Last December Ethan and I had our 10-Day Rush to get Davey, our 1960 Ford Falcon, ready for the Mooneyes Xmas Show. We stayed up all night before the show, certain that with just a couple more hours we could get the car on the road. By 10am Davey still had a good deal of work left and I jumped in my Studebaker and rode to the show, tired as a zombie. I told myself that was the last time I’d work on a car all through the night.
By January I made an update that Falcon was running, which he was, but unregistered. The registration issue was a bad one, with a number of years of lapsed registration, I was looking at a hefty DMV bill. Without the cash to pay, Davey sat in the garage – unfinished. This summer my Gasoline Girl pals Jen and Rochelle found an angel at their DMV, with the knowledge of proper paperwork to get a lapsed-registration classic car back in good standing with just a $15 fee. I’ll tell you more about this in a later post, but in July I got a PNO (Planned Non-Op) for Davey. With a very busy work travel schedule during summer, I didn’t get in the garage much.
Then about a month ago Ethan and I started talking about finishing the Falcon in time to roll out to Gene Winfield’s yearly car show in Mojave, a 2-hour-ish drive from LA. We tried to be as diligent as possible, whittling away 2-3 hours every night after dinner. I wasn’t sure if we’d have the money or the time to carry out the additional tasks we added to the project (changing the manual transmission to automatic, upgrading the carburetor and front suspension, new wheels/tires, and a dual-reservoir master cylinder). While I reiterated to Ethan that we didn’t have to get the car done in time for Winfield’s show, he insisted. And yep…you guessed it, we pulled an all-nighter AGAIN!
Here’s how it went down…
9:03AM: An extremely quick trip to my local AAA office produced my Ford Falcon’s new registration tag (It opened at 9AM and I was walking out, registration in hand, at 9:03!)
2:26PM: After heading to Irwindale to cover the Formula Drift finals for work, I stoped off by Sears with our refurbished wheels to get them wrapped in tires. We were given these old Datsun 280Z wheels, which looked awful when we got them. Having the same 4-lug pattern as the Falcon, we thought it would be a neat change – and had them sandblasted and then spray painted them using wheel paint from AutoZone. Not as high-quality as getting them powder-coated, but these aren’t staying on the Falcon forever…and they look darn good!
8:44PM: With final trips to parts and specialty stores, we hoped we had all the parts we would need. The front suspension was all torn off (again) and we’re hard at work.
10:35PM: Holes had been drilled (which wasn’t easy) for the newly fabricated transmission crossmember, and it was in place. The “new” C4 automatic transmission was now being held in the car.
1:08AM: Time for the front suspension to go back in. After cleaning and sort-of rebuilding it last December, Ethan insisted on upgrading to better parts. The 1960 Falcon has ball joints that are TINY, so instead of replacing them, people generally upgrade…resulting in very expensive replacement parts if you want to keep it original. For what one 1960 ball joint would have cost us, we replaced the whole upper and lower control arms and ball joints with Mustang parts. Just one hole drilled per side and the parts were in.
3:04AM: The carburetor took some adjustment to fit. Although the carb was for a 200 (which is the engine we now have in Falcon), the adapter was not. As we had two adapter for earlier, smaller carbs, we decided to bore one out slightly to fit the “new” carb. After that, the throttle linkage went together quite easily! Another puzzle piece was what air cleaner housing we would use. Neither the old one or another old one we had in the garage would fit. AutoZone had an aftermarket one that by it’s description looked to be slightly too large, but we were able to make it work.
3:09AM: Changing from the original manual transmission to an automatic includes altering the driveshaft, creating a crossmember bracket (or in our case we just made a whole new crossmember), and putting in a floor shifter (or new column). This B&M cable shifter required a small hole in the floor to be cut and connection was quite easy. I believe a similar shifter will be going into Studie soon.
5:21AM: We’d swapped out the original single-reservoir master cyclinder for a double one. Too bad we hadn’t decided to do this before bending new custom hardline in the front (which we did last December). We had to use various pieces and adapters to re-work the line for the dual-reservoir master cylinder…and one adapter was badly leaking. We tried and tried to get it tightened…but it just wouldn’t.
6:02 AM: With a leaking brake system, and no spare parts, there wasn’t much left to do but go to bed. We’d made a very good dent in our “to-do” list (and this was the 2nd portion)!
Adventures are the stuff of life! I’m proud of the amount of work we completed during the 24-hours leading up to the show, even if we did fall a little short of completion. While I still vow not to work overnight on a car project again…I’m fairly certain circumstances will call for it one of these days!
We’re hoping to have Davey rolling steady by this weekend…I’ll keep ya’ll in the loop. Until then, Happy Trails!
#DaveysCountdown first appeared on the GreaseGirl Instagram account, follow me under GreaseGirl to stay up-to-date!