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09-11-2004 12:26 PM The beginning
This is what the 59 American looked like when I brought it home.
This project is going to be quite a challenge. I'm planning on using only the external sheet metal, and fabricating a chassis from scratch. The donor car for most of the parts I'll be using was a 1994 Pontiac formula with the lt1 350 and 4l60e auto trans. The chassis plans are mustang II front, 9" ford rear, 2X4X.125 frame rails with a minimum of a 8 point roll cage. The suspension will be air ride, so I can run a low ride height and have some flexibility. I'm going to use all the electronics for the engine and trans and all the accessories including AC.

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  [Entry #24]

09-12-2004 06:12 AM Unibody removal
This is whats left of the car after after a plasma cutting party, nice tool first time I've used one. It's just a bare shell now, and these photos show some of the hardware I intend on using in their approximate locations.

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  [Entry #23]

09-16-2004 03:15 PM Determine ride height
Got the tires and wheels a few weeks ago. I went with weld pro stars 15 x 10" rear with n50 mickey thompson tires, and 15 x 6" up front with good year 195/50/15 tires. These pictures show the ride height I would like. There is about 5 1/2" of clearance just behind the front fenders and about 7" in front of the rear fender. The mustang II front is almost to wide,so I got the short front tires to help clear the fenders. Today I'm trying to figure out how wide the 9" ford rear end has to be, and I needed the tires to do it. Looks like it will be about 47" to 48" wide, so I need to narrow it about 16". I also plan on doing that myself, and I plan on using the rear disc brakes from the firebird donor car the drive train came from.

(click photo to enlarge)

(click photo to enlarge)

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  [Entry #22]

11-09-2004 08:53 PM Building the chassis.
It's about time for an new entry. The chassis is a little more involved than I thought it would be, and I now have a new appreciation for the difficulties of fabrication. Anyway, the job scope changed slightly from my original plan, I got a great deal on a six speed trans so the 4l60e is out. I have most of the frame from the front to the center laid out and tack welded.

The outriggers that attach the main frame to the body are bolted for now so I can remove the frame to finish weld everything. Then I will weld it solid and add gussets for reinforcements. I still have to install through holes in the center cross member support for the exhaust from the headers. The back portion of the frame has holes through the rear cross member as well as the side frame rails because, I'm going to have a two way exhaust system.

The 2 1/2" exit pipes out of the flowmaster super 40 mufflers will exit through the frame rails at the sides and flow through 3" butterfly valves that I am building then, exit through 2 1/4 X 5" stainless exhaust tips that will extend through the rear quarter panel just in front of the rear tire.

The photo shows the yet to be completed valve assembly, the flanges that will be welded to the pipes and then bolted to the valves when finished, and the pneumatic cylinders I'll use to actuate them. Then, I'll intersect at the 90 degree bend in the 2 1/2" pipe with 2" pipe that will pass through the rear cross member over the rear end and into a quieter pair of mufflers, loud when I want to annoy my neighbors and set off car alarms and quiet when I'm cruising down the highway. In the pictures of the chassis, the center cross member support is still not welded together and the front drive shaft hoop is going to be recessed into the 2x4 rails so that it's parallel with the rear hoop. The open portion on the outer side of the frame rails between the outriggers is where I'm planning on locating four 4" air tanks that I'm fabricating for the air ride suspension and the exhaust valve actuators.

Well, that's it for now. I hope to start the rear frame soon. I received the stainless poly bushed rod ends and bought the 1" d.o.m. tubing that I'll be using to build the triangular four link but, with the holidays coming money will be tight and the air bags and shocks will have to wait. Thanks for your interest, and any comments or input are encouraged.

(click photo to enlarge)

(click photo to enlarge)

(click photo to enlarge)
  [Entry #21]

12-31-2004 09:10 AM Mounting the rear
Started fabricating the rear mounts a few weeks ago. The lower mounts and control arms weren't to difficult, but the uppers will be a bit more of a challenge.

I clamped a length of 2x3 to the frame and clamped a piece of 1/8" flat stock to the 2x3 to bolt the control arm to. Then I tacked another piece of 1/8 to the top of the differential so the control arm would be at a 45 degree angle.

With this set up, I can place a floor jack under the rear end and move it through It's range of motion and adjust the location of the 2x3 tubing and the length of the control arm until I can go through the full range of motion with minimal change of pinion angle.

I lengthened the lower arms by 2 inches after the first try, because the rear end swings fore ward as well as down when you raise the body and tire removal would have been difficult.

Oh well, the extra 2 inches of wheel base cant hurt. Right?

(click photo to enlarge)
  [Entry #20]

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