Evolution: Mike Maier's Blue Mustang - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 09:34 PM Thread Starter
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Evolution: Mike Maier's Blue Mustang

Those of you with weak stomachs, do not like change, and believe 1978 gave us everything that we will ever need please back away now. Those of you who are still reading, welcome to 2016. This is a short story about evolution.

Many of whom who have been present during this metamorphosis have shown excitement and other have shown disgust. Over the life span of Ol’ Blue the pro-touring scene has evolved and so has Ol’ Blue. The purpose of this evolution has also changed over the years.

Going back 12 years Ol’ Blue wasn’t the old blue you know today. It was a mere gift to Mike’s wife and was nothing that would get much of a second look. It began as a “seafoam green”, 289ci with an automatic transmission. When first seen before the wedding Brianne though, “Mike sure has a lot of work to do.” After a quick 1 month to build the car it was ready to get driven to and from the wedding. It evolved into a simple performance street cruiser complete with the same 289, a toploader 4 speed, 9” rear end, blue paint, and a cleaned up interior. Over the next few years the car was a cool street car that just got driven. In 2008 the industry also began to evolve; performance parts and events alike. Good Guys Rod and Custom developed their autocross series. A couple years later the Run to the … events began to pop up around the country. During these early days most people were competing with their 350 horsepower, medium tires, and some bolt on suspension parts.

We then saw another level of evolution when people began to develop suspensions, chassis, and powertrains to get an edge on the other competitors. This drove companies that were content with leaf springs, panhard bar, bilstein shocks, and a Shelby drop to develop their knowledge of these vehicles to keep up with the trend. Now we have competitive events like Optimas Search for the Ultimate Street Car where if you want to compete you must push the envelope on development.

Without the evolution we would still be happy with polyglass tires and eight tracks.

The Evolution Begins!!
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post #2 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-02-2016, 10:05 PM
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Damn, can't wait to see where you guys go with it. I'm a huge fan of Ol' Blue and when I do my paint and body, I'll be going with your fiberglass fenders to get the same look.

'66 Coupe - Pro-touring in the making

289 4bbl
T-5Z
9" TrueTrac 3.70 gears
TCP suspension front and rear
18x8 Wheels and Baer 6P all four corners

And no more money left in my wallet...
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post #3 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 01:05 AM
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I think you need a sharper saw blade Mike

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post #4 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 02:08 AM
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So which version is this Mike? 3.0? 4.0?

Looking forward to the rebuild and story behind it, and all of the cool development behind it.

Fej

1966 GT Coupe
Not much left original
Trying to do things once
MMI CO ~ Astro A5 ~ FiTech ~ MGW ~ AAW
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post #5 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 07:13 AM
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Taking a sawzall to it? The horror!
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post #6 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 07:14 AM
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So what are you really changing?
Going to bubble flares like Frank Stagnaro?
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post #7 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 09:28 AM
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Can't wait to see what is next. Just keep it FORD...lol
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post #8 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xj220 View Post
Damn, can't wait to see where you guys go with it. I'm a huge fan of Ol' Blue and when I do my paint and body, I'll be going with your fiberglass fenders to get the same look.
We actually don't do fiberglass fenders. About a year and a half ago I left Maier Racing and started my own company; Mike Maier Inc. We work specifically on suspension and chassis products.

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Originally Posted by fej View Post
So which version is this Mike? 3.0? 4.0?

Looking forward to the rebuild and story behind it, and all of the cool development behind it.
Lets just say we have been through this a few times in search of improvements!

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Originally Posted by Jsams View Post
So what are you really changing?
Going to bubble flares like Frank Stagnaro?
We cant give away all the fun stuff too early But the car may be getting lower and wider by a "little". The flares have some inspiration from Frank's car, but we wanted to keep a clean look without being extremely agressive.
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post #9 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 05:54 PM Thread Starter
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As per the intro on the last write up we had touched on keeping up with the times. Ol' Blue has gone through its evolution's and we had come to a cross roads. Do we lay over and leave the car or do we continue with the thoughts that made the car what it is now? Over much deliberation the decision was clear; Continuing is the only way to go!

With the decision now made we had to choose a path. Over the years we have done as much as possible to milk every second out of the old coupe. We could possibly fine tune a couple of tenths, but what we needed was seconds. Over the last few seasons it became apparent that we were among the skinniest of cars. As the years went on the manufactures have seen the benefits of widening the car and reducing weight transfer. This distributes the weight more evenly across all four tires throughout the turn, reducing the strain on the outside tires. As we noticed we were the narrowest by about 4" with respect to the rest of the field, not to mention taller than most as well, this only exaggerated our problem. The fix is now clear... Widen and lower to get on an even playing field, maybe even a bit of an upper hand.

Setting parameters is the first step. Scope crepe is a killer for jobs like this. The old..... I'm here so why not.... Always adds to the job. We do not have time for this so we added up what was realistic and this was a 2" drop and a 4" wider track. We can keep most of the guts of what we have with this. Re-engineering the front chassis will be at a minimum and the rear will need vertical clearance among several other things. Our one bit of scope creep needed will be a new wiring job. The wiring has been the same as the day the car was bought. Our goal was to be finished by the Circuit of the Americas Ultimate Street Car event.





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post #10 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 07:19 PM
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Mike, what are your thoughts on Ron Sutton's theory of relatively high ride height, with soft springs and very large anti-roll bars? He focuses on lots of suspension travel to "pin the front" on corner entry and gain front end grip. I could never come to grips with the idea, and how it would overcome the higher CoG.

'65 A-code coupe, T-10 4-speed, 8" 3.25 limited slip
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post #11 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-03-2016, 08:27 PM
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How are you achieving the lower ride height? Are you changing the suspension mounting points? If not, how is your roll center affected? Also, are you doing a full wide body then like Ring Bros, or just focusing on the flares?

'66 Coupe - Pro-touring in the making

289 4bbl
T-5Z
9" TrueTrac 3.70 gears
TCP suspension front and rear
18x8 Wheels and Baer 6P all four corners

And no more money left in my wallet...
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post #12 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 06:02 PM
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Very cool to see this transformation! I cant wait to see it back on the track.
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post #13 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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The decision has been made. Old blue is getting lower, wider and new wiring. We will need new front control arms and spindles. The back will need a little more, the plan is to keep the guts of the MOD2 , but just raise it up in the car to keep all the geometry. This is super easy when your talking with your buddies, But somehow every time when the tools come out only one or two guys are left ready to work. Well that's better than none.

The first order of business is to pull all of the old parts out and the mock up the rear end housing and the front hub to their new proposed locations. At this point we put all of the hard pivot points into the computer and started to figure out what would be the best plan of attack with respect to geometry. Every thing in the car is built off the cars foundation and that is the geometry.



The front suspension is already a prototype R&D MOD2 and its mounting points are all vertically adjustable. This made everything much easier and all of the pick up points were shifted up and this got us most of the way there. With the new ultra low ride height we could not get everything we wanted out of the chassis mounts. We ended up employing a drop spindle to get the rest of the job done.

To get the width increased we made up an extended set of MOD control arms they are basically a stretched version of the 65 MOD1 control arms.



The back was a little more involved. We took out the prototype MOD2 rocker system and installed a new standard equipment MOD2 rocker system. However with the new ride height, the frame rails were much too close to the axle. The remedy was to simply raise the rails for vertical clearance. Also the rear end housing had to be dealt with. The lower control arm brackets needed to be corrected for proper geometry. This turned out to be one of the most labor intensive pars of the job.



While all of this fabrication was going on we also had some basics to attend to. The wiring has been plaguing us over the years. This also had to be ripped out and remade. We have also had growing pains with some torque arms as of late and this put a bevy bind on our drive shaft. Our beautiful Dynotech drive shaft was getting beat up bad so a couple of fresh Dynotech drive shafts had to be made up.



By this time we started to get a handle on things. Progress was slow but consistent . The rear end seemed to take for ever. We had straggling to do's here and there to wrap up loose ends. Things like mounting brakes seem to skip the big list.





Once we got the chassis components completed. We then moved on to the body work. We still had not come up with much of an idea how we were going to flare the car. We had several ideas, but none of them stuck. Finally mike stayed late one night and roughed in a flare concept out of cardboard that wasn't half bad. We left the car like this for a day or so to let it marinate for a while just to make sure.



At this time the decision was to be made on what/how we were going to make these flares. We found some aluminum in the shop that looked like it would do so we started cutting patterns out. This was handled by Mike and shop guru, Gary Mole. Gary was the one in charge of the wiring and anything else that Mike came up with. With uncharted territories like this Mike was reassured with Gary's confidence and they kept going.



After a couple of days of thrashing we called up an old friend for the paint work. Arthur from Alameda Collision is one of those body shops that still understands the privateer. He took the car in and got it out in record time. The boys down there really did us right. While the car was at paint mike met up with the family for a short recharge.

Once the car got back from paint the guys had about a week to get Ol Blue back up and running for the first practice. Doing their best for the customers already slated during the days all of this was done at night. Every thing from trim, alignment, and interior had to go back together. This was finished up at about ten at night the day before the first test.
The goals for the first test were to make sure everything worked as planed. Then to start tuning. This was a lot to ask at an autocross given the number of laps possible. Ultimately the main and final goal was to improve the transitional control of the car. The way the car feels as it is setting into the turn; Although the car was not tuned yet Mike could clearly feel the difference. This was for sure a good first test. The car stayed all together and it continued to feel better every run.

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post #14 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-04-2016, 11:06 PM
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To the folks on here that had concerns about some of my welding projects.Your an inspiration to many on here My self included and I'm sure you know your stuff Mike hope that stays together for you. Tig with nickle rod I imagine

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post #15 of 46 (permalink) Old 08-05-2016, 12:08 PM
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Looking forward to seeing Ol'Blue in action at Fontana!
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