We keep you posted on our Project Cars but there is a lot more going on out there. We like to have you update us on what is in your garage and what you are working on…or have just completed. Here is a recent contribution from California.
Rick Schutte found this 1967 Ford Fairlane GTA Convertible in the back yard of a guy in the desert town of Victorville California. It had been sitting there since the 1980’s and had eroded into a pretty bad condition. However, upon investigation Rick discovered the original engine and transmission were still in the car. His wife told him, “ you have to save it.” Lucky man to have a wife like that! He double checked the numbers to make sure they were matching and offered the guy $1800. The seller said he had never had that much money in his hand at one time and the deal was done. The couple aired up all the 30 year old tires and pushed it up on the trailer. Their neighbors saw them pull up the street with the less than perfect convertible and thought he had lost his mind. He assured his them that it would not be sitting in the front yard and told the skeptics to just wait and see; a little time, money and elbow grease and she will come back to life.
First thing Rick and his wife did was remove all the cob webs and nasty critters hidden in her recesses…a few black widows but no scorpions or brown recluse. Then he took his time dismantling it; floor boards were bad, small rust spots on doors and rear fenders, trunk was good and frame sound. The dismantling was followed with welding in all new floor boards, new metal in the corners of doors and rear quarters. The original 289 was pulled and a “virgin block” that had never been bored or rebuilt was discovered.
It was bored 10 over, balanced, a bullet proof 347 Stroker kit, nice cam, Ford GT heads, Eldebrach intake, Holley 4 barrel, and headers completed the build. The GTA 289 is now pushing horsepower up around 375-400. The C4 tranny was sent to Ford to be rebuilt and repainted. An upgraded shift kit with a heavier Torque converter to handle the new horsepower was installed. The rear end is a Ford 8 inch with 311 highway gears. These are great on the freeway and with California gas prices they help with gas mileage. Rick installed all new brakes; the Fairlane GTA’s came with Dual Caliber Front Disc Brakes. To complete the job he also installed new brake lines, Vacuum booster, master cylinder, rear drum brakes and cylinders, etc. For the suspension upgrades new shocks and bushings, new steering arms and bushings were added and she rides really nice. Can’t have all that power running through dirty liquids so a new gas tank and a new radiator were included.
Details are important and that philosophy carries over to the re-chromed bumpers, window frames, light trim, door handles etc. New headlights and lamp lenses were also changed out.
The interior includes all new door handles, all dash and speedo bezels were re-chromed and even a new quartz clock. All new Parchment upholstery, door panels, carpet, even the Lear 8 track tape player was rebuilt with new speakers. A new white convertible top, motor, lines and cylinder were included plus the top frame was refurbished. All new window, door, trunk, hood and top seals.
Tires and wheels make a car and Rick choose to go with 15 inch Torque Thrust Rims and TA white letter radials, always a good choice on vintage iron. Only thing more important that tires and wheels is the paint and body. Rick choose to go with black lacquer paint with white GT stripes. The Fairlane has correct GT hood scoops with all new trim and even includes the working turn signals. The perfect final touch is the correct and restored California Black License Plates.
This Fairlane was originally white, with white Parchment interior but Rick states that he just had to paint her black! The whole project took a little over a year to complete, but the fresh 1967 Ford Fairlane GTA Convertible draws a lot of attention and trophies at Car shows.
He says it has been a lot of fun bringing this sweet bit of American history back to life. Now she is back on the road with a little attitude. If you are ever in the High Desert area of California keep an eye out for Rick Schutte and his wife in there beautiful GTA Convertible.
About the Author: I grew up and lived in Iowa for nearly 40 years before moving to Southern California. The time there was very rewarding but the urge for a slower pace moved us to Tennessee a few years ago and we love it. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle. As long as it has four wheels on it I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife Katriana is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. When they don't we are usually out with our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at http://www.LegendaryFarms.com.