustangs are today. Every time sometime tells me this, it makes me feel like we're a part of their Mustang and that makes me very proud!
Although Donald gave me the biggest part of the credit for the Ronster, as any project goes, it wasn't all my doing. My father, Glenn Bramlett and brother, David Bramlett, gave encouragement and support when I first told them about the project way before it was actually started. With out that, the project would never had gotten started. Once started, my good friend, George Galoosis, spent many days, nights and weekends with me in the garage cutting, welding and fabricating. Ben J. Smith, the Ford designer and chief engineer of the `57 to `59 Ford Skyliner and Mustang Retractables, flew in from his home in Arizona and spent a week helping with the design and molding of the special tonneau cover. Kevin Sittner and his crew at Precision Machine and Automotive laid down the paint and handled many of the little details that makes the Ronster what it is. Ron Morris of Ron Morris Performance sorted out the EFI wiring and such. Once the Ronster was completed, Jim Smart wrote about it and put it on the cover of Mustang & Fords Magazine. Last but not least, my wonderful wife, Cindy, put up with my total involvement in the Ronster project for the eight months or so that it took to build! To all of you, and to the many others who had a hand in the Ronster, I want to say "Thank You!" As I said, it wasn't just all me. And, to keep this all in the proper perspective, you have to realize that this all started 14 years ago way back in April of 1995! Now I ask you. Where does all the time go?
So, a really big "Thank You!" to Donald Farr for selecting the Ronster as one of the 45 most significant Mustangs of all time. As any car nut will tell you, building something that you really love is a great feeling. Having others approve and enjoy it too, makes it even more special. As I said above, Donald, you really made my day!
Your Mustang Club Going Internet?
As most of you know, Cindy and I belong to many Mustang clubs from all over the country. At one time, we belonged to over 40 Mustang car clubs at the same time. But, as of the last count, we only belonged to about 30. Since that last count, it's gone down even further. And here's one reason why. Many Mustang clubs are doing away with printed and mailed out versions of their club newsletters and going with the internet and emails as their only form of communication with their members. Yes, I know it's the wave of the future, but it's not the future; yet.
What prompted me to write this little tidbit in Restomod News is this. A while back, I read an e-mail from one club that Cindy and I had belonged to for years that said, "If we can't get what's left of our membership to pay their dues, we won't have the money to go on with the club". Now, about 5 years ago, when Cindy and I joined, this was a great club that held an annual show and had over 100 members. About 3 years ago, this club stopped sending out printed newsletters and went to an on-line newsletter and e-mail as the only way to communicate with their members. The last time I saw a membership rooster, it had very few names on it, including mine and Cindy's. Now, it's almost gone. Unfortunately, it's not the only club I've seen go down this path.
Cindy and I really enjoy knowing what's happening in all parts of the country and the club newsletters that we receive in the mail each month keep us informed. Although we are not likely to make it many monthly meetings, because of vast distance in many cases, we have been known to see an event in a clubs' newsletter and go to it because we had that weekend free. Sometimes, these events have been several hundreds of miles from our home. But, as more and more clubs go to putting their club newsletters on-line or sending them out as emails, there is a connection that is lost between the members and the club. This can, as we have witnessed over the years, have a devastating effect on some clubs.
When Cindy and I join a Mustang club, we usually try to pay for 3 to 5 years at once. It's easier and usually cheaper for us to do it that way. So, as these clubs make the change from a printed and mailed out newsletter to an internet or e-mail only newsletter (as more and more clubs are doing I might add), we are included for the balance of our membership term. Here's what I've seen happen to several of these Mustang clubs over a period of time. The first year, everyone keeps their membership. But, by the second and third year, many club members don't come back and a once vital and growing Mustang club starts going backwards. Soon it becomes a small core of a few people and families that are, and have always been, the backbone of the club.
Is the reason this happens simply because the club stopped sending out old fashioned newsletters? No, it's not. But in my opinion, it has had a lot to do with it. There are still a lot of people who want, and expect, a printed newsletter in their mail box each month or so. Yes, I know it's a lot of work to assemble and mail out a newsletter. Yes, I understand that printing and postage cost money and that emailing saves time and money. And, yes, I understand that the future of printed magazines and newspapers is changing and more and more people are getting their news on line. But, I also understand that looking at something on the internet is a choice. You have to make a conscious effort to go to the website or to open an e-mail. Then, you have to actually read it. If it's the only way you send the message of that car show to your members, not everyone is going to see it.
With a printed, mailed newsletter, your club forces every club member to see that newsletter, know that it is from the club and make a decision on whether they will read it or not. It's in their hand. It gets looked at. Even if they throw it away, at that moment they are reminded that they belong to the club. This is advertising for the club and advertising is what keeps any business or organization alive and growing. Now, what happens to that printed newsletter after it's received? I'll admit, some go straight into the trash. But, from my experience, most get laid around the house for a few days, reminding everybody who sees it that they belong to the club. Many issues, if they have how to articles or other things in them that make them worth keeping, are saved and looked at later. Again, this keeps the club in front of the members and reminds them that they belong to the club.
Now, you can say the same thing about an internet version with a couple of exceptions. You can't take it into the bedroom, bathroom or to work with you unless you print it out or have your lap top with you 24/7. Want to guess how many people actually print out a 20 page newsletter each month? With the cost of paper and ink cartridges today, my guess is not many. The other is that it gets buried in an endless stream of emails or simply deleted at the touch of a finger. Yes, it can be saved in it's own file, but once it's there, it's out of sight. And, out of sight, out of mind. The printed version, on the other hand, usually gets seen many, many times before it's filed away; or thrown away.
So, I make this suggestion. Instead of jumping in and going solely to an on-line club newsletter, offer it both ways. Snail mail every member a copy who wants a printed version. To cut down on cost, you can put out a smaller printed club newsletter. The printed version would include the important club business, paid advertisers and sponsors who are expecting to have their names published, and upcoming club events. But, shorten the articles and eliminate most of the pictures to cut down on printed pages. For the full article with all the pictures, refer the members to the club website over and over again to get them used to going there. Also, refer them back to the emailed version of the newsletter if they received it. After a period of time, say a year or so, you'll be able to better make the decision on whether going totally internet with your club's newsletter is a wise decision or not. After all, saving money is not going to do much good if you don't have a club to save the money for!
One last thing. A lot of people who use e-mail and websites everyday have to remember that not everyone wants to only be able to keep up with what's happening in their club through the computer. Many people want, and expect, a printed club newsletter. In a lot of cases, this is what they have to show for the club dues they paid. When you take away the printed and mailed out club newsletter, you take away many people's reason for wanting to belong to that club and they look for another one to join.
Mustang Club of America
Just a reminder that the Mustang Club of America Western United States National Mustang Show is to be held on August 27th to 30th at the Airtel Plaza Hotel at 7277 Valjean Avenue in Van Nuys, California. The Mustang Owners Club of California (MOCC), a MCA Regional Mustang Club, will be your host for this fabulous event. This will be the first MCA National Mustang Show in California since Concord in 2006 and the second MCA National Mustang Show in California since 1988. So, for all of us MCA members in California, this will be quite a treat! It's a long time and many MCA National Mustang Shows, Concord as the exception, since 1988!
The MOCC is a very active Southern California Mustang Club with Craig Cunningham, Roger Lockie and Pat Fitzgerald serving as three of several spark plugs that keep their Mustang club moving forward all the time. In fact, the MOCC has had many memorable events recently including the Mustang 45th Reveal in Santa Monica last November, a club trip to John Force Headquarters for a tour and Mustang car show and another trip and tour to Jay Leno's Garage, a club activity that any certified car nut would love!
I'm very proud to say that Cindy and I have been members of the MOCC for many years and will be members for many more. We get the club publication, The Running Horse, in the mail every month and even though we live 350 miles away in Northern California, we have attended MOCC events from time to time when our schedule permits. Each and every one of the MOCC's events we've attended have been first class and the members have made us feel right at home each time. The true essence of what the Mustang hobby is all about!
Be sure to see the 2 page spread with all the details of this great event in this issue of Restomod Magazine and plan to attend. I can guarantee that you will have a wonderful time and build a wonderful memory that you will remember for the rest of your life.
"Return To Kingdon" Planned In October With
If you're from any of the western states and love drag racing, you won't want to miss this very special 2 day event! In the 1950's and 1960's, Stockton/Lodi, California was the home of one of the first drag strips that all the hot shoes of drag racing came to for national drag racing events; Kingdon Drag Strip. We're talking names like "Big Daddy" Don Garlits, "TV Tommy" Ivo, "Dyno" Don Nicholson, Don "The Snake" Prudhomme, "Bounty Hunter" Connie Kalitta and local drag legend, Jim "The Lizard" Herbert, just to name a few.
There's a lot of drag racing history at Kingdon Drag Strip from the `50's and `60's. But, by the late `60's, drag racing was growing up and needed permanent, dedicated race tracks, not airstrips that were dragstrips on the weekends and runways during the week. So, Kingdon was eventually bypassed for other dragstrips by the national crowd. Sacramento Raceway opened in 1964 and that couldn't have helped. However, Kingdon had a strong local presence and racing continued there until the late `70's when it became a full time airport again as it had been before drag racing came calling many years before.
I've been told by event promoter Jeff Shrik that Don Garlits will be this years Grand Marshall and that Don is planning to bring one of his famous dragsters, Swamp Rat V, for display. I've had the pleasure of being acquainted with Don Garlits for a few years now and I can tell you, he and his wife, Patty, are two of the nicest people you'll ever meet. They are very down to earth and enjoy people and the hobby.
So, be sure to mark Saturday and Sunday, October 3rd and 4th, 2009 on your calendar. There will be a car show as well as drag racing and lots of fun for the whole family. Go to www.kingdondrags.com for all the information and how you can enter and be a part of this event! We'll see you there!
Until Next Time,