So far this whole tale has been told to establish what the basic plan was. Years have snuck by and, like so many other things, this project has not progressed as I'd like it to. However, the truck has been uncovered, washed off and partially disassembled in the interest of moving on to the next step; Finishing the chop. Here in the mid-west it's sometimes difficult to muster up motivation when it's freezin' *** cold outside and the only source of heat in the garage is a small wood stove. So progress, though slow, will occur. That's where it's at right now. Further developments to follow... I'm goin' after some firewood!
The roof lines up pretty well front to back, but not from side to side. It needs to be one inch wider to be workable. There are nothing but compound curves and complicated bends, channels, contours and such, making it more work than it's worth to try and duplicate. I scored another top from a bone yard that I plan on cutting to remedy the situation. But when winter rears it's ugly head, the project is put on hold...
The top is cut 3 inches because in my mind, that's where it looks like it needs to be. The top has to be widened... It's like chopping a pyramid. I need another top to make this as uneventful as possible. So it's junkyard crawl time. I also want a different grille and headlight configuration. I've always liked canted quad headlights, and it fits the era I'm working for. I found what I want for headlights on an old Orion bus, retired from C.T.A. (Chicago transit Authority). I made some cardboard templates in the shape of the headlights to aid in placement. As for the grille, well I left a message and I'm waiting for a return call from my Muse...
The Shop truck was cool, but I wanted more. I wanted it to handle much better than it did. Bumpsteer is a bummer! And I'd like it a little lower. My son was parting out an 80 Z-28, and wasn't keeping the sub-frame, making it available for $o.oo. Right in my price range! I decided to use that sub-frame to make it handle and drop the truck on the ground. First I reversed the rear axle's spring pads to above the axle, C'd the frame and lowered the rear considerably. Then I yanked the engine and trans... all of which I promptly sold. I removed the front clip. Then out came the sawzall and off came the front section of the frame. I fitted and tacked the Z-28 subframe onto the '59 Ford frame. After some tweeking, I got the front clip and the box back on to see how it looked. The good news is it looks awesome! The bad news is that now I want to chop it too!
Seeing as how the truck is being used on a regular basis, the first step is to get it to a safe and reliable state.
This truck was never plated or registered, it was a farm truck in Mississippi. The suspension, front and rear was beat up and augmented with coil springs welded between the frame and axles. The tie rod was bowed and the brakes were little more than present. The drive home was an adventure to say the least. When I removed the coils, the truck was automatically lowered about 4 inches. The tie rod was replaced and the brakes were rebuilt. I put different wheels and tires on; 255/70-15's in front, &amp; 285/70-15's in back. BIG difference.
A tune up allowed it to run strong, but it smoked pretty bad and the valve covers leaked... a lot! As is typical with Ford's Y-blocks, The oil galleys under the valve covers were plugged with sludge and the valve covers were filling up with oil. After clearing the passageways, I added a quart of good ol' Marvel Mystery Oil, a fresh dose of 10 w 30 and ran it for a week or so, about 150 miles. Changing the oil and filter again yielded a drain pan full of BLACK almost chunky oil. This was repeated a couple more times, and the smoking continuously decreased, while the leaking stopped. Eventually the engine quit smoking all together!
I installed new front leaf springs, rebuilt the king pins, installed a 2 inch dropped axle and replaced the shocks. NOW we're getting somewhere!
A new exhaust system was next... I removed the front crossover pipe and blocked the crossover port on the passenger side manifold. I then fabricated a 3 inch dual exhaust system with 40 series Flowmaster mufflers. That ol' Y- Block sounded really good!
It sits better, it runs better, it sounds better and it drives pretty good. I do not like the camber I'm given with that dropped axle, though...