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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my next project. I might have bit off more than I can chew, its quite rusty. Its has Fred Flintstone floorboards. I bought it from a friend of mine who is having health problems and realized he would never get around to working on it. I tapped around on the front and rear frame rails and they seem solid, they seem to be made of different metal than the rest of the unibody, are they galvanized or something. I have started tear down but am really just in the planning stages of this project. I do know that I want to connect the front and rear frame rails with rectangular tubing then adding a 6 point roll cage, also a 1 piece fiberglass tilt front end.
As far as powertrain I am open, I'm a retired Ford mechanic and my old work pals would think its sacrilegious to put a Chevy engine in Ford but my son has a 540 Merlin in his boat and its an amazing power plant. Since I am starting from scratch and have to buy everything I,m looking for recommendations on straight axles, fiberglass components, roll cage kits etc.
 

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Looks like a pretty decent car to start with. Rusted out floors aren't bad to fix if the rockers and unibody is in good shape.
There's a chrome straight axle for sale that might be close to you, and would make an excellent choice for your Falcon! It's 52" to kingpin centers, which would be 60" to hubs, and at $300 I think it's an excellent buy.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/gasserparts/permalink/2912937415608863

Most axles like the 50's Chevy truck are too wide, as is the Econoline axle. The early Ford trucks might be narrower, but betting they aren't. A Speedway tube axle can be ordered to the width you need, but pretty spendy in my opinion.

I used first gen Mustang subframe connectors when I built my '63 Falcon gasser. I also boxed in the frame rails the entire length from where they start under the floorboards, to the front. I used 1"x3" box tubing, and made cuts through it, leaving one side closed so I could bend it to contour to my existing frame. You can see how I did it in my build thread.

https://www.gasserhotrods.com/forum/showthread.php?1072-63-Falcon-Futura-Gasser

Since I went with a high HP BBC, and 4 speed, I also added tubes from the firewall to the end of the frame horns to support the horns when I removed the inner structure. I did a tilt steel frontend, as I couldn't find a heavier street glass frontend, and race weight aren't strong enough for a lot of street driving in my opinion.
Looking forward to seeing this build!
 

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Vall

if he's not on Facebook (like me) he won't be able to view the page as I found out when I clicked on the hyperlink. You might want to cut and paste it.
 

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I tried to look but you have to join the group.
 

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My Crystal Ball see some sand blasting in your future...welcome to the Gas House
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Vall for all the info, thats exactly why I joined the forum. I have all ready checked out your falcon build thread, cool car. It looked like a really nice car to start with.
I wish I could have started with a little better body but the price on 60,s cars has gone crazy. When I was a kid back in 1972 I bought a 55 Chevy 210 for $100 buck. Cars with a post like a 210 were not desirable, we bought my brother a 57 4 door wagon for $50 bucks. Wish I still had both.
Looks like member dsb lives right across the river from me
 

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Vall

the operative phrase for you is "I'm on FB" which is why you can view the post. Non members, like me, can't view which is why I suggested the cut and paste. I would have loved to see the axle.
 

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Thanks Vall for all the info, thats exactly why I joined the forum. I have all ready checked out your falcon build thread, cool car. It looked like a really nice car to start with.
I wish I could have started with a little better body but the price on 60,s cars has gone crazy. When I was a kid back in 1972 I bought a 55 Chevy 210 for $100 buck. Cars with a post like a 210 were not desirable, we bought my brother a 57 4 door wagon for $50 bucks. Wish I still had both.
Looks like member dsb lives right across the river from me
Cool! If you ever need any help, let me know. I live in O'Fallon but Illinois is an easy drive to make.
 

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Back in the late 60's and early 70's I bought Tri 5 Chevys often to part out, or fix up and sell. 4dr. sedans, and wagons were easy to buy for $50-$75, and I could part them out to guys needing the front clip, or other generic parts for 4x what I paid. Then get $25 from the wrecking yard for whatever was leftover.
I must have bought and sold, or parted out a dozen, and for some reason mostly '57 Chevs. I bought my '55 150 2dr. sedan with 6 cyl. and slotted mags for $125, and drove it home!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the offer. I have family and friends that live over by you. Maybe next year when all is back to normal we can have some car shows and swap meets again. seeya there
 

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There is a guy here in St. Louis that does just that. He hauls in more tri-5 chevys in a week than I have seen in my life. Parts them out and is building a few in his garage.
 

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I remember going to all the wrecking yards when I got my first '55 in 1967. I "spruced" it up and put racing type stuff on it for pennies. Dress up stuff like dash stuff was really cheap. A carb.? Yep, a couple of bucks, spare tires, jacks and stuff like that could be picked up for a couple of bucks. Now, with my latest '55 (45+ years later), there are no "junk yards" to rummage around for these cars, so, thankfully there are Companies reproducing parts for them. However, they are no longer "a couple of bucks"! But, its only money and I have more now than I did as a 19 year old kid! But the passion is just as strong. When I drive it now and pull away from the red light, that 19 year old kid with the heavy foot comes out and I relive my youth. Not the 71 year old man inside my body! lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is one car I don't feel bad about cutting up to make a race car out of. I have pretty much removed everything from the car at this point, floors were rusted badly. The Front frame rails appear to be solid but as you can see in the picture the rockers are rusted in the front. Not sure how I,m going to fix that. View attachment 104519 . IMG_3584.jpg IMG_3583.jpg . I like the way Vall reinforced his frame rails and added the tubing between frame and firewall. I also have rust in the rear frame rail at the rear spring shackle. Contemplating building a whole new frame front to rear. will definitely have an 8 point roll cage.
 

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Bill you running a V- drive or a pump on that boat...can not tell it the engine is backwards facing ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The boat is a 1974 Hondo with a Casale v-drive. My son found it on Craigslist and drug it home from Michigan. Apparently the previous owner had put together a 454 with a lot of ebay parts. He failed to properly check piston to valve clearance and when he fired it up for the first time it self destructed in about ten seconds. In disgust he put it up for sale. My son Matt was hoping we could repair the engine but when we got the engine apart it was trash, cylinder walls gouged, crank damaged, pistons shattered, rods bent. We put a used engine from a motorhome in the boat and he raced the first year in the River Racer class. Last year we completely went through the boat, new paint, rebuilt v-drive, new cavitation plates and he spent the money on a real engine. He wanted to build a 489 stroker out of the 454 motorhome motor but my friend Gordon who owns the machine shop recommended starting with a 540 cu in Merlin block. He took the 454 in on trade and for just a little bit more money we had a lot more motor. approximately 13 to 1 compression running race gas he estimates about 830hp. The boat went from running 12's to running 8's.
 

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The rockers being rusted does make repairs a bit tougher. But I think if you begin cutting out the rusted area aa little at a time you can probably rebuild the rusted sections with small pieces from the inside out. It may take a number of pieces to complete the rocker to A pillar area, but it's doable.
A complete frame may or my not be easier. I was lucky that mine was a very solid car throughout, so the spring pockets, and mounts were in good shape. I think if you make or buy subframe connectors it might be possible to cut out the spring pockets, and weld new ones into the subframe connectors, essentially ending up with a full frame, but done in sections. I added round tube between my subframe connectors to the rockers, and welded it to my floor pan braces also just to tie it all together. Without the round tube the subframe connectors started at the front and floated all the way to the spring pocket in the rear. That just seemed like it could twist or move without some attachment points along the way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Its been awhile since I posted an update. Using 3x2 rectangular tubing I built a complete frame front to rear. I bought a 10 point rollcage from Summit and a straight axle kit from Speedway. The frame and rollcage are all tacked together as well as the front end but my spindles are on back order and have been since January 18th. I also found out that nobody manufactures a one piece fiberglass front end for a 61 Falcon. should have done more research I guess but I thought there were at least 2 companies to choose from. Wondering what are my options, build a flip front end out of the old steel fenders and hood( I dread restoring those old parts) or buying fiberglass fenders and hood and some how glassing them together to make my own 1 piece. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I guess i should add some pictures to the next post.
 

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If you really want a 1 piece tilt, I'd go with the steel pieces. If yours are pretty bad, there are plenty of these old Falcons still around, and you might find a pair of fenders cheap. I did mine as a tilt using the original fenders and hood, but left the gaps. I thought about welding them shut, but didn't want to fill the 3/16" gap, or move them closer and be too narrow. Instead I cut up plates and used self tapper screws to hold the fenders to the hood about every 8"-9". Then welded the plates, removed the screws and welded the screw holes closed. It looked like a normal front clip when closed, and whenever I opened it people were surprised I didn't lift the hood.
 
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