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My car was originally purchased in New York City by the President of the Ford Foundation, which is of course, a philanthropic organization financed by FoMoCo. The only option that he purchased was white wall tires!

My wife's stepdad was the second owner, he and his four sons drove it for several years and I acquired it from him as a non-running project in 1986. We towed it behind my 1985 Thunderbird from Rockland County NY to our rented garage in Syracuse. I repaired the brakes and suspension so that it could be driven. The car then became low priority with a house, then two children. I drove it to North Carolina in 1997 and finally resurrected the project in 2013.
 

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The restoration got stalled right off the start because the owner of the shop that I entrusted to do the body work turned out to be a rip-off artist. I ended up dragging the car out of his shop because money was being used up but no progress was being made.

On the positive side of the deal, I had the use of a large part of his shop during the evening hours while I removed the engine and hauled that to an excellent local rebuilder. Also the entire interior, hauling the seats and door cards to an equally fantastic upholsterer, with the remainder back to my own garage for complete restoration.

Here's the back seats after I got them back- all leather, even the sides.
 

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Here's the engine back from the rebuilder. He did some tweaking of the oiling system in accordance with Barry Rabotnik's book on modifying these engines. Bored 0.030 over, Speed Pro extruded pistons, 9.6"1 compression, stainless steel valves and hardened seats. Balanced. Roller timing set, roller cam and a new damper. It was my job to install the lifters, valve gear, intake and the remainder.
 

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I found a great shop for the body and lots of rust repair had to be done. The trunk alone took 7 repair panels. Both rear quarters. Patch work on the rockers. The hood had a deep bondo repair from an accident that would have cost me a fortune to repair the right way; the same for the passenger front fender with rust-through on the delicate upper body line. Luckily I found both on ebay in Tennessee, so I rented a trailer and made a long road trip.

My body guy uses a thick, two-part primer applied after grinding all the old paint off and making repairs. Then lots of block sanding...
 

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I rebuilt the transmission myself with a bit of help. We powder coated the exterior, black for the iron, and aluminum for the remainder.
 

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Here's the body hauled back to my garage for final assembly. The doors, fenders, hood and trunk were still getting finished at the body shop. This allowed me to install the interior and work on the engine bay much more easily.
 

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Interior mostly in, body panels and bumpers all installed. The assembly process took me three weeks (nights only) in my garage. Here it is before the chrome bits go on, ready for state inspection so I can register it for the first time in 20 years.
 

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One of the many customized parts of the project included 3 point seat belts in all four seats. The front required a nut welded into the roof interior. For the back, I used "roadster style" belts and mounted the retractors in the trunk. I found a pass-through grommet from a junker and modified the rear panels for a seamless installation.
 

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