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Author Topic:   Building new car...need advice.
posted June 24, 2003 11:12 AM
First I'll start off with a little history. My brother and I have both raced at a local dirt track for the past 5 years. We run fords, he runs Late Model, I run Modified Street (we have Street Stock and Modified Streed). I ran a 1969 Falcon, was one of the best handling cars on the track, just lacked the HP to keep up down the straight aways.

But unfortunately 2 seasons ago I spun loose on some oil coming out of turn 4 and hit the wall on the entrance to pit row full speed. Needless to say the frame was twisted beyond fixing (well, fixable, but don't think it would have ever handled right again). So now the car is stripped and I'm looking to build another car. What I'm looking for is some advice on a car to build.

First, a thunderbird is out, we ran one for 2 years and the front clip is just entirel too heavy compared to the rest of the car to get the weight balance right. I'll give ya a run down of what we are allowed to do at our track...Has to be 1989 or earlier model car, Wheel base=108"+ (eliminating mustangs), must be american made, body must be stock and not allowed to lower on frame, ***** jacks are legal, no coil-overs, must run stock bumpers, unibodied cars may install tubing in rocker panel area to connect roll cage-must extend at angles to front & rear sub frames, other makes may use GM metric frames, 3400 LBS minimum (3200 if non-shaven/ported heads).

That's the gest of the major body/frame rules. I want to run as light as possible and use weights to set up as best possible. My main problem is the complete lack of 80's fords that will fit in those descriptions minus a thunderbird which would be my very last resort. We've never built from scratch, so I dunno all the ins-outs of building one, but would it be possible to stretch out a mustang body onto a solid GM frame (we are allowed to adjust body to fit frame if using ford/dodge body on GM frame)? Or even possible to stretch a stock mustang out over 108"+ wheelbase?

I am the only person to run a ford in Modified Street (no dodges even) so there isn't anyone for me to look to for advice at the track. So thought I'd drop in here and see if any of you guys could throw me some advice. Also, I'm looking for a fairly cheap route as I'm on a limited budget.


posted June 24, 2003 03:37 PM
Dear IceHouse.

A Few years ago I built my cousin a Ford Chassis and it was a 78 ThunderBird Chassis.

I took the Big body Thunder Bird and trashed it and I shortened the Frame down putting leaf springs under it and I put a 80 model Granada Skin on it.The Car interior Is boxed in by aluminum sheet metal and all.

We put afco springs in the front with jack bolts and and Chrysler type springs in the rear.

We built a 351 windsor engine with a 9" Ford rearend with 456 gears and ran a standard out of second gear and man would it hump on a 1/4 mile dirt oval.We also ran a solid lift cam and roller rockers with an 750 Holley DP with a steel flywheel cut down to lighten it up and the Ford blowed many Chevy Camaros door skins off.

My cousin got tired of racing and its been on Jack stands in his dad`s shop since about 1999.Its a shame to see it setting there race ready and he doesnt no longer have a passion for it because of his *****y wife.

That Ford is tough.

Take care Steve.

[This message has been edited by stevenwm (edited June 24, 2003).]

posted June 24, 2003 04:53 PM
Icehouse,how about an ltd.I know a few guys that run them and they get around the track great.You can make them pretty light.


posted June 24, 2003 08:32 PM
The first thing that comes to mind would be a small metric frame with a fairmont or Zepher two door body, you could even use the 83-86 LTD II front clip to modernize the looks. I really don't know why more folks don't race the Granada, maybe it's too heavy. The metrics are light and light means fast. On the other side of the coin the small metric frame is very flimsy and does not hold up well to dirt track racing. Anyway, if your gonna run the metric frame, while you have it bare, there are several areas on the frame that really need some attention-plating to make it last. Don't go nuts, just fill in the crush holes and the dimples.
Very unusual rules to let you swap the frame's like that though. I like the cut down T-Bird idea. I wish more tracks would allow the use of cut down frames (to 108).

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