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Old 07-26-2005, 09:13 AM
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Front clip for a '51 Ford Custom

Hi, I'm looking into something for my father. He has a '51 Ford Custom with the flathead V8 in it and is looking to modernize it. He picked up an '85 Crown Vic to use the 302 in his, then was told that it was a very difficult swap and that it would be easier to find a full rolling chassis and just swap the body onto that. I was also told that the front clip from an old Camaro or Chevelle would fit perfectly. I have an '81 Camaro that I'm parting out and was wondering if anyone could tell me if the clip would fit on my father's '51 or tell me what clip or chassis would be a good donor?

Thanks in advance,

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Old 07-26-2005, 09:31 AM
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Measure the distance between the frame rails at the rear of the Camaro subframe, and the distance from the center of a wheel back to that point. Now measure that far back on the 51 and measure the width of the frame. you can move forward some if the Camaro tapers until you get a close match. That's where you'd cut. This isn't an easy task though. It can be done in a garage with a level floor if you're careful, but it's a major fabrication job.

You will probably be better off to contact Fat Man Fabrications. They sell a frame stub kit for the 51 Ford to use a Mustang II IFS. You might just want to rebuild the existing front end and use some dropped spindles though. You aren't going to get much of a better ride from an MII over the stock front end as long as it's in good condition. Speedway ( sells disc brake kits for a lot of 50s cars, probably has one for the Fords. Why mess up a good thing? You can pop a disc brake setup and maybe dropped spindles on in a weekend without taking the whole front end off, though you need to do that anyway to swap engines.

Sounds to me like you have a year long (weekends and an occasional evening) project. Yeah, you can do it faster, but it's easy to get burned out on something like this and wife, kids, in-laws, job, etc., always seems to get in the way and slow tings down.
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