Few can argue that the late model Mustang is one of the most personalized cars in the market today. From body kits, to wheels, to engine upgrades, fans of the Mustang can encounter a variety of aftermarket add-ons when you attend a Mustang car show, flip through the pages of any Mustang niche magazine or spend an hour on the StangTV website.
One new product that takes personalization to a new level is a custom sill (a.k.a. scuff plate) for the late model Mustang. Once looked at as an afterthought when customizing the Mustang interior, new advances in technology can turn the “door step” to your Mustang into a personalized billboard.
The scuff plates are manufactured by Michigan based Interlum and can be custom ordered with any name or motto plus a number of Mustang themed logos. In addition to being cool, the plates are built from OEM quality materials since the company manufactures scuff plates already for Ford, Lincoln and many other OE manufacturers.
We were invited to Interlum’s Plymouth, Michigan custom shop to see how the personalized scuff plates were made and to meet the team that developed the unique product. Mike Judge is the owner of Interlum and has been busy over the past few months launching the product and developing the process to custom order the plates.
A few months ago, www.fordcustomscuffplates.com was launched and the site allows a customer to select what script and logo they want on their personalized sill plate order. If a computer is not accessable, a 1-800 line has been set-up to order, the number to call is 1-800-367-3788. The scuff plates retail for $199.95, not a bad deal considering they are personalized, include LED lighting and made just like the OEM Ford units.
The Interlum technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to etch the material.
Once Interlum receives the order, a technician sets up the nameplate material in Corel Draw, a program used by the laser-engraving machine to burn the top section of the material. For our custom plate, we brought the PowerTV logo eps file and selected the words “Turbo Mel” for the personalized section on the plate. Turbo Mel is a nickname for Melissa Lawrence’s Turbocharged 2010 Mustang daily driver. The Mustang is a current PowerTV project car that features a Hellion Turbo system. To balance out the plate, the layout technician selected a Ford Oval logo to the right of the script and after final sizing we were ready to engrave.
The raw personalized plate material looks similar to brushed steel and the laser etches the top silver layer leaving the clear bottom section untouched.
Interlum uses a laser engraver, a device similar to a laser printer, to create the plate section of the scuff plate.
Once the technician had the layout set, he instructed the Epilog Laser Engraver to start engraving. The laser engraver works similar to a laser printer but uses a beam of ultra-hot light as the engraving tool. The laser burns the top layer of the sheet and no part of the machinery actually touches the material being engraved. Laser engraving produces a permanent, crisp, highly detailed mark, engraving images at up to 1200 dots per inch.
In addition to engraving, the laser can also be instructed to cut the material. Once the Turbo Mel text and logos were engraved, the technician plotted off the final size of the sill plate and instructed to laser to cut out the plate.
Interlum’s owner Mike Judge checks the finished etched plate before final installation of the light pipe and scuff plate.
With the personalized plate section done, Interlum was ready to assemble all the sill plate components made up of the sill plate body, light pipe, wiring harness and personalized plate.
The sill plates feature an LED “light pipe” that runs the entire length of the script section and backlights the script when the interior lights are activated. At night the backlit plate really sets off the interior especially when the door is opened for entrance or exit. Interlum has developed the proprietary LED light pipe technology that casts an even light over the entire length of the plate. Combined with the Mustang’s MyColor interior option the color options are limitless.
Factory Scuff Plate Removal
The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate features the Mustang logo and looks like every other 2010 Mustang GT rolling around town
The first step was removing the factory installed sill plate. This was accomplished by forcing the sill plate out of the snap points with a trim removal tool and unplugging the lighting connector. Its up to you to decide what you want to do with the old sill plates, the instructions showed a trash can symbol but we tend to hang onto things for craigslist or a future swapmeet.
The factory 2010 Mustang scuff plate was removed with the aid of a trim removal tool and the factory connector was unplugged.
Custom Scuff Plate Installation
The Interlum custom Mustang scuff plates came well packed in a custom box to prevent damage. Easy to follow instructions were included and we followed their step-by-step guide.
We took the new Interlum Custom sill plate out of the shipping box, laid them over the lower door seam and plugged in the OE lighting connector. One the electrical connector was solidly in place we snapped the scuff plate in place and removed the adhesive tape backing.
Prior to installing the scuff plate, we plugged in the new scuff plate electrical connector into the OE plug.
The adhesive tape backing is removed prior to securing the outer edge of the sill plate to the rocker panel.
The new Turbo Mel scuff plates look great and combined with the new logos add a personalized PowerTV touch to the car.