Wrenchin’ Tip – ’70 Mustang Transmission Swap

As I get ready to start the new round of mods for my 1970 Mustang Coupe, I’m reminded of a couple of issues that came up when I was assisting  a fellow Mustang owner doing a trans –  transplant.

The first tip is partially dependent on what stage you are in of  your restoration.

He has already finished most of the interior when the a transmission he wanted to add became affordable, it was a good deal…saving some $$$$.

He had decided to do the swap and add a short shifter.  This of course requires the removal the bezel and the current 3 speed shift lever, which is easily done from inside the car.

Bezel and Boot

In the course of removing those two parts, he found that the opening cut in the new carpet was not going to allow the access necessary.  An attempt to ‘widen’ it was successful but left a bit of a jagged slit.  Additionally, while removing one of the screws it snagged the carpet and pulled a few loops out.  Can you guess what the tip is?   Yeah…remove the carpet and if possible make the swap before you put new carpet in.

One other quick tip is to apply a little silicone spray to the shifter to help slide the boot off..oh…yeah…removing the shift knob before the boot is a good idea…..DON”T ASK!!!!!


Thanks for reading.


Engine Factoids- Chapman, Lotus and Ford Engines

I love History, always have and I love engines.  I find learning about an engine’s history, its development and how and where it was used over time a great past time.  (In case you are unsure of my sincerity – check out my to engine series on Mopar’s 318 http://wp.me/pKHNM-gW and Chevy’s 283

I also find fascinating, the involvement of U.S. car companies with the development of  cars for overseas companies.

Ok..this is a larger introduction for a one of my “factoid” entries, but here they are:

– In the  1950’s and 1960’s the main player of Lotus was a guy named Colin Chapman (aka Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman – tossed that in there because in several of my reading variations of his name was used).  Mr. Chapman was responsible for such cars as the Lotus 6, Lotus 23 and Elan.  Having developed his own engines and now desiring to improve on their racing performance and btw he was also known to be a bit tight fisted with the cash. This all led him to use technology, as it was back then, that was already developed elsewhere.  Give that propensity he used Ford engines for his cars and greatly (at least overseas) enhanced Ford’s racing repetition.  The engines he used were Ford’s 105e and 109E engines the Cleveland and Windsor respectively.

Fords 105E used by Lotus.

– These two engines were sometimes referred to as the “Kent” engines.

– They were fitted with twin cams designed by Harry Mundy. These heads were aluminum with hemi combustion chambers sporting .375 lift, 264 degree duration shafts, 1.53/1.325 valve with 9.5:1 compression.  All topped off with a Weber  twin sided-draught carb.

– They were a starting point for Lotus and Ford racing development and were uses for experimental purpose as well as racing.

– Heavy duty use showed some flaws in the engines due to the 3 bearing mains, resulting in broken cam shafts.

–  Was the impetus for Ford to developing the 116E engine with 5 bearing bottom ends, which was basis for the Lotus 1600 Twin Cam.

Ford's 116E soon to be Lotus 1600 with Mundy's Twin Cams

Lotus 1600..Looks it's TWINS!! with weber carbs.

Thanks for reading


You can now reach me at timsweet@average-guys-car-restoration-mods-racing.com


Car Show – All Fords Mustang Wagon?

So I left a couple of photos out of the last post.  But I wanted to show (IMHO) a couple stars of the show and one of the strange one.

I covered the Galaxies and 500’s, however, here are a couple more:  (Come..on..you would be able to pick just one or two either!!!)

(In no particular order)

Crown Victorian (before the exploding gas tanks and cop lights)

Oh..the Chrome!!

Did I mention the Chrome?

Just look at that smile..I mean bumper!!!

Not really comparable to the Crown Vic – this Starliner was, although not original, very nicely done.

Ford Starliner with a little custom work.


Oh..check out the intake setup on that Starliner!!!!

OK.. I know at least one of my readers will like this next car.

It is a 1965 Ford Mustang Station Wagon.  Originally a concept created by William Sibo (designer for Ford Motor Company).  He actually built this car from the original drawings.  Car is currently owned by Ken Berger.  The car now has a 429, rack and pinion steering C-6 auto trans, coil over suspension and power  brakes, A/C and stereo system.

No Middle Road - Hate it or Love it.

There you go!

I can’t get past the that rear end….but this helps:

429 with that set up?...That 'ill haul wagon!

Thanks for reading.


Car Show – All Fords

I love attending car shows.  Either as just a spectator or participant, I have capital F, capital U, capital N.

Today (2/20/2011) I attend  for the 3rd year Tucson’s Fords on 4th Ave.  A very good size show for the area, considering it was limited to Fords.  This year I was only a spectator the Mustang wasn’t ready for a show (needed a  bunch of detailing).

There were a ton of newer Mustangs, nice machines, shinny inter-cooled turbos and all the tubing, all nice machines, no doubt.  But there was a huge void of older Fords.  I love seeing the 40’s and 50’s Fords and Mercurys.

The stars for me of this show were the Fairlanes and Galaxies.  Yes there were 60 Mustangs, Shelby’s, Mach I’s and GT.   But the lines of these longer 60’s cars are just some of the best designed, ever.

Just check these out:

67 Fairlane GT 390


Fairlane 500

XL, 500 and GT Group shot

Group Photo

There more coming up from the all Ford car show.

Thanks for reading


Auto Factoids – Chevy’s LS9

Here some interesting facts for the new in 2008 LS9 engine.

– It was a combination of upgraded LS3 and LS7 components  and took 3 years to develop

– All 2000 units were hand-assembled in GM’s Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan

-It displaced 6.2 liters

– Bore and stroke 4.06×3.62 with a compression ratio of 9.1:1

– It had reinforced bulkhead to improve block stiffness and used six bolt steel main caps.

– Of note the headgasketts were cut to the shape of the LS3 but had four layers of steel.

– Remember the “tornado”? That device that was sold and was added to your air intake and was supposed to funnel air into your carb or throttle body, booting HP?   Well the LS9’s intake had “swirl ring” to improve the air flow.

– Sported the Eaton R1900 2 rotor supercharger, pumping out 2.3 liters of compressed air, but that’s all – this air was then super cooled by the Behr intercooler, that knocked off about 140 degrees.

– The valve were titanium on the intake side and stainless steel on the exhaust side

– The pistons were forged aluminum and the rods were titanium.

Here’s some output numbers:

At 1000 rpm – 300 hp and 320 lb-ft torque

The maximum was approx. 620 hp coming at 6500 rpm and 595 lb-ft of torque coming at 4000 rpm with nearly all of its top end torque available between 2600 and 6000 rpm.

That’s a rocket!!!!

Thanks for reading.


Car Lines

From square boxes to sloping roof lines to coke bottle shapes, car lines have evolved. Sometimes they  just went way wrong.

I’ve had my fair share of cars and their shapes and lines were polar opposites.  My 1966 Imapla (my first car) was long and sleek, my next car was a Dodge Dart boxy but with a good roof line.   Oh but it got worse, my first nearly new car was ….wait for it…..a Ford Granada.  Yes…boxy…maybe a little roof line, but it got me around.

After that a series of car including a ’70 Chevelle (you know those great lines), a European Ford Escort (while stationed overseas) and a 83 Camaro (that had great lines on that one).  I owned one more Granada and a VW Rabbit (diesel) and two Toyota Celicas ( like the lies of those), a couple pickups and my two Vettes and my Mustang.  They spanned decades and many different design lines.

Some of the worse, in my opinion, were some of the best-selling and some that go for huge money now that they are classic muscle cars.

The absolute worse were the pumpkin or watermelon seed cars (that’s my coinage).

Here’s an example:  1996 Chevy Impala

A far cry from my 1966 Impala’s lines

1966 Chevy Impala

Now, I was looking at the lines of my ’70 Mustang and I’d have to say compared to the ’70 Dodge Super Bee the lines (and include the graphics, moldings and even panel seams) the Mustangs lines are much cleaner.

Here is an outlined image of the Dodge:


I tried to be fair with my hand drawn lines.  The flow of the graphic and their  awkward end as they go to the relatively square door make it almost look like the designers said..”OH  Crap!!!   We forgot the door!!” The fenders have nice lines, as do the quarter panels, but in total it isn’t smooth.  HOLD ON, before any of you Mopar folks get all worked up, I’d own a Dodge Super Bee, in a heart beat, especially if someone parked it out side my house and tossed me the keys…and I drive that 383 like I stole it!!!

Now look at the lines of my ’70 Mustang…(are you sick of seeing it yet?)

70 Mustang lines

Just the forward edge (hinged) of the door being shaped it a big plus in my opinion.  The sloping of the roof-line into the trunk is another smooth difference, and keep in mind this is just the coupe, not the fast back for the sports back, relatively speaking my Mustang is rather square compared to it siblings,  the Mach I and Boss models. Compare the side window openings.  The Dodge is very angular, the Mustang’s has a smoother flow.

I could go on and on, we could talk about the 70’s Volares or the even move into the 80’s and talk about the Ford Fairmonts or Chryslers K-Car (I can hear Bill now!!!) but let me hear from you.   What do you have to say about car lines, past or present?

Thanks for reading.



car linescar lines

Car Design News

Tokyo 17 Car Design Forum opens for registration. Our Tokyo 2017 Car Design Forum has launched, and the website is open for registrations now. More News …
Car Body Design – Car Design Resources, News and Tutorials

Hyundai-Kia design chief outlines car design philosophy – Interview. by: Roger Stansfield. Materials at the heart of the Paris Motor Show. 20 Oct 2016 …

New Race Team in the Racing Corner – M & H Tractor Motorsport

Check out our current featured racing team in Average Guy’s Car Restoration, Mods and Racing’s Racing Corner.

Tim Gilson and M & H Tractor Motorsports

Link is at the top of the page:


Commentary: Over Restored?

I was reading an article recently in one of my favorite periodical…you know…from the best auto magazine publishing company, IMHO, Hemmings, specifically Muscle Machines. The article was entitled Lessons of Originality and written by Terry McGean.  I enjoy his pieces in HMM.

This article pointed out the importance of all original muscle car specimens, used as models for restoration and an understanding of how they were built, meaning exactly, how and why they were put together in the manner they were.  This is a very valid point.

Terry goes on to say that today’s restorations are often taken too far and lose some of their original character.  Again, another valid fact one can’t argue, but…..

For example, my 1970 Mustang coupe’s shock towers were stamped out and the car assembled without access to grease fittings. The towers had to be altered, in most cases just cut with a torch, so that the fittings could be reached. That is a known engineering/factory flaw and is a cool ( I think) characteristic that makes it unique. ‘Fixing’ that by replacing with re-manufactured parts with the cut out already there (I don’t believe these exist..but humor me here..ok..I know you usually do..and thanks for that!!) would be disappointing . It’s not like a safety hazard or something serious.


1970 Mustang Shock tower with cut out for grease fitting.



But there is just too much emphasis placed on some ‘original’ characteristics, like the correct paint mark or undercoating on parts. Irregular panel alignment or even one of the bigger deals, paint, specifically what is known as orange peel or that somewhat dimpled look to some factory paint jobs, are considered the epitome of originality and should re-create.   To me that is just nonsense.

If you were to look at the side of my 07 Corvette you’ll notice the orange peel effect which looks like the surface of …. yes…an orange.  This is said to be very important when judging a car in some levels of the business.  But back in the days when I worked in my father’s body shop businesses, orange peel was a product of sloppy work.  That is Terry’s point as well, that the cars were assembled with much less care, a lot less care than, of course we take with restoration. (More on that in a bit.)

Here is where I personally begin to draw the line about ‘caring’ whether a car is “restored” to original. First, if it’s restored, it’s not original or re-phrased – “It’s only original once!” (Don’t worry I’m going to drag you down that discussion path too far.)   Second, small things like the realignment of the doors or hood or other panels doesn’t make it any more unoriginal if it’s restored nor does it distract from the car at all.  The art of the restoration is what is really important and minor improvements are nearly unavoidable.

Let me use the restoration (we’ll call it “Part I”) of my 1970 Mustang coupe.  I intended to restore it to what was possible back in 1969-1970 then the cars were built.  Everything is period, not original to the car  (swapped a 1970 302 for the original 250) but available as a possible option. I love the feel of this car, it still performs as it did back then, even with the aligned hood.  At this point in its life span the car is as close to original as it’s going to get (it still has drum brakes). I’ve realigned the panels, I’ve replaced the motor mounts with polyurethane.  In the next round of restoration the car will enter its “restro-mod” phase. It will take the Mustang way past the line I drew the first time around.

And why not?  Hey…come…on, we project so much emotion in on our cars…’She’s just not running right’ or ‘That car just doesn’t like the cold’.  Why not project that they all wish to grow and to change to become more than they were?!??!   (Too much of a stretch…let me re-read it…..hang on…mmm….umm…………yeah too much…since I already typed it…I’ll leave it…no sense wasting bytes…pls tell me you got that?????)

Terry mentions that the folks building cars back in the 1960’s often cared little about what they were actually doing and of course none of them were as concerned as we are when we restore them.  Now I wasn’t at the factories back then, but I bet in general they took a lot of pride in their work.  Of course there were those that didn’t and those that did Monday – Thursday, but on Fridays, not so much.  This happens in every business. However, back then many things were done by hand and during long shifts, back-breaking work to be sure.  Not to mention that the engineering tolerances weren’t nearly as tight as they are today, it just wasn’t a concern.  My only experience with the manufacturing side was my visit to the Corvette assembly plant (I’m going back this year) and it’s hard to tell what everyone everyone was feeling that Tuesday,  but you could see the dedication to the overall process.  Union’s have made a huge impact and as has technology, they both have had negative and positive effects on the business – but that’s another article.

I worry (but not too much) that the purists will ruin the art of restoration.  Terry’s article reminds us that preserving original muscles car are important, as reminder of how it use to be done.  But I say they shouldn’t be the only measure of a restored car.  Restore it to enjoy it.

Thanks for reading.



Car Design – 2 Pipes or 1?

I often have several articles going at once.  However, since I don’t to this for a living (yet) daily activities, like driving to work, often give me ideas for a quick blogging episode, the other article wait.

Like the other day after work, which was a good one at the old salt mine, a rarity, I was headed to my work out session with my “very understanding” better half and the car in front of me made think of a particular feature of  a car’s design.

In this case I need to give you an insight into some of the things that go on in my head while driving.–Don’t worry this is the PG version–.  The most important need is to be very diligent as to notice other corvettes..got to keep the wave alive…”  missing  a wave is a violation of the corvette code. (Yeah…really…and you thought all you had to do while driving a Corvette keep an eye out for ‘smokey’.)  Second most important thing is to keep an eye out for old smokey.  Then there’s the sizing up of your road-mates as you are stopped at a red light.   After those serious tasks,  I look at the tail end of the cars around me to see if they are two pipes or one and of course size (exhaust envy – it’s real!!). One tail pipe means it is a “girlie man’s” car and two or more is of course the opposite.   Hey… it passes the time while sitting in traffic.

Normally, I check out cars of all types for tailpipes,  Honda, VW, all the domestic  brands and models.  Most only have one and some have the bumper designed for two but still come up short one pipe.

So today, I’m sitting a traffic light at Broadway and Aviation Highway behind a Saturn Overlook cross-over vehicle.  Habit takes over and I noticed that there was only tail pipe – girl’s car.  As I looked closer the rear end, I noticed what appeared to be a factory designed space for a second tail pipe.  But the gap wasn’t just a mere indent where the second should have been.  It was a very wide space.  The design of that of its exhaust system on the end has muffler that looks like  an over sized World War II canteen.  The tailpipe sticks out of this elongated canteen at about a 70 degree angle.  The muffler is exposed and hides the rear suspension.  In the picture below you can see the dual exhaust.  

Saturn Outlook with Dual exhaust

   Now picture the left one removed without the muffler.  What you’d see is a cut out and the left independent suspension structure. Why not close that off?  The real reason is cost of having two different rear bumpers’

Below is a picture of a 2008 Outlook and you can see the exposed rear suspension.

Exposed suspension

 So while you are driving, look at the backend of the car in front of you.  You’ll see that Honda Civic with a place for a second the extra exhaust pipe and you’ll think…”Really? It was designed for a dual exhaust?

Thanks for reading.