Kevin's 72 Convertible era-correct project ... you've all inspired me

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Sep 15, 2023
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My Car
1972 RamAir Conv, 351C 4v, 4-spd
2008 Calif Spl Conv
The car has has been sitting way too long, because of real life priorities, but my kids are out of college and I'm done shoveling money out the door, so it's officially time to get this guy dusted off and finish the build. I figure if I post this, then the project is official and it'll add some mental motivation for myself (always good to have friends check in on you and give you a nudge when needed). So here's what I have, and what I'm doing, and some brain-dump stuff just so it's all out there.

My original 72 coupe (bought in 1979) got a new motor in the 80s - a 351C M-code that I bought from a boneyard and rebuilt. I put tons of driving on that motor. The car was too rusted to restore, so I bought a 72 convertible and swapped most of the coupe parts into it - interior, drive train, etc. I had it on the road about 10 years ago, so it won't take a lot to get it on the road again, but the body needs a ton of help. I live in the desert, so with it in my garage, there's little concern over rust anywhere.

The car: 72 convertible, with a 1970 351C M-code, 4 spd, limited slip 9-inch. Boss 351 intake, Ram air, deluxe interior, gage/tach setup, staggered shocks. I put "era-correct" because I want to try to keep everything Ford. It has a Ford 8-track player, Ford Boss 351 valve covers (even has the baffles and drip rails inside) ... you get the idea. No after-market gages, etc. It's a Frankenstein car in a sense, but everything on it will be from Ford and from that era as much as possible. I'll get some photos when I'm out there next and get under the hood a bit.
Goal: a fun and fast Sunday driver that is nice enough to have at a car show, even if it never wins a thing.

Steps, in priority ... and some misc thoughts
1) Space: I still have the old rusted donor car. Get the last of the items off it and get the space back in my garage - this is mandatory so I have room to work.
2) Drivetrain: It needs a check. Ran fine a few years back, but it's been sitting, so flush out everything, prime, etc. before restarting it. Fix any leaks that show up and install the few needed parts that I already have (pertronix, a new radiator). Driveable state is mandatory, but I'll hold off on the other fun stuff for later so as to not slow the project down.
3) Paperwork: DMV, etc - it is titled and previously registered, so easy to do here. Mandatory so I can bring it to any shops if needed, even if it is an eyesore still at this point.
4) Body: Bondo and Paint. Need to decide how bad it is (there is cracked bondo) and how much I'll do vs. $$ at a body shop. Also need to decide color, and if I want to use the urethane bumper or not (already have it)
5) Top: Replacement. I'm not doing this ... this needs an expert and not something I can screw up three times and retry. I know my limitations :). The frame, hoses and pump are in good shape. Mandatory, but after paint.
6) Wheels and tires: The car has old rusted Cragar SSTs on it ... and while it was kinda cool in 1983, I think I'll do oversized Magnum 500s. It's driveable as is, so this will be later on, once the more important stuff is done/decided.
7) Interior: It's clean, but needs to be restored. I have some fun optional things to add down the road - stuff I own but isn't installed yet: power windows (I have the glass and door panels), tilt wheel with a rim blow, center console (it needs fixing), and new seat upholstery. All of this is nice-to-have, as time/money allows. Without all this, I still have a running this part will be last.

So ... there it is. It's officially a project now. I just plugged in the battery charger ... so it starts
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A Couple Pics
Gotta start somewhere... needs some spring-cleaning for sure
Yup...thats a Ford 8-track player, and an original Toploader shifter.


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Radiator in
New Leland all aluminum radiator. 3 rows. Everything lined up and it came with lower clips for the shroud. Would have preferred a non-auto, but it's what I bought a while ago and going with what I have. Old one had leaks on the side reservoir and was paper thin


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Looks like you have a nice car to start with, I am looking forward to seeing your progress. It's nice that it's a desert car as far as rust issues are concerned. I got mine out of Vegas and it lived it's whole life in Vegas and Palm Springs before that.
My father-in-law had an old Radio Shack all-in-one unit - radio, turntable and 8 track recorder. I wired my ipod into it and managed to record newer music on an old 8-track blank tape. My son liked Nirvana, so I had Smells Like Teen Spirit jamming on the 8-track taking him to school ages ago. :)
Honestly though, I'm betting it's a Tom Petty tape ... but there is some Elvis in the box (got those from my father in law too) along with Boston, Steve Miller and Rolling Stones.



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Distributor ... and now the oil pan
Bought a Pertronix kit, so I wanted to clean out the distributor guts and learned tons about the springs, curve and more. See more about that HERE if you are interested. I reduced the mechanical advance and have a lower "all-in". Happy for that as it used to ping occasionally, and now I can see why.

I managed to get it all built, and looking forward to testing it out, but in pulling the distributor, I heard that dreaded clang/rattle that means only one thing ... the oil pump shaft ... and it's not seated in the pump any more. Maybe the clip moved (it did take a bit to get the dist out - it's all been sitting a while).

So, one step complete but leads to another, and I'll be dropping the pan. I'm not too concerned, as I have a new pan I wanted to get on anyway. I know the pump is a high volume, so I'll just use this as an opportunity to use the stronger ARP shaft.

I don't really mind the unplanned work. I've already done more in the last 5 days than I have the in last 5 years, and I have this site to thank for that. The items are on the way, along with paint and a fuel pump ... and so it goes 🙂


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Zinc Plating
Well I've been working on a few items in/around the engine bay and lots of the bolts were mis-painted or had some surface rust, so I did some research and I'm doing some zinc plating on my own to get things looking nice again. I don't have all the items yet, but Amazon is helping me out. I'll post up a few before/afters soon ... should have everything in the next week. Looking forward to this, and NOT having to buy bolts online ($$$)!!
Zinc Plating in progress
Did my first few items and I like how they turned out. Distributor hold down and shock tower nuts ... easier things to start with. I'm working on the actual shock top cover now, and it's a little more work to get it clean and being a bigger part, it taking more time to plate, but I'll have some shots of that once it's done. Anything I take off to work on can now get plated if need and I can stay ahead of rust and it'll all start to resemble a decent engine bay again!


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@KSpense Very nice to see someone plate at home! May I ask what kind of electrolyte you are using?
Vinegar, with some salt added. Use 2 zinc plates, one on +, one on -, and get the bath full of zinc ions floating in the solution. After a couple hours, it's ready ... then you use + on the zinc plates, and - on the item you're plating (after a lot of cleaning and acid wash). The more you plate, the better the solution gets too. So now it's in a bucket and I can pull it out anytime I'm working on the car and clean things up. I'm dropping the oil pan, so now I'll re-plate the 20 little bolts for the pan.

It's so easy, and very inexpensive ... I cant be in more than $150 for every single thing I bought.
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@KSpence Well, no need to preach me really, if you look at my project thread, you'll see I'm plating all my parts for years now using zinc, copper and nickel. From spindles down to every bolts. Basically anything that fits in one of my containers! I'm a true believer! :D Frankly I do not understand why not much more people are doing it.

I have formulated my question wrongly, I was more curious about the electrolyte kind your were using, acidic or alcaline. I asked because I notice a difference in colour and brightness. So as I use a similar sauce, it must be your voltage.amperage that is different. I presume you are plating at 8-12 volts.

I don't want bore others or highjack the thread, may you'd want to talk "bubbles", feel free drop me a pm.
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