1967 Ford LTD

My first car was a 1967 Ford LTD that was given to me by my parents in 1975. 1965-68 Fords were dirt cheap at that time. A friend had purchased a 65 Ford 4 door in absolutely mint condition for $500 with low mileage. Most guys my age (19 years old) in Montreal, had these old Fords for beaters while working on their other cars.

Side view

I'm 19 years old and in between my younger sister and Mom (I'm missing the hair on the top now!)

My parents bought this car about 5 years earlier, it was an ex-taxi and had 90,000 miles on it. It had a FE 390 V8 , 2 barrel carb, C6 tranny and an 8 3/4" rear end which we found out when we tried to fit a replacement 9" in one day. Originally, it had a dark green exterior, black vinyl roof and black interior. It had 4 wheel drum brakes and a vacuum assist that would lose all assist after wide open throttle for some reason. Just when you needed it most after street racing, you would have no brakes for the 2-3 seconds it took the vacuum to regenerate. When I took ownership, it was badly in need of work. For some reason, I decided to restore this gem.

Being young (translate naive) and never having taken a bodyshop course, I cut out the rust (major rust!), pop rivetted in sheet metal (typically galvanized tin from old water tanks) and used fiberglass to smooth everything out. Finishing putty and voila you have a horrible body repair job that looked good from a distance.

In the driveway

Here's the 67 Ford in the driveway and my 55 Chevy on the street

To give you an idea of how bad the body was, I used 2 gallons of fiberglass to repair the rust. I had to build from scratch the rear door frame from the seats to the wheel well. I painted it with 16 spraybombs of Tremclad antirust spray blue which turned out to be a nice color (talk about one sore finger!). I gave it 3 light coats and it actually came out pretty nice. After each coat, I wet sanded with 600 grit paper. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to wax Tremclad paint so it ended up with a satin finish except when it was wet like in a rain storm then it looked fantastic!

I decided that the engine needed rebuilding at about 110,000 miles when it lacked spunk going uphill at 70 mph with 7 guys in it. I torn the engine down in the engine compartment, got 4 friends and lifted the block out using 2x4s and rope. Sent it out to have the cylinders rebored and rings to match. I painted the block and heads orange cause I thought it looked better than blue, the valve covers and air filter were painted gold cause I found some gold paint in the garage. It was ugly!

Put it back together, and started to tighten the tranny bolts. They were very tight until the tranny case cracked. I didn't line up the tranny shaft with the torque convertor and it jammed. (BTW I usually learn the hard way - it gets worse...) Out came the engine and tranny, remember I have to strip the engine down to get it out cause I don't have a lift. Took the tranny to a rebuilder and he gave me a rebuilt tranny for $150.

Back in everything went (reusing all the gaskets), this time I lined up the tranny. Engine started fine, I tuned it up and took it for a spin. This is when I realized that I should of changed the bearings at the same time. Now that the pistons were tight, the bottom end was knocking to beat the band.

My sister's boyfriend was a heavy duty mechanic and he volunteered to change the bearings without removing the engine. We disconnected the motor mounts and jacked up the engine as high as it would go to slip the oil pan out. I don't know how he did it looking back now, but we loosened each rod and main bearing cap and replaced the bearings. I don't remember having the heads done which should be part of every rebuild. I don't remember what size bearings were put in either. I just ended up helping out my sister's boyfriend who swore a lot for some reason.....

accident

One crunched front end

It ran great for about 4 months until I hit a dumptruck at 60 mph and crunched the front end. The fan drilled a nice 18 inch hole in the rad and the bumper ended up pushed against the passenger side wheel. It had moved about 2 feet back.

$200 later, I had a new front end, welded on new bumper mounts and straightened the frame at a neighbor's body shop. I kept the car only for about 6 months after that when I discovered that the frame was rusted and I could easily put a screwdriver through it in several places. I sold it for $500.

I learned a lot by working on this old car. Like I said, I learn by my mistakes and did I ever make some big ones on this car.

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Copyright May 2011 Eugene Blanchard