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I need some getting started advice.

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by JeremyBurke, May 27, 2013.

  1. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Hey all I need some advice about getting started on my first project car. First let me give you a little background. I am 36, I have three kids all boys 6, 4, and 2. Which only means that right now I don't have a ton of free time, but some, but it also means my budget is tight. I am a mechanical engineer with some basic skills. I can weld pretty well, and I can operate a mill and a lathe well enough to get myself in some trouble. I have rebuilt engines mostly motorcycle, I have also don transmissions (also motorcycle), and every carburetor anything I own has had. I have never done any paint or body work. And I have done some very basic electrical work. I live in the Portland Oregon area in an HOA neighborhood (my mistake). I want a car that I can work on and expand my meager skills, spend time in the shop with my boys, and hopefully get at least one of them hooked on cars as well. But because of the time constraints it should be a driver so I can enjoy it even when I can't find time to work. I mean a guy still has to get to work right? My dad wants in on this too but the last car he rebuilt was a '46 mercury in 1967. Poor married life and living in the jungles of Peru side tracked his hot ridding self after that.

    So now the advice section I like Ford's and Merc's. I never thought of myself as brand loyal but that's just what I like. The more I look the more I like later Fairlanes '62-'64 with the '63 sport coupe being my favorite. I like mid '50's Merc's the 1953 Monterey in particular. I also love '50's Fords and late '40's F1 trucks. And is there anyone that doesn't like a shoebox.

    So my question is this where to start? My budget is small sub 3k but slowly growing, but I am willing to work and I want to learn just not be overwhelmed. So being able to find parts is a must, that being said scrounging for that next thing is a big part of why this hobby interests me.

    For the beginner is unibody(Fairlane, Meteor, Comet) better, or is body on frame, everything else, better.

    So should I get a later model Fairlane and just learn by keeping it on the road? Maybe swap in a hotter engine and do some suspension and brake upgrades over time.

    Get an F1 and scrounge a junkyard thunderbird IRS and Crown Vic IFS for some hotrodding fun?

    Or do the same in a shoebox or fifties Merc?

    I don't want to just be that guy well all know with a project car under boxes in the garage for 20 years.
    I have attached pictures a few of the ones near me that are interesting. The cars are runners the truck is minus a motor, trans and interior.


    ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1369692312.637463.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1369692329.631961.jpg ImageUploadedByH.A.M.B.1369692449.355911.jpg


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  2. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    First, pick a car YOU like. Not what's trendy. So far, you have stated 4 favorites. Pick one. Then, begin the hunt.

    Unless your mind changes, NEVER pick a car because it's convenient. You'll never have the passion to finish something you don't like in the first place. I'd keep saving for an affordable version of a running car. They are easier to move around and will keep your interest, rather than a pile of parts.

    Don't be in a hurry to join the fun. Lots of guys start out hot and heavy, but as time goes on, one of two things happen. They either give up or end up with crap. If it takes a while to finish, let it. The asphalts not going anywhere.
     
  3. kracker36
    Joined: Jan 21, 2012
    Posts: 756

    kracker36
    Member

    I have several 62-64 fairlanes. I really like all three years. If the 63 is your favorite, then be patient and keep an eye on your local craigs list. I have a ton of parts for these, so if you need any help, then just let me know. The early Granada dics brakes work on these as well. There are not as many aftermarket front suspensions available for these like there are for comets and falcons, but dont let anyone tell you the a nice rebuilt front suspension will not drive great. No need for power steering either. The biggest plus is that these are cool cars that can still be bought at a fair price most of the time.
     
  4. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Thanks for the advice tfeverfred. This brings up another question. When is a car finished? Is it when you can't think of anything else you'd change? Or when you get bored and sell?


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  5. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,792

    tfeverfred
    Member Emeritus

    They're never finished. When I stated finished, I meant you're driving around and having fun. But you'll always have things to do to it, so they're never REALLY finished.
     
  6. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Thanks kracker36. I do think the '63 Fairlane Sport Coupe is my favorite. Just have to be patient and look. I am looking forward to the local all Ford show and swap meet next week hoping to get some clarity there.


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  7. A meager budget just means you have to use common sense,,with 3 boys a sedan would be prudent.

    Being able to load the family up would be a priority in my book,,so as cool as the old trucks are I would forget it for now.

    The Fairlane or shoebox would be my choice. HRP
     
  8. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Thanks hotrodprimer. You're right loading the boys and the wife up for a country roads cruise is one of the things I most look forward to.


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  9. kracker36
    Joined: Jan 21, 2012
    Posts: 756

    kracker36
    Member

    All drive train, suspension, and most interior parts are the same for 62-65 Fairlanes. A 289 or 302 fit nicely and can be had for a budget friendly build.
     
  10. theHIGHLANDER
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,242

    theHIGHLANDER
    Member

    Don't "settle". Keep your aim, shoot for the best of your likes, as in "...really want a shoebox but one those (fill in the blanks) is available right now..." because you'll want the top shot even more every time you see one. Self-inflicted misery! For years I wanted a 62 Belair spt cpe (bubbletop). As the years went on the 61 just seemed to scratch the itch that much better. I like the headlight/grille treatment better. The deck lid and taillamp layout is simply trick with a feature line that wraps around the car from front to back. Had a chance at both at the time and decided it's the 61 I really want, so I got it from a fellow HAMB member that wasn't on the other side of the country. It's been sitting now for a while due to family strife 1st (lost both parents in a 2yrs span) employment issues, health concerns and deteriorating physical condition. But I can't give up on my vision and I will get it done. Let's take it out of the HAMB world for a minute. Suppose your dream Chevelle is a 68 SS396. A 69 looks the same to the casual observer, but it's not the 68. You find a good deal on a 69 and "settle" for it based on price, time, passion, whatever. Every time you go through a parts catalog, hit a cruise night, see one on TV, you're pissed that you didn't wait and just lust after the 68 even more. Bottom line, stay focused and get what you really want. Also, be creative and learn what the parts and accessories are worth for the cars close to what you like. Develop some low level expertise at the stuff and don't be afraid to buy and sell for a profit to fund your newly acquired addiction (affliction?). Last, use the network you have for assistance. Help like-minded friends and don't be shy about trading labor. No shame in any of this game. Well for some of the crooks out there, but your network helps there too. Enthusiasm is contagious, but it's fragile too. Caveat Emptor...
     
  11. budd
    Joined: Oct 31, 2006
    Posts: 3,478

    budd
    Member

    don't get all excited and buy something after dark without really looking it over, if i were you i'd buy a running, driving project, heres a nice looking car with a price a little more then $3000 but in the long run it might end up costing you less.

    http://portland.craigslist.org/clc/cto/3832770396.html
     
  12. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    That is a pretty if I had that cash right now I would be sorely tempted.


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  13. 53fordcustom
    Joined: Jan 3, 2011
    Posts: 412

    53fordcustom
    Member

    Definitely find one your in love with building. If your planning on hauling kids around obviously the sedan is the way to go. My .02 depending on your plans is that if you want to redo an interior the truck is nothing compared to the cost of refinishing a ful car with a couple bench seats.. & that's even when you do it yourself
     
  14. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Thanks for all the help everyone. You all are saying about the same thing my dad did. Nice to have the agreement. Especially with those that have and are doing this.


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  15. kracker36
    Joined: Jan 21, 2012
    Posts: 756

    kracker36
    Member

    If it wasnt so far away, I have a 63 Sports Coupe / 289 project that is pretty solid. LOOOONNNG way from Mississippi!
     
  16. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Don't be so sure my father in law lives in Houston and loves a good road trip. Shoot me a pm with the details.


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  17. fordor41
    Joined: Jul 2, 2008
    Posts: 957

    fordor41
    Member

    I picked my car, decided to make changes in the winter. One year dics brakes, one year engine, then interior etc. In the summer decide what changes/ upgrades to do next. That way you can drive it in the summer and evaluate what worked to your liking. Also spreads the expense out a bit.
     
  18. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    I really like this advice thanks.


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  19. e-tek
    Joined: Dec 19, 2007
    Posts: 424

    e-tek
    Member
    from SK, Canada

    Wow - this forum has come a LONG way from the day of NOT being able to ask this exact same question! Either you guys have mellowed rightout or all the real a-holes have puckered up and gone.....I suspect it's a little of each - LOL!

    Kinda similar to fordor41, this hobby lends itself to keeping busy in winter. Heck, I almost look forward to winter as I make a list of all the things I want to accomplish on my rides and rods over that time.
     
  20. fastcar1953
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 2,574

    fastcar1953
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    only thing i can add is watch for rust on unibody. gets expensive real quick. i prefer full frame cars. pull the body do the drivetrain and suspension, then set body on and finish.
     
  21. I have to agree with all the "get what you really want" posters. Spend a little more initially for a runner so you can move it around when the H.M.A. snivels about your project being outside the garage. You would also be warmly welcomed to the N.W. HAMBERs social group. I kinda liked the look of that shoebox 4dr. Ford. They make great family style cruisers.
     
  22. 59Apachegail
    Joined: Apr 30, 2011
    Posts: 1,383

    59Apachegail
    Member
    from New York

    Hello,

    I got an old truck because they are cheap, easy to work on and parts are readily available everywhere. Trucks are really under appreciated, they are like minivans from yesteryear. I had "0" know how when I first joined and I have gained lots of knowledge in two years here. I am still a noob by a long shot but I keep learning. I know to those outside of the hobby they think my truck is just a heap that needs paint but I could care less. IMHO if money is a factor a finished project is cheaper than starting from scratch. Keep in mind that changing a valve cover gasket will always morph into a lot more $ no matter how hard you try to avoid it. A truck is cool, safe and it can still be useful no matter how old. If seating space is a concern and you're handy with a welder you can build a crew cab out of an apache pickup and a burb, a smart guy here pulled it off. Good luck and enjoy the hobby with your boys.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2013
  23. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    This is one of the things that made me worry about unibody. Full frame seems easier to break things down into smaller more solvable problems.


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  24. 3spd
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 546

    3spd
    Member

    Good luck on your project whatever it may be!

    My advice is watch craigslist; you never know what will come up that strikes your fancy. You may find a car you never knew you liked.

    Also; if you ever need a hand don't hesitate to give me a shout. I am always happy to lend a hand.

    Ryland
     
  25. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,830

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Ok,
    I have personally owned a 51 Chevy 3100, 47 Willys CJ2A, 1st 1955 GMC H100, 49 Ford tudor, 50 Ford Business Coupe, 52 Chevy Business Coupe, 64 F100, 63 F250, 62 Ford Galaxie 500 Tudor Victoria Club Coupe, 1964 Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe and a 1950 F-1.
    Of the trucks the F-1 is my favorite. Of the cars the Galaxie was my favorite. I suspect the Fairlane may eclipse her when I get it on the road.
    My F-1 is an old hot rod. It's pretty much stock except for a 302 and a 51 front fenders grille and hood.
    The shoe boxes were my dream cars and they were nice. I loved my 50 Coupe. There was no comparison between it and the Chevy. The Chevy was a sweet running car that loved 45-50 mph but the Ford would go down the road like any modern car with it's flathead.
    Of the cars you mentioned I think the Fairlane Sport Coupes will be good for you. 63-64 especially 289 would be my sugestion. I lean towards 64 since more 289s were offered and they had the early C-4. Make sure it has no rust in the torque box. The Sport Coupes need nothing. Speaking of trends, enough of these cars have been built with a Thunderbolt hood and vented lights to point I think it's becoming cheesy. I've seen 4drs with Bolt hoods and light vents. A Sports Coupe needs none of that to be cool, it already is.

    Shoeboxes are good cars. They need nothing. The stock suspension is a good design and was the reason they made a good whiskey car. As mentioned they get down the road well with their original engines, even or I might add especially the sixes.
    Shoebox quirks...
    Expect the suspension and brakes to need attention. Going back stock is fine, especially the suspension.
    The cross member can pose a problem in some engine swaps.
    The rear axle is good but not great.
    6 volts, the older I get the more I think staying 6 volt may be the way to go. Converting to 12volts is pretty simple. Gas tank most of the time in these cars need replaced due to rust.
    Look for rust in the rockers and trunk edges.
    IMHO 4DR Shoe boxes look like taxi cabs.
    F-1s Solidly built are another vehicle that needs nothing if it's in good shape. It will take ford truck wheels to mid 1996.
    F-1 quirks...
    Straight axle and suspension will need to be in good order. The steering box can be pricy but it's still cheaper than a suspension swap.
    As with most 50s trucks you'll need a tube mount or other after market adapters to mount a later model engine.
    Gas tank in cab?? To me it's a non issue.
    Clutch linkage to later manual transmissions can be a pain.
    3 can ride in a F-1 but it's tight like any truck of the era.
    63-4 Fairlane Sport Coupes are modern cars compared to these oldies.
    Since you have a family the 57-59 4 door Fords, especially the harftops look very good.
    61-64 Galaxies are great cars, my favorite is the 62 but 63 1/2 and 64 are great cars.
    Of course here are some no-brainers if you stumble upon them, 48 Olds Rocket 88, 48-52 Pontiacs, 50-54 Bel Air Hardtops, 55-57 Chevys, 39-48 Ford and of course I would not kick a stock model A out of the garage.
     
  26. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 2,830

    F-ONE
    Member
    from Alabama

    Oh, one more thing. The purchase price is little money BUT that little money in the initial purchase dictates the Big money spent later. Buy the best you can afford.
     
  27. randy
    Joined: Nov 15, 2003
    Posts: 679

    randy
    Member

    HOA's don't generally tolerate dudes working on cars of any vintage...at least not the ones around here. My first advice? Move out of that MF'ing HOA. If that's not possible, at least make sure they won't shut you down as soon as you pull the dipstick.
     
  28. Jeremy, I had the same issue with my HOA but once I meet with the prez and he saw what I was doing he was good with the project as long as I welded inside or covered up. he didn't wont any of the kids staring at the welding sparks. I have an air compressor running most of the time when working on my car but no complaints.

    As far as what you should work on, I agree with everyone pick what you love and start cutting it up and rebuild. I have three kids and time is short but I have my kids around the car and helping some what, my kids are 6, 3 and 2. You will see your project will become the family project soon. Have fun and build...
     
  29. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Yes flathead good.

    I mean no one and there dream any disrespect but I will not be making any thunderbolt clones. 100 was enough. Just daily, or nearly, driving a car older than me is unique and cool enough for me.




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  30. JeremyBurke
    Joined: May 10, 2013
    Posts: 62

    JeremyBurke
    Member

    Thanks so much for all the great replies everyone. When I first posted this I thought I would get maybe 3 replies and one of them would be a sod off FNG. I really appreciate all the info and help. Can't wait to buy and start busting my knuckles. Thanks again all.


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