Friday, September 18, 2009

Forget Diamonds!

This is another favorite of mine. I'm not a diamonds and dresses kind of girl, and I'd much rather get things for my car that jewelry for the holidays. Most people that know me aren't surprised by this at all, but Mike used to get some funny looks when he bought me microfiber towels as a birthday gift! So anyway, around the holiday season one year some commercial for a jeweler came on, talking about how every woman wants diamonds as a gift. I said, forget diamonds, I want CHROME! And then I promptly logged in to create that shirt, which I frequently wear to car shows. It gets a lot of comments! I have to say, it's the PERFECT shirt for anyone like me that couldn't care less about carats but insists on triple dipped chrome! You can find these shirts here on our website:

Monday, September 14, 2009

How Gear 4 Gearheads Got Started

Did you ever wonder what exactly started a company? Well, let me tell you what one event started Gear 4 Gearheads! Surprisingly, although Eleanor is a regular "contributor" to our sayings, she wasn't the that vehicle that started the shop. We don't own the one that started it all anymore, it was our daily driver at the time.

A few years ago, we had a Subaru Baja (ok, I know, it's an import, but Ford won't bring the Falcon Ute over here and we wanted better gas mileage than our Bronco was getting us). Surprisingly, it was REALLY capable off road. It's small size and well refined AWD system made it nearly unstoppable as long as ground clearance wasn't an issue. It could slog through mud like no other truck we ever owned.

One day while we were driving around, we found this great "seasonal use highway" that was full of mud and water. I had just gotten a new DSLR camera and thought it would be fun to get a photo of the Baja flinging mud. So, we made a low speed pass to check for rocks, a second higher speed pass for the fun or it, then another higher speed pass for the photo opp. That photo can actually be found on our wallpaper page, right here .

I made that photo my computer wallpaper I liked it so much. Then one day while I was thinking how fun it was to send the mud flying up into the air like that and I thought "if the mud ain't flyin, you ain't tryin". Hm. You know, I thought, that would make an AWESOME shirt. So our very first shirt was "born" and so was Gear 4 Gearheads. Look for that shirt soon, as we add "off roading and mudding" to the website (we are completly changing the site, so we only have a few of the 30 or so sections up at this time-pardon the bondo, but the final result will be a lot better than before, with the added bonus of Made in the USA shirts being added as we go).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Eleanor, our 1973 Mustang Mach 1

This is the story of how we came to own our '73 Mustang and why her name is Eleanor. Back in 2002, we were looking for a classic Mustang. We had a Ford Falcon Futura station wagon, but although it was a cool classic car, it just wasn't us. We really wanted an early Mustang. We searched and scoured the ads and leads. We just weren't finding the "one". One day an ad appeared for a 1973 Mach 1, and it just so happened that we actually had to drive past the owner's house on the way home from work! The owner said the car ran, but it needed some work and she didn't have the time or money to do it. We decided we'd take a look, since it was within our budget.

The car was sitting behind the house when we went to look, so we couldn't see her from the road. We walked to the backyard and saw a faded yellow Mustang with a HUGE dent in the passenger rear quarter. Although we could tell the car was clearly beyond our ability, we still decided to have a look. In addition to the faded paint and dent (which we would later learn happened when the barn she was stored in fell down in a windstorm), there was rust everywhere and the bottom 3-4" of the passenger door skin was cut off. The yellow color looked more like Marhyde primer than actual paint, and she was covered in a patchwork of primer spots. We had discussed doing some body work, but it was clear this car was going to need a lot more than "some" work! We took the vin and door codes and told the owner we would let her know.

The vin and door codes confirmed she really was a Mach (the lack of the NASA hood and base interior had us wondering if she was really a Mach 1 or a Sportsroof), and her DSO explained her rough shape-she was an original New York car. While we were fascinated, we decided she was too much for us and called the owner to let her know we wouldn't be buying the car.

A few weeks later, she moved the car. Now everyday, twice a day, we drove past the car on our way to and from work. After a few weeks, we decided that maybe we over reacted and took a second look. Nope, we even missed some things, like the fact that the radiator support had been welded in the middle. We passed on the car again, and continued to look for the "one".

Then came the fateful night in November. We were on our way home from somewhere at about 10pm when we saw the car up on a trailer. Uh-oh, someone BOUGHT OUR MUSTANG! We had to know. Even though it was late, we stopped and knocked on the door. The owner's boyfriend answered and told us that no, the car wasn't sold, the city gave them a summons for an unlicensed vehicle and since the trailer was licensed, he put it up on the trailer so they couldn't bother them. That did it. We knew we were buying that faded yellow Mustang that night. We made the deal, which included the boyfriend trailering the car to our house. A few days later, right around Thanksgiving, we had a 1973 Mustang parked in our driveway.

When we bought her, we had never heard of the original Gone in 60 Seconds movie, the one that starred a 1973 Mustang named Eleanor. But as we researched the car, we found the movie. Our original plan of painting her Ivy Green Metallic or Grabber Green was replaced. We would repaint her in her original color of yellow, and build her into a clone of that infamous Eleanor. Because the more we learned about that car, the more respect we had for her and Toby Halicki, the writer, producer, director and other star of Gone In 60 Seconds. The fact that ONE car could do all that Eleanor did and still run and drive afterwords was impressive to say the least.

That's just the very beginning of our Eleanor's long and twisting saga. She was in much worse shape than we had anticipated, and at this point, the only major components that remain from the original body are: roof, a-pillers, frame rails, driver's side shock tower, driver's side inner wheelhouse, transmission hump, rear seat platforms, some interior bracing and firewall. Nearly every other piece of sheetmetal has been replaced, and many pieces came from donor cars. We lost count around 45 (some were minor, like headlight bezels, some were major, like the entire passenger side quarter panel). We have some photos here on our website and a slideshow of photos on our you tube channel here so everyone can see what we got ourselves into!

Even now, she's not done (not that any classic car, muscle car or hot rod build is ever really done). But she's come a long way and is clearly recognizable as looking an awful lot like the "before" version of Eleanor in the 1974 version of Gone In 60 Seconds!

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Very Special Photo

Back in 1989, Toby Halicki Started to film Gone In 60 Seconds II, the sequal to the film he produced in 1974, Gone In 60 Seconds. Part of that movie was filmed around his home town of Dunkirk, New York. You can see parts of Jamestown as well as an industrial complex in Kemore New York. Sadly he was killed while filming the movie and never finished the film. However, his widow had the film digitally remastered and released it in 2000. We were lucky enough to find the warehouse complex where the film was made and took Eleanor there. This is actually where the filming took place, and where he drove the semi truck he had stolen in and where the Slicer was hidden. This is one of a few special places we want to take our Eleanor to. You can tell she isn't finished yet, but she's getting close! You can see a larger photo and also download it as free wallpaper on our website here We'll be blogging shortly about our Eleanor's story and how we came to buy a 1973 Mustang Mach 1 and build a clone from a movie that was produced over 25 years before the time we bought the car.

Happy Retirement Nancy J!

Well, we found out this Saturday at WNY's biggest car show (over 1000 cars this year) that a local legend and car show DJ was retiring. Nancy J is one of the best known DJ's here in western NY, carrying on the business for five years after the passing of her husband Stevie J (of Stevie J's Rock N Roll Revival). When we fisrt started going to shows, they were among the first to welcome us to the "family". We'll miss you spinnin' the tunes Nancy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Anyone that's been through a restoration process really knows the meaning of these t-shirts! It can seem like a never ending process, where the light at the end of the tunnel might turn out to be a freight train instead of the actual end of the tunnel! From the hard work and late nights to scouring the internet and junkyards for the right parts to the surprises and of course, the cost (which is NEVER what you intended to spend-it's always more), restoring a car can be a real frustration. But in the end,it is all worth it when you get into the car, sit down in the seat (that's even attached to the floor pans), turn the key and that motor roars to life as you hit the open road. All the aggravation, exhaustion (I've taken to calling ours "project sleep deprivation"), time and of course, money, just fades away as the asphalt disappears under your wheels. Ah yes, in the end, it's worth every damn penny! This shirt is dedicated to our own experiance driving our project, which certainly was worth every damn penny! Want to see our project? check out our "about us" page for some photos: