A basket case has been turned into a showstopper by passionate enthusiasts with a plan.
It’s a sad situation. You see a car, sitting outside in the same spot for long periods of time. Each time you pass, you wonder. You think how nice the car would be if only someone would show enough interest to “fix ‘er up”. It gets to the point where you decide that no one else is going to do it, so you have to be the one to ask.
Stories like this don’t always have a happy ending. The owner may not want to sell for whatever reason he or she can justify in his or her own mind and the car continues to sit. The owner may sell, but you find it is more of a project than you can take time or money to finish. Now, it sits at your place, still in the same situation…do you want to be THAT guy?
Our story has the kind of ending car enthusiasts hope for. James and Janet Funk of Palm Coast, Florida, got tired of seeing a 1966 forlorn Fairlane 500 convertible, so they asked. Without getting into the details, the then-owner said yes and the deal was done.
James and Janet now had work to do. The car was a basket case in many senses of the words. It had no interior. There was no engine. Floorboards were rusty. It had been sitting in the elements (Florida weather can be as harsh on a car as anywhere else). It didn’t even have the frame for the convertible top, let alone the top itself. Have you decided you would have quit by now?
This extreme case of Fairlane abuse found a loving home in the Funk garage. Undaunted by this challenge, the only thought was getting it done and getting it done right, no matter what, but it was not a case of unlimited time and money.
James is a carpenter by trade, who builds residential homes in the area. Janet works as an insurance agent. They formed quite a team through the restoration and renovation. James would need all of his skill of working with his hands to get the jobs done. Janet’s phone skills in locating parts was a big help, but her detailing skills played a role. She even bead blasted many of the components on this car. When she wasn’t getting her hands dirty, James appreciated the fact she kept the beers coming to keep him in the right frame of mind to undertake this project in the first place.
The work started with the floorpans. Since one of his abilities is welding, he was the right man for the job in his own garage. In fact, he did all the work on the car except the C6 transmission, interior covering on the seats and the convertible top and frame. He even helped in the assembly of the 428 ‘66 Thunderbird engine. Chuck Damron of Bunnell, Florida, was put in charge of the 428 ‘66 Thunderbird powerplant. It has a .268 Comp cam, high-volume oil pump, Edelbrock Performer intake with a Holley 750 with vacuum secondaries.