Framing a unibody car
I have a 1977 Volare and want a car that can handle pretty well. I'm not a racer or dirt tracker. I want a better suspension under the car than the torsion bar setup under it now. Some others had experience with F body's and reccomended that I use a cut down Dakota frame and suspension. I've thought about that, but, I think my car would sit too high. I have another idea that I'd like to throw around and get some feedback.
The 03-09 Crown Victoria and Merc Marauder are body on frame cars and have a really good suspension setup. They are also VERY close to the F body in overall dimensions. Wheelbase for the Fords are 114.7" vs. 108.7" for the two door F body. Front track is a little wider on the Fords but I've had my tape measure out and found that I can just stuff the Vics suspension under my Volare fenders (with the proper offset wheels). Front track 60.0" for F body, 63.4" for the Ford.
Which brings me to this. I'd have to narrow the Ford frame about 3" to fit under the F body and shorten the wheelbase to match. I'd also have to completely cut out the Volare subrame and brackets. My question is: Is this feasable? Or practical? This is more of a Street Rodder query because you guys do this on a regular basis (splicing frames I mean). When I speak of "narrowing the frame", I mean pulling the outriggers in the center of the frame inward 1.5" on either side to fit inside the Volare rockers. I don't want to narrow the portion supporting the front suspension. Just bring the longitudinal rails and back portion inward and shorten the wheelbase.
What I've currently got in the car is a 413 Big Block and it's a nose heavy pig. Since I'll have to rebuld everything in this car as well as tie the frame, I figured upgunning to the Ford suspension with rack and pinion might be a better deal. The P71 Cop car chassis are very strong and, frankly, pretty inexpensive. In my area, a Crown Vic Police car frame can be had for around $300. Figure under a grand for the complete front cradle, frame and rear end. Frankly, I'm intrigued by that Crown Vic IFS. It's a whole lot nicer than dealing with torsion bars. By my tape measure, it's 72" wide. With the same tape measure, my Volare is just at 73" wide fender to fender so I believe I can sneak it in.
I don't doubt there will be quite a bit of "cutting" involved. The good news is, F-body's ain't worth spit, so cutting one up is not a big deal. My particular car I bought off the lot in 1978 so modding it doesn't make me nervous. Believe it or not, I'm also figuring out how to fab in a T-bird or Jag IRS in the back of the frame. That, also, looks doable. I've also had thoughts of splicing in sections of the Crown Vic floor pan to accomodate the frame rails.
Any help? Thanks in advance for the inputs.