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Episode Transcript

(Narrator)>> Today on Detroit Muscle we take project Sydewinder out for her maiden voyage as we head to the Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals in Tulsa. We'll see how she sizes up against some of the hottest vintage and modern Ford Mustangs in the country, which have all gathered at this amazing event to celebrate everything Ford Performance. [ music ]

(Marc)>> Hey everybody welcome to Detroit Muscle. We've got a very special show planned for you today. We're in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the 45th Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals. Now whether you like the twists and turns of the road course, hard straight line performance, or you just like to sit back for a show and shine this event has something for everybody. [ music ] [ engine revving ] [ music ]

(Marc)>> For being such a large and prestigious event as it is today it's hard to believe that it started as a one day car meet in 1974 put together by one man with a passion for Shelbys, Jim Wicks.

(Jim)>> I'd collected up about 76 names, addresses, phone numbers, and my wife sat down and humored me and addressed 76 post cards with the idea of we're gonna have a picnic. We invited all of those enthusiasts to come, and I thought well, if we have five it's gonna be fantastic. We had 16 cars and 30 people. I was absolutely in heaven to see that something like this had begun to come together, and the most exciting thing people we're talking about was the idea of when are we gonna do it again.

(Marc)>> And it happened again and again, doubling the car count every year for the next several years. Eventually growing in to a four day event like no other.

(Johnathan)>> This is where I started. This is the first event I came to, and it's all the old Fords, the new Fords. You get to see a lot of old friends. You know people you've seen for last 20 years coming out to the same event, and to me it's the wide variety of Fords. It's always amazing, and the fact that you see really really rare cars that have actually been out here driven and driven hard that you just don't see anywhere else.

(Russ)>> Anywhere that I've ever been where over several days you got road racing, drag racing, car shows, cruises, swap meets. It's just a great event.

(Marc)>> So how did it become the all-encompassing event it is today?

(Justin)>> It was just really bred out of what our participants wanted. They can go down the street and do a car show. They can go down the street and do a drag strip. They can go down the street and do a road course, but they have to take off each time they do those. So we wanted to offer a nice compact week for them to do that all at once.

(Marc)>> And the week kicks off at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit for a couple of days of road course action.

(Chris)>> The track at Hallett is just kind of fun. People that run that place, awesome people.

(Greg)>> This specific track is very technical. It's not a big track, one point eight mile, but it's very technical and it works well for both little cars and big cars. [ music ]

(Marc)>> This is an open track event, not a race. This is where you can get your car out on the track to drive it to the limit without speed limits or stop signs. There are rules however, and as long as everyone follows them it's a blast to hone your skills as a driver and let those ponies run wild. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> One of the feature attractions at Hallett is the vintage race car exhibition. Cars that raced in the '60's, built to SCCA specifications for their era, which has its own challenges compared to the new cars of today.

(Kenny)>> You know you take the later model cars and the brakes are so much better, tires are so much better. We run a bias ply tire from back in the day. Everything is pretty well time period correct from back in the '60's and they don't stop near as well. They don't probably put out the horsepower that the other cars do, but it's a lot more challenging to drive and a lot more fun for us.

(Greg)>> It's a blast because number one, we respect each other. We respect the work and the work craftsmanship that's gone into each one. None of us want to hit each other. It's a good group of guys. We really enjoy it.

(Marc)>> And that seems to be the theme to this whole event. People coming together for the same common goals. Sharing the passion for performance, honoring the history of these cars and the man behind them, but also creating new memories and friendships along the way.

(Gary)>> That's really the kind of thing you see, and you've got a store, he's got a story, I've got a story. So does that guy, and that guy, and that guy, and so forth. So it's really about the people and the stories, and that's how this whole thing, the legacy of Carroll Shelby will continue is because of the people.

(Narrator)>> Don't go anywhere. Marc hits the track with Project Sydewinder, letting that 427 Windsor stretch its legs.

(Marc)>> Hey folks welcome back. We're at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the 45th Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals. Now you probably already guessed that we brought Sydewinder with us. I mean we're at a road course. There's a bunch of Mustangs. What better place to get her out on track for her maiden voyage. We picked up this 1981 Mustang Cobra a while back with the idea of building a track capable street car with the goodies to give it the right attitude, like a roll bar, a sheet metal interior, racing seats, harnesses, gauges, and a switch panel, and what started as this concept is now a reality and we're getting ready to put our hard work to the test. After a quick drivers meeting and going through tech it was time to fuel her up, get suited up because you know safety first, and the only thing still not upgraded on this car is this Christmas tree. It's time for a fresh one. [ engine revving ] [ music ] [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Well we're here at Hallett. We've got Sydewinder out on track, on the road course. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> Pushing it to the limit. This is really where you can see everything that you've done to build a car, to show off what it can actually do. When we started this build it was a basically stock 1981 Cobra. Basically it was a clean slate. I mean we could have built a drag car. We could have built a street car only, but instead we decided to build a max effort street car that could also come out on the track like this and hang with the big boys. And not only that, she looks good doing it. [ music ] You know a lot of times when we build these cars we'll take them out on the street. Take them to a place and show them off a little bit, but very rarely do we get to take our car to a track like this. You push it to the limit, and that's exactly what we've done with this car. I can't think of a better way to send off this project. Project Sydewinder has been one of those that's been near and dear to me personally, not only because I'm a Ford guy but just because I got to pour my heart and soul into this build. I got to decide every single little detail that was on it. What started off as a concept on a computer screen turned into a... [ music ] ...labor of love for me. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> There's just something about being able to take a parts list and a concept and turning it into something you can take out and truly enjoy. I've got all the power I need, all the braking I need, all the handling. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> You've heard the phrase drive it like you stole it. That's what I'm doing. [ engine revving ]

(Marc)>> And she just keeps taking every bit of it.

(Narrator)>> Coming up we'll see what else the Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals has to offer.

(Marc)>> Hey folks welcome back. We're in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the 45th Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals. We've been at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit tearing up the road course with Sydewinder. Well we're having such a great time out here but if road racing isn't your thing don't worry because this event has something for everybody.

(Michael)>> It does yes, cause watch them drag race. They've got a swap meet going on. It's almost like a car show walking through the pits. So yeah we enjoyed every bit of it.

(Marc)>> You may recognize Kenny as one of the vintage racers on the road course, but his wife Kristin has a passion for vintage Mustangs as well, but her taste is a little more straight line performance.

(Kristin)>> We found this car for sale. It was in pieces. He put together in a couple of days and finished it the night before the drag race three years ago, and I learned how to start it. I drove it maybe a mile down the road and then put me on the track. He said, it's safe. It's been fine so far, but he's a good mechanic. [ music ] I like this event because he can do his road racing and he's got a nice car built for that, and then I get to come here and do this drag event, and just totally different. You're still racing just completely different things, and he's a good coach when he's not behind the wheel.

(Marc)>> You know every day here at the event they always have a swap meet, and you can find anything and everything you can think of out here, but every once in a while there's one piece that sticks out from the rest and for me it's this 1970 Boss 302 fender. The swap meet is one of those places where you'll find that one part you've been searching for for years to complete your build. Or you may even find your next project, but if none of that is your speed this event has got even more.

(Gary)>> Not everybody wants to take their car to the track and run it hard. I like that but not everybody does. Sometimes maybe you just want to go out and cruise, and that's okay too.

(Marc)>> As a matter of fact this event has something for you guys as well. There's a cruise night, which starts with everyone meeting up at the host's hotel and when it's time they all pull out in a parade complete with a police escort.

(Jim)>> Gorgeous and with all the Mustangs, cruising with the, it's a good feeling when likeminded people, when you do stuff with them whether it's cruising, eating, having a beer or whatever, doing racing or whatever. If you're like minded it makes life nice. [ music ]

(Marc)>> And the final destination is downtown Tulsa where they shut down part of the arts district for a car show, but this is your local cruise in for a Friday night. We've got super cars here. My favorite kind, Ford GT's, but that's not the only show and shine at this event. The big car show is on the last day where some of the best Fords and Shelbys gather in one big parking lot to hang out, create new friendships, and celebrate their love for this awesome culture. So with this event having such a variety of offerings and the excitement surrounding them what more could a participant want?

(Justin)>> I've talked to a couple of people and they've already asked me when the 2020 event is, and we want to make sure that they're already thinking about that, and thinking okay, what can I do to my car between now and then, or hey I didn't have a car for the event. Next year I'm bringing mine.

(Tommy)>> When it comes to replacement parts for your vehicle Rock Auto dot com has got you covered, and not just from aftermarket companies. This is an assortment of emblems for late model Mopars like R/T badges, ones for a Scat Pack, and even Hellcat fender emblems. They've recently expanded their offerings and you can get Mopar parts for late model and classic Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge cars and trucks in nearly every category in the Rock Auto dot com catalog.

(Narrator)>> Stay tuned, Project Sydewinder hits the track again in a late model exhibition and we get a hot shot driver to push our Mustang to the limit.

(Marc)>> Hey welcome back to the show. We've been checking out all the sights and sounds of the Mid America Ford and Shelby Nationals, and it's been quite a journey. We've seen cars on the road course, drag strip, and cruising the streets. We even got Sydewinder out to strut her stuff, but just how capable is this thing. There's really only one way to find out. Put a hot shot driver behind the wheel and get his impression. [ engine revving ] [ music ]

(Jonathan)>> Manual brakes definitely take a lot to get used to. They definitely take a lot more foot pedal pressure. [ engine revving ]

(Jonathan)>> The steering is really pretty precise. It's got a really nice feel on turn in. It's a little soft mid corner. [ engine revving ]

(Jonathan)>> Power delivery is really good for a carbureted motor. Nice and smooth. [ music ] [ engine revving ]

(Jonathan)>> And it's got a ton of grip. An absolute ton of grip. [ music ] [ engine revving ]

(Jonathan)>> A little float to the front end coming up over the top of the hill. Not much but a little bit. [ music ] Probably fix that with a little bit of stiffer rebound in the front end. Yeah it looks like we're gonna get it a little bit of traffic here. So wait our turn to get by. [ engine revving ] [ music ]

(Jonathan)>> Great torque. It does seem like it likes to be above 3,000 r-p-m, and it really seems up on the top end. Project Sydewinder's pretty fun. I mean it's an absolute blast. I started with fox bodies. So getting back in one is kinda that going back to the roots, but the car is an absolute riot.

(Marc)>> Well we're here in the winner's circle, not because we won a race, but because we feel like we won big time at this event. We had a lot of fun. There were some great activities, we met some amazing people, and we got Sydewinder out on the open track to strut her stuff and show that she can do exactly what she was built to do, and that makes me proud. Now I get to load it back on the trailer. She's got right on on her own because nothing broke, and that's awesome because when we get back to the shop I'm gonna start a new Ford project because right here, she's done. I just wonder when Tommy's gonna get that Buick done.

(Tommy)>> Well ole Marc it sounds to me like you may be a little worried about that big Buick, but while we're on the subject of G-bodies if you've got a '79 to '88 and you're looking to swap it over to a manual five or six speed American Powertrain has what you need. This is their hydramax hydraulic clutch kit. It includes the release bearing, master cylinder and bracket, pedal, and all the supporting components to get the job done. This is a true bolt on kit to turn your ride into a gear banging G-body. If you have any questions about what you've seen on today's show go to Powernation TV dot com. We'll see you guys later. [ music ]

(Jim)>> My car's a 1969 Mach One custom.

(Marc)>> What color is that?

(Jim)>> That is the Ford bronze. The Ford bronze is a honey bronze. So when you see it in the sunlight it gives off the gold reflection. So we changed it. We kept adding red pearl to it. So now when the sun's directly on it or on the corners it looks like cinnamon. When I first bought it it was red. 351 motor in it. I took into my shop and in seven days I had it down to just skins, and we took it and dipped it, and then we put the Total Cost Involved system underneath it, and then we built it from there. I wanted to do something different. It took a year. I struggled with it but finally we did some spray offs on it and put it outside and I liked it. I took off the normal taillights on the back of the '69 and I put '68 Shelby taillights on it to make it my car, my statement. I think Ford should have done that in the beginning because a fastback is so wide. It's like the old '66 Charger. To have those long lights on the back, plus the new Shelbys have it. I mean to me it makes sense. So I wanted to make it my car. It's got a Ford Coyote aluminator motor in it. I was thinking that I might drive it for a while and maybe put the twin turbo Hellions on it, but right now it's got enough horsepower baseline. Naturally aspirated. So I'm good with 470, and 497 torque. I'm happy with that. It's got a fully custom interior except for the dash pieces. Those are Ford but they've got Dakota Digital gauges in them. I've always loved '69 Mustangs but basically what I wanted was a '69 Mustang, I want it to look like one but I want it 21st century. Wiring, no nothing from '69 left in there, everything changed. I wanted the look so when it drove by, hey there's a '69, but when you got closer and you opened the trunk, and you opened the door, and you opened the hood it's like whoa. There's a whole lot of stuff going on here. So that was the goal of me building it. So when I came here I wanted to unveil it to Ford people to get the reaction because sometimes Ford people, you have the purist, and they'll walk in and they'll say oh my god, what did he do to that car, and I'm gonna say I did what I wanted to do. Cause I've already done a couple of original cars. This was fully custom. It had to be mine, and I'm hoping people like what they're seeing. There was a lot of effort that went into it. There was a lot of smart people to work on it. A lot of quality craftsman that worked on it. The painter, the builder, everybody. They took my vision once I turned it over to them and nailed it. So yeah, it makes me happy that people like it.
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