Friday, February 6, 2015

Coffee Brake: Can You Do It For Less -- Ford Falcon Racer

Time for our weekly episode of Coffee Brake, where the coffee drops to the floor and the brakes are ground into bits.  This week we chase the age old question of make versus buy -- by looking at this incredibly well done 1963 Ford Falcon racer (Tip from Rod S.) offered here on eBay currently bidding for $25,100 reserve-not-met with 4 days to go.  The question is -- can you build your own for less?

This car is described by the seller as “Ground Up Build of Era Correct Trans Am Style Road Racer per 1964 SCCA Rule Book. Every part of the car is built to 50 year ago "know how" and parts. Track and Street Legal. Black Plate Car with original 1964 CA Registration tags."  It is absolutely phenomenal to look at from every angle and looks the part of a vintage racer.

Talking the talk and walking the walk are entirely different things, so while this car is probably a hoot to drive, it won't be able to participate in the next Monterey Historic races because it is a modern creation...and using period correct parts and the 1964 SCCA rulebook for a restoration might sound great to the vintage geek inside each one of it actually going to be a car you'd want to drive on the street?  Is there a better way?  At $25k and reserve-not-met this thing is probably going to sell in the $35k range, so if you had that kind of cash, would it be easier to build your own?

The Falcon is an inexpensive car to start with (it isn't like building a restomod C2 Corvette -- that would probably be better to buy because the Corvette guys value stock examples) so the restomod Falcon is playing way up in class when it is done to this level.

Lets start with this 1964 Ford Falcon (yeah, I know it is a different model, but prices aren't that different) found here on eBay currently bidding for $3,550 with 1 day to go.  Here is how I see the budget:

Car $5k  -- Just a guess.
Paint $5k  -- Could be more or less depending on your local paint connections.
Magnet Stickers $500 -- You don't want permanent racer stuff all over your car, get some high quality stickers mounted on magnets for instant racer look at a car show.
Front Suspension + Steering $3k- swap out that miserable steering box with a rack-and-pinion + tilt column steering wheel from someone like fatmanfabrications.  You could also buy a simple front end rebuild from someone like mustangsplus for less than $1k.
Interior $2k -- go wild, all new interior parts in whatever color you want.
Wheels/tires $2k -- pickup some vintage48 or similar Trans-Am style wheel with some sticky 200 treadwear tires. 
Engine rebuild $2k -- Stick with the 302, but get new heads, cam, intake, exhaust for 350-400 hp.  Keep it carbureted for cheap performance, or add fuel injection if you've got more money.
Transmission $2k -- Sure, a close ratio toploader 4-speed would be period correct, but a T-5 will cost less and get you to the Cars & Coffee at a reasonable highway speed without losing your hearing.

Total ~~ $21,500.  You might need to add a few bucks for rear end rebuild, chrome pieces, other bits...but if you are handy with your own tools you could certainly get cheaper used mechanical (junkyard?) parts and put this thing together for less than $20k.  It might not fit the 1964 SCCA rulebook, but it would be a better driver in every sense of the word (avoid the head-bashing rollcage and neck-snapping low buckets please, those look great in instagram filtered pics, but are not safe for street driving) and look just as sweet.

What do you think?  Could you build your own Falcon vintage racer for less than the featured eBay car?


  1. I think the answer is no, because bidding is stalling out around $25k. The builder of this car could have easily dropped $40k into it (if he paid someone else for the assembly) and will probably not recoup his investment...but I think it is going to fail reserve and bounce around eBay for a few months.

  2. Need more "previous owners money" invested in an unfinished project like this POM QUEEN

    Already has a Heidts front end, 8 inch rear end, rebuilt engine & rebuilt transmission. I think the whole turquoise thing does not work on this car but it would be easy to improve on from where it sits.

  3. Give credit for the "small stuff" in your build budget. Lots of fittings, electrical, and booze (or therapy if you have the money). It always adds up more than you'd think.

  4. Your estimates are way, WAY, too low. For $5K all you're going to get is a rusted hulk that will bleed you dry. Start with a nice sprint for $20K (there's one on ebay now) and save yourself 2 years of headaches.

  5. My earlier comment got eaten by the spam eater because there were two links in it , but for he same money I'd go with the real thing as shown here

  6. I'm with EvDeath on this one. You've been hanging around LeMons racers too much. Not to mention the time. Giant buckets of time.


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