In early 2008 I really didn’t need another car project…but then nobody usually needs ANOTHER car project. However, I had a 1986 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe that I drove for years in the late 1980’s that I really liked. I really liked the 1987 and 1988 years but kind of forgot about them for a long time.
I ran across this old ‘bird listed online for under $700 and was quite interested from the first sight. Below is a rather recent picture but she sure didn’t start out like that.
This is more representative of how it all started in 2008..
Follow along with some of the rebuild information for more details…
She looks a LOT better here than when we pulled her out of the yard where she had been sitting for some time.
I was looking for some type of 4×4 so we would have something that could actually get around in the snow and ice and ran across this old Ranger for $400. Granted, it had led a pretty rough life over her last few years apparently being ridden hard and put up wet so to speak. I understood the owners son had thrashed the old Ranger around the back roads where they lived and finally the old 2.9L was having issues.
The engine had water in the oil and oil in the water and the
previous owner had pulled off the intake with the understanding it was a
simple intake gasket issue.
Honestly I really didn’t care as my plans at the time was to use one of
the 2.3L turbo four cylinder engines I had and replace the 2.9 with it.
The deal was struck and at least the own had the title to make
things go a little smoother.
I did have to pay a pretty hefty penalty as they hadn’t keep the tag up
but we drug her home and I started playing around with it.
Below is how she looked sitting in front of the old building when we originally looked at her
More recent pic of the front – Still need to bed liner coat the roof at this
point in 2017.
The car was found on Craigslist in Wichita Falls Texas, about a two and three quarter’s hour drive from where we live. I talked quite a bit with the current owner and found out the history of the car to some degree. He had owned it since 1990 but pulled it off the road in 1999 due to low power, turbo “whine” and smoking. Originally a California car, he had moved to Wichita Falls over the past few years and had kept the car under a small carport in his back yard.
This had been good for the car as it was overall protected from the elements but it’s rear was exposed to the sun thus some sun and slight hail damage on the back side. I looked over the car the best I could. The turbo was in the hatch area and the car was a bit in shambles on the inside but it appeared to be all there. The seller was firm on his price but he did have a valid Texas title for the car in his name so the deal was made for $1500 and we proceeded to load it up on the trailer.
She was a bit ugly with the missing outer turn signals and the ugly black
steelies but the car looked pretty rust free, the doors worked great and the
turn signals were inside the car including the really hard to find passenger
one. Along with that were a brand new Ford in the box pair of rear tail light
lenses that went with it.
Li – Our New Puppy
While I’m out working hard to get a new “horse” in our stable, my wife is out
looking for a new dog. She actually called me on the phone while we were loading
up the car to ask how things were going and when I said I bought the car, she
said she bought a dog. Quan Li Ponder, or “Lee” was there to greet me as a
little furry ball of love when I arrived home and has been our little furry
friend ever since.
I have always liked and wanted an SVO Mustang from back in the 1980’s when I bought my first 1986 TurboCoupe and learned about the SVO car. However they were way out of my price range and were hard to come by obviously. Interestingly sometime around 2009 I saw a set of nice SVO wheels for sale in the local craiglist listings. The guy said $75 this week or they are going to be scrapped. I didn’t HAVE an SVO Mustang then but for that price and the thought of SVO wheels being junked I thought it was worth it just to have them so I bought them.
Having the wheels on hand my interest in the SVO cars was reignited and I started searching around for what might be available. I joked with my wife that I had a set of SVO wheels, I needed a SVO car to go with them. In the spring of 2009 I ran across this car for $1500 in Wichita Falls Texas. Ironically the car was MISSING the SVO wheels so it seemed a perfect match. 🙂
After a long time of cleaning part, buying parts, prepping parts, and testing parts the 1966 Galaxie 500 is back on the ground with an update 3.55 9″ posi unit and a clean and undercoated bottom. More details in the link.
Follow along here as the ’66 Galaxie 500 is built after dragging it home in late 2015. Some of the early pages assumed we were going to simply fix up a few things and get it running, but over time the project went deeper and we are cleaning things up, prepping them and properly finishing them. Takes longer but better build in the long run.
Follow along here as my son and I rescue yet another car, this time a 1966 Galaxie 500 Fastback car that was rusting away (well not much rust actually) in a field abandoned after some apparent attempts to bring it back to life. Below are a few pics from the beginning, click on the left links with the updates to follow the work being done.
The car is a Father / Son project with both of us contributing
to the cost and the labor required to rescue such a car. I’ve rescued three old
cars before. The first was a $700 1988 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe that needed
freeze plugs, clutch, front nose and a lot more to get back on the road. Next
was my $1500 1985 Mustang SVO that had been off the road for 10 years and needed
the turbo unseized, cooling system resolved, proper SVO wheels, and much more as
well. Last was a $400 1989 Ranger 4×4 that had been torn down and totally abused
but was a pretty solid old truck still and I wanted a 4×4 but not a new truck
We’re pretty sure she has been punched in the face a little bit at some point
with the replacement hood and stone guard and the 1965 grill she is sporting
right now. We do have a proper 1966 grill on the way and lights if we want to go
that route but not bad looking as she sits really. The hood is in really bad
shape and appears to have been stored outside upside down collecting water in
the front area as much of it is rusted out support wise as well as sheet metal
wise. Hopefully we’ll find a replacement.
The long term plan is a fun driver with some punch when it’s needed but keeping things as affordable as possible. With that in mind and some spare 5.0 engines and EFI parts left over from other projects, the plan may be a 5.0 EFI power plant and either a C4 or 4R70W automatic transmission. It also may be a carb setup, just depends on how things go. Wheel wise is still up in the air but we have some black steelies that may look tough enough with some white lettered tires and a bit of lowered stance for an old NASCAR nasty look. Time will tell as we move along through the project though.
Currently owned – Needed a 4×4 and apparently another project the Ranger came along for $400 and not running. Long term I have a 1993 Explorer 4×4 chassis, engine, and driveline that is the long term upgrade. For now it’s running and working good enough with it’s old clacking 2.9L.
Currently owned – My son started getting interested in another old car project while in college and we found this old Gal for $500 as a long term project for he and I. Since then he’s had a beautiful baby girl, started a new career, bought a new house for his family and the Gal lives at our house. Slow progress continues however.
Currently owned – My father purchased this truck new in 1994 for a commuter vehicle and to have a pickup. He drove it as his main vehicle until his passing in 2004. The last time he took our son Austin out to buy a toy before he couldn’t drive any more was in this truck. My mother passed it on to Austin in 2017 for him to drive. He added some 30″ tires and wheels like the Ranger has on it and put quite a few miles on it. Even today however, it still only has about 95k on the odometer.
In 2019 Austin needed a bigger truck to get his family in so I bought the truck from him and will be using it for a nice driver often. Plans are to put some 2007 Mustang wheels and tires on it and lower it back down as I already have the 1989 Ranger as an off road truck.
More content coming soon.
1991 Mustang GT
Sold – Austin’s first car – sold long ago but it was a very nice FoxBody.
1995 Nissan 240SX Project
Sold – First father / son car project with Austin. One wrecked red car, one white roller ends up with one fun car in the end.