The Sparky Chronicles - Part 1
Mustang Blog: The Sparky Chronicles - Part 1
By Liz Greene
It was a dark and stormy night…well, not really as it was the middle of the afternoon – but it was gray and raining on October 5, 2005 when I drove home my newest family member; a dark blue 1966 Mustang coupe. Equipped with a 289, converted over to a 4bbl Edelbrock carb, and with Holley Hooker long tube headers capped with Flowmaster 40s, it had a nice, throaty muscle car growl. I instantly loved it. That love would be tested many, many, many times over the coarse of the next few years. And thus begins Sparky’s story.
Once home, I let the car dry out in my newly-cleaned out garage, and then started fixing up what I could on the car. In the process, I suffered physical harm. Nothing big like missing fingers or gouged-out eyes, but scrapes and cuts and bruises…and lots of electrical shocks. I hate electricity. Really. I understand its uses and how it works…but I can’t stand to work with or around it. After being shocked for the umpteenth time (this time caused by a bare wire touching the metal dash doh!), I smacked my head on the roof and then bounced my forehead on the vent window frame, receiving a nice gash - I had a name for the car: Sparky. From then on my husband, Ernie, would have to disconnect the battery before I would even begin to work on it. Hey – it’s just safer that way for everyone involved. Really.
Over the next several years, we replaced the tires & rims, the entire suspension, front rotors (it’s a factory front disc car), fuel tank, miscellaneous stuff here and there, and as of Summer 2008, the entire interior save the headliner. This whole time the paint quality – what little quality there was – was sliding downhill at an ever-alarming rate. I made the decision in the summer of 2009 that I’d have to eat Top Ramen for a few years and pay for a new paint job. Now, we knew when we bought the car it had issues with the body & paint, but only a complete strip-down would truly show us exactly how bad those issues were.
***WARNING: This chronicle contains graphic footage of a classic Mustang getting stripped to the bare metal and showing all the past Repair Jobs Gone Wrong. Sensitive readers please use discretion. No cars were harmed in the writing of this chronicle…only people.***
I drive this car, lots, and usually at speeds reportedly illegal in all 50 states. My cohorts and I usually call these runs (not to be confused with cruises), and on the last run of the season, Sparky – apparently – had had enough of the weather. It was very early morning and we were headed out to dance with the leaves on Hwy 530. It also was raining. My heater blower motor had quit some time ago & combined with a cowl leak, the cabin would fog up in about 10 seconds flat. Coupled with no heat (no fan, remember), I was not a happy camper on October 18, 2009…to worsen exponentially within the hour. I lost traction leaving an intersection – even with the Trac-Lok differential from Jim Jokie’s ’65 - , went completely sideways – both directions – and narrowly missed a fire hydrant. What I didn’t miss was the row of mailboxes under their custom-made roofed hut thingy, smacking into the 4” support posts darn near dead center of the grill. The mailbox hut’s roof came down like a hammer onto the cowl, and wood and chipped-off paint went everywhere. We left about 20 feet of skid marks. Troopers & a fire department showed up and the whole shebang. Through the whole thing, Sparky never missed a beat. I swear it aimed for those mailboxes…and now he was happy to be going home to a nice warm & dry garage. Old cars, I swear; they are possessed. To Be Continued……...