Closure Missing 1970 Mustang Grande

OK after all these years, after the car was gone.  I stopped by the house.  I was met by Al, short for Albert, not Alan, as Al informed me.

I told him that I had always wanted to check on the Grande and he informed I was a bit late.  He said he didn’t mind answers a few questions.

So I asked Al how got the car and he said he bought it back in 1972 from some guy.  “It was a nice car with an automatic.”  Of course my next question was what was under the hood and he said ‘nothing’.  “Took it out about 10 years ago and parked on the side of the house.”  He told me he never got the engine fixed, ” ’cause  it ‘cost too much.”  He ended up letting the guy that did some work on it keep.  “Ya know, it might have been a 302.”  He said he didn’t really know want to do with the body and just ended up hanging on to it.

So I asked him where the car end up, hoping it was sent out to be restored.  He said there was this guy from Texas that would stop by every now and then and ask if it was for sale.  He drives large pick up and always has an empty trailer attached.  This same guy that has stopped by a co-worker of mine, who has her son’s 70 Monte Carlo and her daughter’s 1969 Camaro sitting under her car port – waiting for some TLC and try’s to convince her that she should sell them to him.  She chases him off each time, but he’ll swing by a few months later.

A couple of weeks ago, Texas dude, stops by Al’s home and Al decided to get the Grande out of the yard and sold the man from Texas.

We talked a bit longer about my 1970 Mustang coupe and I showed him a couple of pics on my phone and then thanked him for his time.

There ya go..closure!

Thanks for reading.


Mustang Upholstery Part II

The next step is to remove the seat from the car.

For the Mustang the studs pass through the track and the nuts are under the car so a little space is need.  Since most average guy’s don’t have a lift in their home garage, so I pull out the trusty 2 ton floor jack and a jack stand.

As most Mustang owners know, they were built with subframes.  When jacking up the car with a floor jack place it on the frame, or use the standard scissor jack that attached to the seam at the rocker panel.  Either way once it’s in the air, DO NOT FORGET to put the jack stand under the car. Yes it actually takes longer to do the set up then to remove the bolts…but take the time to be save.

2 Ton Floor Jack

Floor pan plug that protect the bolts and studs.

These plugs pry out very easily.  I was able to get them out with just my fingers.  Once they are removed you’ll have access to the nut.  The distance between the opening and the nut requires an extension and the length of the stud requires a deep socket.  These were 1/2″.  The Mustang was raised in Arizona (get it?  First reader to drop a comment explaining “get it” wins a DVD.)  and all the plugs are in place.  This kept all the road grime and what not off the studs and nuts, they separated easily.

When you are done you should have this many parts.

When I purchased the Mustang I was told that the upholstery was replaced at some point. (Keep that in mind for later as well.)

[vodpod id=Video.11743606&w=425&h=350&]


As you can see in the video I wasn’t able to get the seat out of the car. I initially I figured it was because I couldn’t pull out level enough for the studs to clear the holes due to the fact that I was holding the camera. However, after putting it down I still shouldn’t get the seat out. So I climbed back under the car and found that there was a second nut on the right rear stud. I’m guess it was doubled up, when the last installer wasn’t sure whether they already but one on? And of course you can see by the previous picture that those two nuts not the same as the others.

Part III will be coming up in a day or so.
Thanks for reading.

Mustang Upholstery Part I

I know, I have a lot of work scheduled for the Mustang. This includes interior work and yes maybe doing it all at once would be a good idea. But I drive it a couple of times a week and the seat is getting worse. So I decided it needed to be fixed.


The kit is from TMI and I think I purchased it from a Mustang parts dealer, but I don’t recall which one. Here’s a couple of videos on it.



What I noticed is the black piping. I know that the car was re-upholstered before I purchased it, so I’m guessing that this was not original, at least they don’t make them in the reproduction world.


Coming up is the removal of the seat.

Thanks for reading.

The Loss of Car Brand Rivalry – The Slow Death of innovation?

I was ready an article in one of the many auto related magazines (can’t recall which one…I’m behind on my reading….a bit <<>>>) and the author was stating that it’s no longer the Mopar guys vs. Ford guys or vs Chevy, but now it’s just tuner vs. tuner.

I first realized that, he was indeed correct and secondly that it really extended into many more areas of life.  But for now, I’ll stick with why I’m writing this.

When I was a kid (60’s and 70’s) there were clean lines. My Dad was a GM guy or more specifically a Chevy guy, his Dad had Mopars (but really anything that got him to a store for a ‘soda’ was fine with him).  On other side of the family (Mom’s side) there wasn’t much going on there with my uncles (except one who introduced me to Corvettes at the age of about 4 or 5), except my grandfather who always seemed to have a Ford – actually they were always the huge Mercury Marques or similar Merc model.

So there were many discussion on which brand  lasted longer, ran better, had more power and a very important are for ‘way’ upstate New York State, which one rusted slower (seems there were two types of cars no matter what brand – those with rust holes and those about to have rust holes).  Now school was where things got hyped.  Even as far back as grade school there were discussions about which car brand was better….I recall even then the full name of F.O.R.D – “Found On (side of) Road Dead”.

That was the core of a car guy’s or gal’s life back then.  Even those that made a living working on them had preferences.

But that is all being lost.  It’s hard to tag the exact cause or point in time this happened.  However, I’m going to blame racing.  Yup straight up, drag racing and oval track racing.  The thought that a funny car is really a Mustang or the template fitted oval track car is a Camaro or a Camry, is merely an illusion.  When the running of “real” cars stopped, the rivalry began to die.

Funny Car “Mustang” This is John Forces car…no offense intended

Not a Mustang

Camry Funny Car

Looks like the stang.

Ford Mustang



Coming up next:  So where does the lack rivalry lead us?

Thanks for reading.


Comment Update:

Like you, I grew up in a GM only family. My dad bought Chevy Station Wagons (stripper Biscaynes) for family hauler duty and Buick LeSabres for his personal daily drivers. Each and every car he bought faithfully lasted 100K miles with only minor repairs and service.

Then, in the 1980s several things happened that destroyed car loyalty. One, all GM cars were exactly alike both in appearance and crappy reliability. My dad was devastated that his 1982 Buick with Olds 305 V8 was in the shop 100 days per year, each and every year of the 36 months he owned that car, then his 1989 Beretta was the same in reliability. Second, the Japanese, or rather JAPAN, INC, realized that turning cars into ‘appliances’ was exactly what America needed and wanted. Styling is not as important as 200K reliability and 60% re-sale value. Finally, Detroit failed the American consumer by trying to make big profits on SUVs rather than compete on quality car products. All of this contributed to the errosin of car loyalty.

I read an article awhile back that stated that the Asian brand cars have loyalty among themselves in that Honda people buy Toyotas and Toyota people buy Hondas, and some people only consider all Asain brands both Japanese and Korean, but American loyalty has boiled down to the large truck market only. Pick Up truck owners are loyal to only GM, Ford, or Chrysler. In fact, the article mentioned that MOST F150 owners are likely to own Toyota products as their car product.

For me, I was a “MOPAR, or NO CAR” loyal Chrysler buyer for all of my driving life. My first car was a 1969 Dodge Coronet 440 that ruled the street of my neighborhood (less the occasional MACH1 that would beat me). My second car was a Road Runner that never lost a race. Then I matured into a Plymouth Horizon, a Plymouth Laser, followed by a Shelby Charger, a Shelby Lancer, and the present day LeBaron Convertible. I bought Chrysler products because they were the underdog of the Big 3, because Lee Iacoccoa needed our support, because they were the most patriotic brand, and because they were the biggest bang for the buck.

The Daimler takeover ended that loyalty. The FIAT ownership makes permanent that I will not buy another MOPAR.

Today, I am not loyal to any car manufacturer. I can pretty much guarentee you that I won’t buy foreign in that I ‘follow the money’; in other words, Ford and GM money do come home no matter where the assembly point, or source of the car. I lean towards Ford products in that they did not take a bail out, Bill Ford is a family owner of the company, Alan Mullay is an engineer that realizes crappy cars do not sell, and the Mustang is still the very best Muscle Car for the money. Always has been, and I hope will always will be!

Submitting my rant for the day, Bill



RT @JERZEEBABY1: Auto racing returns to Trenton, NJ this weekend!

RT @dustinlong: Covered Auto Racing RT @APSE_sportmedia: Retiring Bill Center 1 of a kind. Nobody outworked him. vi…

1970 Mustang Grande – Missing?

For over 8 years now I pass an enclave of homes that seem house a tribe of car people.  Now this isn’t the pool and 3 car garage neighbor, in fact some have only car ports and some have nothing.  I pass these homes at least once a day. Hardly a day or  two go by without seeing a rolling classic or muscle project turn down the one of the 4 streets leading into the neighborhood.

I can list most of the cars that live there.  To name a few there is the 1969 VW bug, often under cover,  one home that has a 1984 Corvette Crossfire and a 1969 Nova and there is the 1970ish Camaro…wait for it…..wait…..mounted on a monster truck frame rig, a Monte Carlo (late 1970’s),  a 1965 Mustang and a 1988 Fox body too.

However, there are 3 cars that make my drive.  Knowing they are there gets the day started on an even keel, everything in its place.  The work day can be (read as “usually is”) filled with chaos but it ends with these 3 cars everything is as it should be.  Now two of them I’ve actually seen on the road and one of those at the drag strip.  In order of appearance first thing in the morning 1970 Mustang Grande, 1970 Charger and a 1967 GTO.  The Charger normally sits in the car port and often has the hood up and or is practically dismantled.  The GTO was up on blocks in the backyard for nearly a year and has recently had shoes put on it was under the car port out front ( a good sign,  I’m assuming).

This isn't "the" 1970 Mustang Grande.

The Mustang has never moved, in all these years not an inch.  It sits next to the side of the house, inside the chain link fence, in full sun.  Rust on the sides and the vinyl roof baked hard on the roof.  The prickly pear cactus which started out as a mere 2 foot high cluster has grown to over 5 feet tall, nearly obscuring the car from the west side view.  A couple of years ago a ladder was added next to the car and weeds have grown up to nearly covering it.

Since I love Mustangs, I always wondered about its story, what engine it had under the hood and what would happen if I stopped and offered to purchase it. (Of course that would be a tough sell at home.)  And I kept reminding myself that I need to at least stop and take some photos for my abandon/project car writings.

Last week I was driving home and in reverse order from the morning drive, there was the ’69 GTO, ’70 Charger and a empty yard where the Grande has sat for years.  It seemed the entire landscape had changed.  Was that the correct yard?  Did I just mistake the next guy’s house for that one?   Was I on the right street? Those thoughts crossed my mind briefly.  There was a lot of traffic and turning around to go back and look wasn’t going to happen, after the day I had.

I didn’t have to make a mental note to check tomorrow morning, it was part of my routine, I’d notice for sure it if wasn’t there on the trip into work.  Sure enough as a reached what would be my first sign that the day was starting out with all the pieces in place, I saw exactly what I thought I saw the day before.  The ladder was gone, the weeds and prickly pear cactus was gone and where the Mustang sat was a bare spot on the ground and against the side of the house.  The 1970 Mustang Grande was gone.

This car wasn’t even mine but I have regrets, I should have taken a picture, I should have stopped and got its story and found out what was under the hood.  It’s clearly too late for a picture.  Did it find a new home?  Was it going to be treated to spa like off frame restoration?  Did it meet the crusher?

I wonder if they would mind a car crazy guy stopping by and asking about a car that isn’t there any longer?  Does the readership want to know?


Thanks for reading.



From a reader:

I used to pass a 1970 base model Barracuda everyday on the way to work in the late 1980s in San Jose, Calif for years. It was a basic 318 auto, shift on the column with base vinyl bucket seats, white with no stripes, or trim, or spoilers. Just a basic Barracuda, but all orignal, and all complete. It needed mostly TLC, paint, and some interior work. It sat in the driveway with two flat tires for years. i finally one Friday night on the way home from work stopped and knocked on the door. The original owner was glad to show me the car and talk about his fond memories of the car. I ended up stopping by three, or four times over the year. We would talk MOPARs and bench race a little bit now and then.

Then one day I saw the house was for sale, so I stopped to ask. The Barracuda owner told me his mother had passed away (the homeowner), and the Barracuda was FOR SALE. I had to contain my excitement and proceed with the details. (I had just sold my 68 Charger for a huge profit, which I regret to this day, but that is another story for another day).

So, the owner pulls out this “Gold Book of Collector Car Values”; You have to remember, this is pre-Internet times; all cars prices came from some sort of ‘book’. He proudly shows me that the ‘high’ market value of the ‘Cuda/Challenger is $39,000. I say; “YES, that is for pristine, all original Hemi cars. This is a base Barracuda with a 318 that needs $3,000 work of work.”. We talk back and forth for two hours, and I finally throw out a $3,500 offer to break the ice (remember, this is 1989). The guy tells me to screw myself, and goes back into his house.

I left a few notes on the car for the next two months waiting to reconnect by phone, but he never called. The house sold, and I never saw that Barracuda again.

Thanks for letting me tell one of my many “one that got away” stories. Lets do lunch soon!

Take care, Bill

Barrett Jackson 2011 Mustangs and Corvettes

Here’s a lost video from my trip to the Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale, AZ this past Jan. All you needed to do was sign up for email notification of deals from Chevy and/or Ford and you could drive these cars or ride them while a professional driver took you for a spin. I opted to drive the Ford Taurus SHO, ( the wait was shorter) I wrote about that in this blog entry

[vodpod id=Video.11234284&w=425&h=350&]

Auto Factoid 6/13/2011

Nicola Romeo is credited with setting the foundation for Italian car maker Alfa Romeo.  What a lot of folks don’t know is that  Alfa was a car manufacturer before Nicola came around.

Afla stood for Anonima Lombardo Fabbrica Automobili and began production in Milan in 1910.   They actually produced French cars (the Darracq) under a license, all hand built.

Darracq 1906


Nicola had an engineering degree from Turin.  He first worked with mining equipment and eventual purchased Alfa’s plant in Portello.

His management skills and love of racing helped build this car .company in to a lasting enterprise.

Although, apparently their latest offering to the U.S. market of the Giulia, was not well received, design wise and the parent companies FiatChrysler killed it until 2013.

Giulia - see ya in 2013


Thanks for reading.


Parking Lot Spotlight 6/13/2011

Here is another cool  car sighting.

This one was in the parking lot of the a local auto parts store Checker’s or O’Rielly’s….or….all those mergers are making hard to have common name that everyone can related too (remember when there was just NAPA….can’t find them very often).

1969 Chevelle 454 Restored shell

This 1969  Chevelle  was merely as shell…oh but is extremely well done restoration.  The paint was excellent (makes ya wonder why it was being dragged round uncovered), the inside of the shell had been as expertly sprayed as the was almost a shame to put in the interior in there.

Reproduction gauges and not much in the way of interior yet.

The badge on the car shows that this car housed or will house 454.  But however, the 454 didn’t show up on the scene until until 1970 so this must be a retro fit.

You can see the big power plant is missing.

It looks absolutely ready to for dropping that monster engine back in and hitting the strip.  Hey I don’t even mind the wheels!!!

Didn’t find the owner (or driver) , part store was crowded.

Of course this isn’t a 1970, I’ll update the data a bit later.

Some 1970 Chevelle facts:

– The 454 was produced between 1970 thru 1976.

–  It produced 450 hp configured with 4bbl carb

–  It was designated the LS6 with 475 ftlbs of torque and 9.0:1 compression ratio

The majority of the Chevelle’s  (approx. 13,000) had V8 in 1970 and approx. 10,000 had 6 cylinders.

Thanks for reading.