Sunday, July 17, 2011

Things That Date the Car

I'm a design engineer by trade and find it tough not to change things on the car. Yet one of the most interesting aspect of our old Mustangs is how well the shape has aged.  You still find these cars showing up in movies and commercials. Good design never goes out of style.

However, there are a few styling cues on the cars that bother me and I've been gradually working on alternatives to update the look of our car a bit. The items that bother me the most:

1. dash - those big old clunky gauge pods will have to go.
2. shock tower supports - can't verbalize it other than I despise them.
3. 1/4 reflectors - they scream 1968.
4. door handles - also have 1968 written all over them.

The dash I haven't given much thought to other than just replacing it with a flat aluminum panel with some race-style Autometer gauges. Easiest solution to door handles seems to be just shave them. 1/4 reflectors I have a design for that I hope to get milled soon out of billet. Lastly, the shock braces, which I hated the most, I've fixed - at least in my mind I've fixed :)

I looked at alternatives for these. There are a few heim-jointed tube affairs which really stiffen things up but look totally out of place under the hood of a street car. After a few iterations I settled on keeping the original braces and adding a 1/4" thick aluminum insert. I waterjetted them, sanded them to get a brushed effect then sealed with satin powder coat. I really like them now and they add a nice, subtle look to the engine compartment. Ended up designing a matching battery hold-down to finish it off. Here's a shot of one of the braces.

So it's on to the 1/4 reflectors now. No wonder it has taken 20 years to get this car up and running again. I can't leave well enough alone!!!   :)

UPDATE - I've found some custom door handles at Rings Brothers:

Still not exactly what I want but interesting. They also have stainless steel door strikers that I must have