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Showcase cover image for Grandpa's Grocery Getter (Rust-o-mod)

General Information

Name
: Grandpa's Grocery Getter
Year
: 1963
Make
: Mercury
Model
: Meteor
Color
: Turquoise
Packages
: Plane Jane
History
: I think Mr Carl M Seastedt of Brooklyn, NY bought the car from Morlee dealership at 6502 5th Avenue Brooklyn (now a Lexus dealer) and it probably remained a Brooklyn car until I bought it. Came stock with 170 6 cylinder, 2 speed auto, and 3.0 open differential.

Some cool stuff in the glove box included a 1940's mechanical pencil, a set of John Boy reading glasses, a pocket knife, and a 1972 New Jersey road map. There was also a notebook where he kept records of fill-ups and oil changes. The trunk was equipped with tire chains, scissors jack from Western Auto, an umbrella, and a few other pieces for emergency preparedness. I did some research trying to find Mr. Seastedt but he had moved a couple times and also would have been in his 90's by then. I respected him and his car while updating the drivetrain.
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: No options except maybe the auto trans and the backup lights and it was undercoated. It was a Craigslist find that I bought because it is the same year I was born and I wanted a 50 year old car for my 50th. Bought it when I was 49 and had it running and driving on the 170 and 2-speed transmission in time for my birthday.

However, the little motor with the tiny carb and 2-speed was always working hard. I researched electronic ignitions, exhaust and carb improvements, and C-4 transmissions. Since the head was cracked and I really wanted fuel injection and overdrive, I started looking for a later model powertrain.

Back to Craigslist, I found a 1997 Mercury Mountaineer 2wd for $600. I drove the Mountaineer for a while to make sure everything worked correctly and then swapped the running gear into the old Merc. I consider the drive train as free since I got quite a few months use out of the Mountaineer prior to stripping it.
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Modifications

Drivetrain
: GT40P and 4R70W really do the trick on this old car. Horse power went from 101 to 215 and torque from 156 to 280. First gear went from 1.82 to 2.46 and top gear from 1.0 to 0.70 overdrive with the 4R70W which also has a lockup converter. Quite a surprising difference when I first drove it. Have to be careful with the open diff or it will pull a one-wheeler squealer. Drive it nice though and it will shift like an electronic overdrive should. Smooth through 1, 2, 3, TC lockup happens about 30 to 35mph, OD at about 40, and it is cruising 60mph at about 1600 rpm. It can now cruise the NJ Parkway at 80mph with no problem but it really needs some disc brakes.

Even though the Meteor and Windsor were made for each other, it was a challenging integration effort on mounts, controls, gauges, fuel system, and wiring. Had to make engine mounts, trans mounts, shorten the drive shaft, and make the throttle body and shifter linkages. The battery and horns had to be relocated to allow use of the Mountaineer airbox.The ignition coil wire from the original harness now energizes the main relay to the PCU which takes over from there.

Exhaust was another challenge because it has EGR and cats and there are no headers for the early Meteor/Fairlane that work with GT40P heads without cutting the shock towers.

A feeder can with stock Mountaineer fuel pump hides behind the left headlight to supply the fuel rail and catch the return. A purge valve made from a dirt bike carburetor is mounted to the radiator support and uses intake vacuum to pull the fumes out of the feeder can and replace them with gas via the original gas line and tank pick up.

Radiator is an aftermarket aluminum Fairlane piece. Still want to mount a 2003 Mustang fan but haven't figured out the clearance yet. Also need to run new trans lines and install T-fittings to use both the small diameter tank line and the Mountaineer cooler. The plenum cover displays hub cap centers from the donor Mountaineer and a 1954 Merc.
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Interior
: Meteor seat was broken so it has a 1966 Fairlane seat that also needs to go. Not sure what it will be in the future. Smells like wet dogs, cigars, sweat and farts, cooked in the sun and aged to perfection. PCU is stashed behind the heater box.
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Exterior
: No Mods here. Baby fins and half a century of patina. Brooklyn proud with rust and dents.
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Audio
: AM radio with one speaker. Guess it was fine for Frank Sinatra. Might need to add a FM converter.
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Lighting
: Stock except for LEDs in the tail lights. REMOVE BEFORE FLIGHT tail light covers made from Prestone jugs keep the sunshine off those Space-X lenses when parked outside.
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Exhaust
: Presently 1965 mustang manifolds with EGR port drilled into the former choke heater chimney. These feed past the O2 sensors and into a 2001 Chevy (don't tell anyone) Tahoe exhaust with dual catalytic converters and dump under the car. This is a temporary set up and will hopefully be upgraded to 289 Hypo manifolds running to an H-pipe and/or lakers. The challenge is the sparkplug angle on the GT40P heads and the strut tower reinforcements in the engine bay do not leave any options for headers.
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Suspension
: Driver side front spring was broken so replaced with V-8 springs. They seem a little too strong. Also the rear leaf springs are sagging. It needs a stance adjustment and alignment. Made shock tower struts to clear the GT40P plenum and EGR valve.
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Wheel and Tire
: Presently stock 14x5 with 195/75/14 up front and Mountaineer 15x7 rims in the back with 215/60/15. Planning on 1999 Crown Vic 16x7 steelies with 225/50/16 all around once the springs and alignment are sorted out.
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