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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.

I have a '63 convertible Z code 390 with the T85 transmission, both probably original to the car. To this point I've kept the car OEM but have now come to a decision point that I was wondering what to do with.

The T85 gave up the ghost, my PS is giving me headaches, the transmission linkage and steering column are needing a rebuild, and the steering box is wobbly. This has me considering going away from the OEM approach and go for a more "fun" build, namely a TKO500 and a modern PS setup. Engine mods would come as opportunity allows, but I would try to retain a retro feel.

What do you guys think? Do I cut up a mostly original car or is that a big disservice to the universe?

TIA for any thoughts.
 

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You might consider a 4 speed toploader (wide ratio since you are starting from scratch) with a Hurst shifter. I'm happy with mine. Is it already a floor shift, or column?

Pat
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You might consider a 4 speed toploader (wide ratio since you are starting from scratch) with a Hurst shifter. I'm happy with mine. Is it already a floor shift, or column?

Pat
I do have access to a toploader. I think it's a WR, but I'd need to verify. The car is currently a 3-on-the-tree, so there'd be a little finagling to do with the hump.
 

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I do have access to a toploader. I think it's a WR, but I'd need to verify. The car is currently a 3-on-the-tree, so there'd be a little finagling to do with the hump.
My question to you is do you want to build the car with an eye toward its resale value to someone else, in which case restore it to original, or do you want it to be a car that is non-original but that you would enjoy driving more? If you plan to keep the car for a long time then equip it with more modern (and probably safer) components that will make your life easier. With your T85, my 1963 Facts and Features Manual says your car should have come from the factory with either 3.50, 3.89, or 4.11 gears so it should already be pretty quick off the line. If you do any highway driving at all, the TKO500 would be greatly appreciated. I have to admit that my car had/has 3.89 gears in it and I replaced the 4 speed with the TKO and am glad I did. It's your car - make yourself happy with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My question to you is do you want to build the car with an eye toward its resale value to someone else, in which case restore it to original, or do you want it to be a car that is non-original but that you would enjoy driving more? If you plan to keep the car for a long time then equip it with more modern (and probably safer) components that will make your life easier. With your T85, my 1963 Facts and Features Manual says your car should have come from the factory with either 3.50, 3.89, or 4.11 gears so it should already be pretty quick off the line. If you do any highway driving at all, the TKO500 would be greatly appreciated. I have to admit that my car had/has 3.89 gears in it and I replaced the 4 speed with the TKO and am glad I did. It's your car - make yourself happy with it.
All good points... Anyways, I've actually driven the car for about 15 years in the OEM setup and it's been fine. You are correct, the VIN says 3.50 gears in the rear and that seems about right. It moves OK with the T85 but it certainly isn't that quick. Highway is OK too, but the engine does have to turn a bit faster than sounds comfortable.

As you know, shifting the 3 on the tree is far from an elegant maneuver. The linkage is finicky on top of that.

I was thinking that this particular car isn't so rare that I would actually loose value by swapping in better components rather than increasing value as the better components are added. Do you think that's a reasonable assessment or is having an "as built" car of this type is actually that important to its value?

Thanks!
 

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All good points... Anyways, I've actually driven the car for about 15 years in the OEM setup and it's been fine. You are correct, the VIN says 3.50 gears in the rear and that seems about right. It moves OK with the T85 but it certainly isn't that quick. Highway is OK too, but the engine does have to turn a bit faster than sounds comfortable.

As you know, shifting the 3 on the tree is far from an elegant maneuver. The linkage is finicky on top of that.

I was thinking that this particular car isn't so rare that I would actually loose value by swapping in better components rather than increasing value as the better components are added. Do you think that's a reasonable assessment or is having an "as built" car of this type is actually that important to its value?

Thanks!
I'd look at it this way, If you were buying a car like yours and two where setting side by side equal cars in every way with the exception the modifications that you want and a few you didn't, would you pay more for the car . Personally a three on the tree would be a big turn off for me,
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'd look at it this way, If you were buying a car like yours and two where setting side by side equal cars in every way with the exception the modifications that you want and a few you didn't, would you pay more for the car . Personally a three on the tree would be a big turn off for me,
That's a good way of thinking about it. I think it would boil down to what the individual valued. I can see it being desirable in either configuration, being a decent driver with the modern transmission or an old school oddity with the 3 on the tree.

I guess it's time for a change and I'll give the resto-mod a go.

Thanks for the input!
 

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Hi all.

I have a '63 convertible Z code 390 with the T85 transmission, both probably original to the car. To this point I've kept the car OEM but have now come to a decision point that I was wondering what to do with.

The T85 gave up the ghost, my PS is giving me headaches, the transmission linkage and steering column are needing a rebuild, and the steering box is wobbly. This has me considering going away from the OEM approach and go for a more "fun" build, namely a TKO500 and a modern PS setup. Engine mods would come as opportunity allows, but I would try to retain a retro feel.

What do you guys think? Do I cut up a mostly original car or is that a big disservice to the universe?

TIA for any thoughts.
Hi all.

I have a '63 convertible Z code 390 with the T85 transmission, both probably original to the car. To this point I've kept the car OEM but have now come to a decision point that I was wondering what to do with.

The T85 gave up the ghost, my PS is giving me headaches, the transmission linkage and steering column are needing a rebuild, and the steering box is wobbly. This has me considering going away from the OEM approach and go for a more "fun" build, namely a TKO500 and a modern PS setup. Engine mods would come as opportunity allows, but I would try to retain a retro feel.

What do you guys think? Do I cut up a mostly original car or is that a big disservice to the universe?

TIA for any thoughts.
I went through a similar situation when I purchased my current 63 Galaxie a few years ago. It was born with a 406 & 4 speed and was mostly still original. --- I owned my first 63 Galaxie back in 1965 & 66. and it was a 390 & 4 speed. The last owner of my current 63, 406 had realized that he had a rare mostly original survivor car and strived to keep it that way . It still had the original floor shifter. He did not add gauges or anything, and I'm glad he did that. ---- But I decided I wanted to treat the car like if I were in the 60's again. Back then I would do anything that I thought would look cool, go faster, or stop quicker. So on this car now I have front disc brakes, old school decals, classic hot rod gauges and tach, aluminum radiator, Clay Smith cam, etc. But I still have a stock feel like the original generator and tri-power on the 406. And of course I have kept the factory shifter which really adds to the stock appearance. ---- I am treating it as if it were 1965 again and I'm still 19 years old, and I'm having fun and enjoying the heck out of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I went through a similar situation when I purchased my current 63 Galaxie a few years ago. It was born with a 406 & 4 speed and was mostly still original. --- I owned my first 63 Galaxie back in 1965 & 66. and it was a 390 & 4 speed. The last owner of my current 63, 406 had realized that he had a rare mostly original survivor car and strived to keep it that way . It still had the original floor shifter. He did not add gauges or anything, and I'm glad he did that. ---- But I decided I wanted to treat the car like if I were in the 60's again. Back then I would do anything that I thought would look cool, go faster, or stop quicker. So on this car now I have front disc brakes, old school decals, classic hot rod gauges and tach, aluminum radiator, Clay Smith cam, etc. But I still have a stock feel like the original generator and tri-power on the 406. And of course I have kept the factory shifter which really adds to the stock appearance. ---- I am treating it as if it were 1965 again and I'm still 19 years old, and I'm having fun and enjoying the heck out of it.
Wow! Yeah, my car is not even CLOSE to what yours is with respect to rarity. OK, that clinches it. I'm goin' in with the TKO600 and PS upgrade, with disc brakes and some engine mods when $$ allows.

Thanks for the post.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Wow! Yeah, my car is not even CLOSE to what yours is with respect to rarity. OK, that clinches it. I'm goin' in with the TKO600 and PS upgrade, with disc brakes and some engine mods when $$ allows.

Thanks for the post.
OK, it's in progress. The T85 is going away and being replaced by a TKO600, the PS system is being upgraded, the generator is now a PowerMaster, and going with disc brakes and a dual master.

Next stuff to consider is engine work... I'm thinking to go with the Kugel Komponents cast iron shorties, a Prison Break 445 stroker kit, and a 3x2V intake... Trying to keep a vintage feel while getting a boost over the stock 390.
 

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OK, it's in progress. The T85 is going away and being replaced by a TKO600, the PS system is being upgraded, the generator is now a PowerMaster, and going with disc brakes and a dual master.

Next stuff to consider is engine work... I'm thinking to go with the Kugel Komponents cast iron shorties, a Prison Break 445 stroker kit, and a 3x2V intake... Trying to keep a vintage feel while getting a boost over the stock 390.
I had not seen those Kugel shorty headers before. Look awesome and half the price of sound used originals that are very hard to find. Way cool. Enjoy your adventure.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had not seen those Kugel shorty headers before. Look awesome and half the price of sound used originals that are very hard to find. Way cool. Enjoy your adventure.
They come coated and everything. They're a smack on repro. BUT... the flange surface could have been a little better. There is a flaw in one that I think will have to be addressed.
 
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