This is the center console that I had to modify. It's originally brushed anodized aluminum that suffered a lot of abuse and just looked terrible. After disassembling I removed the anodize with heavy duty oven cleaner, then pounded out the dents then used 150 grit sandpaper to try to get the brush look back. There were pits that I could not get out so I laid on some wood veneer and painted the remainder with "hammered" texture paint. The seat belt switch I turned into a display for a back-up alarm, then I added 4 switches to control some new features.
This is one of two rear vents that are an important original feature of this car. The slide switch on the center console is a vacuum switch that bleeds engine vacuum to the vacuum motors, which open these huge gates. Fresh air from the cowl enters through the dash and then exits under the rear window through these gates.
I found reproduction vacuum motors from a late 60's Mustang which worked perfectly to replace the rotted old ones.
This is the speedo-odometer, and is a prime example of 60's cool technology. The small metal drum on the right has a cable from the transmission spinning a magnet inside of it. This tuns the long aluminum drum against a clock spring: the faster the magnet turns the more angulation in the long drum. The red-white "barber pole" is refracted by the lens to show a red bar moving from left to right, indicating speed.
The whole thing is housed in a cast metal box and sealed from dust. The only plastic is the lens and the numbers. I painted the embossed numerals silver to replace the paint that disappeared when I cleaned it.
I haven't updated this in a while. The engine is complete and installed. I have made major improvements to the electrical system by using a modern power panel to mount under the hood, and that is roughed-in. It is powered by a 100 amp circuit breaker and replaces relays for the starter and horn. It adds relays for the headlights, and I used relays and diodes to rig an emergency flasher system (they were not standard issue until 1965).
These modifications had me stumped for a long while, but a systematic check showed that I had reversed the control wires on the hybrid alternator (the manufacturer's connector broke). Also, without the ammeter in the car (the dashboard is in storage) I taped off the connectors and "jumped" the alternator to the battery, which did not work. So I bolted the ammeter connections together and taped those, then I got the starter cranking.
Then my Pertronics module fried. I'm not sure why that happened, and will call them later. So I replaced the Flame Thrower coil with my original and put in an old set of points and condenser. Two of the three slotted, large head screws that hold that stuff in were buggered up, so I went to the hardware store and found stainless Philips heads and washers to replace them- looking sweet.
The floor of the trunk has been rebuilt and the gas tank is in. I made straps out of 1-1/4"x1/8" galvanized steel bar stock, cutting the ends by using the old ones as a pattern and saving some coin over store-bought. New gas lines will go in later this week.
The doors are off and my body man is working on them. The top edge of the drivers door is rusted through but he elected to weld in a new piece instead of buying a door skin.
Last night I degreased, disassembled and then removed layers of paint off the hinges. I'm deciding whether to paint these on the bench or to have them painted them body color. I can't seem to locate the nylon detent bushings and I'd like to replace them all.
A new 3" Maganflow exhaust comes in on Tuesday, and the new Sanderson headers are sitting on the bench, ready to go in. Once that happens I'll start the engine up for the first time.
Speaking of headers, this car has lines to the choke to a chamber on the passenger side OEM "log" manifold, to heat the choke. I'm thinking of using a copper tube wound around the header to replace that heating element.
The exhaust finally came in (Magnaflo copied the address wrong on one of two boxes and it went back and forth from California twice). Keith is making progress on it, measuring once and cutting twice on the "erector set" kit.
Here's some pictures of its current state. May have fully in primer by the end of next week, then onto paint.
Been a while, as this project gets relegated to low priority, and I seem to take two steps back for every step forward.
Keith did a terrible job on the exhaust. Seriously embarrassing. He's since flown the coop. So I had to tow the car to a custom exhaust shop to get that plumbed up all new. The only salvageable parts were the mufflers. Then had to pay to have it towed back....
But, they did a great job, for a reasonable price.
After that I could start the engine for the first time. After getting it running I tuned it and took care of the inevitable coolant leaks. With a little bit o' cam, Magnaflo mufflers, H pipe and 2-1/2" exhaust it idles nicely and sounds nice.
Unfortunately though the transmission, which I just paid to have rebuilt, was leaking like a sick cow. So I tore that down and found out the "rebuild" replaced the front and rear seals only. I had two badly worn front bushings, so the input shaft was wobbling around, and the new seal failed immediately. The buddy" who ripped me off is now nowhere to be found...
Doing things right sometimes means doing it yourself, or at least from people you can trust and are accountable. So my master mechanic Robert, who has never done a Cruise-O-Matic before, took on the task with a little help from me, relying on some advice from his dad as well as some of his contacts at transmission shops. My shop foreman Brad insisted on finishing with powder coat: the iron is done in gloss black and the aluminum in superchrome.
I wouldn't have a convertible. I've got two in my shop right now (65 Galaxie and 69 Mustang) under different stages of restoration and can't leave either outside. They all leak.
The 428 and the 390 are the same block: FE. Clearances to the spring towers are therefore the same. You may have had cast headers. Mine were the "log" type manifolds, but the clearances were still tight.
Those cast headers, by the way, are nearly impossible to find. And if you find them you'll pay early for them.
My new steel tube headers are made especially for this chassis, which is identical between '58 and '66. The chassis engine mounts are slotted holes to allow for about 1/2" adjustment side to side. It needs to be dead center to avoid having either header touch.
Nearly done with the engine bay. The addition of AC in the car led to the need for a March serpentine belt system. A bit pricey but the wrap on my alternator took care of an issue with a squealing V-Belt. I also sprung for an electric cooling fan from a Lincoln Mark 8. By tilting the radiator into the frame I gained enough clearance. I mean just barely clearance.