Friday, August 12, 2022

 Now that I've got my '06 Mustang,


Well, maybe not this one!

Do I really need a 63 Riviera?

Need is a dangerous word around old cars. Nobody really needs an old car, unless it is going to pressed into actual transportation use. 

As I've written before, shouldn't my '06 Mustang fulfill my need for a PLC (Personal Luxury Car)? 

The answer is yeah, of course, kinda, mostly, ...sorta. 

Let's see; a sporty, stylish, comfortable, luxurious, four seat, high speed road cruiser. Both can cover those areas. Pride of ownership? Yep. 

One of them does get twice the fuel economy of the other, on regular gas! Guess which one? 

Yesterday I tried to see if my '06 would fit as easily under the garage table as the '96. Not really. It will, but it's a tighter fit. 

Compare the measurements:

'63 Riviera;  208'' L X 76.3'' W X 53'' H

'06 Mustang; 188'' L X 74'' W X 56'' H

'96 Mustang; 181'' L X 72'' W X 52.8 H 

Wow! The Riv is 20 inches longer than my '06 and 2.3 inches wider. The Riv is also quite a bit wider than the '96, 4 inches wider. I've forgotten just  how big even this compact Riviera really is. It is 5 inches longer than my long wheelbase Jaguar XJ6! 

I'm really not used to big cars anymore. Big GM cars from the mid 60's and up stretch out to 225 inches and were proud of it. 

I'm also kind of a fuel economy wonk. I determined that the best highway mileage of my last '66 Riv was 12 mpg. on the way to Paso Robles. I'd estimate that it got around 9 mpg. in mixed use. On premium gas. Of course. Wow! Again! All my current vehicles get at least 20 mpg. driven at 70 mph. My two Mustangs get at least 25 mpg. Both on regular. 

One of the reasons that I got rid of my '70 Mustang was because of the poor fuel mileage of around 15 mpg. on the freeway. 

Of course you don't buy a collector car for the economy. Now that I'm retired, there are days when I don't even start the cars, much less drive them. It's not like I'd be depending on this old car for practical transportation. 

So, what would I use that old car for? 

Good question. Fun?

I used to keep my '56 Cadillac on the right side of my garage. The big Dagmar bumpers allowed maybe, six inches clearance with the clothes drier, and that was because my garage door doesn't close all the way and I could pick up another few inches of length by letting the rear end stick out a bit. 

I'll have more to say on this subject in a following post.

If "need" is one of the most dreaded words that must never be uttered. 

Then the "W"word is even more feared; as in, "Do I even want a car like that?" Be very careful never to utter these words aloud, especially in the presence of, or much worse in conversation, (!) with  your SWMBO. (She Who Must be Obeyed!) It is not our job to undermine our own arguments to buy an old car. 

In reality, there are no logical arguments in favor of getting a vintage car, no rational supportable argument that can be made. You get one to satisfy a "want." Nothing wrong with that. Yes, many times the reasoning doesn't make any sense, but you want it anyway! If you are paying your own way, and not taking the funds away from something that you should be providing to your family, then feel no guilt. 

Still, I feel kind of weird not because I want an old car, I feel weird because I don't particularly want an old car!

Why is that? 

Maybe because I'm old enough to have already owned several old cars. These cars were not that old when I owned them, I still used them for daily transportation, though they would be quite ancient now. I was shocked to realize that my '70 Mustang was 45 years old when I owned it recently, that's almost half a Century! 

Would I even want to drive an old car anymore? That's a hard question to answer. I'm pretty active on the AACA forum, so I'm always reading about other guy's old cars, and checking those for sale. I know that I don't want anything that would be really old, probably nothing earlier than the mid Forties to mid to late 1950's. That would mean that the car wouldn't be too much older than me! 

I'm much closer to 70, than I am to Sixty, so maybe that car is pretty old too. 

Of course there are other cars that are older, but not really old. I've actually got a couple of those already. 

One "problem" ( first world, I guess) is that I've got several different types of vehicles that cover my different needs and wants.

I've got a full size long bed pick up. It's not a "bro dozer," it's my useful work truck that I can also drive anywhere, comfortably and enjoyably. I really enjoy driving this truck. This was something that I wanted since I first saw one, so much so that I bought one new. I was lucky enough to get a green one. 

I've got my big CUV, the Ford Flex. This is a very useful and "flexible" people and stuff hauler that is a terrific road tripper. It's a late model, low mileage beauty that was something that I also had admired when new.

Talking about things that I've admired since new, my '06 Mustang is the personal pony car that I've wanted for over 15 years. Now that I've got it, there's no reason for me not to drive it. It has 100,000 miles less than my '96 Mustang. 

If I'm going to drive the Mustang, then when would I drive the Riviera?

I just got rid of two old cars so I shouldn't be in any hurry to add any more complications to my life. I'm in a pretty good space right now, I even have some extra space around the garage, so I should just enjoy it. Maybe even improve upon it by jettisoning the other two old cars that I've got. That would sure reduce the overload of cars. 

I'm not thinking of adding an old car to my current fleet, an addition would only be made if one or both of my garage cars were sold. That way my Wife would know that I'm serious about cutting back. 



Saturday, August 6, 2022

 What is the appeal of  American Graffiti ? 


I've been kind of thinking about this since I drove out to Modesto to the Graffiti USA museum. This museum is going to be a testament to this period.

Where were You in '62? Where do wish that you had been? You can replace the reality of your past with this stylized, fictional, version. A younger generation can imagine what it was really like, or what they wish it was like. Or we could be just looking at the past through rose colored glasses. What could be a more natural reaction?


1962 was over 60 years ago. I was eight years old. I'm 67 now. To have lived through this and participated in events that occurred in this era you'd have to be at least 75 years old. I'm sure that the movie tells the story of some specific demographic. I actually met three gents at the Modesto Graffiti Museum Cruise In that had participated in that area's cruising heritage. This is where George Lucas got his inspiration for the movie. From his own life experiences in Modesto.

People love all kinds of movies that have no relationship with their actual lives. Consider Star Wars. (Another Lucas masterpiece!)

I was at the Paso Robles West Coast Kustoms Nationals many years ago. There were a couple of stars from AG, Bo Hopkins and Candy Clarke in attendance. They were selling autographed photos and chatting with fans. 

In an uncharitable mood I turned up my nose at buying a photo or even saying hello. Washed up has-beens is what they were. Maybe.

Later I got to thinking. These two people were part of the ensemble that produced a true American film icon, beloved by millions and going onto successive generations of fans. This movie lives on in hearts of millions of old car fans. Mine included.

What have I done, or will I ever do in my life, of any value, that will touch even a small number of people? Elite film critics can turn their nose up at this film, it may not be highbrow, but it is loved! 

This is one of the few films that I have watched multiple times. When it would appear on a cable TV schedule I will generally watch it, it doesn't even have to be from the beginning! There are certain scenes that I find memorable and I daresay iconic. One of my favorites is after Milner races Falfa on the downtown street, and the '32 is sitting alone on the street in the dark in a distant shot. I will never own a classic hot rod like that, in fact I really don't even want a classic hot rod like that. But these were the cars that I read about for years in all the hot rod magazines as a kid, and they were a part of my automotive hopes and dreams. I can easily see and admire the attraction of these machines, they have a brutal beauty. 

Now with YouTube it is easy to watch and re-watch many segments of the movie, and I have my favorites of the compilations that are presented there. I also have a copy of the movie on cd.




Today I went to a cruse in/ open house at the Modesto Graffiti USA Museum.  It was a good excuse to take my new Mustang out for a drive. 

This picture depicts what the finished museum is going to look like.  A simulated Downtown streetscape area with cars parked along the street at the curb. This reminded me of the street scene sections at the Petersen Museum. It is designed to replicate some of the scenes along the classic Modesto Cruise circle. Most cities had a cruise route around the downtown area. My hometown didn't, but we went to a nearby smaller town. It was a short route up and down E14th St. in San Leandro. This town has been famous for aggressive law enforcement, but things were still fairly mellow back in the early 1970's. The cruising itself was kind of a waste of time, unless you knew the other participants. It was all about showing off your car, meeting up with friends, maybe meeting some new people. 

It's interesting that Modesto has this strong relationship with the movie. It's true that George Lucas grew up in Modesto and the movie was based upon his experiences in that town. He graduated from high school in... 1962!

The movie was actually filmed in Petaluma, where the downtown movie filming locations are the actual downtown streets and buildings. Most of these locations are still very recognizable. The town also has it's own AG events. As a fan I have enjoyed visiting the town and seeing where the movie was filmed. 

Modesto has really taken the film and fans to heart. It is a way to draw tourism to the city. There is a Graffiti Week of activities. Car shows, cruises, movie screenings, concerts, and a parade of cars through the Downtown area.

All good clean fun, just like we like to imagine of the late 1950's.






Friday, July 29, 2022

 My Wife thinks that a 2015 Mustang looks like my '96  Mustang.





I immediately said "Whaaaaat? Where do you get that idea from?"













But you know, she was right. That woman is more perceptive about cars than I thought.


We've had a S197 Retro Stang since 2007 when we bought that one new. I think that those cars look great, although the styling is a melange of first gen Mustang cues. Somehow it all comes together just right, at least in my eyes. 


About four years later I added a '96 SN95 convertible to the fleet. At the time I wasn't that impressed by the design, but I couldn't find a Fox body in good shape for a price that I could swing. So I bought the '96 and over the years began to appreciate it's good qualities.

It was a complete departure from the earlier Fox design and it was quite different from the following 2005-2014 models. The design was a modern interpretation of the original Mustang concept without trying to look like a first gen. The body was modern, wedge shaped, and  smoothly styled with aerodynamic headlamps and a simple grille opening. Inside, the dash did carry a nod to the early dual cockpit design. The dash contained all the instruments in a large binnacle directly in front of the driver, all easily visible.


Compare this to the S197. Besides the obvious body design heritage cues, the interior also carries them. The dash is flat on top like a '67-'68 and the speedo and tach are buried in a couple of chrome lined tunnels. They really remind me of the dials in my '70, though these are much easier to read.

The flat sides and wheel arches are a stylistic tie to the '66-'70 and later 2006 models. 

The retro phase came to an end  with the 2014 models. The new 2015 car doesn't really recall the earlier models. Except for the roof line, which really looks like the '69 -'70 fastback design. I think that this is the car's best feature. The front end doesn't look anything like an earlier Mustang. It looks more like an interpretation of the generic gaping maw look. The leading edge of the hood curves gracefully down to the grille, unlike the abrupt sharp line of the past model. The fenders are curvaceous and blend through the doors into the quarter panels.

It doesn't really look like a SN95 but it is clearly a departure from the S197. I can imagine that the 2015 model could have followed the earlier SN95s, it looks like an evolution of that design, There aren't any real sharp edges on the 2015. The New Edge lead to the S197. The flat sides combined with the wheel arches are features that tie the two designs to each other. The ten years of the S197 could have been omitted from an evolutionary design stand point, and the 2015 design would look like the obvious next step. 

Irregardless of all this, almost every model design of the Mustang will find it's devotees. The first gen cars have been hugely popular since their introduction, and their popularity is still strong, over 60 years later! I never thought that Fox bodied cars would develop a strong following, since they were a complete break from traditional styling cues, but they did. A whole generation of fans consider them to be "the classic Mustang." Even the SN95s have their devoted followers, probably due to Mustang fans finally accepting the Modular 4.6 motor. Also the addition of Cobra and Saleen models brought a little glory to the series. 

The poor Mustang II has been very late to develop a strong fan base, though these were big sellers when introduced. The four cylinder models were just what the public was looking for at the time. Fuel economy became very important during that period. There were some V8 and V6 models available for a limited time, so these motors can be installed in any Mustang II, Their front suspension was adapted to many V8 powered street rods and has been more popular than the actual car itself. 

The Mustang is the second longest running American car line, next to the Corvette. Being a mass market vehicle, it had to follow market demands. The Corvette, as a niche vehicle and was free to remain closer to its roots. Although as we know, the Corvette, languished without development and improvement, for a long period. In fact the re introduced Mustang GT 5.0 was at one time the quickest American car.

Mustang fans can choose from an almost unlimited variety of vehicle and model combinations. That has always been a big factor in the Mustang's continued popularity. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

 Replacing the seat motors on the '07 Mustang's front seat.



OEM seat motors and tracks are extremely expensive. Lasco Ford parts lists a new replacement unit at a discount price of 735.65 which is 25% off of the original price of 980.87! Used units are listed on E Bay at prices of 130.00- 250.00. 

There are currently no service parts currently available from Ford! Or from the aftermarket.

My Daughter's '07 seat had developed problems with the motor and could no longer be adjusted. My '96 had a stuck /inoperative power seat when I bought, it crammed my knees up against the dash. 

I had been kicking around the idea of getting a '13, or '14 model Mustang.  When I learned about the high replacement cost and the lack of a manual replacement for the seat adjuster, it just bummed me out. 

I don't really know why. After all my XJ6 never came with a manual seat, neither did my Flex. I wasn't in a dither about that. Maybe because I was planning on keeping my "new" Mustang for a very long period. 

It turns out that there was a manual seat adjuster available, it even raised and lowered the seat a few inches. I had bought a complete seat at the San Jose Pick and Pull and swapped it into the '07 while I looked for a power replacement.

I had sent my Daughter off with that seat in her car.

I decided that I would continue to look for a replacement power unit, as well as an additional manual unit to keep as a spare. 

I found both in one day at Pick and Pull in Newark and bought both of them. It was a really hot day, well into the 90's which is rare for the Bay Area. I found what I needed in a couple of different cars. I pulled the power seat out first, unbolted the seat back and carried the seat base to the next car which had the manual seat. I pulled this seat and unbolted the seat back as well. 

Now I had two seat bases, one manual and one with power adjustment, which is much heavier. I also had a pretty heavy tool bag. I carried the power base with my left hand and the lighter manual base along with the tool bag with my right. I held the tool bag with the three middle fingers of my right hand and set off for the cashier's area. It was quite a bit away. 

I shuffled off towards the front of the yard, I'd go about 125 ft. then set everything down for about 15 seconds then pick everything up and shuffle off again. This was repeated several times and I started to notice some pitying looks from some of the other patrons. One guy even asked if I wanted to borrow his hand truck but I told him," no, I got this!" It was hot and I was tired from several hours of yard work at home before coming to the wrecking yard. But I was still very happy, I'd found both of the things I was looking for in this same trip!

I'd been watching videos that showed the seat back being removed along with the seat upholstery and seat pan. The guy in the video said that was how Ford sold them, as a unit. This is what I related to the cashier.

The lady at the check out at the Pick and Pull had other ideas, she said that she could see some nuts on the frame. She was willing to sell the frames as a complete assembly I'd just have to pay for all the additional parts! That was going to double the cost, so I moved to the side of the check out area and started taking the seat bases apart.

I was a sweaty, dirty, exhausted, mess. I kneeled on the asphalt but at least there was some shade from the sun. On top of that, I'd injured the muscles of my three middle fingers of my right hand which were starting to cramp up. Luckily I had plenty of tools in that heavy bag, and I unbolted the seat tracks from the bases. Hmmm, the videos had never mentioned that this was possible. They hadn't showed much detail and I had assumed they were manufactured as a single unit. 

When I reached the cashier she started to charge me for the wire harness also,  at first I was going to argue and maybe remove it, but I'd reached my limits so I just paid for it as well.  

It seemed like a really long walk back to the truck. This was quite an unglamorous episode in my adventure, I'd looked like a beat up, old, raggedy ass man, which was exactly how I felt. 

At least until the a/c cooled me off!

So now I had a power unit and another manual unit available as a spare. I planned to put the power unit in the '07. I thought that I should test it out first.

There are a lot of wiring in the seat controls, it wasn't going to be easy for me to come up with a plan to jump wires to rest the motors. I didn't want to disassemble the '07's seat controls to try to test it. I thought that I'd just install the motor, on the seat then try it out. 




This is the power track that I bought. This is the top view, the four attaching nuts are clearly visible. The left side where the wire loom exits is the front of the seat. 


I put the seat on my garage table where it would be easier to work on. The seat tracks were held on by threaded studs with the nuts on the inside of the seat base. It would have been easier if Ford had welded the studs to the seat base instead of locating the nuts inside. If you pull the seat upholstery off and unbolt the seat back it is easy to put the nuts on. I didn't want to do that, and it isn't really necessary. I found a simpler way.




The rear nuts are covered by the seat foam and are hard to see, but you can fit a box end wrench to remove them  pretty easily.

You can do this part by feel. Just be careful, the metal panels and parts of the seat assembly are stamped metal and usually have one very sharp edge. I worked in auto production for GM and found that all interior metal panels can cut you quite severely if you are not careful. Just imagine that each component has a knife edge. 




The front mounting nuts are easy to access.

I didn't want to disconnect the seat switches from the left side seat base trim panel, so I disconnected all the wiring connections to the motors. I will re connect these to the replacement seat track once it is in place. I wanted to minimize the potential for damage. 




As you can see, the track has been removed, the wiring harness has been disconnected, but the seat base, upholstery, and trim/control panel has not been disturbed. 

Removal of the front nuts allowed me to pivot the track away from the base, like a hinge, giving me a lot more room to work. I was going to repeat this by attaching the two rear nuts first. But how was I going to get the nuts started on the studs since I couldn't see them too well, and the seat foam was firmly pressed against where they had to go? 







I needed something to push back the foam and hold it in place so I could get my fingers in and the nut threaded on the stud. I cut these little wooden blocks to do the job. 




I forced the blocks in between the frame and the foam to open up some working space. You can see that the track is angled away from base during this step.









With both rear nuts attached the wiring harness was reattached as the track was swung back into place.




This is the main electrical connector for the seat motors. I thought that I might hook up jumpers to test it but  I came up with a better plan. I'd try it out in my "new" '06. 

First, I covered the door sill area with an old towel to prevent scraping that area up when pulling the seat. I carefully removed the driver's seat from my "new" '06 and set the '07's seat in it's place. I hooked up the wiring harness and found that the replacement seat track worked perfectly. I then removed this seat and replaced it with the original. I set the repaired seat in the garage and will replace the junkyard seat from my Daughter's car the next she comes to visit. 

I'm going to hold onto the broken seat motor assembly. It's quite possible that in the future some manufacturer might start to provide service parts. Then I'll be able to rebuild the tracks. In the meantime I've now got two manual adjusters as back up. 



Friday, July 15, 2022


 I finally got the car that I've been wanting...







It only took 16 years! 

It is noteworthy to mention that the car that I wanted at the time was a brand new car!

The year was 2006, I was running out my Cadillac love. The last years of my Seville ownership experience hadn't been too pleasant.  I'd had a good time with my '90 Honda Civic SI, and I'd been running a few older Buick Rivieras. I was on my second mini van, a Chrysler Town and Country. I started messing with Datsun Z cars and thinking about a Mercedes. There was a lot going on in my head at this time.

I was still reading several automotive buff books and had seen the new retro Mustang that was making the car show rounds. It looked pretty good to me, it might be considered a pastiche of Gen 1 Mustang styling cues, but I thought that it was a cohesive design.  The word was that this was going to be the "new" Mustang in a few years. 

While my first car was a '66 Mustang coupe, the latest 94-98, and 99-2004 models didn't really appeal to me. The '69 and '70 models were the last models that really hit me emotionally when they were new. They would have been pretty affordable in '75 and for quite a few later years. Oh, they would have cost me more than the 300.00 I paid for my coupe, but they would have been less expensive than the motorcycles that I was riding. The motorcycle was always my priority and came first, then it was having a Cadillac. When I stepped up to Harley Davidson there wasn't a lot of extra money to also pick up a Mustang. Even if I had really wanted one. My favorite Mustang of that era was the '70 fastback, either a basic Sportroof, Mach One, or Boss 302. They weren't going to get any cheaper over time. Of course, I had no idea of just how expensive they would get. 

The early 2000's was the era of the retro styled car. VW brought out the new Beetle, Jaguar brought out their X300 XJ6 and the XKE cribbing XK8. Chrysler brought out a PT Cruiser and Plymouth Prowler which didn't really copy any of their older designs. Ford finally rolled out a retro T Bird.

Unfortunately there wasn't going to be any retro style Cadillac Eldorado or De Villes.

I read all of the anticipatory articles, then the reviews. Financially it looked like I would be able to swing a new car.  If I was going to get a new Mustang, I wanted it to be a GT convertible. 

But of course reality always rears it's ugly head. I had just bought a new Ford F150 to use in my swap meet car parts business. My Wife wasn't going to drive my truck, and we still needed a "family car" since we still had a couple of kids at home. Our  Chrysler mini van was on it's last legs and it reliability was an open question. So it had to be a car that my Wife could drive, also on the horizon my youngest Daughter was going to be in high school soon and I'd imagined that she was going to need something to drive. It wasn't going to be  300 hp. convertible! Though my Wife had driven our 295 hp Cadillac STS without any problems. 

So a new V6 Mustang coupe was going to be it. I found a nicely equipped example right before the '08's were going to be released. I already knew that they were going to look identical, and I also knew that I was going to hold onto the car for a long time, so buying the '08 at a higher price wouldn't be the best idea. Buying a new car just as the new model is released means that you just bought a years worth of depreciation. However if the price is marked down sufficiently and you plan on keeping the car a long time you can come out ahead. The difference in appearance between the '04 last year SN95 and the '05 S197 was so substantial it had to have affected sales of the 2004, as well as later resale value. You'd have to have been a real "New Edge" fan not to have waited until 2005.

My '07 was equipped with the Pony package which consisted of 17 in. Bullitt wheels, rear deck spoiler, and the grille mounted fog lamps. Maybe that's why I got challenges from other drivers who mistook it for a GT.

Internally it had leather, the Kicker stereo/CD and most importantly, ABS, which was still an option on the six cylinder cars. It is still a great looking car, and the fastback roof line mimics the '65-'66 Shelby look with the side windows, is a real winner. I think that the coupes actually look better than the convertibles.

But I still wanted the top to go down, and I wanted the V8. But I enjoyed the new Mustang and put a lot of miles on it. I think that these V6 models are highly under rated.

As soon as I could afford it, I started looking around trying to satisfy my V8 cravings. I couldn't afford an '05 so I took a look at the last of the Fox bodied late '80s models. These cars had been popular when new and that popularity carried on into the resale market. Also, a lot of Mustang fans were not excited by the new SN95 design. By the early 2000's Fox body cars began to develop a collectible status and prices started to climb. It was always the same story, they now cost more than what I wanted to pay.

So I took a look at the SN95 and found that from an engineering standpoint they were much more advanced than the old Foxes. Clean examples were much more affordable. I wasn't crazy about the looks at first, but that would change over time. My '96 has turned out to be a very satisfactory experience. 

I had even tried to grab some of the classic Mustang glory and do an end run around high prices by getting a fixer '70 coupe. I would have preferred a V8, fastback model. But I was going to beat the system, at least that was the plan! It ended up looking pretty good, and these coupes are still pretty inexpensive, so I got it for cheap. But even after all my work it was going to need a pretty big investment to bring it up to par. The drivetrain was still a disappointment, certainly nothing like my '07 V6. It would take a lot of money to upgrade the mechanicals, and some of the ergonomic and safety faults were just inherent to the design. Newer cars have certainly gotten better over time.

But I did like the classic look. 

The later restylings of the S197, starting in 2009 carried it further and further away from it's classic retro design. The rear end styling really took years for me to accept, even if only barely. The intro of the new 5.0 Coyote engine made up for a lot of shortcomings, however.

I have been impressed by the new 2015 Mustang, especially the fastback roofline. Though there isn't much, actually nothing, to tie it with the S197s. In this way it's much like the SN95 to post 2004 models, a complete change. Not really a bad thing, but I still had a thing for the retro look. The new IRS seemed like it would deliver a smoother ride, something you don't really get with a Mustang.

I was constantly watching Mustang videos and one fan stated that the car to get was the '13-14 Mustang GT. It still had the classic profile combined with the new engine and improved lighting. Being newer it would be available used with lower mileages. This was a persuasive argument.

I started scanning CL religiously and found a fair amount of the later cars, I was still ambivalent about the styling. I would still look at the earlier cars but the low mileage cars must have been considered to be already collectible as the asking prices were pretty high. I really did want a low mileage car, but I wasn't closed mind about it! 

Then "my" car popped up. It was bright blue, with a tan top. The paint looked to be in great shape, it was really shiny. The interior, also in great condition, was tan leather seats with tan and black door panels and the dash and console were black and tan with silver panels. I had been hoping to find a Mustang with a bright, colorful interior! And this was it! It looked to be in very good condition and the mileage was 116,000 miles, less than most I'd seen. According to the ad, it was in perfect running shape. There was only one little problem, it was in Los Angeles. 

I communicated with the seller via e-mail and set up a time to check it out. I had to work around his work schedule. As we got closer to the date we spoke over the phone. 

One of the bad things about travelling a long distance to check out a car is that it's hard to simulate nonchalance, obviously you are interested, you just drove 350 miles to check it out! It makes it hard to bargain on the price, it's not like you are going to just turn around and leave if you can't get the price withing a few hundred dollars of the price you wanted to pay. Obviously you've invested a certain amount of time and money already, gas is really expensive now. However, if the car is not in the condition it was represented to be, the smart thing to do would be to walk/drive away. 

The other problem is how will you get the car home? I've previously bought two cars in southern Calif. The first was not a runner, so I took my truck and picked up a trailer near the car's location and towed it home. The other was a good running car that I had previously checked out while on a trip down south with the Wife. We rented a car for the trip down that we could drop off near the seller after we bought the car. That was one of my favorite car buying experiences. I got a couple of years to enjoy the Jaguar XJ6. 

The other alternative was to drive a car down and have my Wife drive one of them back. That wasn't going to happen! So a trailer rental was arranged. The sale of the XJ6 was also being currently arranged and the appointment for pick up was being set up. To top it off the '07 Mustang was at the transmission repair shop! Talk about walking and chewing gum! There is always a lot of moving parts spinning around at the same time in my life. Lucky for me my Wife is a wiz at coordinating everything.

So I was driving the truck down, that would call for an early start.

                                                    -------------------------------------------------

The interesting part, to me at least , is that I have wanted this car for a long time, before I acquired any of the other cars I've bought in the last 16 years! Before the '07 Mustang, the '96 Mustang, or the '70 Mustang. Before I wanted any of the Jaguars, the XJS, the XJ6, or the Mark VII. Before the Explorer and the Flex. I didn't mention the truck because it's a truck, not a car, though. I actually wanted this model F150 from the first time that I saw one on the street. So I have wanted this particular model Mustang for a very long time. 

So, why didn't I buy one sooner? 

Good question. I think that initially it was because of the cost, so I bought other alternatives instead, then I got bogged down in the ownership of these vehicles. As I always say it's not easy to sell old cars and that can lead to years of inertia. As time passed, the value of this generation of Mustangs began to decline, especially after the introduction of the new 5.0 motor. 

Then last year I bought the Flex. It wasn't new, but it was "new enough " with only 30,000 miles on the clock. It replaced the Explorer which was quite old with 275,000 miles on it. Though I'd pressed it into service for several long trips, the truck was still my main go to, though I'd also used my '96 Mustang. 

The experience of driving an almost new car was quite refreshing, so much so that it has affected my thinking about messing with old cars.

I had actually thought about buying a brand new Mustang, I even had my Wife's support! I think she has known of my frustration working on some of my project cars. She really didn't want me buying some raggedy ass old car, so I had been directing my attention to the 2015 to 2020 models. Then I realized that I still kind of liked the earlier body style better. Especially since I was planning to hold onto the car for a long time. So I had started looking for  2013-14 model. They still had the classic retro style body. I didn't try to pretend that they were better looking than my 2007, but I didn't want to buy a car that I'd have to immediately have to do a lot work to.

I'd start my CL searches looking for 2005-09 models, then switch to the '13-'14 models and follow that up with the 2015-20's. I had rented a '21 GT convertible last Summer and found that it was okay, Yes, it was, and felt really fast, but that wasn't my major consideration. I had taken a test drive of a 2016 V6 six speed coupe at Morgan Hill Ford a few months back. I thought that the six was a pretty good runner and they are quite a bit cheaper than the GT. Even more affordable are the fours, but I still feel that's a bridge too far. 

My car's bright blue finish and interior really grabbed my attention and the relatively low mileage was a plus. The car isn't perfect, and it is 16 years old. But it is pretty good, and I can handle the price without financing. In fact I was feeling a little bit of uncertainty as I waited in line at the bank to withdraw the funds for the purchase. I kept thinking about the poorly fitted top, worn tires, chipped paint, and couple of little dings. While it certainly looked better than my '96,  it didn't look as good as my Flex, which is nine years newer with 70,000 miles less on the clock. It also cost me almost three times as much! Luckily reality sunk in and I began to consider the Mustang in a better light. 

We loaded up my new Mustang on the trailer for the trip home. I was a little concerned about the truck, since it had the same mileage as our '07 Mustang. Well, if things went bad we could always drive home in the Mustang and come back later for the truck. We made it home without any problems, and I even unloaded it myself without any complications. That's a good sign. I think that this will be the start of a beautiful relationship. Maybe I won't describe it like that to my Wife, no need on giving her something else to laugh about!







Friday, July 8, 2022

 Maybe it wasn't exactly a "Great Garage Massacre."


One down.





This makes two!

Originally, I had thought of this process  primarily as "the one thousand dollar parking spot!" That's how much I'd lose by just donating my car to a charity to empty that spot at the curb. 

I like to be socially responsible, but I also like to get a bit of money back from selling my possessions. 

I have been discussing selling some of my cars for quite a long time. It's a subject that has provided a lot of content material. 

It seems that I could never get any traction with getting things sold. I tried on two enthusiast forums with no interest, whatsoever.

I had sold my ailing Explorer to a wrecking yard chain a couple of years ago. It wasn't the ideal solution, but it solved my immediate problem of the car being down in So Cal and gave me a few bucks.

While I didn't want to scrap the XJ6, I did want it gone. With two cars in the garage and two cars in the driveway I wanted to replace the XJ6 at the curb with my truck. 

I considered selling it to CARB, (Calif. Air Resources Board) for a thousand bucks. However I would have to provide a failed smog check and then apply for the program. If accepted I'd have to drive the car to the designated facility.

I looked on the internet for a scrap car buyer, found Pick Your Part, but also saw a site named Carvio.

Starting the process with Carvio was easy. Just fill out the info and submit it. They responded with their offer, which was 1,175.00. That was more than I would get from CARB and they would provide free towing to their facility within two days. The company was very good at keeping me informed during the process, which was handled entirely on line. The only hiccup for me was my burner phone and old man attitude. The site wanted pics of documents sent to them via cell phone, and they would stay in close contact via text. Luckily my Wife has a smart phone and knows how to use it. I wanted to run everything through my burner phone which went on the fritz for almost a entire day. I'm not sure if it was lack of service or lack of paid minutes but my phone was inoperative for a whole day. My wife contacted the company and had them switch to her phone, which cleared up the problems. In any case the car was picked up this morning just two days after I accepted the offer and submitted my documents. Not too bad.

1,175 bucks. Well, I would have sold it to an actual human buyer for 1,000 bucks. Of special importance was that I avoided the whole CraigsList selling experience. Believe me I've been there before, many times. Dealing with flakes and the bottom feeders that contact me with their offers, "Five hundred dollars, no questions asked!" To be completely honest I've also had some good experiences.

An even grimmer prospect was selling the '51 Jaguar, as it is currently not running and firmly ensconced in my side yard. This car also did not receive any interest after being listed on either the Jaguar forums or on the AACA forum. In reality there wasn't any real need to sell the car. It's out of the way and it can sit as long as I want it to. That's how yard cars are born. It's not taking up any really usable parking space, although I've had many cars parked in there. Once I even had two cars in there at the same time! The '22 Dodge hot rod project and the '75 Datsun 280Z! Both the XJ6 and the XJS have spent their time in side yard purgatory. 

I decided to to reach out directly to the source and e-mail Jaguar Heaven, a wrecking yard in Stockton. I described my car and offered it to them for 1,000 dollars. They contacted me for some pictures and more info which I provided. I also explained that I would give them everything I had for the car, but I was firm on the price. They agreed and would send out a tow to pick it up in a week or two. 

Of course I won't believe that it's gone until it actually is. I don't plan to store any more cars in that side yard. I've got the garage able to hold two cars now, and I will keep the number of cars way down! 

Today the guy showed up with a trailer and a check. 1,000.00 dollars is a fair price in my mind. 

The Mark rolled off my property still not under it's own power. Oh well, the bast laid plans, etc....

I still think that the '51 would have been a worthy subject as a project car, it's just that I couldn't make the commitment to it. There were too many other cars lying around. There might be guys around that can manage several car projects at once, and I applaud their abilities. But to be honest, I found that isn't me. 

I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I plan to devote some of my newly freed focus, energy, and money into doing something with my XJS.

The Mark needed all kinds of things, body, paint, interior, mechanical, chassis etc. And many of the needed parts were expensive and difficult to source. In it's favor was the fact that it was solid, complete car that had all of it's trim accounted for. I never intended to do a full restoration, that would have been prohibitively expensive. It was just going to be a "fixed up" old car.

The XJS has bodywork and paint in very good condition, the interior needs a bit of work though. It does need a new top, but the engine runs really well and I replaced the transmission a while back. I'd actually driven this car a bit. Like every old Jag it needs suspension work and the ABS brakes recently developed a problem and now needs some sorting. It's not that far away from being a driver. This is a much wiser place to invest my efforts.

What lit the fire under me to sell the XJ6 so quickly? I needed the spot for another car, of course. I also feel a change coming in my feelings about old cars.  As I feel myself getting older, I feel like the tide has turned.

I usually find that it is better to secure a replacement car before I let one go! The dangerous part of that policy is that it is hard to sell/get rid of most of my cars and they tend to sit around.

My success with the XJ6 really motivated me to do something with the '51. I figured that I'd reach out to a potential buyer that is focused on Jaguars. I thought that might be a better plan than just listing it on CL, and I was right!

Now it's time to move forward. 


Yeah, an empty space, I do see this as an improvement.

I feel like I've finally making some progress. It's been a long time since I felt like that. 



Friday, July 1, 2022

 My Daughter took her Mustang 120 miles away. Part Three. 

The guys at the transmission shop were very good at contacting me before each step. I suppose that they want the customer to feel that they have some control over the process. The customer isn't just sucked into an expensive repair. But realistically, what would the customer do once they were into the repair process? Would they decide that the cost was too much and tell the shop to just throw the parts in the trunk, and haul the car to the wreckers? 

They had the car for almost a week before I got the call that they had found some major carnage in the overdrive part of the transmission. The tech described a seized and chewed up planetary gearset that was going to need a lot of replacement parts.  I was cringing and was bracing for the worst, and a price higher than the initial estimate. I was pleasantly surprised when the total came out exactly what had been quoted for a complete rebuild.

The tech showed me all the chewed up parts that they had replaced. It just reinforced my belief that I would leave transmission repair to the pros.

Unfortunately, the tech that handled the differential repairs was going to be gone for a month. I'd have to arrange for that repair in the future.

After I picked up the car, I was faced with a new problem. Getting the car back to Sacramento. 

For many reasons, my Daughter wasn't going to be able drive it back.

I wasn't going to rent a trailer to tow the thing back. I needed to put the hundred miles down as a shakedown check anyway. So I reached out to my Son who agreed to pick me up after I deposited the car at my daughter's workplace. 

I had cleaned out the car a bit, and then ran it though the car wash. I couldn't/wouldn't  drive a car that filthy. I do have my standards. 

Despite the traffic and delays the trip back was quite pleasant. The car is very comfortable to drive on longer trips. It tracks well, rides smoothly enough, has plenty of power, and is quiet. It also has the optional Shaker 600 sound system. I'd put on well over 150,000 miles on the car while it was our family transport. I will tell you sincerely, these 2005-09 Mustang V6 models are truly underappreciated bargains. They look great, will do anything that you could want performance wise, cruise comfortably at high speeds, as well as return decent fuel economy. I'd also left a Brian Setzer CD in the player so I had some of "my" music to listen too on the way up. 

The junkyard seat was pretty comfortable and I think that these fabric covered seats might be better than leather. This is the base model seat, unlike the fabric sport seats in my '96, which was an upgraded interior option. 

I dropped the car off at my Daughter's workplace, where my Son met me. We stopped for lunch before leaving. I did appreciate the ride back. It is true that Sacramento isn't getting any closer. 

Now I've got to find the parts to fix the original seat that is sitting in my garage.

This update closes out the episode of my Daughter's '07 Mustang transmission rebuild.

My last post closed out the episode of engine problems with my '96 Mustang.

This has been a short update, but don't be fooled into thinking that things have slowed down behind the scenes.

There is quite a bit of change that will be coming up.