'56 Ford Club Sedan Mild Custom

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Well-known member
Nov 24, 2011
Downtown Hooper, CO
I was out of commission for almost a year and a half with a very unstable and painful knee. I did do some work on my '26 Dodge coupe, but always paid the price for any time in the garage. After I traded the coupe for a '56 Ford club sedan, it got to the point that I didn't even start on it because it hurt too much. When the Federal Worker's Comp finally denied paying for surgery, I did it on my personal insurance. I wish I had done that back in 2013! My knee has healed up very quickly, and I am back to full duties at work. Although the bills from the surgery have us strapped for cash, I decided to get busy on the Ford, doing as much as I can on limited funds. I took off the hood, front bumper, radiator, all superfluous sheetmetal in preparation for pulling the engine (390 FE) and trans (Tremec 3550) so I can replace the front suspension with a Camaro subframe. I got all of this, along with removing the starter (what a hassle!), exhaust manifolds, and all the wiring and associated stuff. I've posted some progress pics and hope to update the progress and pics as I go, but history has shown me to not be great at build threads. Sorry for the book-length post, but I wanted to get some of the background out there before I started.


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My first car was a '56 Ford Club Sedan. It had all the chrome, a Sparkomatic shifter, J C Whitney pleated seat covers, reversed chromies and Walker Continentals. 312, 3 speed OD. I got real good at replacing cluster gears in the damned transmission! This is my fourth '56, and I had a '55, a '54, and a '55 Merc Montclair, too. I guess it's true; everything runs in cycles. :)
Well, the engine is out, and all of the front sheetmetal is gone. Man, what a hassle, grinding off bolts when the little confined nut is rusted so badly that everything just spins! I'm really glad I'm not worried about re-attaching body parts to the original mounts. ;)
Allright, back in action!! [cl
Love these Fords, grew up riding in the back of a 56 sedan delivery.
I see it's got the usual frame rot thats been patched, the Camaro sub should be an improvement - are you keeping the 390 in it?
I'm more of a corner burner than a drag racer...I think the Camaro sub will help a lot in the handling department. And I got it for free! :) I'm pretty sure I'll be putting a 302 in it, looking for better mileage and less weight on the front end. I've also got a Ford Explorer rear axle with 3.73 gears and disk brakes to put in it.
More progress

Well, now I'm committed.. ;) I got the trans out, had to cut the crossmember and trans mount out because they were welded to the frame. There is(was) some scary stuff going on with this car! I pulled the steering column, the steering box, got the initial cut done on the frame. Now to level/plumb everything and make the final cuts in preparation for installing the Camaro front stub. Not a bad weekend's work for an old fat guy. I think I'll put the new windshield in before I start installing the engine and trans.. So far all the windshields I've found are somewhere far enough away that they need shipped. The shipping is more than the price of the windshield! :eek:


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This weekend I got the Camaro subframe positioned and welded up, took the dash out of the car, and removed other stuff that was in my way. ;) I also cleaned up some factory welds and cleaned up a bunch of sharp edges and welding spatter the factory left. I'll get the steering column/gearbox installed before I test-fit the engine and trans.


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Thanks, guys! :)
Since I got to the point where I can work without the knee messing with me, I've been trying to make some progress before snow flies. I'm working harvest for a friend while taking some vacation time, hoping to make enough money to get a windshield in the old girl and maybe some other stuff I need.
This weekend has been about pieces and parts. I got an '81 Malibu cheap ($50), just for stuff I thought I'd use. I took off the steering box, steering column, brake booster and master cylinder, radiator, alternator, power steering pump, vacuum can, the windshield wiper motor (maybe I can adapt it) brake pedal assy, and some other stuff I think might work or be modified to work. I'm going to load up the Malibu with scrap and take it to the recyclers. I want to get the car steering so I can take it to the glass shop for a windshield before I put the dash or engine/trans in, to make it as easy as possible. :)


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Lots of little stuff slowing things down

I don't have a lot of progress to show. I've been trying to find the right steering components to put the '81 Malibu steering box on the Camaro front clip. I have the right pitman arm, except the tapered hole is too small for the Camaro center link. Nobody around here has the reamer to machine the hole to the right size. I'm thinking about buying a reamer, but it seems like a pretty stout expense for a one-time deal.

I got the steering column and intermediate shaft where they belong, and got the column braced to the firewall so I can steer the car without the dashboard in it to hold the column.

Now I need to get the windshield cut out so the new one can be installed. The gasket is like concrete. I tried an old kitchen knife sharpened up to a fine edge, but can't hardly make a dent.

Like I said, not much to show.............


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Steering looks good. Should have plenty of clearance for exhaust.
You might be able to take a small propane torch to the gasket to soften it so you can cut it out. Just don't set it on fire! :eek:

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