- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 17, 2010

As Father’s Day approaches, Ford is proud to support the millions of enthusiasts nationwide who keep antique and classic Ford-built vehicles on the road. And nowhere is that support more evident than through the official Ford licensed restoration parts program.

With a growing parts portfolio containing more than 9,000 part numbers, the program licenses parts for Ford-built vehicles from the Model T to those made as recently as the early 2000’s. Every component is produced by one of the officially licensed suppliers, made to Ford Motor Company standards using original factory tooling. No longer do enthusiasts have to spend hours online looking for rare new old stock parts, nor do they have to wander through scrap yards looking for used parts for their classics. Chances are the part is available new and just a mouse click away. The program is so comprehensive that an enthusiast can actually construct a “new” vintage Ford using reproduction parts.

“You can literally build a 1967 Mustang using officially licensed Ford restoration parts right from your computer, without ever visiting a wrecking yard,” says Dennis Mondrach, Restoration Licensing manager, Ford Component Sales (FCS). “Complete steel bodyshells are available, Ford Racing can supply crate motors, and specialty manufacturers make all the hardware, drivetrain, interior parts and even instruments with classic or customized faces. You can build your car as a classic or upgrade the components you choose.”

Ford currently offers four complete Mustang bodies covering 1967 to 1970. Later this fall, Ford will introduce its first truck-based body for restorers of the classic 1960s Bronco.

The strict licensing process helps ensure any parts bearing the company’s official trademarks meet the quality standards and authenticity that classic Ford enthusiasts demand. Each approved part comes with a blue-and-white sticker with the Ford logo stating it is an officially licensed restoration part. That means the fit, function and appearance is as authentic as the original.

“When Ford stops making a part and retires the tooling, that tooling is offered to FCS,” explains Mondrach. “Based on the type of component and whether we think it would be of interest to the vintage vehicle market, we then offer it to one of our 75 licensed manufacturers and they put the tooling back into service.

“The end result,” Mondrach says, “is that owners of vintage Ford vehicles get a source of factory-correct parts made on Ford tooling.”

Restoring a classic Ford-built vehicle in the family garage has been an American tradition for decades. Tens of thousands of fathers have shown their sons and daughters how to restore a car using a Model A, Model T, Thunderbird, Mustang or F-Series. According to Hagerty Collector Car Insurance of Traverse City, Michigan (the worldwide leader in collector car insurance) four Ford-built vehicles are among the top 10 most popular cars it insures. Mustang, for example, is No. 2 on this year’s list, according to Hagerty.

Accurate reproduction parts make the restoration process easier, and for those enthusiasts who decide to show the finished product, they can make the difference between a trophy and an empty-handed trip home. The Ford licensing program has been singled out for special recognition from both the Mustang Club of America and the Thunderbird Club of America for supplying components identical to original Ford parts.

“Before a supplier can sell a licensed part - even one produced on Ford tooling - they are required to submit a sample for approval,” said Mondrach. “We compare the sample to original blueprints and engineering specifications and ensure the part meets or exceeds the original piece in quality, aesthetics and functionality.”

All Ford restoration parts licensees must successfully complete a quality assurance survey and meet all federal and state safety regulations. To assist in the monitoring of ongoing production quality, master samples of each restoration part are retained after approval and used as quality benchmarks for future production runs.

FCS tries to ensure a supply of frequently needed components is available to the restoration community, particularly interior parts and delicate trim pieces.

“We really try to provide the common parts that might be damaged or lost in an accident,” explained Mondrach. “Many of those plastic and metal parts look exactly like the originals and are made on original tooling, but benefit from improved plastics and metallurgy, resulting in a higher-quality component than what was originally supplied on the vehicle.”

On the other hand, Ford licensed restoration suppliers also reproduce very specialized components - in specialized original materials - for some of the first Ford products to hit the road. “We license original Model A and T parts like the famous ah-ooga horn and many unique brass parts,” said Mondrach. “Model T enthusiasts can even get licensed replacement handmade brass radiators. “Whether you’re rebuilding a classic Ford, Lincoln, Edsel or Mercury from scratch, or simply prepping your vintage vehicle for its next show,” he adds, “Ford Restoration probably has many of the parts you need.”

Visit the Ford restoration parts website at www.fordrestorationparts.com. Select the vehicle make and model in which you’re interested to load a list of suppliers with contact information.

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