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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!!!





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





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?







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.




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. 











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









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


Manipulated with wood.... :)


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





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


Radiused the corners, scribed with a penny washer



Carefully trimmed the panel to size


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……



repaired the boot side panel once the panel cut out




…..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





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. 







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




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





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


…….and set to work. 




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






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


Practice runs



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






Butt welded all around











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



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 😁





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




TIG'ed in:




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



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


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






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




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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