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Restomod News
By Ron Bramlett
May, 2007

Restomods At Ron's

Just a quick reminder..... The entries are coming in for Restomods At Ron's starting Friday, May 25th and ending Sunday, May 27th. So don't put off getting your entry in the mail! In fact, if you haven't done so, get your entry in today! We're going to have a very nice event that's close to home and will be fun for all. And by the way... Saturday, May 26th will be mine and Cindy's 28th wedding anniversary. Be sure to come and help us celebrate. I know I'm a very lucky man to have a wife that puts up with my mental problem so well. Yes, I'm referring to my addiction to Mustangs! I also know that I'm a very lucky man. You see, Cindy has a little touch of the illness, too! Just enough to balance us out. Heaven help us if she got Mustang Madness as bad as I have it!

Come Cruising With Us! Caribbean Style!

Winter months and Mustangs just don't go together, right? It's not the best time to drive your Mustang and you've been working on it all winter. So by the time February rolls around, you're looking for something "Mustang" to do that is a lot of fun and doesn't require a lot of work. Well, if you don't have anything planned between February 10th to the 17th, 2008, let me make a suggestion on how you can spend that time. I've got just the "Mustang" thing for you and that "special someone" to do together! Come join me & Cindy, David & Diane and a boat load of Mustang lovers (yes, a pun was intended!) on the Mustang Lovers' Valentine Caribbean Cruise to Nassau, St. Thomas and St. Maarten on the MS Carnival Valor, one of the newest and largest ships in the Carnival fleet! We have our reservations in and are looking forward to this very special Mustang cruise!

A couple of weeks ago, Cindy and I received our March edition of Mustang Times Magazine in the mail. (The Mustang Times is the club publication of the Mustang Club of America and is the nicest club publication that I've ever seen! Just getting it is well worth the club dues.) Since Cindy always get the mail first, she's the one that reads everything and then gives me a condensed version of everything that we received. Except for the bills, that is. (She doesn't like to see me cry...) On this day, she came to me and showed me page 31 which was an ad for the Mustang Lovers' Valentine Cruise; and the next thing you know, we're going on it! That's one thing I've always loved about Cindy; when there's a job to do or a decision to me made, she gets it done! But, I've got to tell you the truth. I was all for it from the beginning and I'm looking forward to it just as much as she is. So I thought I'd put the word out in Restomod News about the cruise and see if any of you wanted to join in on the fun!

In addition to all the things that you normally enjoy on a Carnival cruise like the ports of call and all the shopping, there will be many "private" Mustang events and "get togethers" with contests and great prizes. Also, there will be many Mustang personalities holding Mustang seminars such as Kevin Marti of Marti Autoworks whose company puts out The Marti Report and Arley Whitsell, the immediate Past President of the MCA. A Marti Report has become a must for anyone wanting to know exactly how their Mustang left the assembly line. Kevin will talk about The Marti Report, matching numbers, Mustang fraud and many other subjects of interest to all of us in the Mustang community. Arley will talk about the history of the MCA and how the MCA judges the concours show cars. This should be very insightful to anyone who is interested in knowing how to attain the best possible score for our Mustangs at an MCA show. Along with Kevin Marti and Arley Whitsell, there will be several other Mustang related people who will give us tips on the hobby including Collector Car Appraiser Mark Flether on collector car appraisals, Mustangs Ect. owner Arnold Marks on how to buy a restored or project Mustang and Mustang Enthusiast Magazine editor Larry Jewett on how to get your car in the magazines. You won't want to miss this very informative part of the cruise.

The information from The Mustang Times that I have says for further information about this special cruise to contact Jan Holloway or Aurther Meltz at Travelink Services. Their phone numbers are 800-454-3737 (US only) or 407-896-8587. I'm going to assume that these phone numbers are for eastern times only so those of us on the west coast need to call no later than 2pm. I did not find a Travelink website or anything on the MCA website about this cruise at this time. If you are interested in going and want a copy of the written information that Cindy and I have, give me a call at (209) 444-8031. If I'm not at my desk, leave your name, address and phone number and I'll be glad to return your call ASAP and mail a copy out to you. It looks like a good time for all and we hope to see a lot of you there!

SVTOA Gets New Look

On February 1st, 2007, it was announced that Ken Eber and Rick Kopec, known as the cofounders of the Shelby American Automobile Club (SAAC), have been awarded exclusive ownership of the Ford founded Special Vehicle Team Owners Association (SVTOA). This is something that I think is going to be very good for the SVTOA as I'm sure that Mr. Eber and Mr. Kopec will bring the same enthusiasm to promoting the SVTOA as they have in promoting SAAC since 1975.

SVT was founded in 1991 by Ford Motor Company to develop and build high-performance Ford vehicles for sale to special performance minded buyers. In 1993, the Cobra name was again used in connection with the Ford Mustang. These special Mustangs, of which 5007 were produced, 4993 production Cobra Mustangs and 107 Cobra "R" Mustangs, were joined by the Ford Lightning F-150 pick up truck. Since that time, over 150,000 SVT vehicles have been produced including 250 1995 and 300 2000 Cobra "R" Mustangs. Also, the Ford supercar, the 2005-06 Ford GT as well as the new 2007 Ford Shelby GT500 carry the SVT badge.

With news like this, it will only be a matter of time before the SVT Ford cars become even more collectable than they already are. I would expect for there to be even more events, both static shows and performance driving events, to enjoy SVT vehicles at as well as a registry to keep track of the cars and tons of information.

Our Generation Does Mustang

The History Channel's show, Our Generation was on hand at the MCA's 30th Anniversary Show last August 30th to September 3rd at Barber Motorsports Speedway in Birmingham, Alabama to film the event for their show. They did a very nice job and devoted an entire 30 minute program to the event which aired last year on The History Channel. It was really something to see our good friend, MCA Vice President and event organizer Steve McCarley, sharing the program with the likes of Donald Trump, Al Roker and Lee Iacocca!

In addition to these big names, many other well known "Baby Boomers" told their special Mustang stories about the Mustangs they'd had and of the advertisements they remembered seeing. Many of these vintage ads were shown through out the show and they were a lot of fun to watch! The high point of the show came when MCA's VP Steve McCarley outfitted Our Generation host Steve Gillon with a drivers suit, crash helmet and racing gloves and took him on a few hot laps around the Barber Motorsports racetrack in a new 2007 Red Shelby G.T.500 convertible at 100 miles per hour! Steve Gillon liked it so much that he asked if they could do it again which Steve gladly obliged!

Watching the program with Cindy at home brought back all the memories of the 30th to us. A lot of the footage at the track was shot all around, and even from, the Mustangs Plus booth; but any footage of us or the Mustangs Plus booth that was shot ended up on the cutting room floor! No matter. It's still a great Mustang story that reflects the Mustang, and the MCA, in a manner that makes you proud to be a member of the club and a part of the hobby! Be sure to check your local listings for the times that Our Generation is aired on The History Channel in your area and catch this episode on the reruns. I wish I could tell you when it will be, but my e-mail to The History Channel asking for a date and time was unanswered at press time.

Shelby vs Wilhelm: The Conclusion?

The case of Shelby vs. Wilhelm is over and the verdict is in. I have to be honest with you, I really don't understand it. But here is the way it's been reported to me. As I wrote in the last edition of Restomod Magazine, when the court case was over, the jury found Shelby guilty on 3 of the 4 counts that defendant Jon Wilhelm (Wilhelm Motor Works) was either being sued for or was counter-suing; specifically, the jury found Shelby guilty of breach of contract, violation of the implied covenant of fair dealing and of unfairly withholding approval of the G.T.350C. I'm told it was the breach of contract by Shelby, which the jury found Shelby guilty of, that set in motion the events that led to the lawsuit. Here's a little recap before we go over Shelby's side of the case.

After breaching the contract, Jon says that Shelby told him his contract was totally cancelled. Jon says he refused to accept the cancellation of the contract, because the contract had a clause in it requiring both parties to notify the other of any breach of contract actions and to give the other party notice in writing and 60 days to correct the problem(s) before the contract could legally be cancelled. Since Shelby did not follow this point of the contract, Jon says he continued to work to promote the G.T.350Cs, because he still had a deadline he had to meet which was set in writing by the contract. During this time, Jon and Wilhelm Motor Works continued to promote the G.T.350C while trying to negotiate a resolution to the problem with Shelby. Then, in December 2005, just a few days before Christmas, Shelby filed suit against Wilhelm Motor Works in federal court on several charges that resulted in this lawsuit. That brings us up to the start of the court proceedings.

On Shelby's side, the jury found that Wilhelm Motor Works had violated the Shelby trademark on 6 counts: Wilhelm sold two t-shirts with the Shelby name and logo on each, and he tried to sell 2 cars on eBay, both of which were built here at Mustangs Plus. Shelby claimed the cars were shown and offered for sale without Shelby's permission. According to the jury, all had infringed on Shelby's trademark. As I wrote in the last issue, this all centered around the Route 66 Show in San Bernardino, California in September 2005. All the other charges that Shelby had filed against Wilhelm Motor Works were thrown out, dropped, or defeated during the court proceedings. When the dust settled, this is what the jury had to fix damages on for both sides.

That brings us to the second part of the lawsuit, which was the penalty phase. The penalty phase is where the jury awards damages to each side based on what they had found each party guilty of. I went back to Los Angeles and was called to the stand by Wilhelm Motor Works. I told how Jon had asked us if we would like to be involved in the building of the Prototype G.T.350C and possibly the production G.T.350Cs. I told how, to Jon's specifications, we had built the Prototype and the other two G.T.350Cs that Jon had ordered from us while the contract with Shelby was valid. I also told of the other 20 plus Mustangs we had waiting back at Mustangs Plus to build into Shelby Continuation cars and of all the dollars we, as well as Jon Wilhelm, had spent on the project. In all, I was on the stand for about a 45 minutes. Shortly after my testimony, the case was handed back to the jury for their decision. As soon as the case was handed back to the jury, I left to return to Stockton which is 360 miles north of Los Angeles. I understood that what was probably going to happen was that Shelby was going to get some sort of award from the jury and that Wilhelm was going to get some sort of award from the jury. Then, the lower award would be deducted from the higher award, and that would be how damages were settled. The balance of the awards would have to be paid by the one who was awarded the lesser damages.

As I've heard people say many times, "you never know what a jury will do" and that truly was the case here. After all the dust had settled, the evidence presented, the finger pointing over, the jury awarded Shelby $250,000 in damages and Wilhelm $250,000 in damages: The exact same amount for each. Somehow, this jury found that the breach of contract by Shelby was worth the exact same amount as Jon Wilhelm using the Shelby trademark to sell $25 of merchandise, even though he was a licensee of Shelby with a contract when he sold the merchandise in question. As I said at the beginning of this column, to be honest with you, I really don't understand it.

But the jury wasn't done yet. They also found that each party should pay the other's attorney's fees. Jon tells me that since Shelby's attorney's fees were substantially higher than his attorney's fees, Wilhelm Motor Works will probably end up with a six figure bill to pay on top of losing all the money spent on the contract. So, as the saga of the Shelby G.T.350C ends, there will not be such a car in the Shelby Registry. The three G.T.350Cs that we built here at Mustangs Plus, while Jon had his contract with Shelby, will remain in the Bramlett stable, their future unknown. As for my feelings on the whole messy matter, I'm sad that two companies that I have a great deal of respect and fondness for couldn't work together to do something that would be positive for the Mustang hobby. We all, as Mustang, Shelby and automobile enthusiasts, have lost a little something in our hobby.

 

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