Sunday, May 18, 2014

Resto-Mod vs. Classic?

I recently met with a builder that had just completed a 63 “Split Window” Corvette Stingray; the car was an awesome display of muscle, then he tells me that the car has a full 2006 Z06 under carriage, chassis, and suspension. He describes how it performs like a new ‘Vette and gets 27 (MPG) miles per gallon.  Now to me that sounds exciting to know that this car has classic looks but will drive and handle like a new car with more modern technologies.  I imagine that there are the purists out there reading this article that will cry “foul” and say this is not how a classic sports car should be treated. 

But hold on before you throw this resto-mod crowd under the bus.  What’s wrong with a muscle car with modern car flair…….Isn't that taking a classic and making it better??

I understand that the true “old school” collector wants to restore the timeless classic to an all original condition and try their best to find period correct or OEM (Original equipment manufacturer) parts to bring their baby back to its original state.  Sometimes a car or truck cannot be restored to original condition and that is prime time for a resto-mod.  Many times a barn find is simply missing too many parts or they have rusted away with time.  Before we go much further, let’s define “resto-mod”:  a combination of the words “restore” and “modify”, which is a perfect way to describe what takes place.  The builder/collector decides to fully restore a vehicle but to modify it to meet his or her taste.  During this rebuild, it’s the perfect time to upgrade some of the parts and make the car more like new.  There are many after-market vendors out there today who cater to the builder who is looking for newer technology, ways to make their car handle like todays newer sports car, and provide a safer ride as well.  Another added bonus to this type of build is the quality and reliability of the newer parts.

These resto-mod builds can range from mild to wild and it basically depends on how deep your wallet is.  You can just add a few suspension goodies or install a whole new drivetrain and power plant!  The possibilities are endless and can reach as far as your imagination takes you.  I've recently seen some wild combinations that deserve a second look.  The crate engine packages that Ford and Chevy offer these days make it simple to drop instant power and torque into your ride.

In just the last few years there are companies offering retooled sheet metal that give you a giant leap forward in your build.  For instance, Dynacorn International Inc. now offers steel replacement body shells and chrome trim pieces for the classic Mustang and Camaro that will simplify your project and save you hours of labor and sweat!

I’m not trying to sway you away from restoring your favorite classic hot rod and bringing that “numbers matching” classic back to life, but if you find a non-original vehicle that is calling your name, then consider a resto-mod and make it your own.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing a fully restored classic in its original condition because it has that fresh off the showroom look and can give you a sense of what the car looked like when it was new.  However, it is always cool to see a 67 Camaro with a LS7 Corvette engine, all new gauges, and a Z06 suspension or 67 Mustang with a 429 Crate engine and custom exhaust system under it.

Hopefully I've given you some insight on your next build or maybe you have been inspired to consider a resto-mod project, but just remember whatever you do, make it your own and enjoy the journey along the way. 

Monday, May 5, 2014's a Family Affair!

Reggie’s dad started buying and selling Mustangs in the 80’s and 90’s and at one point he must have had 15 Mustangs ranging from 1964 ½ to 1969.  He would purchase them and his son (Ronnie) would rebuild them to sale to the public. 

Reggie’s son James inherited the family’s love for Mustangs at a very early age.  He told his son “you can have most of the things you want in life if you are willing to put in the work to earn them”.  When he was about 12 years old James asked his dad what he needed to do to earn a Mustang, so Reggie gave him three requirements: (1) Obtain the Rank of Eagle Scout, (2) Memorize the entire Bible book of James (his namesake) (3) Make a 33 or better on the ACT test.  Now Reggie did not know if he could obtain these goals but knew it would set him on a good path and keep him out of trouble.  Here is how James set about achieving these goals.

James was active in his scout troop advancing in leadership from Patrol Leader, Troop Guide, and Senior Patrol Leader.  He went to all three of Scouting’s high adventure bases –Philmont, Seabase, and Northern Tier.  He had leadership roles on each of the high adventure outings and he was the Expedition Leader in a 150 mile canoe trip in the Canadian wilderness.  In just a short period of time, he had completed all the requirements for the Eagle Scout rank.

Reggie began working with him to memorize the book of James.  At the end of most every day, James and his dad would memorize a portion of the book.  Progress was slow at first, so he began to learn additional portions in secret.  On his next birthday, he surprised his parents by reciting the entire book of James from memory……they were floored.  They shared the story with their Pastor and he asked if James would recite the book for the Church.  Each Sunday, James would get on stage and recite a chapter of the book, and the Pastor would follow up with the sermon.

James had always been a good student.  He won several awards with the Math and Debate Teams and because of his earlier academic performance; he had been invited to join the Talent Identification Program (TIP) from Duke University.  This program gave him the opportunity to take the actual ACT exam starting in the 8th Grade.   In his first attempt he made a 26, in the 9th grade he made a 32, and it became clear he was closing in on his goal.  At this point, Reggie started making plans to fulfill his part of the deal.  James ultimately made a composite score of 35 which earned him scholarship offers from many Universities.

At this point, Reggie started looking for James a Mustang.  After talking to his brother Ronnie, who has always been a Mustang enthusiast, they began to put the plan in action.   Ronnie has rebuilt many Mustangs over the years and had always wanted to build a Mustang using the Cervini C-500 kit.  Since this kit comes with many exterior body panel parts; hood, front bumper kit, ducktail rear wing, upper window scoops, lower quarter scoops, and an upgraded side exhaust system with side skirts and rear valance, Ronnie suggested looking for a 2006 or 2007 that had been involved in a minor accident.  He quickly found a 2007 coupe that was being auctioned off and it had minimal front end damage.  It only had 37K miles, a well-kept black and gold interior and a V6 engine.  Mechanically, it was in very good shape and Ronnie knew he could rebuild it, so he purchased the wreck for $4600.  Most of the front end damage would be replaced with the new parts from the Cervini’s C-500 body kit.

Ronnie started work on this project car in August and enjoyed it so much that he had most of the work completed by the middle of October.   Reggie knew it was going to be a good looking Mustang but had no idea it would turn out as good as it did!  It was hard to keep the car hidden from everyone so word would not get back to James, so a big surprise party was planned as part of their yearly family Thanksgiving feast.  After the meal, they blindfolded James and took him out to meet his new car.  It was a day they all will remember for the rest of their lives.

The car and the goals Reggie set for James to obtain became a driving force for him.  It set him on a path that kept him out of trouble through his teenage years and laid a foundation for his future.  Because of his ACT scores and his Eagle Scout achievement, he received many college scholarship offers.  He ultimately accepted a Scholarship to Auburn University.  The scholarship was worth almost $50,000. Total expenses on the car were $17,000.  (Reggie came out way ahead!) 

As James walked out to the car blindfolded that day, his dad was excited to show him a special touch they had added to James’s Mustang.  On the side of the car, the normal kit has a “C-500” emblem.  We changed that emblem to read “C-323.”  The C-323 stands for Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”  Every time he approaches the car, James sees this reminder of how he should live his life.

(James with his Mustang)

For more info on having a custom car built or restored, call Ronnie Spivey at 334-441-6109

(This article is also in the May 2014 Issue of "Mustang Times" a publication of the MCA.)

Thanks, Joseph