A Nice Pair or Pear?

Over the Christmas and New year period some staff at different times have had the dreaded Covid. Thankfully they have fully recovered and taken the full isolation and guidelines as required. In the mean time we have already implemented our contingency plans in order to keep our WebShop open. We would like to point out that as we are almost self isolated in our unit we have no need to go out from the yard. Our only assumption can be that the virus was brought to us. We take this pandemic very seriously and everybody’s safety is major concern for ours. Hence why our offices are closed to visitors at the moment.

With the global pandemic and restrictions in place, Mustang Maniac has even had some trouble getting parts to complete a couple of projects. To make things worse container prices have double within the last two months due to the container shortages. One reason that has been pointed out to us is that 8000 containers full of PPE are stuck at Felixstowe not being allowed to go anywhere. These containers would have been emptied and gone back to the far east again.

As you know Mustang Maniac has led the field on social media starting with this trade leading blog which was unheard of a number years ago back then, where a company shows their work as they go along. Our blog then in turn gets posted to the Facebook and rarely do we post directly to Facebook just for our business news in isolation, that’s just how we like it as a company. We often look around the other various groups and posts we spotted a post on social media where another supplier was offering for sale all sorts of body shells. Nothing wrong with that and good for them to be honest. But, when it was mentioned that Mustang Maniac had been stocking the same shells for the last 10 years or so certain people thought we were trying to hijack their post, which is simply not true, we were just saying it’s not a new product.

If you don’t believe us about how long we have been stocking shells for the public at the time? Check out the date on YouTube link for yourself here – 21st July 2013. This was after we had been using them for a few years before that. That same video is here:

This followed a flurry of activity on our website looking for body shells. However they wouldn’t find them as we only sell sheet metal and shells to the trade as we have via their trade account log ins. These people then went back onto the chat and started to say that we (as in Mustang Maniac), don’t actually sell the body shells and we took a bit of a verbal bashing over it. A point to note here is that we even posted a number of pictures of the three shells in stock on the previous post – 31st Jan 2021! It was then pointed out that not everything is listed on our website; things like cars, cars for sale, project cars, full body shells, skeleton body shells, engine rebuilds, transmission rebuilds and bespoke builds, drive train and axle rebuilds to name some.

Only this week we completed this bespoke build to strengthen up an axle up for a project where the standard axle wouldn’t cope with the power output we intended to put through it. Do we offer this to the public? Nope, but we might if it was part of project build assigned to us for their car.

Back in 2013 most “Fred in the Shed” most customers didn’t want or couldn’t afford to buy a full body shell. We found that the shells we sold were to companies wanting to save precious delivery and wait times, or to other businesses who wanted a bespoke project for themselves.

We know for a fact that the lead in times for these body shells from Taiwan is quoted as six to nine months. This invariably turns into nine to twelve months for a £15,000+ once it’s been properly priced up for you! Even companies like us will have their money tied up for the any amount of time that it takes to sell the shells, in the mean time storage of these shells takes up considerable space. Space is a premium and costs money.

We then decided to take a shell to some shows. Everybody seemed to like looking at them, the odd person would criticise them of course. Hardly anybody wanted to purchase them due to the initial (then) £15,000 odd outlay. the odd thing is that people would be happy to spend £20,000+ and three years of their time in a shed trying to do the same thing.

We had once given a customer a price of £50,000 to complete the project that he wanted, he then told us that “We were crazy” at the time. He came back to us three years later to say “You were spot on with the costs, I can’t believe it”. We don’t just pluck figures out the air for these things.

Our business model now is that we don’t sell sheet metal to the general public. The main reason was some people didn’t know what they were doing, didn’t have jigs, or simply made a real hash of the build and started to blame the products. This gave a perfectly good product a bad name for all of us. I you think about it, when we sell to trade, we are potentially selling to our competitors.

Our business ethics on these shells is that we have a golden rule; we will only do a like for like body shell swap out. For example, if you own a ’67 fastback and you want a ’67 fastback shell, we will do it for you, if you got a ’67 coupe you want a ’67 fastback body swap – we won’t do it. That way you are not trying to pass a coupe VIN number of as a fastback.

Mustang Maniac have a few shells in stock, customers can come and see them, touch them and make their own minds up if they want to have the project built by us or buy the shell elsewhere. With this in mind most companies can’t afford to have that amount of money tied up for a year, before they even get paid with very little gain from it. If you want it now, that does come at a premium. Like if you had to order a Rolls Royce you have to wait, but if you want to jump the queue, then there is that premium to be paid for the privilege.

When we import the body shells you can only get two in a forty foot container, we also order another three or four shells in kit form. This is for few reasons:

  1. Make the container space as full as possible thus more economical.
  2. These kit forms also save space for storage at the yard.
  3. The kits also give us flexibility to produce a shell on demand which usually takes four weeks constant work on our jigs to assemble. This is a more expensive way to do it with the labour included than buying a completed shell.

For one customer, we have even replaced every single panel on a car except for the roof, so that in the owner’s mind they thought it was still the same car. That would depend on how you look at it and your point of view of course if it’s the same car or not.

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Over the next few posts we will try and get into the how and why the panels are made, as Adam has been to Taiwan and has seen the full process. We will try to cover the expense that some companies go to put in place for the tooling to make these parts. Mustang Owners are really a lucky bunch of owners in order for these companies to keep producing these readily available parts and metal work.

Did you know that Mustang Maniac actually produces some of their very own parts that are made in the UK. We are proud of this fact in order to keep British jobs going over here and not in other countries, especially in the pandemic. Things like brass fittings for brake blocks, hardware for panels etc.

Mustang Maniac is regularly asked to export to Europe, but we have stopped due to few idiots ruining it for everybody over the past few years. There has been such a demand for European shipping that Adam has been thinking of opening a branch somewhere in Europe. There has been serious meetings about it, especially now we have left the EU.

Customer Cars – “The Pear”

When we post about our work, that’s the work we can show you, some customers don’t want their projects on our blog for the world to see. That is absolutely fine with us of course, but it’s a shame when we can’t show the final completed thing and we won’t talk about it either as the customer wishes.

The Pear – nickname given to it by Adam for a couple of reasons. There is a new body shell and a donor car to make one great car. Hence a pair – pear, get it?

Then there is this one, (my personal favorite); the customer told Adam the the car has only has one previous owner. Adam’s response was “did he park it in a swamp by any chance? It’s rotten as a pear” Hence the “Pear” nickname has stuck. Typical of Adam dry sense of humour. ????

And so it begins:

We are not going to be showing VINs and colours of the original car by request from the owner, which we shall honour of course. Like we have said in the past, it may look bad now, but this will be a beautiful car once she is done. How do we know? Because we will make sure it will be.

So we have the original donor car, which from ten feet away looks greats. Some parts will have the parts taken off the donor and put in the skip, others will be reused onto the new shell where we can, to keep as much original as we can. We have some spare parts with the car to also take a pick from too, which makes life a bit easier. We are going to store the parts we can use until we are ready to use them.

The Donor:

Within a a day or so most of the inside was out and front panels off, but where are we going to store all the parts? Reusing these storage crates in the mean time.

The Shell:

We have already had a real quick test fit, just to see which jig we need. Even without the jigs we are pretty pleased with the general fit and the gaps will be workable with a few Yogi tweaks and know-how.

Stay Safe & Keep Well!

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