Project Car SOTU 2016: The Falcon

Using cheap pliers from a cheap tool kit to tighten an alternator pulley nut at 11:00pm atop the SFO long-term parking garage in business attire isn’t particularly enjoyable, but it’s voluntary misery like that that us car idiots wear like a badge of honor.

Similarly, I drove it around for a few months with a muffler dangling courtesy of a failed seam weld on the inlet pipe. Rather than buy new mufflers and/or tubing (to say nothing of taking it to a shop), I welded the paper thin remaining metal back together with a collection of cold tacks and blow-throughs.
Even in the Falcon’s last SOTU, I’d pointed out that I’ve owned it longer (over six years) than most Falcons’ original owners have. I’d wager the majority of all Falcons produced didn’t live to see their 8th birthday. With that in mind, it’s clear various surfaces (painted, rusting, plastichrome, vinyl, sealed, etc) are showing their need for refurbishment.
And yet it just keeps chugging along, which is the problem. I’m trying to prevent (or just slow?) its descent into beaterdom, but the prime characteristic of a beater is its ability to keep driving with minimal maintenance or cosmetic attention, which the Falcon’s doing beautifully. Maybe not beautifully, but you get the point.
Aside from fixing what breaks, I’ve got semi-grandiose plans for the Falcon. First off, I’d like to swap in a collapsable column and new steering box to tighten things up and prevent impalement. To counteract that safety, I’ll add some danger in the form of a roller 302/5.0 + T5 combo from a late-80s Mustang. I’ll donate (and/or rebuild) this 260 + t10 combo and run it in a resurrected crashed Ranchero.

Just as soon as all my other projects are out of the way, right?

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  1. Sean McMillan Avatar
    Sean McMillan

    It looks pretty far from beaterdom from where I’m sitting. How is it that sheetmetal (and chrome and potmetal) lasts so long in CA? On this coast the tin worm is almost as bad as the road salted north.

    1. mad_science Avatar

      I live pretty far from any salty air. Cars in beach towns rust pretty quickly.

  2. outback_ute Avatar

    Sounds like a solid plan, and also one that doesn’t need to happen quickly.
    My father has a 1968 Falcon GT that had an engine rebuild that gained some more power, plus it has later model front brakes with ventilated rotors instead of the original solid disks that were pretty sad at track days. He also has a set of 225/50R16 r-compound tyres and a 4-pt harness for use on the track. People keep suggesting more upgrades but it is a slippery slope!

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