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Technical So what was your first mod?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by ChoppaScott, Jul 1, 2018.

  1. Bought a 48 ford coupe that sat for years next to this old house for 5 bucks! Got a free 50 Olds 303 if I would pull it out myself from a garage owner friend of the family. Put that in the Ford with a 39 trans. Car wouldn't pass inspection as the side windows were trashed and fogged so badly. The windshield just barely met the requirements. Bummed out for sure but being young and stupid we just removed all the glass in the side windows and went back to the inspection station. It did not say in the book that you had to have glass so we got a sticker finally. Couldn't afford the starter crossover so we just pushed it to start it until I traded up for a better driver when I met my wife to be. (Her Dad wouldn't let me park the hot rod in their yard ) Kept "may pops" in the trunk that were free. Used to have flats all the time. We got real good at changing tires on the road in a matter of a few minutes. those were the days as they say....
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  2. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,692

    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Can't say for sure but I think it was putting a Hurst shifter in Mom's volkswagon. Dad actually liked it.
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  3. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 5,246



    Other than modifying model cars with body work, headers from wax bars, as well as chassis parts, etc, most of us got started liking cars this way. I was not old enough, legally, to drive, but I was responsible for maintenance and upkeep on my brother’s 51 Olds Sedan. My jobs were to take off and install those Moon Discs, add oil, vacuum and finally wash the Olds. I had to do these things in order to get driven to places I wanted to visit.
    Then, when he sold that car, he bought a new 58 Chevy Impala. Until I was able to drive, he did all of the driving and racing in his car. I did 80-90% of the maintenance, installations, adjustments, and cleaning. He had just gotten the big valve covers chromed and then added a chrome plate for the top of the 3 carb air cleaner. That motor was spic and span.
    upload_2018-7-2_4-26-2.png upload_2018-7-2_4-28-19.png
    But, while I was filming and wander around Lions Dragstrip in those early years, I noticed that several racers had these funny looking, small, aluminum mushroom looking things, sticking out of their valve covers. They were on the front, side, top, near the carbs/blower, anywhere they could be installed without hindering any other functions.
    upload_2018-7-2_4-16-10.png upload_2018-7-2_4-16-30.png upload_2018-7-2_4-17-3.png
    I found out that they were Moon Breathers for various motors. We bought a pair and I installed them on the chrome valve covers. As young as I was, my brother had enough confidence in me to do the installation. A simple installation of measuring, with a few holes added for breathing.


    It was one of those simple installations, but if you screwed up, new valve covers were necessary. Measure and measure again inside of the gasket, etc. Also, it was making sure the area was flat and not bowed. Otherwise, oil would be dribbling out onto the cover or manifold.
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  4. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 5,237


    The enthusiasm, ambition, excitement of youth makes for many great memories in ones life. I believe some of my first mods was using baseball cards with a clothes pin attachment so cards hit wheel spokes for motor sounds when riding, cutting, flattening, drilling hole in conduit, attached at rear axle so bicycle had dual exhaust pipes, turning handle bars over for racy look and lower cg. Us neighborhood kids would race our bikes on home made obstacle and circle tracks, one popular one we used was at local school, made a U shape with a flat, had posts with chain on walk ways to entrance, was bitch when you clipped a post, lost some skin in these events. This type of thread that brings back memories are among my favorite with the PIC threads, it's fun to share and read others adventures.
  5. dodge35
    Joined: Feb 9, 2010
    Posts: 89

    from kentucky

    Had a $80 57 ford custom with a 292 3spd. Put on 4 chrome reverse wheels (kinda rusty). Flipped the rear shackles with a pry bar, put those screw in spacers in the front springs. Bought a complete bucket seat interior out of a totaled 421 pontiac for $75 and installed it along with the center console. Then bought a noname floor shifter for it. I thought i was really styling! Only problem was i kept trashing transmissions, but, rebuilt ones were only $35 at the salvage yard.
  6. robracer1
    Joined: Aug 3, 2015
    Posts: 488


    I'm embarrassed about my 1st mod. First car 56 Chevy, got it at age 15, so after looking at all the custom car magazines I decided to customize it by taken off the emblems and bondo the holes up, well the bondo kept falling out of the holes, so in my yard I pick up Pine tree sticks and stuff them in the holes and put the bondo over the holes sand it down looks great. Till a few days of heavy rains and pine sticks got mushy and everything fell out, put the emblems back on!
    My 2nd one was worse a lot worse
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018
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  7. My first mod would likely have been taking the teapot 4 barrel and intake off my 55 Ford and putting on an intake of a 57 or 58 ford that would accept a modern Holley 4 barrel. Found a carb and put it all together. It actually worked pretty well but I'm not sure it made that tired old 272 run any stronger. :cool:
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  8. racer_dave
    Joined: Nov 16, 2012
    Posts: 205


    1st mod.... edlebrock intake and new holley carb on my 79 chevy truck- daily driver. Had a bunch of other cars before that truck, but don't know if keeping them running counted as mods...
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  9. Clay Belt
    Joined: Jun 9, 2017
    Posts: 381

    Clay Belt

    First mod was putting a pair of chambered mufflers on a Buick LaCrosse last fall. I went with a nice set of Flowmaster Super 44’s, and to put it succinctly, the whole school knew I was nearby about 5 minutes before I showed up
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  10. 2bubbas
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 614


    Hurst shifter in my '59 Corvette-
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  11. czuch
    Joined: Sep 23, 2008
    Posts: 2,688

    from vail az

    Shackles out of bed frame. About 10 inches long.
    Simple physics reared its ugly head as I pulled out of the neighborhood on to the main drag.
    It slewed over and the driveshaft popped out. We couldn't stop laughing as we pushed.
    64 Plymouth Belvedere 4 door, 318 push button tranny.
  12. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 3,021

    from Dublin, OH

    Flip the air cleaner lid over on my Dad's '68 GTO the day after I got my license!
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  13. southerncad
    Joined: Feb 5, 2008
    Posts: 755


    Does taking the muffler off of the Briggs & Stratton in my go-kart and replacing it with a 6 inch piece of water pipe with a 90 at the end count?
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  14. This brought back a long forgotten memory! When I was 13, my mom took a nap and I rode my bike down to the hardware sore and bought a tube of plastic steel and a spray can of black primer. I removed the PONTIAC letters from the hood and trunk of our yellow 55 Pontiac and the hood bird...filled the holes with plastic steel and primered was COOL now!
    MAN! was she pissed!
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  15. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,984

    from California

    I would have to say the first mod to a car I ever did was removing the carpet in my 49 Chevrolet because it smelled like a French Whorehouse in there. the guy I bought it from must have poured a case of those little glass things they used to sell with foofoo smell inside.

    the first actual project on the car was painting the dash and all the garnish moldings with metalflake brown in a spray can. buffed it all out and was quite proud of my 16 year old self.
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  16. Age 16, 1966 Ford F-100 long bed, it had some sort of FE, I was told it was a 390, had to install Wal Mart purchased 2” gauges. Really cool how the oil pressure went up with RPM, and the coolant temp gauge worked even with the engine off. The I had to change to oil to the Motorcraft 20w-40 and FL 1A filter, I was a diehard Ford man then!

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
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  17. 0NE BAD 51 MERC
    Joined: Nov 12, 2010
    Posts: 1,416

    0NE BAD 51 MERC

    First car in 71 was a 67 Merc fastback, 390 four barrel. But it had single exhaust. The cool thing was that the y pipe did not cross over till the leads got pass the trans crossmember . So a trip to the parts store got me a couple straight sections an a couple 45's along with a pair of Walker Continentals. Worse part was cutting the pipes with a hack saw! But I ended up with a nice leak free set of duals coming out in front of the rear tires. And 47 years later I still love the sound of an FE through glass packs!:):):):) lol Larry
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  18. Bikelessbill
    Joined: Oct 1, 2013
    Posts: 111


    Under dash Sears 8 track,stick on hoodpins and home made dual exhaust with used Arvin Orange peeler glass packs! '69 Pontiac Tempest with 283 CHEVY!
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  19. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,661

    john worden
    from iowa

    My cousin and I put Porta-walls on our a 36 Dodge Brothers in 1960 and noticed increased torque and top speed.....
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  20. Dave Mc
    Joined: Mar 8, 2011
    Posts: 2,096

    Dave Mc

    Working in my Dad's Body Shop @ 15 yrs old , I bought a recovered theft Silver 60 Corvair , was banged up so I repaired the damage and repainted it Light Blue metallic , the Modification was 56 Chevy Taillight Lenses , they fit with no alterations
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  21. Dick Stevens
    Joined: Aug 7, 2012
    Posts: 3,029

    Dick Stevens

    Installed full Moon discs, with sheet metal screws, on my 49 Olds 88 after changing the transmission in the driveway with the help of a couple of close friends shortly before my 16th birthday.
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  22. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 4,599


    Don't ya just Love the memories?! I know I do.
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  23. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,084

    from Houston

  24. Well my first car (I was 14) was a Reilly sedan. I guess my first mod was an overhaul, which included a mild overbore the clean the block up. I bought the car for 35 bucks, major selling points were that it had a wood burl dash with a factory tach and twin SUs. It had so much blow by that when I drove it home I had to hang my head out the window to see.

    Anyway I guess my first mod was an overhaul.
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  25. 26Troadster
    Joined: Nov 20, 2010
    Posts: 590

    from Texas

    my first mod was to cut the mufflers off and add pipe in their place, second mod was to add glass packs after the first ticket.
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  26. Actually, my first mod was one I wasn't planning on. I was 15 years old and needed some spark plug wires to get my 1931 Dodge Brothers coupe running for the first time. Went to the local parts store and the guys sold me these clear, red wires and told me that they would glow in the dark with each pulse of electricity. Of course, I believed them and had to have them. They lied.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2018
  27. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,014


    "The 500" steering wheel. Sourced at Hi Gear auto. Sun tach and Cal Custom pedals were a few paychecks later.
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  28. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,354

    Atwater Mike

    Santa Clara, CA. Billy Souza was selling his white-primered '36 Ford 3 window. $15!
    I was 13, had a paper route, also some customers with large lawns, the $10 kind every 2 weeks.
    My Mom said I could get it, to work on. But NO DRIVING! Ha...
    We towed it home, (distributor was on the front seat) In the garage it went.
    Dad had been killed the previous year, so I took over the garage...First thing was to get it running...easy...I helped the guys on the racing team all the time, read every issue of HRM cover to cover...had a Motors Repair manual I bought at the Disabled American Veterans' thrift store. Eight spark plug wires? How would I ever figure that out? LOL
    Mom thought it was light years from running...Next day, she went to work and 10 minutes after her Cad drove off I backed the cool little 3 window out the driveway.
    Took 'er out Benton to Gould St., (now Scott Blvd.) then a wide 2 lane where I could see how she ran...No sooner did I top second than RED LIGHTS in the mirror...a quick growl of the siren...RATS!
    I pulled over, and Officer LaBoa asked for a license...LOL I'm 13. He said "Where'd you learn to drive?" "Anybody can drive..."
    He followed me home. I drove into the garage, then walked out front. LaBoa asked if my Mom was home. "She's at work.." He asked if she knew I took a 'joy ride'. "Heck no, she doesn't know it runs."
    She found out...(grim music...: Dun, dud, dunnn....
    Well, I was 'grounded'. (??? Grounded? Heck, I worked. All the time. How was she gonna 'ground' me?
    I promised I wouldn't take it off the place again, and to convince her, I told her I'd be chopping the top.
    So, that was my first modification. I had some tools, so I bought more hacksaw blades after breaking the existing one on the first "windshield post". ('A-Pillar')
    One of my friends (older, actual member of Hernando's Racing Team. Ritchie Mignano; I was an 'honorary' member) Ritchie was an ACE body man, main guy at United Auto Service...he taught me how to gas weld, so I wasn't afraid to chop a top...
    After the 4-1/2" planned, an error changed that value to 5-1/4".
    Barris told me at the San Jose Autorama to chop it 1" more in the back. "Look at it from side view...see how the top 'rakes'? You don't want that after it's chopped..."
    Best advice I ever had. Ritchie agreed. It 'turned out', but only after some extra cuts and 'slices'. (I didn't like 'slices', or 'diagonals', or any other kinds of 'angles'...but I was constantly learning) I thought the world would be a better place with straight cuts and straight seams, even on the roundest pumpkin shaped car I could find!
    It was radical...I didn't see it 'til I did my doors. (window frames) Holy Hannah!
    My Mom hated it. "Why'd you cut it down so low?" I said, "So everyone can tell it's chopped!"
    They could tell...
    She WAS proud, (she was a gearhead herself, before I ever came along) she showed everybody the places it had been welded, "Look inside...see? Can't see any of the work on the body..."
    Never drove it to school. Traded it for a Model A roadster on '32 rails...Wahoo! Hot Rod!
    But that was my FIRST modification. :p
  29. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,354

    Atwater Mike

    I don't think he '57, I HAD to have those clear beauties on my flathead.
    They sparked all over, between the wires, and onto my finned Edelbrock heads I got from Jim Rose for twenty bucks! (he was goin' "OLDS"! )
    31Dodger and catdad49 like this.
  30. junkyardjeff
    Joined: Jul 23, 2005
    Posts: 7,757


    Replaced the tired 352 in my 65 galaxie with a 390 from a wrecked 69 galaxie that I bought for 35 dollars.

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