The Lecarra Steering Wheel Escapade!

Ok if there is something in this entire restoration I’ve researched a whole lot it’s the damn steering wheel, and by god has it been a difficult one! So I’ll try to explain it.

In order to make my car as close as possible to the original movie car I wanted to get the same steering wheel seen here on the actual movie car.

Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel

This steering wheel is a 15″ Lecarra Mark 3 Supreme Tear Drop wheel with a 1.5inch dish. Now you would think a steering wheel is a steering wheel. You thought wrong. My research (all be it very shady) has shown me these laminated mahogany wheels were produced in the Lecarra French factory up until about 2002 when some sort of dispute took place and subsequently the factory was shut or it stopped making the wheels for Lecarra. (If anyone has any light to shed on this please let me know).

Subject: Re: Steering Wheel Purchase info
We do not have any dealers in Australia. Right now, the Mark 3 wheel isn’t available. We are working on changing over manufacturing and it will be a few months before we get them on the shelf again. So you can check back and see where we are, or I do have a few of the 14″ flat wheels left in stock. I have the single slot and the gt style.
Thanks

Now seeing as every man and his dog wanted these wheels and i only began my project in 2004, it seemed i was doomed from the start.

Another thing to note is the rivets on the wheel, some had 17 rivets and some 18, why? Well I’m not sure but what I know is Lecarra made wheels with this many rivets and the UK company Moto Lita only made 9 rivet wheels (of similar look).

So in Jan 2006 I hit them up again and got this:

That wheel is still not in production. I will keep your e-mail and let you know when they will be available.

Then again in March 2006 (yes im very impatient):

We still do not have them on the shelf yet, but hopefully it will be soon. We have hired a new person to take care them and hopefully get them finished and in production soon, I will keep your e-mail and let you know when we get them in stock.

Thanks.

But then in July 2006 we had some action!!

Just wanted to let you know that we got our first run of 34215 Mark 3 wheels in and they are ready to ship. We have limited ones and they will go quickly, so if you wish to order one, just give us a call and place your order with Stacie or Rita and let them know that you received an e-mail about the wheels, so you can be one of the first to get one. The wheel will be 229.95. Thanks

Naturally I was the first to purchase one and when it arrived I was overjoyed until I opened it to find it was radically different from the 17/18 rivet version they previously produced in France. This 2006 USA made version was a rougher mahogany, and it only had 9 rivets! I know some are saying pfft who cares it still looks good, but no, im a perfectionist. So i sold it on ebay. Here are some pictures of it the day it arrived.

Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel

So, back to square one! In the meantime my good friend Toby who also lives in Sydney, and building an Eleanor, was shopping at some random automotive store 15mins from my house when he called me to say they had “The Wheel” after exchanging a lot of profanities he convinced me it was it and only after he sent me photos did I believe it! This was a weekend, so first thing Monday morning i sent my trusty father down (hey I had to work!) to purchase one!

He called to say they had two!! So I bought both, and the sales guy said they bought them years back from Lecarra, but just left them out the back!! Anyway that night I had two wheels, one was the EXACT one I wanted an 18 rivet French made wheel. The finish and feel was so smooth it made the ‘new’ USA version seem like sandpaper!

I ended up selling the second one to a friend as it was flat one with no dish!

Here are some pictures I have! It came only in a plastic bag. You can even see the difference in finish between the two.

Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel Shelby Eleanor 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback Deluxe Interieror Lecarra  Mark 3 Supereme Teardrop Wheel

*Note the bag shot is of the flat wheel

So basically that was it! 2 years searching for a wheel made in France for an American company which was discontinued years ago and to find it in a store 15 minutes from my house is simply unbelievable! but it happened!

Sandblasting….

Well we got her up on the rotisserie to finish removing the rest of the paint and what not including the sound deadener crap that is hell to remove. Take a look, she’s looking the part now.

We left some parts to finish manually, like the inside as we didn’t want to damage any panels. I know some will go all out with the blaster but this job will be a slow one in order to do it all right.

Work begins

Oh before i get into the work, here is a lovelly email i got from John the day the girl arrived:

Hey Cameron man,
you are one lucky lucky lucky guy, I have not seen a Mustang this clean for a long time, it is very good.
I unpacked her today, picking it up on Tuesday next week. Customs has to clear it.
I don’t think there will be any big damage on the old girl but I can’t say for sure until the paint is stripped off it. But it does look good.

Needless to say that just made me itchin’ to start.

So in late March 2005 John started the painstaking task of stripping all her paint down. This is were she didn’t look her best, but at least we were off to a good start. Take a look.

dsc00003.JPG dsc00008.JPG dsc00012.JPG

But we did encounter some damage in the RH rear quarter.

OK, the Right hand 1/4 panel had a lot of filler(Bog) in it, and we found a few problems but do not worry it is not going to cost $1000s to fix.
Most of the body is in good condition, but this panel is going to need a lot of work, the other end of the panel has been drilled for repair work, this is typical of the yanks, those holes will need to be welded up very carefully so not to cause heat stress to the rest of the panel.
So other than this minor damage to the front quater and the back we’re looking quite good. More updates to follow.

End product

Well you’ve seen what i had to begin with now here are some pics of what i want to finish with.

4681_512.jpg 44087_interior.jpg eleanor4.jpg

I think just about any Mustang lover who saw that movie would agree that “Eleanor” looks amazing. I know some vintage guys cringe at the though of this ‘restomod’ but hey, im young, so i don’t really care, it looks unreal so im going for it.

Purchasing A 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback

First off I needed a car and since the movie in 2000 1967 mustangs in good shape (little to no rust, straight body) have been hard to come by, or are really expensive.

John managed to secure one for me we saw on eBay, we contacted the guy and he ended the auction early for us, and better still the car had NO RUST and had a straight, accident free body (or so we thought) more on that later. Anyway here’s what I started with.

And here’s the original ad:

Vehicle Description

1967 MUSTANG FASTBACK

A-CODE 289 4V. C4 Auto Transmission. Candy Apple Red exterior. Parchment interior. I purchased the car in 1999. Car was completely together and ran good. I started to restore it in 1999 and since then have had to move twice, start a new job, smaller garage, etc. which has kept me from finishing it. The car is really a tip top project. NO RUST or rot on the inside or out what so ever. As far as I’m concerned it could be finished with a paint job and interior work, some trim, and misc detailing. Very straight body. Unfortunately I need to sell this car due to lack of parking, and space, etc. I would like somebody to have it that will finish and appreciate it. I have tried to list as much info as I can about the car. I’d rather list too much then too little. Please contact me for more info, or if you would like specific pictures taken and emailed to you.

    Particulars:

-Car is located in Southern California.
-Matching numbers.
-Car was sold with Cobra accessory package which included Cobra valve covers, rear grille appliqué panel (have letter from Ford research department)
-Clean Title.

    Vehicle Condition
    New parts/work with receipts:

OEM style unless specified
Engine has been professionally rebuilt from the bottom up with new parts, and balanced (runs perfect) -Try-Y nickel plated headers – Edlebrock 289 performer intake manifold with ARP bolts – Holly 650 CFM carburetor – Flowmaster delta series mufflers with complete 2 ¼” aluminized exhaust – 15×7 Torque Thrust D’s with 225/60/15 BF Goodrich Comp TA’s – MSD heli-core Coil & Wires – Master cylinder & booster – steel brake lines – calipers – Upper & Lower control arms – Front springs – rear leafs – KYB shocks – Center link – drag link – idler arm – all steering and suspension bushings (polyurethane) – Starter – Radiator – Wheel bearings F/R – Motor Mounts – Heater Core – heater plenum


    Original parts not installed, have been carefully stored since removal:

– Front and rear windows – Most all chrome trim – Headlights and related headlight parts and fasteners. Fog lights and related parts – Rear appliqué panels (needs some of the studs which hold it on replaced) – All parking lights, turn signals, related hardware – All seats including fold down seats and parts (seats need to be reupholstered) – All interior panels, dash, center console with working bread box door, steering wheel (cracked), all working gauges, AM radio (needs a knob), new Ford guage instrument panel.

    Parts & Pieces that I no longer have for one reason or another:

Front & rear bumpers. Carpet. Front door panels.

Not a bad deal I must say! Took a bit over three months to get here via China of all places but she got here all safe and well and didn’t fall off the boat like some friends of mine liked to taunt me with.

…and so it begins!

Hello world indeed!

Well i’m finally up and running with a blog i wanted to start quite some time ago. So here it is, somewhere where i can post all my thoughts, my updates, my photos, my impatience and of course the state of my dwindling back account.

Name is Cameron, I’m a 23 year old living in Sydney, Australia working in Publishing and i own a 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback, which is being restored into an “Eleanor” from the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds with Nicolas Cage.

Now i lay this down from the start, i suck at cars! i mean i know a bit, but i’m no mechanic. so ask me to point out the air conditioner and i’ll point to the ABS system (yeah laugh! it actually happened once) and yes i know 60’s mustang’s don’t have ABS, it was another car.

So you ask “how can you restore a classic like this when you don’t know anything? you’re mad, you’re a butcher” Well no, i do like the odd New York steak but..well you know what i mean.

My good friend John who restores Mustang’s in his spare time has taken on my old girl. He does the work and basically i pay the bills, hunt down parts, drool, annoy him for news and now post on my blog. I’ve had the car for about 2 years now, and although it’s been slow i’d say im half way there. I’m hoping to have it all done by the end of 2007.

So sit back and i hope you enjoy the ride.