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Sickboy's stuff: Ford Falcon restoration


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Since my life has followed a nearly unrelenting course in project, “good-intentions”, “nice ideas” and general chod accumulation ever since I was about 14, I’ve decided I’d concoct all my projects into a haphazard fleet diary, for your amusement and viewing pleasure. My reports are likely to be sporadic, as and when I find time. 

Coverage predominately will flit around my current stable, but I'll show some past vehicular activity too.

I'll go into each in turn in the coming days and weeks, but briefly for now my current fleet comprises:

 

1959 Ford 100e. Bought as a rolling shell in 2015. Built it up myself with all-Ford bits: 2.0 Pinto, type 9, GP4 MK1/2 Escort goodies up front, Bilstein 2.8 Capri struts on coilovers, 105e axle out back, RS turbo Recaros. Looks rough as fuck but it's solid and sorted underneath. Some don't like it because it's old, noisy and smelly. I love because it's old, noisy and smelly. Want to build a fast-road head for this soon really, but skint. Hardly needs to be quicker anyway.

A lot of work to build, about 3 years, but immense fun to drive. 100% never selling!!!

 

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1991 Saab 900 16v Turbo. Bought last Summer, suspiciously cheap with a hot running issue and a heap of paperwork. I did the head gasket and rebuilt the head with new exhaust valves, stem seals, thermostat etc over lockdown. Also fitted new calipers, discs, pads and hoses all round, and replaced the NSF inner wing/driveshaft tunnel back in February.  Embarrassing MOT last month reveals more weldage is needed elsewhere, so that’s next for it and shall be reported in the coming pages

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1995 Citroen AX Jive. 1.0 4 spd. Hilarious to drive, immensely French, ripe but not rotten, wearing something akin to a peeved expression. Needs a few odds and ends but otherwise a goer. Back-up car in case my existing daily shits itself or something. Anyone spare a boot latch actuating rod and gear knob?

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2005 Clio 182. As close to a daily as I get (cycle to work). Not really Autoshite, or even very “me” frankly, but I’m convinced these are the last proper French hot hatch and soon to be daft-money, so I finally snubbed two years of looking-not-looking at them on eBay and bought this the other week. I'm 27 so many could argue it's a "quarter life crisis". Newest and quickest car I’ve ever owned, so probably not the wisest first choice to exercise modern car ownership.

 

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But my current main project, sapping funds and time and social life in equal measure, is my 1963 Ford Falcon 2dr sedan, so I'll post up the progress to date of that in the coming days.

or now, here's a seller's shot of when I bought it.......

 

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How I got it

Rewind to Spring 2017, and I had a 302 Ford engine and AOD gearbox languishing in my unit from a previous aborted project, when this 1963 Falcon 2-door sedan came up for sale as a rolling car sans engine and gearbox. It was otherwise largely complete, and solid* too (well...) being a dry-state Californian import. It came with a 8” Ford axle with a trac-loc LSD, and although originally a 6 cylinder car from the factory had been converted to V8 configuration in the States, fortunately involving the beefier V8 spec steering links and arms, which meant there was no headache sourcing any of that from the States. 2-door 60-64 Falcons are getting rather desirable anywhere and particularly scarce in the U.K., the all-important NOVA and Title certificates were present, and the price wasn’t bad either owing to the missing engine and box (which I already had). I’d long had a keen involvement in the hotrod and yank car scene in general and all old Fords in particular, so with the typical restless nights, repeated poring over advert pictures and phonecall-tennis which precedes these sort of chod purchases, I was soon the proud owner. 

 

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I had a rough vision of what sort look and build I wanted. Something streetable, nothing too lairy, mechanically sorted but rough cosmetically (couldn’t afford a proper paint job anyway!!), B&M floor shifter, metalflake steering wheel, retain the 14” steelies and stock ride height and build up a warm and peppy roller-cam 302 V8 for it.

 

 

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Rear quarter

 

Chicken wire and papier mache constituted much of the left rear quarter panel and arch, although the seller was a nice bloke and had told me this and pictured it before when selling the car, so I knew from the off it needed replacement. Repair panels for this are available, but being  pattern parts quality is questionable shite. And being only available from the States I had to factor shipping and duty. And that meant shipping in a shipping container and collecting from Southampton docks, rather than just having it sent conventionally, because the full quarter is so sodding long it was oversize and no conventional couriers would ship it internationally!! So all in the landed fee with all this was something around £400, plus taking a day's holiday off work for a jolly to Southampton docks

 

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I spent a good day or two with the panel just planishing out any imperfections and bits I wasn’t happy with. It’s always easiest to get the panel just right when it’s off the car and on the bench, so I took my time

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Manipulated with wood.... :)

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These repair panels are rolled rather than pressed, and it came with a crack on the arch lip were it had been over-stretched. So I TIG’ed this up

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The rear quarter’s curvaceous profile isn’t consistent front to back; the curvature is gentler at the front behind the door and gets tighter as it goes, so the transition needed fettling, as this progressive curve wasn’t present on the repair panel

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Radiused the corners, scribed with a penny washer

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Carefully trimmed the panel to size

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This was always going to be a test. I rear quarter replacement on any car is hard, and the straight lines on a rear quarter of any 60’s yank are critical; there’s no hiding it if the swages are off or its all distorted to buggery.  Distortion is the biggest enemy on a big, flattish expanse like this, so I TIG welded it to keep the heat down and allow for softer bead which could be plannished later. TIG isn’t forgiving to any gap between the panels either, so I cut the old panel out……

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repaired the boot side panel once the panel cut out

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…..weld-thru primed the flange, tacked the new quarter in, starting from the bottom, and file-fitted it if needed as I went along to the scribed line. Took me hours!! Tack, file file file, Tack, file file file…..

 

Until I got to this stage

 

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Made these clamps up to hold the bottom edge in place, as illustrated above

 

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Front floor pans

 

These admittedly were an oversight of mine. A cursory glance when viewing and all was well. A closer look once home and they looked a bit odd. A prod and a scrape and they were revealed to have been repaired with a road sign pop riveted over a rusty hole, covered with tar, covered then in newspaper, and finally sprinkled with sharp sand to stop it sticking to the underside of the carpet. How thoughtful. 

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I wanted these to be repaired properly, and I had been scratch building this sheet metal bead roller alongside the Falcon project for a while

 

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So I made some dies at work to match the factory bead

 

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The finished dies, second down on the rack. Joggling dies on top rung

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…….and set to work. 

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The roller wasn’t actually motorised at this stage, that came later (involving a mobility scooter motor, WahWah pedal, a bit of potentiometer jiggery pokery). So these beads were rolled by hand

 

Drilled for spot welds along the chassis leg an outriggers. Weld-thru primer used throughout any blind sections

 

I had to form the driver’s profile from a wedge-section spliced into the pan

 

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I used some homemade joggling dies to make that joggled edge where the footwell meets the floor pan

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Practice runs

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Needed a little sill repair to the inner LH front. Again, I was aiming for a factory finish, so after racking my brains about how to replicate the shallow dimple in the hole, and almost making a special dimple-die to suit, I ended up using a ½” socket turned backwards on one side and a bit of scrap pipe on the other, and gave it a clout with a wooden mallet. Seemed to work

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Butt welded all around

 

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Epoxy primed, seam sealed, chassis blacked. I reckon I spent 40 hours on each side, including making the dies

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11 hours ago, sickboy said:

 

Needed a little sill repair to the inner LH front. Again, I was aiming for a factory finish, so after racking my brains about how to replicate the shallow dimple in the hole, and almost making a special dimple-die to suit, I ended up using a ½” socket turned backwards on one side and a bit of scrap pipe on the other, and gave it a clout with a wooden mallet. Seemed to work

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I think Frost sell a dimpling tool, pricey unless you're perforating the entire shell though.

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Ah, Ford Falcon, a secret police´s car of choice in any South American dictatorship because of the spacious trunk 😁

Impressive welding skills, congratulations.

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Thanks for the kind words chaps!! I'll show a bit more in the coming days to bring you all up to date and show where I am with things now

8 hours ago, somewhatfoolish said:

I think Frost sell a dimpling tool, pricey unless you're perforating the entire shell though.

Yeah, I could have made one or bought something but I only had one dimple to do (ooh err)

5 hours ago, stuboy said:

you ever see aaron from gasmonkeys garage ford falcon?

I have, but I've never watched the show (I don't own or watch a TV). I hadn't even heard of it or seen the car until after I bought mine and a colleague showed me it.  It looks killer, stance is amazing!! That's a '63 Futura rather than a sedan like mine; Futura's are pillarless and have more of a slope to the rear screen.

 

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Rear Valance

 

The rear end had suffered a shunt in the past, with the rear valance on the left side dented in and numerous telltale kinks along the rear left quarter too. I’m nearly certain both the arch and this are all results of one and the same incident. I unearthed plenty of filler and slide hammer holes all around that rear corner, a past effort to try and pull out the worst of the inflicted dents. 

I will admit I made 5 attempts at this section before finally settling on what I show you here. Basically I had to copy that multiple double-step style at the bottom.

Special folding tool 😁

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I welded a cleaned-up arc welding rod all the way up that side and ground it smooth to replicate that return lip where it meets the wing

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TIG'ed in:

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I opted to trim off 3 sections from under and around the tailight,, straighten the cobbered and dented bits of wing on the workbench, then weld them back in. There are no repair sections available for this bit around the taillight bowl 

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The back of the boot floor was totally caved in from the aforementioned accident

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So once the valance had fresh steel and structure again, I chopped out the busticated bit...

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…...then set about reconstructing it/making a new, straighter one .......

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Grafted it back in place. I braced it and clamped lengths of box section to get it aligned properly

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I took this from inside looking out, as I was re-affixing the new boot floor section back in:

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15 minutes ago, stripped fred said:

Do you do this for a living?

Nah I'm just an amateur bodger........

7 minutes ago, Cookiesouwest said:

If he does, I wont be worrying about buying rusty chod ever again :)

.......although seriously, I'm willing to do bits on other's cars if they ask nicely ;)

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20 minutes ago, sickboy said:

Nah I'm just an amateur bodger........

.......although seriously, I'm willing to do bits on other's cars if they ask nicely ;)

An amateur bodger can often be preferable to a trained mechanic, in my experience! You seem to have a few tricks up your sleeve. I like the welding rod edging. Not something I would have ever thought of 👍

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      The other car is the first "classic" car I bought, so I can't bear to sell it. It's a '77 Dolomite 1300 and it cost £1400 (about £400 too much) and has been nothing but a pain in the arse:
       

       
      It looks much prettier (from 100 yards) but that's most due to the darker paintwork hiding the rust. It lives a mollycoddled life in my garage, where it somehow still manages to rust, and is utterly rubbish. 0-60 is measured on a calendar, top speed is 80ish but at that point it uses more oil than petrol, it rarely ventures over 50mph and if you encounter an incline of any sort you can kiss that sort of speed goodbye, along with about £20 of 20W50 as it vanishes out of the exhaust in the form of blue smoke.
       
      One of the PO's had clearly never heard of the term "oil change" so it developed into brown sludge that coated everything internally with the next owner(s) blissfully pouring fresh oil on top of it. This lasted until about 600 miles into my ownership when there was muffled "pop" from the engine bay and the car became a 3-cylinder. The cause was catastrophic wear to the top end causing a rocker arm to snap:
       

       
      As this was my first classic car I'd assumed it was supposed to sound like the engine was full of marbles, it wasn't.
       
      I put the engine back together with second hand bits declared it utterly fucked and promptly did another 5000 miles with it. After about 3500 of those miles the oil burning started, valve seals have gone so it's been relegated to my parent's garage as a backup car and something to take to local car shows as the 1850 is now embarrassingly ugly. I'm keeping my eye on eBay for replacement engines (deja vu, anybody?) Oh, I also recently reversed it into a parked Ford Fiesta and royally fucked up the rear bumper, rear panel and bootlid. Did I mention I'm incompetent?
       
      There have been two other cars in my life. My first car, a 2008 Toyota Yaris 1.0 an it's replacement a 2012 Corsa 1.4T. I didn't really want either of them, but it's a long story involving my parents and poor life choices. Ask if you want to hear it!
       
      So that's a brief summary of my current shite. If you want more pictures or details of anything do say as I've got photos of almost everything I'd done with the cars.
    • By Shirley Knott
      Greetings all.
       
      After lurking here for a short while, frankly liking what I see and enjoying the various shite, the site has well and truly struck a chord with me. I'm a serial buyer of ropey sub £1k vehicles, don't have to but genuinely enjoy it.
       
      I feel like I might (Just might) have found my 'spiritual' home here
       
      I've been posting across the web on owner specific forums (Usually using either my JoeyEunos or RandomPrecion handles) for a while now, but from here-on-in I will pull my threads together and merge them here into one ghastly topic.
       
      My current steeds...
       
      Lupo 1.7 SDI
       
      SAM_5560 by
       
      and the work/story so far...http://forums.clublupo.co.uk/index.php?/topic/102863-joeyeunoss-sdi-beater/
       
      Golf Mk4 SDI
       
       
      SAM_5531 by
       
      and the thread.... http://uk-mkivs.net/topic/597074-project-slow/
       
      Early (1989) Mk1 Eunos (This one was recently sold)
       
      SAM_4656 by
       
      the thread...http://www.mx5nutz.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=213274
       
      Other shite I've owned and moved on in the last year include this ropey Passat...
       
      SAM_6011 by
       
      and this legendary £300 Fiesta Finesse...
       
      Festa by
       
      Cars I'd like to own/actively looking for in the forthcoming weeks/months/years...
       
      Rover 75 (Dizzler)
      Peugeot 405 (XUD)
      Mk1 Octavia (Estate/dizzler, pre pd or SDI)
      Honda CRV (Gen1)
      Volvo 240/850
    • By TripleRich
      Hi all, new to the forum.  Thought you might be interested in what I've got myself into
      I'd been after my first classic car for a while.  If it's big and made in the 70s I'm interested.  Looked at few things like P6s, Zodiacs, Victors, SD1s and various other things.  Problem was I didn't want to spend a boatload of money on something that looked alright but underneath was actually a total heap.  The solution was to buy a complete heap in the first place and spend the money fixing it.
      So in January I went ahead and bought this from a colleague at work who was moving away and needed to get shot of it.

      It's a part finished restoration (I prefer not started) and it needs a whole load of help if it's going to stand any chance of using a road again.
      Pros
      It's right up my street.  Granada Coupes are quite odd and certainly stand out from the norm.
      It still has the original engine, box, interior and most trim.
      It came with loads of panels I need to repair it (mostly original Ford stock).
      It came with so many spares I could probably build a few Granadas and still have stuff left over.
      It was cheap.
      Cons
      Most of the front end has been cut off.
      Most of the body structure is quite rotten.
      It's going to take me ages.
      I work at a restoration company and my boss kindly allows me to keep the car there.  So I've got access to all the gear I need to restore it.  I've been busy on the car for a while now so will post more pics over the coming days.
      Cheers 
    • By strangeangel
      I thought I'd start a thread for this as I'll probably end up asking all sorts of questions, given that this is my first 'proper' Citroën.
       
      So... the ground clearance lever won't go all the way to the highest setting (all others work), which is bad 'cos the book says I need it to do that in order to check the LHM level. It feels like something's seized, so I don't want to force it. Any ideas for a plan of attack would be much appreciated.
       
      Next up are the wheels. I now have a set of 205 pepperpots that have just gone off for powder coating & I need to get some tyres for them. The handbook says the car should have 165/70R14s on, the wheels came with 185/65R14 on. Any thoughts about what size I should get please? Cheers.
       
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