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My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

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  • My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

    I picked up this kit in May of '09. It's currently on the road but I need to tear it down and do the body work and paint. Hopefully I'll get to that this winter.

    I first installed the motor to get a feel for what things might not fit:

    I'm using a Lincoln Mark VIII 4.6 DOHC with a custom blower and Megasquirt EFI and ignition system. The transmission is a the 4R70W also from a Mark VIII. I'm using a Baumann aftermarket controller for the transmission. I had built this motor a couple years ago and ran it in another car. It's kind of unique so I wanted to use it for this build.

    I got the front suspension mocked up and the brake hardware installed.

    I got the rear axle hung. It's from a '96 GT so it has the 5 lug axles, limited slip, 3.73 gears and disc brakes. One thing that became obvious after hanging the rear axle was there are a bunch of extra brackets for the optional three link welded to the frame and shock mounts. I think I will be cutting them off and or filling any extra holes just to clean it up a bit.

    Of course to mock up the steering system, I had to install the firewall and foot boxes. I lined up the body and the firewall and trimmed and ground welds down (minimal) as nessesary to have a good fit. I drilled all the holes in the aluminum, but only fastened with a few rivets as it will all come apart for paint anyway. But that set my alignment for the steering system.

    I got the steering rack, column, shafts and u joints mounted. The cad drawing in the manual for the steering shafts lists the corrected shaft lengths, but the shafts I got were still the original length. I cut the shafts to the specified length on the revised cad drawing and they lined up perfectly.

    I selected the AOD option for the transmission, but the FFR drive shaft needs to be shortened a bit. I also located an AOD tail shaft housing as the 4R70W in the Mark VIII uses a larger slip yoke.

    I've heard a lot of horror stories about fiberglass bodies that warped after being painted and driven a while. Since it's a good idea to post cure the glass body and FFR recommends it, I built a body buck that rolls over the top of the chassis. That way I can roll the body out when I'm working on the chassis and the body can get good exposure to the sun. Plus I can roll it indoors to protect it from any storms that pop up.

    Got the drive shaft shortened and installed. Have the brake lines mostly run. I got my headers the other day (thanks Max!) so I installed the exhaust tonight. I'm welding all my brackets on instead of rivet or screwing them. Just tacking them in for now, I'll go back and finish weld them, trim and smooth later.

    The exhaust is a work of art, very nice pieces. I think I want to run the exhaust out the back. Even though the LK setup is a great value, I think I want to try and do something different.

    I finally started my own build website. Never did a website before so it's pretty simple, but it serves the purpose. I will probably only post highlights here from now on, but you can check my build site for more info.

    I picked up wheels at the Syracuse Nationals and I got tires mounted from Firestone. I put them on tonight and rolled it outside for a look.

    I taped the body panels on the get a feel for a completed hot rod.

  • #2
    Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

    I was originally going to paint chassis and suspension, so I set off to media blast everything while the weather was nice in October. Well after about 1,000#'s of media and many hours, I can to the conclusion I might go powder coat instead. Partly for the durability, but mostly I needed to concentrate on the T bird project and I had already lost a few weeks working on it ( I need to get it out of my garage for the extra work space). The added time it would take to paint everything, I could be working on the T bird making money. So I dropped it all off at the coaters to get a price first and pick out a color. I went with a candy blue over silver which added a lot of expense, but came out real nice. There were 45 parts including front and rear suspension, rear axle, drive shaft, etc. plus the frame. I got some extra powder so I can do some small parts myself that weren't ready like the rear calipers and some small brackets. Basically, every metal part will be powder coated. (on the fence with the engine and transmission)

    I?m also rebuilding a ?55 Thuderbird for a friend of mine. So I have been going back and forth between the two projects

    I was very nervous about the upper control arms as they are readily seen and there are the issue with the permanent ball joints. They did a great job.

    I unwrapped all the small parts the other night. They did a really good job on the powder coating. I like to do everything myself, but I have no regrets with having the powder coating done instead of painting it myself. It's candy blue over silver.

    Polished Firewall

    Polished foot box

    Fuel Lines

    Brake Lines

    Front Suspension

    Paint Test panels

    Had the last week off so I got to spend a lot of time in the garage. Got a lot done, but thought I would have gotten even further along.

    Painted parts that couldn't be powder coated (shocks, tie rod ends, steering rack)

    Assembled Rear axle

    Hung axle from frame

    Installed brakes w/ powder coated hubs and rotors

    Installed steering rack, shafts and joints

    Disassembled engine and inspected


    • #3
      Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

      Rear end buttoned up, just needs oil:

      Finished polishing firewall and coated with Everbrite spray on coating, supposed to be good for 5 years.

      The engine had a lot of carbon buildup, so I disassembled the heads for a good cleaning and new valve seals.

      The engine was in good shape, but I put in new rings, bearings, oil pump and of course replaced all 50 torque to yield head, main and rod bolts. No, I didn't go w/ ARP studs - that's another discussion. Finished up with epoxy / base coat / clear coat.

      I had intended on rebuilding the 4R70W from the Mark VIII, but all the information I was finding indicated that there are a lot of weak points in these transmissions that were corrected by later years. So I searched around and happened upon a smokin deal on a low mileage 4R from an '02 Mustang GT. So I snapped it up, threw a coat of paint on it and it should be good to go.

      Started dressing out the engine. Not sure about the valve covers, I love the wrinkle powder coat, but it's kind of dark with the blue.

      Been playing around with colors for the body. I had an orange picked out, but it was a candy over silver that might be real difficult to spray. My body supply guy tried mixing up a base coat to match and it was way off. BUT, I think I like it better anyway.

      VERY rough rendering:

      Here is the Lokar shifter replacement selector shaft on the 4R70W transmission. It's a nice piece and allows lots of adjustment.

      "Bench" bleeding the brakes

      Engine/trans ready to go in

      Had some of the local FFR Cobra guys interested in seeing the '33 in progress. so I setup a "garage night" and bunch came over. Figured with all the hands, we could set the drive train in place.

      Thanks to everyone for lending a hand.

      Just had to throw the wheels on and take a look.


      • #4
        Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

        Got the exhaust installed last night. Man, it's a pretty tight fit. I'm surprised there have been no complaints of the pipes hitting the frame, I mean the engine is going to twist a little in the mounts under aggressive driving conditions - guess I'll find out.

        Wasn't sure what to do about the hangers and ubolts. I just powder coated them silver except the threads and nuts.

        I'm planning on running the exhaust out the back, but i'm running out the side for now for testing purposes. (Unless I get lazy and it might just stay that way ;) )

        I took a couple days and sta t the kitchen table assembling the Megasquirt computer. Got everything put together including the relay panel and harness. It was actually easier to setup the laptop with the manual right there instead of printing the pages. This is about halfway point.

        Now the trick is to fit everything.

        I got the emergency brake cables and lever installed. Also made up a mount for the shifter and installed it.

        I had mounted the ignition coils on the back of the firewall thinking I had pleanty of room. But the more I thought about it, I really want to have room for a heat and A/C unit. Plus the wires were just to bulky to run though the tunnel. I have been palying with this for the last couple days and since found a better soultion. I mounted them to the front of the fire wall, but recessed so there would be enough room.

        I relocated the coils to the front of the firewall, but recessed them so I had more room in the engine compartment. Still a tight fit, I'll probably upgrade to coil on plug at some point, but this will get me going.

        The Lokar shifter comes with a new shift shaft and an ajustable lever. The problem is it goes on the outside of the selector switch and has to be mounted in the up position. This takes away from leg room quite a bit.

        I didn't like how far it stuck out so I flipped the Selector switch upside down and mofdified the mounting holes a bit for the bolts. Then I was able to bend the selector lever over quite a bit which opens up my leg room a lot.

        Engine harness roughed in.

        Fuel lines run

        Fuel tank final installed (except filler, which I think I'm going to put on the outside of the body)

        New horn button

        Raditaor/grille intalled temporarily, it will have to come apart for the a/c condenser to be installed. Scoop is just sitting there, I have to do some modifications before I can bolt it down. Going to remote locate the TPS to keep the engine compartment clean.

        I rerouted my exhaust under the frame and out the side just to see how it looks. I think this is a viable alternative untill I fabricate a rear exit exhaust, plus there are no holes in the body to deal with.

        As a side note, I took the pipes off last week and flattened them down a litte where they go through the frame. I just put them in a vise with a towel wrapped around them and they compressed pretty easy.

        I fabricated a bell crank for my throttle linkage today. Nothing is final, but it's hooked up and works good.

        Had another nice day today so I rolled the chassis outside to run it a while and check everything out.


        • #5
          Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

          I got the floors and tunnel installed. My kids lent a hand drilling and riviting the floors.

          I had to make some modifications to the tunnel. Since I'm using a 4R70W, it's a little bigger than what the transmission tunnel was designed for. I just kept trimming the tunnel till it fit good and then fiberglassed in some bump outs where there were parts sticking out like the shifter. I also dished in the area by the throttle get more foot room.

          I thought I had it figured out, but after I got the A/C unit and installed it, the fold down electrical panel wouldn't fold up, it was hitting. i cut the panel to fit and rewired the harness.

          The condenser mounting was pretty tricky. I have to put 1/2" spacers to move grille away from the radiator to have enough room for the condenser.

          Installed the body to start aligning the panels

          Got the passenger door installed so I rolled it out side take a look. This is first time I've seen it with the hartop on with the body on the chassis.

          Fitted the roadster windshield.

          I decided to install the gas fill on the rear deck instead of inside the trunk. It looks cleaner with it hidden away in the trunk, but there have been problems with the tanks slow filling that way unless you do major modifications to the tank. This way I don't have to worry about water getting in the trunk if it's raining and it should fill pretty quick becuase it's not going uphill.

          Installed the gauges and A/C vents in the dash.

          I got everything mounted for my DMV pictures (bumpers, wiprer, mirrors, backup light, visors, license plate light, etc.) Had to add a couple of front directional as FFR couldn't provide me with any SAE numbers for the built in ones.

          At this point I ran into a three month setback. I had to take the car to the Motor Vehicle office for an inspection for stolen parts. They found the engine number didn't match the title of the donor car (it obviously had been a replacement engine) but someone had altered the original block numbers and they had grounds to confiscate it (which means take all my tools to thier shop and take the engine out for them so I can get my car back). I found a replacement engine, put it in and took the car back for a reinspection. It passed no problem, but I lost a lot of custom parts that they kept. The bug catcher alone was worth $500.

          With that taken care of I got insurance and plate so I could drive it.

          I'm using early Corvette tail lights, so I cut away the old recesses, glassed over the holes and made recesses for the new lights with paint cans.

          Old light sockets cut out and backedup with cardboard and wax paper

          First of three fiberglass layers

          Holes cut for paint cans and bonded in place front and back

          Excess cut away and lenses mocked up

          Got the bodywork around the tail lights in fair shape and spayed some rattle can flat just to cover the filler work. Finished off with the LED lights.

          Got to do some cruisin in the hot rod. Took it to a big cruise last Monday night, over 1,000 cars show up every month. Had a great time and had a lot of interest in the car. Maybe have the blower on it for next month????

          I've had the blower on for a couple weeks and got some of the bugs worked out. Still have a lot of work to finish the car, but it's drivable and I have about 500 miles on it. It's to the point where I can jump in and go.

          Video of the engine runnig with the blower

          I drove it Fri & Sat about 45 miles each way to the Adirondack Nationals in Lake George NY. Beautifull setting and lots of cars and people. I'm probably not going to do much more to it for a while. I have another car to work on until I can get back to work on the '33. Body work and paint and lots of little detail stuff left to do. Hopefully it will be really done by next summer so I can enjoy it.


          • #6
            Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

            nice work.
            So what happened with the motor? Was it actually stolen, or you had to prove up the motor wasn't stolen?
            Doing it all wrong since 1966


            • #7
              Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

              Originally posted by Buickguy
              nice work.
              So what happened with the motor? Was it actually stolen, or you had to prove up the motor wasn't stolen?
              The DMV still has it, it will go up for auction. I was able to trace the original numbers to a car that had been in a wreck and they never said it was stolen, but since someone had stamped over the original numbers they consider that as "altered" and that's good enough reason to cofiscate.



              • #8
                Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                Awesome project .... keep us updated (love the candy blue on silver too) !!


                • #9
                  Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                  Originally posted by Arrowhead
                  Originally posted by Buickguy
                  nice work.
                  So what happened with the motor? Was it actually stolen, or you had to prove up the motor wasn't stolen?
                  The DMV still has it, it will go up for auction. I was able to trace the original numbers to a car that had been in a wreck and they never said it was stolen, but since someone had stamped over the original numbers they consider that as "altered" and that's good enough reason to cofiscate.

                  I'd think you'd be able to get a sales receipt from the yard that sold the engine and crushed the car..


                  • #10
                    Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                    Awesome build, I really like those cars. What did you do to mate the blower to the lower intake?


                    • #11
                      Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                      Yeah, great build and lots of original touches. Very impressive. I've been toying with the idea (that is to say, sensitizing She-Who-Must-Be-Consulted-About-These Things) to the idea of a FF or similar project. Seems safe to say you're another well-satisfied Factory Five customer?
                      Michael from Hampton Roads


                      • #12
                        Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                        Sweet project, I love it. Thanks for pics.


                        • #13
                          Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                          Thanks for all the kind words. The build has been pretty easy, the hardest part was packaging all the electronics, but that was my doing and carb engine would have been a piece of cake. As far a FFR, I'm very pleased with the quality of the parts and the workmanship of thier fabrication.

                          I know it's a "kit car" and "not steel not real", but it had a lot of featues that I was looking for already designed into the car. It would have been done already except I had to work on another projet to make some cash for the '33.

                          Originally posted by just_james
                          Awesome build, I really like those cars. What did you do to mate the blower to the lower intake?
                          I used a '96-'98 Cobra lower intake with the runners removed and 1/2" aluminum plate to make an adpter to the 6-71.


                          • #14
                            Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                            Do you have any pics? I'm curious as to see how you did it. Thankyou.


                            • #15
                              Re: My Factory Five '33 hot rod build

                              Nice car! I can only imagine how nicely it handles. I was looking at the yellow motor, was that you on with the yellow T bucket that the engine use to be in?
                              Overdrive is overrated