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September's Cool Ride: Bobby's 1977 Ford F100 Ranger 302

My truck was originally purchased new by my father William Council. It was used primarily as a farm truck for many years. My brother Billy was given the truck in the nineties after my father became unable to drive.

He did some restoration to the engine, transmission, and body/paint. He sold the truck to me in December of 2009.

I have had the truck repainted, new chrome, and rebuilt the rear end. I also added a retractable tonneau cover, headers, and a bench seat from a 1996 Ford F150.

I had the factory air replaced with an Original Air compressor kit which includes the hoses and compressor. The truck is a great vehicle to drive and is really an eye-catcher on the road. I know that my father would really be proud of the vehicle today and I wish he was here to see it, as he passed in 1998.

Do you have a story you'd like to share? Submit it here for a chance to be featured!

Concours Restoration Defined

If you’re in the restoration world and value the authenticity of classics just as much as we do, you’ve probably heard the term concours restoration. You’re probably also familiar with the confusion surrounding what qualifies as a concours. We’ve come across different versions of the meaning through the years and thought we’d share what we feel is the most accurate definition.

What is a Concours Restoration?

A car qualifies as a concours restoration once its reconstruction is near original perfection. Every individual part from the bolts to the finish must be refurbished to its original state. The process is long and incredibly meticulous, infinitely more so than a sought-after restomod.

To put a concours in better perspective, we once met a guy who only worked on a few cars per year. On one of his projects, there was a small scratch on the hood. He had to repaint the entire car costing him about $25,000. If we remember correctly, he ended up selling this piece for $350,000.

What Actually Qualifies as a Concours Restoration?

The term “as close as possible” is favored in the concours d’elegance world. Not only is it next to impossible to completely restore a vehicle back to original perfection, but it can also be next to impossible to verify.

In many cars, certain vintage parts are either unavailable or difficult to come by. Finding an alternative solution that closely resembles that part can suffice in some circumstances. In most cases, collectors attempt to restore original parts back to their prime.

Concours vs. Restomod

On paper, it makes sense. A concours is a restored classic near original perfection. A restomod is a classic that features more modern, modified parts. However, sellers and auctioneers can stretch the truth and embellish certain features leading to why confusion surrounds the term.

An excellent restomod is as beautifully restored as it is modified. The objective of restomods isn’t necessarily to restore it back to perfectly correct period conditions. Instead, their goal is to reinvent a classic to fit a modern landscape.

Gasparilla Concours D’elegance

If you have any questions about a concours or a restomod, come meet us at the Gasparilla Concours D’Elegance. Between December 3rd to December 5th, we’ll have a table at the TPC Tampa Bay Golf Course. Be sure to check us out.

Do you have a concours restoration? Submit it here and tell us your story for a chance to win some Original Air merchandise as well as be featured in our socials. See you soon.

August's Cool Ride: Aaron's 1994 Chevrolet Camaro 305

I purchased my Chevrolet Camaro on August 5th, 1994 while enlisted in the Navy. It was my daily driver for years. Around 2016, I started to restore the car to its current form. After 26 years of owning the car, I have no plans to ever sell. In February 2018, I purchased and installed an Original Air AC kit to update the air conditioning system. My Camaro is now named "Raven" and she's won many car show awards.

Original Air components on the car include the condenser, hoses, compressor, switch, drier, accumulator, expansion valve, and evaporator.

How Valuable will These 80s & 90s Icons be in the Future?

The future of a rich aftermarket for 80s and 90s vehicles grows more likely with each passing day. We’re compiling a classic list of all things tubular and radical with our favorites from the 1980s and 90s that could very well earn you some serious cash in the near future.

Chevy 454 SS Pickup

Kicking off the 90s with a performance truck is exactly what Chevrolet did with the 454 SS. A single-cab C1500 with two-wheel drive and a short-box regular cab was upgraded with a 454 V8 rated at 230hp and 385lb/ft of torque. Easy to spot with the big stickers on each side of the bed, they are rarely seen on the road anymore. If you are looking for a cool, functional daily driver collectible, then this truck may be for you.

Pontiac Fiero GT

Before the Corvette C8, there was the Pontiac Fiero GT mid-engine sports car from GM. Pop-up headlights, two seats, manual transmission, and integrated stereo speakers in the driver and passenger headrests initially made it a very desirable car. The first mass-produced mid-engine sports car by an American car manufacturer, GM sold over 370K of them. The 86-88 V6 SE and GT models are desirable and fun cars to add to your collection.

Plymouth Prowler

Influenced by car designer Chip Foose, the Plymouth Prowler invoked a classic hot rod design with a modern flare. Open Indy racer-style front wheels and a high back rear end gave the car a dramatic stance but seriously lacked power with a 214hp SOHC V6. Destined to be a classic, it would perhaps be better for a swap project for a 5.7 HEMI or a modern LS.

GMC Typhoon / Syclone

Only available in black, the Syclone features a 4.3 turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive. The complimentary Typhoon, which came in various colors and was based on the GMC Jimmy, sported the same drivetrain but also had an air-operated self-leveling rear suspension. Either is highly sought after and will continue to increase in value.

Lincoln Town Car

The ultimate luxury car for executives in the 80s, the boxy rectangular Lincoln Town Car was a plush floaty V8 powered rear-wheeled drive land yacht. Prices have been increasing lately for these cars as they are hard to find and even fewer in relatively decent condition. Make an impressive statement by valeting this ride at your favorite restaurant!

Ford F-150 SVT Lightning

In 1992, Ford decided to get into performance trucks, especially after the initial success of the aforementioned Chevy 454 SS pickup. Featuring a 5.8L 351 Windsor V8 producing 240hp, the F-150 based Lightning also focused on street performance with handling inspired by Jackie Stewart. The 93-95 trucks are naturally-aspirated while the 1999-2004 Lightnings were supercharged and produced 360-380hp. Either generation will continue to be desired collectibles.

Cadillac Eldorado Coupe

There have been twelve generations of Cadillac Eldorado Coupes, some great ones and some not so (at least on the design side). The ones we recommend getting your hands on are the tenth generation ones from 79-85. The Biarritz model had a stainless-steel roof and frameless door glass, and some of the rare ones had a V8 diesel engine. Highly collectible would be the 84-85 convertibles, of which approximately 5,500 were made.

Pontiac Grand Prix GT/GTP

The Grand Prix has been around for several generations, but the hard-to-find ones we expect to be collectible are the 91-96 GT and GTP models. Mini-quad lamps were unique to them and they even had heads-up displays. There were 1000 Richard Petty Editions for 1992 made, have you even seen one of those?

Corvette C4

The 83-96 C4 Corvettes were a major redesign over the Zora Arkus-Duntov C3 with a completely new chassis and suspension setup. Although the ZR1 is highly coveted, the other trims have continued to rise in value. Over 350K were built, but less than 500 are available for sale currently, with many available for less than $10,000.

Do you have a radical classic from the 80s or 90s? We want to see it. Grab your camera, take some photos, tell us its story and submit it here for a chance to be featured in our newsletter and socials.

How to stay organized during a car restoration project

Taking on a restoration can get chaotic fast. It consists of many smaller projects drawn out into one long process to follow. Therefore, it's no surprise things can become unorganized.

Taking pictures and documenting the restoration project will help if you ever decide to sell the vehicle. For someone who wants to either purchase or resell the car, the proper paperwork is essential to show the price and the work that has been put into it. Well-kept paperwork will trace the car's history and show its real value. The proper documentation addresses these would-be-buyer concerns, inspiring confidence in the car and adding monetary value.

As the classic car community continues to grow, most collectors will share their information online, whether it's just for you or for sharing with people in the same process. Taking a few extra steps in the stages for restoration and some discipline to document and photograph the project will help show your work.

Our very own Orlando Anderson breaks down his tips and tricks of how he stays organized during a car restoration project. You can pick up the majority of the items he lists at the local convenience or dollar store. Here are some helpful tips that will assist with your car projecy.

Keep the Value of Your AC

Before you even begin planning for a restoration, learn the value of your starting point. We've seen too many car projects where DIYers ended up dumping an original AC for more horsepower.

The line between determining a modification from a restoration is often blurred. However, know if you lean toward the modification and enhancement route particularly by swapping out the AC, the car will drop in value.

A classic car can be a muscle car, but not a racecar. As soon as these vehicles adopted the term "classic," their racing days were over.

If by some chance you already gutted your system or plan to turn your classic into a performance car instead, Original Air will buy your parts! Make some extra cash and fill out this form.

Purchase Supplies

What you'll need: 

  • Sharpies (fine and thick tip)
  • Notebook
  • Envelopes
  • Stackable storage bins
  • Tags

Use a Camera

This is a great way to document small details of the restoration process.

Taking pictures while working on the car can provide a before and after. It can show the work that has been done to the car and the work you have put into it. 

I also recommend getting a notebook to create a sort of log that you can put images and diagrams into. A notebook will track all the adjustments and changes you made to the car and you can then create a full story of the car restoration project. My biggest tip is making sure your handwriting is legible to go back and track your steps and share with others.    

If you don’t have a digital camera, most smartphones have a great camera on them and can take a clean photo. Most are pretty easy to use and it takes minimal expertise to figure them out.

One trick that helps me is to be sure that I take several pictures of a particular area. For example, a far shot to see the entirety, and some close-up shots on the spot. Be sure you get enough pictures of the area, so you do not lose the context of your photos when going back.  

Depending on the lighting in your workplace, I would make sure when taking pictures that you do not wash out small details by using the flash on the camera. Purchasing an LED work light if you don’t own one will help for pictures. Upload all the pictures into a devoted folder on your computer to keep the photos safe until you need to look at them again. 

Use Video

Using video can help get a full look into the restoration process from bumper to bumper. Video is another way to show a before and after of the car and the work you did on it. Additionally, you can also use the video to share your work with car restorers.

When doing a full recording of the car, you can identify more information as you work on the vehicle. When looking at the playback, you may see a detail you missed or were not focusing on at that moment.  

The Envelopes

I use many different-sized envelopes to keep the project organized. When taking apart the car, I will put the car parts into envelopes and label them. If you do not have any envelopes, re-sealable zipper storage bags will also do the trick. 

I use the sharpies to label each envelope or bag with the name of the parts inside. Be sure to be as clear and descriptive as possible on the envelope. I will place all my full envelopes in the stackable storage bins to keep everything in the right place and ensure nothing gets left behind. This also makes retrieving parts easy.     

Tags

I use tags for the parts that are too large to fit in the envelopes, but I still want to label them and keep everything organized. I will use a fine tip sharpie to label the tags because they are smaller and have less space to write on.

Another trick I learned - I will sometimes label a number to the tag and match it in the notebook, so it keeps it organized. Also, I will write on both sides of the tags. Once everything is labeled, I will place it in a storage bin until needed again.

Uploading Time

This is an extra step that I like to take; I will use my personal computer to store all the pictures and videos during the restoration project. I can go back and look at the photos and videos while working to zoom in on an area of interest.

If I have the time and want to take an extra step, I will use Microsoft PowerPoint to create documentation to put pictures into a slide and add notes from my notebook. It’s a way to make my notes and photographs cohesive. Once the restoration project is complete, I will also have a completed PowerPoint to show to others.

Be sure to rename photos when you import them into a computer. Therefore, they are easy to find. Instead of having a list of files that look similar to img1745.jpg, you can have an “emergency-brake-rod.jpg” to keep everything more organized. Make sure you back up the photos and data on a hard drive. 

In conclusion, keeping everything organized, labeling your parts, and storing everything correctly will help with a restoration project. Take pictures and videos to refer to later and share with other collectors. Taking notes and writing down every detail of your restoration will help with fewer mistakes.

July's Cool Ride: John's 1963 Ford Falcon Squire Wagon

I purchased this Falcon out of a Florida barn in 2018. It arrived with an original Ford evaporator but it wasn't connected. I immediately sent it to Original Air to be refurbished but waited another three years to complete the job.

I eventually found the correct York compressor and magnetic clutch and sent them to Original Air to be restored. In addition to a new condenser, drier, and all the hoses and fittings, I then had everything to install the system.

A friend and I installed most of the parts ourselves but had to bring the Squire to a local Mustang shop to install the condenser and hoses. The system that Original Air restored runs great and everything works as it should. I couldn't be happier.

Original Air components on the car include the condenser, hoses, drier, and restored compressor and evaporator also by Original Air.

Do you want a chance to be featured? Tell us your classic's story and submit your ride here.

13 Essential Chemicals for Any DIYer's Garage

One of the only good things the pandemic had to offer was more time working on your car project. According to NPD research, at-home DIY automotive projects led to a 14% increase in aftermarket sales.

As an aftermarket retailer, Original Air has seen purchases from all different age groups. We’ve also been getting an influx of questions on which chemicals we recommend using in your garage. These days, there are so many different chemicals online and in-store, they can make your head spin. Between adhesives, lubricants, cleaners, and penetrants, where should you start?

Our very own Orlando Anderson breaks down what he thinks are some of the best automotive chemicals you should always have in your garage.

Skipping the Heavy Hitters

In this article, we’ll be talking about automotive chemicals, but we’re skipping over some of the heavy hitters that most DIYers are familiar with. These consist of your essential fluids such as your oil, coolant, and windshield wiper fluid. They’re not only obvious but also unique to each vehicle.

The following items are more specific to DIY projects and things you’re doing with your hands to keep your classic looking sharp. We’ll discuss each product and why you want to have it handy in your garage rather than choosing a specific brand over another.

1. Basic Chassis Grease

I love having a tub of chassis grease somewhere in my garage. Once I first purchased it, I ended up reaching for it probably two to three times a week. I didn’t even know I needed it until I saw it on sale at O’Reilly’s. You can use something like this all the time.

I personally keep a paintbrush near it, so it’s easy to apply compared to a grease gun. However, if you have a grease gun, just fill it with the same grease. The point is, a tub keeps you from having to use the gun all the time.


2. Blue Threadlocker 

Next, keep a basic blue threadlocker around. Simply put, it’s essential to have if you’re assembling items that need to stay together. Your blue threadlocker is the most common threadlocker you’ll find, and it’s also the weakest. But know you don’t have to go to a red or a green one because blue threadlockers still hold most applications. Red and green end up only giving you more issues since they’re a lot more challenging to remove.

That being said, if you’re having issues taking apart something that’s been put together with a threadlocker, use heat. Lastly, remember if you need to take something apart that you assembled with a threadlocker, you should be able to. If you need to disassemble something that’s rusted solid, you’re going to have a hard time. Blue thread locker is easy to use, and it makes things go together correctly.

3. Dielectric or Silicone Grease

A simple dielectric grease or silicone grease is excellent with electrical connections such as a GM weather pack connector or anything with a gasket. It makes the gaskets assemble correctly and sit correctly without being pinched. This way, they’ll actually stay weather-tight and corrosion-resistant. So if you build two things that are pushed together, they don’t rust and end up giving you a poor connection.

This grease is a cheap and effective way to make sure all your electrical pieces will continue working for years.

     

4. WD-4O and PB Blaster

Next, we have a lubricant or WD-40 type of product. We also have a penetrating oil like PB Blaster. You don’t have to pick these specific brands since, between the two of them, the concept is the same.

I use WD-40 to keep things from sticking together, eroding, and displacing water. WD actually stands for water displacing. Something like this can help you get rid of water on parts like distributor caps.

We divided these into two categories because your PB blaster will get into the threads of something that is rusted. It can thus allow a fastener to break free.

They should not be used interchangeably and should each have their own place in your garage. You’re probably already going to have WD-40 lying around somewhere since it’s a great household item as well.

That being said, if you’re working on any classic, you’ll for sure need to have a penetrating oil somewhere in your garage. Find the one you like and stock up on it. I promise it’s going to make your life a lot easier.

5. Starting Fluid

Although these days it’s considered partially controversial, I like using starting fluids as a diagnostic tool. If I’m looking for a vacuum leak or something on a carbureted car, I can spray starting fluid around the base so it pulls in. I can either feel or hear the idle rise of the car because this is flammable.

Not all automotive aerosol chemicals are flammable. With your starting fluid, you’re going to definitely want to use it as a diagnostic tool. However, you can also use it for hard starting engines. We don’t recommend relying on it for that. However, it’s something worth keeping around and using sparingly.


6. White Lithium Grease

White lithium grease is another automotive chemical I recommend having around. Similar to your WD-40, it is a lubricant. But it’s a bit more permanent and used for metal-to-metal surfaces. Think about using it on door latches, door hinges, or even steering column components.

It’s plastic-safe, so if you happen to get it on something like a turn signal switch, it’s not going to be a huge concern. Plus, it doesn’t freeze, so if you live up north, putting something like this on door latches or inside a lock helps it function all winter.

7. Carburetor cleaner

Another product that works well in the winter is carburetor cleaner. The best thing about it is that it cuts through any junk that’s leftover in the carburetor. It also works as an excellent tool for removing oil from the exterior of some products. Just make sure you contain it as it drips off whatever project you’re working with.

Something like this can bring life back to the vehicle and help make it run again. If you're like me and rebuild a lot of carburetors, this tool is certainly something you’ll want to have laying around.

 8. Prep Sem Solve

Not many people keep a prep sem solve in their garage. However, I think it’s something that just makes sense. This is a wax and grease remover that prepares the surface for paint. If you don’t correctly prep a surface before you paint it, you can end up with many issues like adhesion or fisheyes. Prepsol eliminates those issues and makes sure you have a good clean surface for the paint to adhere to.

It’s also great for cleaning things off if you’re working with something with a lot of grease and needs to be clean. Prep-sol cuts through it while leaving the surface residue-free. I use it more often than I thought I would, even when I’m not painting anything since it’s such a great cleaning product.

 9.  Brake Clean

You’re more likely to find an empty break clean can in my garage than one that’s full. I’ve seen some people try to substitute carburetor cleaner for break clean and vise versa, but either way doesn’t work. Break clean doesn’t get rid of carburetor deposits nearly as well as carburetor cleaner can. Plus, carb clean doesn’t leave your break surfaces as clean as break clean does.

Know the formulations are different and thus yield different results, so make sure you get the proper automotive chemical for the job that you’re working on.

A couple of different types of break clean exist. You can find either a chlorinated style or a non-chlorinated style. The chlorinated tends to work better, but if you have environmental concerns or can’t find it due to limited availability, use the non-chlorinated.

  10. Engine Degreaser

An essential engine degreaser like Speed Clean from Driven Racing removes gunk and heavy grime from engine blocks, engine compartments, under chassis stuff, and rear axles especially. Before you go under the car to fix a leak, hose it down with some of this and wash it off. Then you can go under and do your work. Don’t try to work around the grease and grime and finally remove it halfway through the project. Make your life easier by starting with an engine degreaser.

Up until this point, everything I’ve talked about has been mainly for working on your classic. Now I’m going to list some items for keeping not only keep your classic clean but safe while driving.

11.   Glass cleaner

First, find a great glass cleaner and use it regularly. What’s the point of working on a muscle car if the windshield doubles as a fly swatter. When it comes to glass cleaners, I recommend Sprayway. I’ve gone through more than enough of them and found that a non-ammonia type cleaner works better by streaking less and leaving less residue.

12. Interior Cleaner

Lastly, we recommend using an interior cleaner or leather cleaner depending on the type of interior your car has. That’s going to make things more comfortable and looking better. If any of the above chemicals end up getting on your interior, use an interior cleaner like Meguilar’s Gold Glass leather cleaner to maintain that finish.

If you think there’s something we missed, leave a comment down below and let us know why it’s your garage go-to.

June's Cool Ride: Joel's Ford Mustang 289

My high school-age son knew that his parents were suckers for old Mustangs.

When I met my wife in 1977, she was still driving her ‘65 maroon coupe that she had bought used in 1966. My son and I were driving home from shopping when he spotted a 1965 Mustang in front of somebody’s house, on the lawn adjacent to the road we were on. He urged me to stop and see if it was for sale. It was, and the owner and I agreed on a price.

It was my son’s car in high school until he ran it into a telephone pole during his senior year. Then it became mine. I fixed it up and found original AC parts (and a modern compressor and replacement hoses from your company). I proudly display the car at every local show I can attend. The car has been in the family since 2000.

Original Air components on the car include the condenser, switch, evaporator, control, and brackets.

See similar products.

From Heel to Horse: The Concept of Mustang that Almost Didn't Happen

Named after a World War II fighter plane, the Mustang served as America's first pony car. Ford sold almost 4­00,000 within its first year of production. In fact, if you extend the model year, the number grows to 680,989. A Texas buyer reportedly even slept in a Ford showroom waiting for his check to clear so he could drive the new car home.

It's no question that the workman's Thunderbird was wildly successful and continues to be today. It's also no question that 1960 was a momentous year for making American history. Eisenhower announced he would take whatever steps necessary to defend Cuba. Both Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable finished filming their last movie, The Misfits. John F. Kennedy barely beat Nixon for the presidency. And Lee Iacocca was named VP and GM of Ford.

Without Iacocca, the Mustang wouldn't exist. But, even with him, Mustangs barely made it to the showroom.

The Legend of Lee Iacocca

Lee Iacocca was named the vice president and general manager of Ford Motor Company's Ford Division in 1960. Iacocca started working for Ford in 1946, moved up the leadership ladder, and assisted with the launch of the Falcon, the first compact car.

After receiving his promotion, Iacocca wanted to focus on a more energetic and youthful vehicle. Iacocca felt that the Ford company hit the 60's with a dull image despite electing a new youthful leader. With the election of JFK, the country was on a trend of youthful appeal. Iacocca noticed the demand for the young style not being met.

After introducing the Falcon in 1960, Ford threw around the idea of making a sportier version, but it just didn't fit the mold. Product Planner Dick Place agreed that the Falcon couldn't be turned into a sporty car. Doing so would be like "putting falsies on grandma."

The Fairlane Committee

Iacocca began to set up offsite meetings at the Fairlane Inn, which became known as the "Fairlane Committee." They strategized key elements they wanted for the car that would also apply to many different tastes of people. No more than 180 inches at around 2500 pounds, they settled on a short-deck low profile and a T Bird-style long hood while offering six-cylinder and V-8 engines.

While the Fairlane Committee continued meeting, Chevrolet boosted the sporty appeal with the Corvair Monza. Iacocca knew then that he wanted this next car to be everything opposite the Monza.

Three Strikes, You're In

Ford styling chief Eugene (Gene) Bordinat began giving proposals to Henry Ford, which were soundly rejected, one after another. Finally, after half a dozen models and a two-week deadline, Iacocca picked two more designs; the sleek "Stiletto" and the "Cougar." With the "Stiletto" turning out too expensive to develop, Iacocca chose the "Cougar" model by David Ash.

More finalized proposals were sent over to Henry Ford yet were rejected still. Iacocca ended up having to meet with Ford to get him to look at the proposals more thoroughly. After a tentative approval from Ford, Iacocca still had to jump through corporate hoops.

With three strikes against him, it seemed like the Mustang would never see the light of day:

  1. Iacocca had to convince fiscally conservative leadership to invest in a much younger market.
  2. Said leadership was still reeling after the embarrassing failure of the Edsel.
  3. They had already set aside $250 million for the regular 1965 Ford line.

Yet somehow, on September 10, 1962, Iacocca walked out of the meeting with a modest blessing of $40 million to design and engineer the sports car.

The rest is history

They scheduled to manufacture the first Mustang at the Dearborn plant on March 9, 1964. With 303,408 units built, Mustang would set all-time industry records in 1964, followed by two straight years of almost 600,000 units each.

Lee Iacocca built his legacy on the monumental success of the Mustang. But, even with a long distinguished career of success and failure, he is forever remembered for producing America's most popular classic car.

Do you have stories you'd like to share of your Mustang? Submit your reader ride here for a chance to be shared on Original Air's blog and social media. Original Air also has upgrade kits for Mustang, such as the 66 Mustang A/C Performance Upgrade Kit 6 Cyl. STAGE-3. See all of our Mustang products here.

May's Cool Ride: Bradley's Ford Mustang 302 V8

Hi, my name is Brad. I have a 1968 Mustang with a 302 V8. The car a been in the family since my Great Grandma purchased it new from the dealer.

When I was a kid, my Grandpa and I would have a lot of great times in it together. We would go get breakfast, go to car shows, or a ride to the mountain. I would help him with washing and waxing the car.

In 1997, I was able to purchase the Mustang from my Grandma and have been restoring the car ever since. My last project was to install the air conditioning, and it looks great and blows cold.

Original Air components on it include the condenser, hoses, compressor, switch, drier, evaporator, and control.