Fast forward to 1999
After buying a 1966 Fairlane 500 for $450 at a little used car lot, I thought it sure would be neat to replicate the most awesome Super Stock car I had ever seen. You guessed it: THE GOING THING! It was not my intent to do this when I purchased the car, but if not now, when? The wheels in my mind started turning. After being out of racing for over 20 years, I knew I would have my hands full.
With no parts and only a few tools I started doing research on the original car, which was very slow going. I am still gathering material on it to this day. I started tearing this old car apart only to find the frame rails and torque boxes were badly rusted and not really worth trying to save. The search was on for a rust free body. My dad had a friend in Milan, New Mexico that had a rust free body with no drivetrain for $1000. Without knowing what the car was really like, I borrowed my brother’s Powerstroke Ford and enclosed trailer and off to New Mexico I went. What I found was a rust free 1967 Fairlane 500 that had never been wrecked. This was the perfect car so I loaded it up and headed for home.
What followed took place over the next 6 years. Money didn’t seem to be a problem but I was not able to work on the car for about 18 months due to an injury at work. Things are better now and I should have the car completed by mid summer 2006.
After stripping the car down to the bare shell it was acid dipped to reduce weight and expose bare metal for prep and paint . I wanted to replicate the car to look as close to original as possible but the original car had no roll bar. I could not compromise on this so I installed a period-correct 6 point roll bar that would still pass current NHRA specs. The frame rails were tied together and all stress points underneath strengthened for the rigors of racing. I wanted the car to look as much like the original as possible but also wanted it to have modern suspension and safety equipment. I contacted John Calvert of CalTracs for the rear suspension which included his bars, split monoleaf springs, and Rancho 9000 adjustable shocks.
The front suspension is probably close to what the original car had with all new parts and the addition of Moroso springs and QA1 billet adjustable shocks. The original car had disc brakes but they were not very dependable. I wanted something that looked original but had the grunt to stop this car safely. I designed brackets to use 2 piston PBR aluminum calipers from a 2000 Mustang. Although they are heavier than Wilwoods they do look like original equipment. I used the same caliper setup on the rear which fit nicely with more of my self engineered brackets. The master cylinder is a Wilwood aluminum Mopar style unit.
The 9″ rear end has a custom built heavy duty housing narrowed 2″ and is equipped with a Strange Engineering case, 4.88 Richmond gears, large pinion Daytona pinion support and a 35 spline spool and axles. I wanted to run a 10.5 x 28 tire so I moved the inner wheel wells into the frame rails which gave me an additional 2.5″ of clearance on each side. It is a tight fit but there is plenty of clearance.
Next came the fuel system where I chose to use a new original fuel tank with a sump kit tig welded in the rear. Again, wanting to keep the theme of the original car, I never considered an fuel cell. I used 10AN braided stainless fuel line from front to rear. The fuel pump is an Aeromotive A2000 and the fuel filter is a Barry Grant log type. Since I chose to run a bypass fuel regulator I ran a 6AN braided stainless return line which dumps back into the top of the fuel tank.
The interior of the car was restored to original with factory bench seats. I installed all new carpeting, headliner, and a complete weatherstrip package. With a new dash pad installed the original gauge panel was also restored to new condition. All new Autometer gauges were installed as well. A Painless wiring 8 circuit fuse panel replaced the badly corroded original and all of the original wiring was inspected and restored.
Now for the engine. I started with a perfect 427 Sideoiler block. All of the machine work was done by Woodys Automotive in Thorntown Indiana. The block was pressure tested and checked for cracks, deck squared, and align honed. The block was sonic checked before boring and was offset bored .050 over. Some may think I am living on the edge here but the test results looked very good and hardblocking supports the cylinder walls whereas non poured 427 blocks are usually only good to .030 over. The crankshaft is from a 391 truck. The crank was professionally prepped by taking out 19 lbs, knife edged, counter weights scalloped, indexed, journals rifled, nitrided, and balanced. Rods are Eagle H beam, bearings are good old Michigan 77s. The pistons are Wiseco lightweight domes that yield 12.7 to 1 CR and featherlite floating pins.
The heads are C5AE-F Medium Risers built by Dave Spitzer from Indy Cylinder Head (now with Richard Childress) with Manley 2.250 intake valves and 1.750 exhaust. The springs are a mystery to me but were matched to my application, besides that was Dave’s job anyway! Chambers measure 86 cc’s and intake and exhaust ports cleaned up but not ported. Rocker assy’s are Dove’s Heavy Duty with Smith Brothers pushrods. The cam is a Lunati solid roller with my own specs and Lunati lightweight roller lifters. Timing chain and gears are Rollmaster. The oil pump is a “Precision Oil Pump” blueprinted Melling built by Doug Garifo and is driven by a FRPP hardened shaft. The intake manifold is a C8AX-9424-A Tunnel Wedge that is port matched to the heads. Headers I custom built in my shop and are Stainless Step style with 3 1/2 merge collectors. They were more expensive than buying a set but they are made to fit the car perfectly.
The carbs are 2 Holley 750′s built by Quick Fuel Technologies in Bowling Green Ky. Linkage is all custom using spherical rod ends. Distributor is MSD, balancer is Innovators West, oil pan is a Canton T pan, and water pump is a billet CSR. Valve covers are original 427 Pentroofs.
Transmission is a Jerico DR-4 with a 3.05 first gear, shifter is Hurst inline, bellhousing is Lakewood, and the flywheel is a Fidanza billet aluminum piece. The pressure plate is an adjustable McLeod SoftLok, disc is a Boninfante sintered iron solid hub.