Update - September 2, 2003
The Performance Ford Expo 2003 was again a great weekend for getting away. Dad and I had my "Archway Ford" Thunderbolt lookalike to National Trail Raceway in Columbus, OH. I only made one pass to test my new Radir slicks. They hooked up good enough to bend my questionable-at-best leaf springs! This also helped me to my best time with my hydraulic-cammed 289 which was 15.2. Dad is still not impressed with the small block's progress (taking 2 seconds off my ET in one year isn't good enough?), so we will be installing an FE over the winter.
It sure was nice to see all my friends there again. Some I can remember off hand are: Shannon and Warren Davis, Larry Davis, Dennis Kolodziej, Mike Osburn, Bill Dismuke, the Mannels, 422 Motorsports, Aberts Racing, and Lee Malkemes. Please forgive me if I forgot to add you to the list; it was another exciting weekend at the Trails.
The car I currently show and enjoy is a '64 Fairlane (non-500) 2 door sedan that I bought from the nephew of the original owner in July of 2002. It had a 200-6, a 2 speed Fordomatic, 3.25 rear end, and was in nice shape. The mileage was 52,000.
After getting it home I promptly removed the inner headlights, changed the wheels, and added the teardrop hood from my blue Fairlane. During the next few weeks I completely rebuilt the braking system with new lines, hoses, wheel cylinders, and a rebuilt master cylinder. The gas tank was cleaned and reinstalled with a new sending unit and front to rear fuel line.
In August of 2002 I bought a '64 Fairlane 500 4 door that had a 289 and a C4 (3 speed) automatic. During the next 2 weeks we removed the 6 cylinder and automatic from the white car and installed the drivetrain from the 4 door.
We thrashed to complete the change for the 2002 Ford Expo at National Trail Raceway. I wanted to take it there to show my friends and cruise around. We (me, dad, Mike B, and everyone else jammed into the driveway) finished the engine at noon and loaded it on the trailer. I didn't race it because (1) it had a 289/2 barrel engine, and (2) we weren't sure what would fall off since we thrashed non-stop for 2 weeks to swap in a V8.
The weekend was a lot of fun and I even got the car in "the Fairlaner", the Fairlane club newsletter.
After the Expo, I got mad at the automatic for not shifting right and took it out. In went a T-10 4 speed and Hurst shifter. During the spring of 2003, I added a big hydraulic cam, a C4OE 4 barrel intake, and a 600 cfm Holley carb. At the spring swap meet I bought repro 289 HiPo chrome valve covers and air cleaner. For the price of a new air filter I now have a nice looking air cleaner.
During the spring and summer of 2003 I changed the side chrome from Fairlane to Fairlane 500 and raised the front bumper. This made it look a lot better.
In July 2003 I finally added my Hooker 6134 Super Competition headers. Talk about a nightmare and a major improvement at the same time! It is extremely hard to install these headers and changing spark plugs is a maddening adventure. But the throttle response and sound is unbelievable. I've heard they add 100 horsepower and that sounded crazy. Now it sounds LOUD!
During August of 2003 I was again feverishly working to get stuff done for the Ford Expo in Columbus, OH. I was able to finally buy a set of reproduction Radir slicks that have a cool nostalgic look. I also managed to snag a set of 4.62 gears for the 8" rear as well. I'm still lacking a good set of traction bars and springs, so these are high up on the list for things to do this winter. Number one is shock tower trimming for the big FE engine though.
My plans for the car are to install a much healthier 289 that dad and I have ready to assemble. After that the car will get it's long overdue 9" rear end, scattershield, and aluminum driveshaft. I really like the white car but I want to quit working on it long enough to finish my first car, a '64 Fairlane 500 sedan that I bought in 1994. See it's story below.
Yes, that’s my car right after I got it in the spring of 1994. This is what a hundred and fifty bucks will buy you!! I had to shovel 50 feet of yard covered with about 6 inches of snow, then I watched in horror as TWO 4 wheel drive pickup trucks chained together strained to yank it out of it’s muddy grave. The brake drums were rusted fast, and they didn’t even break free when the car hit the blacktop!
Since then, it’s been under an “extended restification program”. I started out trying to patch it up good enough to drive. Then the project was to completely re-do the car with a Mustang 5.0 engine with fuel injection and 5 speed transmission. The engine, trans, and all necessary wiring have been purchased, but since it’s taken so long to get the car finished I’m going to run it with a carburetor and four speed for a year or so to enjoy it.
1994 – Disassembled the car, removed the driveline. Had the pleasure of working with Homer City’s Tom Craft, who is a master Ford restorer. Tom’s Model A’s and T’s are something to see! Congrats to Tom on his Junior and Senior awards for his latest model T restoration. Tom got my car back from the brink of death by fixing the floors and framerails. He also helped with the bodywork.
After I got the car back from Tom’s, I completely sandblasted the bottom of the car from front to back and removed all undercoating. NEVER, EVER, AGAIN…….
The car got new wheel cylinders, new master cylinder, new brake lines, and completely re-done brakes. I bought new shocks and put them in, and also cleaned up the front suspension. New springs, shackles, and insulators were bought and installed in the rear suspension after the sandblasting cleaned up the wheelwells.
I sent out the gas tank to have an in-tank pump put in. This will be used for whichever car ends up with the fuelie motor.
All this time, for Christmas and birthday presents, I was getting: new carpet, floormats, headliner, weatherstrip, trunk mat, etc etc. It was nice to get this stuff and all this together will make the car completely new again.
1995- unfortunately I had to store the Fairlane in a large shed behind our house for almost 2 years after my parents sold our large garage and then built a new house. Not a whole lot was done to the car while it endured temperture extremes among other things. One night I had it out of the shed to “bomb” the bees inside, and sure enough a thunderstorm came through! I had to run outside in the storm at 3am to shove the car back inside the poisonous-gas filled shed. Oh well, I won’t miss a few brain cells.
1997-8 – Looking for and finding new job after college and then moving to Columbus, OH, it was quite hard to work on the old Fairlane. I promised to return to home and get a better paying job. I was able to snag two 9” rear ends while living in Ohio.
1999- I finally got that job that allowed me to return to my hometown. People told me it would take 5-10 years, if not be impossible, to do that. Took me 6 months. Hehe I was very excited to be home, and to be able to work on the Fairlane again. Unfortunately, it was jammed into the back corner of my parent’s garage. Working in the engine compartment and interior was easy, but getting to the back or passenger side was impossible. I got the 302 in, and added the headers, flywheel, clutch, and pressure plate. I also cut off the rear end mounting brackets and cleaned up the 9” housing.
2000 – Spent most of the year just messing with little things on the car. Getting the five speed installed was a huge pain, then figuring out how to make the original z-bar work with a “puller” instead of “pusher” type clutch was pretty hard. I decided that the engine swap and complete driveline conversion was hurting my restoration project, so I figured I needed to finish the car with a carbureted engine and 3 or 4 speed trans first. Then I could convert it later on if I wanted.
2001 – I cleaned up the engine that came with the car. Added the heads from the black Fairlane (they were much cleaner), and gave the engine a complete gasket and seal set. I built up the 260 with a four barrel intake from a ’65 Fairlane and a 600 Holley that Shannon picked up for me. I also added a HUMONGOUS hydraulic cam so even if it isn’t fast, it’ll sure sound that way!! The fuel injected 302 (that looked sooooooo good in the Fairlane) was removed and put on it’s stand. Then I sprayed the engine compartment gloss black.
The original engine was re-installed in the car 7 years after my dad and I took it out. The 3 speed was re-installed and I picked up an original Hurst floor conversion shifter that was made back in the 60’s. Thank goodness for Mr Belmont of Belmont’s Rod and Custom!
I bought a new set of seat covers and installed them myself. This was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be, but the cost was pretty high. I think front and rear upholstery cost me $600.
2002 – The car is now at my house. We got married in September of 2001, and the Fairlane finally has a garage space of it’s own. The engine will be test run very soon, and hopefully the car will make it’s first venture out under it’s own power this spring. My goal is to have a fun car that looks like a Thunderbolt but not have a clone that could be mistaken for one. I like the look, but don't like the wanna-bes.
July 2002 -Well since moving in we've worked on the house quite a bit. I've also been able to organize my Fairlane stuff and get ready for it's final completion. The engine still needs to be wired up and tested.
Since I bought the white car I stole the cam, carburetor, and full length headers from the blue car. My new plans are to finish the engine for the white one, and use the '64 "5-bolt" 289 block for the blue car. I'll rebuild that engine and it will make a nice one for the blue car. In the mean time I'd like to finish the body work on the blue one and get it painted.
July 2004 - THE BLUE CAR RUNS!!!! Okay this is very complicated: I removed the 5 bolt 289 from the white car to cut the shock towers. That was at the end of last season or early 2004. During the summer of '04 I finally got disgusted that the blue car had never run. I installed all the drivetrain stuff from the white car into the blue one over a weekend, and dad installed the headers while I did little stuff like the carb linkage, wiring, generator, radiator, etc. After it was all done, I put in a battery, turned the key to ON, and was amazed that the dash lit up. (The car was missing the generator, generator harness, and voltage regulator when I bought it. We tried to start it without these things but had no juice anywhere.) I barely hit the starter and that sweet sound of an open header-big cammed 289 filled the garage. During the fall I want to finish bleeding the brakes and get the driveshaft in, then we'll go out for a test ride.
Soon you can CLICK HERE and see all my Fairlanes.
Assorted TBolt Images
The History of Individual Cars