We all know the BIG stuff can make a big difference in our Mustang, but so can the little things we tend to overlook. A high-lift cam with more duration can add Horse Power but you will probably sacrifice daily drivability. A big 4-barrel carb may look cool on our SIX but it is totally ridiculous without major internal work. The idea is to do things that actually help and if they also look cool…great!

My degree is in electronics and a hot coil is a good start. With solid copper wires 7mm or thicker, you can improve spark which helps HP and MPG. When you read the wonderful information about your new super-mega-conductive-hyper-spark wires, believe about half of it. Newer style resistance wires were invented for today’s spark-sensitive electronic ignitions. If you run points, copper is best. All wires present resistance to electric flow in much the same way a clogged tube causes water flow restriction. Copper is the best material for plug wires, so use it! If you switch to electronic ignition you can buy sleeves that slip over the wires allowing you to maintain the best electric-flow. If you think I am joking, get a multi-meter and check resistance of one foot of copper wire and one of resistance wire.

Good “boots” at the distributor/plugs plus insulating wire-spacers help eliminate cross-arc between wires. A friend once had red see-thru wires with a HOT coil. At night it looked like a rock concert lite-show under his hood. It banged under acceleration due to cross-firing. We want to avoid that! Routing the wires away from heat and vibration can save on-the-road headaches. A cut wire can cause an intermittent miss which can be hard to trace, not to mention, down-time on the highway! Try to keep all plug wires as short as possible. Even copper presents resistance to flow, so the shorter they are the more spark gets to the plug. Today’s engines put a separate coil on top of the plug to eliminate all these problems. Using top quality replacement parts helps keep things in tune, so I use BWD SELECT. They are Borg Warner’s best replacement parts because they use the best available materials. You may pay less for “off-shore” Shri-Lanka parts, but bad MPG, short life, poor power and engine miss are not worth the savings. I am sure other manufacturers have a top-quality line, so ask if you use a different brand.

Our older engines need ZINC, which is not in most of today’s oils due to roller cams/lifters. Quaker State makes an oil just for us and I use it. Others probably have a high-mileage or older-car engine oil with similar additives, so read the label. Flat-tappets present a different friction problem between the cam and lifter than rollers do, and Zinc seems to help lobe/lifter wear. If you have adjustable rockers, keep them adjusted to Ford specifications or whatever your cam manufacturer says. Zinc can sometimes be purchased separately but read what application it is made for, and get the right one.

The old Hotchkiss rear axle under our Pony is almost bullet proof, but not completely. Change the 80-90 gear oil to a modern type of the same weight. Machining processes and materials 50 years ago were not the same as todays, so use what THEY recommended then. Upgrading to modern 80-90 is a step in the right direction, but you can do more. Molybdenum Disulfide, or MOLY can be added to the rear axle to aid wear and increase slipperiness. It also helped quiet the whine of the gears in my 65.

That “snout” that sticks out of the air cleaner is for a reason. It forces the intake to get air from opposite the exhaust heat. Why not extend that theory and get even cooler air from under the fender or in front of the radiator. Flex-hose works and is a cheap way to improve performance. Stay safe SIXERS!

Charlie Johns Old Geezer Rising Star, Texas


Posted in Old School Old Geezer