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IT WAS WORTH THE WORK

 

HOW IT ALL STARTED

In my younger days I bought several new Falcons and always liked the car. As I grew older, I had the idea in the back of my mind that I would someday like to own another one, especially a convertible. While driving down the highway in 1984, I saw a very beautiful white 1964 Falcon Futura convertible in a used car lot. It was a low mileage car brought south by an older couple who had decided on buying a new car. I sure am glad they did because my dream of owning another Falcon was fulfilled. With minimal cosmetic clean-up, the car was quite a head turner. My wife and I decided to drive the car to the National Falcon Meet which was being held in St. Louis that year. The car won the long distance award and the car show bug had bit. Over the next few years,the car was driven to several car shows as far away as the National Falcon meet in Appleton, Wisconsin. The car was a consistent winner, but rarely placed first. The car, having originated in a northern state, had a bit of surface rust on the underside which I felt was keeping it from grabbing the top awards.

 

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RESTORATION BEGINS

In the spring of 1989, I noticed the bottom end of the engine was getting loose. Since it was a six cylinder, it was a simple matter to pull it out to work on it. On Memorial Day, the engine came out and the "fun" began. While I had the engine out, it seemed like a good time to redo the engine compartment. Friends thought the car looked so good when I finished, they suggested I also do the underside. One thing led to another, and soon the whole car was completely stripped, with parts stored everywhere.

Having never done anything like this and not being experienced in paint and body work, the project turned out to be a lot more work than I had bargained for. A countless number of hours were spent in cleaning and refinishing all the smaller parts and locating new ones when necessary. A car cradle was lent to me which made working on the underside much a lot easier. After a careful cleaning, several areas in need of welding were discovered. Unfortunately, this was another skill I did not have, yet with the help of friends and a little time these repairs were soon behind me. With the bottom repainted and the body work started, a year had passed. Having only a single stall garage to work in, most of the restoration was done in the driveway, which made for some slow going.

I had decided to repaint the car black, so very careful attention was given in making sure the body was in excellent shape. By this time I was wondering if I was ever going to complete the restoration. I began thinking that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew. There were periods of time when the project just sat.

Almost another year passed and it came time to get serious about finishing. The suspension was reinstalled and the interior painting done. I had originally planned to paint it on the driveway but was persuaded to rent a professional spray booth instead. This did not turn out to well. As it was, the booth had a bad filtration system and a lot of "trash" showed up in the paint, more than could be rubbed out. After waiting a month for the paint to cure, a good friend and I sanded the body back down and prepared to do it again. This time we did as I had originally planned, and were very pleased with the results. After "wet sanding and buffing" it looked great.

Now it came time to reassemble the car. The drive train was installed, electrical wiring put back in place, windshield and windows installed, top frame and top put back on, seats and carpet put in, and exterior trim reinstalled. This was a fun time because everything we did improved the appearance and was a positive step toward finishing.

 

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BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN

The project had taken almost three years. Since a Falcon Club show was being held in Orlando, FL, the finishing touches were made so the car could be "shown off" for the first time. My efforts were rewarded with a first place award.

I was encouraged by many to take the car to a National AACA show. In June of 1992, I took the car to a meet in Montgomery, AL. As I looked over the cars that had been entered, I began to have some doubts about my car's ability to compete. However, the judges thought well enough to grant it a "First Junior Award," meaning the car was eligible to compete for a Senior award. So, in August we entered the National Meet in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Success again! I didn't know who was more excited, me or the friends who helped in one way or another. It is a satisfying feeling to see one's work recognized.

The week after the show in South Carolina, the Falcon Club of America held their annual meet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I just had to go and see what those who really knew Falcons would say. They gave the car a "First Class Award". This meant a lot to me, more than I can adequately express. It made all the hard work worthwhile.

 

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MANY MILES TRAVELED

 In July of 1996, I  entered the AACA Grand National Meet in Huntsville, Alabama. The car was awarded a "First Place, Grand National." I have since received 15 "Preservation Awards" from the AACA at National Shows and many other awards at both local and Falcon Club Regional Shows, and as the saying goes...

"IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS!"

 

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