The second stop on my trip down to Pistons and Paint (see show coverage here and 1st shop visit here) was at Oklahoma City’s Shoebox Central. Owner Chris has owned shoeboxes as far back as high school, so he knows them inside and out. He has a ton of parts cars out back and shelves and shelves of various parts inside, pulled from parts cars, some N.O.S., some reproductions, all kinds of parts for just about anything else you could need.
Next up for the 51 Ford is to finish what I’d previously started. Not very exciting but getting the booth ready for the KKOA had to take precedence. So back to the regularly scheduled program… I’ll drain the bad gas out of the tank, take a peek inside and see how it looks. Then either clean and seal the tank or just put some good gas in and see how she starts. For more info on Ford’s “shoebox” check out this blog post.
Then the Aerostar springs for the front (3″ drop and variable spring technology for a great ride quality) and new drop springs for the rear will go in with the freshened up 1978 Granada rear end.
So that’s the next few months of my evenings when I’m not working on rebuilding the website, creating the Calendar for Charity, resting for the day job and all the other things on the list :). The point is, make a list, and get about the business of knocking items off of that list so you can get your old heap on the road too!
In the week since the last post about my 51 I’ve driven the 63 Galaxie 13 hours round trip to Springfield, MO for the Queen City Riot and I’ve done a small amount of work on the 51. To see more about the Queen City Riot show coverage see the gallery here or the blog posts Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
All that I got done on the 51 this week was installing a new fuel pump and verifying that it was in fact working. Installing the pump shouldn’t have taken nearly as long as I took, but it’s on now. Just a hint, if the engine is still in the car, it’s easier to take off the pump and the housing that it’s attached to than to remove the pump from that housing, unless you have a special 1/2″ shorty wrench or super thin walled sockets. So after some cursing, some head scratching and using an old Cragar S/S wheel with tire as a platform to stand on, I got the pumps swapped out.
Next step was to get the pump plumbed. Dammit. On both the inlet and outlet the new pump had larger connectors than the existing lines that the car had. A trip to Salina (20 miles each way) and 3 different stores (the 2 auto parts stores didn’t have them) and I came up with a set of new hose barbs and some new hoses. I replaced the existing rubber lines with the new hoses, primed the carb, hooked up the battery and turned the key.
She sputtered for a second or two, ran out of the gas in the carb and died. The fuel bowl was still empty on the fued pump too. So I cranked it a few times to see if the pump was able to draw any fuel up from the tank. Bone dry. After a few more attempts the battery was dieing and I was tired anyways so I called it a night. The plan for the next day would be to charge the battery, and see if the fuel pump could pull gas out of a water bottle directly next to it.
The next day I ran out to my Dad’s to borrow a gas can, the 5 mile trip was better than the 20 miles to town, and to pick up my battery charger that he’d bought for me years ago. Since I’ve recently decided to actually start working on my cars in my garage it would be good to have it home. I hooked up the battery charger and went into the house for some lunch. Upon my return I filled the water bottle with gas and stuck the fuel pump feed hose into it and tried the ignition again. Again the car only sputtered for a few seconds but I could see the fuel pump was pulling gas out of the bottle. Yay! that means that the pushrod between the cam and fuel pump might work.
Next up will be to see if I can get the car to run on that bottle of gas in the engine compartment. If so, then I need to replace the soft line at the fuel tank and try to use the air compressor to blow air through the hard line to make sure it’s not clogged shut. After that I’ll reconnect my new soft fuel lines at the tank and lightly use the compressor to put air into the tank to try to force the fuel up the line towards the pump. If the engine is capable of running and that line is full of fuel, we might be able to get her to move under her own power.
The tank is visibly newer than the straps that hold it into the car but I still will snake a camera down the filler pipe to see what the inside of the tank looks like. If need be I have a tank sealer kit waiting standby.
So, that’s where it stands for now, I hope to report next week that she is moving under her own power, see you at a show,
On Memorial Day 2012 my father, my nephew Gannon and I went to Kanopolis Lake about 40 miles west of Salina, KS with the truck and trailer to pick up my 1951 Ford Custom 2 Door Sedan. I’m hoping to do as much of this car as possible myself, and I’m no mechanic. This will be a challenge but I hope to show a bunch of you that you can tackle these jobs involved in bringing an old car back to life if you break them down into small jobs.
From the outside the car looks to be all there. While it wont start and the previous owner said that he drove it from Salina to the lake home, he said it was missing on a couple of cylinders by the time that he got to the lake.
After a quick hose down I see that the weather stripping is not doing it’s job, so I pull back the carpet where the water had dripped to see what was underneath and I find a flattened out Folgers Coffee can as a floor patch. No biggie the floors can be replaced.
The paint looks decent for the most part, probably a 70’s era re-spray, the trunk was in the sun for 8 years so it’s rather oxidized and faded. After a year, I finally got a space cleaned out in my garage at home and I drug the car home so that I could start to tinker with her and see if I could bring the ol flathead back to life. The factory front grille was removed to go on my buddy Jack’s 51 Ford Kustom that he’s just finished with the help of Chaotic Customs, Fast A.L.’s Upholstery and others, and it will be replaced with a 54 Pontiac grille that I have.
Wanting to do things myself as much as possible but knowing when to call in an expert, I had a friend rebuild the factory carb, if I had done that myself it would be months before I did it. So now with a new carb and a freshly charged battery I try to start the old girl. No go. Not getting a drop of fuel out of the fuel pump even though the bowl on the pump is full. A trip to O’Reillys and a new fuel pump is on the way. So next up is to swap the fuel pump and try her again.
Once the car is running and I can take it for the occasional drive up and down the block it’s time to save up for a wiring harness. The 60 year old cloth covered wiring is in bad need of replacement. In the mean time I have a set of Ford Aerostar springs for the front which will bring the front end down about 3 inches and give the car a better ride quality, for the rear my buddy Jack has given me a set of blocks to get the altitude right.
Power washing the gunk off the bottom of the car
Another upgrade that I hope to do soon is installing a 77 Ford Maverick rear end, from everything that I’ve read it’s a near perfect fit and a much higher quality rear end with a better suited gear than the factory setup. The 3 speed with OD should mate well with the new rear gears. Before I can install that I need to get a lesson in how to rebuild brakes so I can finish the Maverick rear end before it goes under the car.
A while back someone asked me if I had a way to search for a specific kind of car on my website. I don’t. It would take a tremendous effort to go back now and label each of the 36,000 images as to what the cars are. So I decided to try to find a work around. The solution for now is having Vehicle Specific Galleries. The goal here is to gather up images of similar cars so you can quickly and easily see many different ways that each body style can be done. The hope is that you might find inspiration in these photos and go build something of your own to enjoy.
The last 2 are not 100% up to date, I try to go and add a few each night until I’m done but they have a good start.
I hope to have more in the near future but it does take a significant amount of time to collect these images together so bear with me. If there are any specific models that you would like to see collected as a gallery let me know by using the email form at the top of this blog or by commenting below.
Those of you that know me know that I’ve recently purchased a 51 Ford, affectionately known as a shoebox. I’ve loved this body style for quite awhile and I’m excited to get started working on mine later this year (after finishing some upgrades to the 63 Galaxie).
So what years of the Ford are considered shoeboxes?
1949-1951 due to their “slab side” design, gone are the bulging fenders and they are replaced with a relatively straight body shell.
Here’s an example of the side of the body.
Compared to the 46-48 style before it.
How do you tell the years apart?
Here is an example of a 49, note the single “bullet” grille, triangular turn signals at the end of the grille bar and the FORD letters on the hood.
The 50 carries on the single bullet design but moves to a rectangular turn signals in the trim pieces that wrap around the front bumper and badge at the front of the hood.
By 1951 they moved to the easily identifiable double bullet grille design and round turn signals.
While many chop their shoeboxes, I am torn on what I will do. Speaking of roofs though, here’s an example of the Victoria model roof.
VS. the standard sedan roof
Here’s an example of the factory coupe roofline
They also came in the Country Squire “woody” version
From the factory these cars came with flathead 6’s or 8’s. My 51 came with a 239 cu. in flathead V8 “8BA” motor and a 3speed with Overdrive transmission. I have heard that there were automatics available in 51 with the Ford-o-matic transmission. Atomic Hot Rods just released a cool documentary on the Flathead last year called A Sweet Sickness: The Flathead Movie Go to the site to order a copy for yourself, click here to see the trailer.
9/14/13 Update: I had my buddy Chris over at Shoebox Central look through here for any errors, thanks for taking the time Chris! If anyone needs parts for their Shoebox Ford or even some Merc stuff of the era, head over to Shoebox Central.