12 wrenches are better than 1: Falcon Strip Party

1963 Ford Falcon Wagon Project Start


A lifelong family friend told me, “The funnest part’s over.” On Saturday 6/7, I had a “Strip Party” at my house. Sounds more fun than it was cause we were stripping a 1963 Falcon Wagon. Including me, 12 guys took apart this wagon Overhaulin’ style. (Chip, are you seeing this?)


Ford Falcon, Ford falcon wagon, Ford falcon station wagon, 1963 Ford falcon wagon

Imagine a guy with big dreams about a cool cruising wagon that can carry his family to cruises and shows in style. That same guy has said family out of the country, in Japan, for 7 weeks. What to do? I got the idea to invite my buddies and fellow MyRideisMe.com members over for a party to kick-off the disassembly of the wagon. I supply beer and pizza and my friends, new and old, got to dive into some 45 year old dirt in my garage. Sound like fun? Then you’re in the right place. This is My Ride is Me at it’s finest.


The tear-down thrash started when my friend Mike Schnur showed up. He was early, but I was thrilled to see him over. Mike’s the undisputed “Falcon God”. In case you forgot the car we’re working on, here it is in my driveway after a good cleaning… The car was a running, driving 4 door wagon with a later model 200 6 cylinder and the original Dagenham 4-speed. It’s got some pretty nasty black primer on it right now from the previous owner. He used to spray it down with Armor All to keep it shiny. Don’t do it. It eventually turns into a black paste that just won’t come off! That’s what you’re seeing in the darker streaks in the picture. (Click on it to make the picture bigger). I drove the car into the garage for Mike and I to get to work.


1960 Comet Wagon, comet station wagon, mercury comet wagon, hot rod wagon

Since Mike’s owns a flat-out bitch’n 1960 2-door Comet wagon and has removed and replace more trim (sounds like the start of a bad joke) than anyone else coming to the party, that’s where he started. We still need Mike to add that Comet to his garage (CLICK HERE) so he can say more about. But, it’s easy to see, Mike knows Falcons, Comets and no doubt, wagons. Ford Falcon, Ford falcon wagon, Ford falcon station wagon, 1963 Ford falcon wagon, rebuild startHere’s Mike getting started. It’s about 1PM.


The car could have easily taken us to buy the many-many ice cold beverages we had ready to quench the Arizona heat building up in the garage, but instead, I choose to tear it apart. Mike handled the delicate work while I chipped in with photos… not really, I did get into the mix too with some of the bigger items. I’m an engineer and son of a Ford63 Falcon Wagon bumper Mechanic, so I can mix it up a little in the garage too. Here’s me triumphantly holding the first piece I pulled off. The not-so-good bumper. It’s still early in the day so the glassy-eyed-ness is just a special camera effect.


200 6 cylinder falcon, 63 ford Falcon motorNot too much later, more of the crew showed up. Brian Stupski is there chipping away at the window with Mike lending a hand. That stink’n window did NOT want to come out. Chances are, I’ll have to replace it cause of some fairly deep scratches from a missing wiper blade (insert nails on a chalkboard sound here) but still, I didn’t want to bust out the hammers, not yet. Luckily Brian’s a patient guy. He has to be to turn out the sick designs he does. Dave Kiesel’s also hard at it. If you’re a Division 7 drag racer, you might know that name from his runner-up in Super Street at this year’s Fontana race. He busted out by 0.054s to the other lane charging63 Falcon Wagon windshield at 140+ mph. He was that far away from a Wally! (Dave’s garage) Dave’s a mechanic at heart, so he got to work pulling the engine and trans.


Rob Zoller, my partner for the drive to the LA Roadster Show this weekend, also jumped right in. (Rob’s Garage) Rob and Mike have turned out some sweet suede Falcons over the past few years. Between Rob and Mike, we had our Falcon knowledge completely covered. The windshield finally came out, but Rob thinks we missed a spot. My left over “Christmas Jack” is riding shotgun.


Falcon wagon Dagenham 4 speedBefore the engine could come out, of course the radiator and all that came out, but rather than trying to wrestle the engine and trans out together, Dave got good and greasy with the leaking 4 speed underneath.( Believe it or not, this is Dave’s good side!) One of the coolest components going back into this car is the replacement Dagenham 4 speed I have. My new trans has some history! The Hurst competition shifter with the semi-rusty stick and scratched white shift ball are staying right where they are. If that ball could talk… (Oh no, another start to a bad joke)


This next shot almost puts things into perspective. 6 buddies all making short work of snatching This is MyRideisMe.com - 6 guys tearing out an engineout this engine. Dave Young and Joe Nagy fellow Nissan tomodachi‘s and Joel Nelson from 1320designs.com are in this shot. Dave and his lovely wife came over for some moral support before heading to a (surely more sophisticated) graduation party. Cut Dave and he bleeds A/T fluid from all the trans rebuilds he’s done. The end goal of the “Strip Party” was to get the engine and trans out. Little did I know that we were just getting started!


Ford falcon build,

Things were going great. Time to ramp up the consumption. With this many guys helping, the front and rear bench seats came flying out. I had the guys take a garage tour driving our imaginary wagon. (Or was that a magic school bus ride?) At this point, it was still light out, but we’d already gone past what I thought we could do in one day… And, some heavy hitters had just arrived.


Without a doubt, the coolest part about starting MyRideisMe.com is the people I’ve met. Last week in Michigan, I stopped by American Speed Company and grabbed a shop tour (blog’s on the way!) and before that, I had stopped by Squeeg’s Kustom in Mesa, AZ to write a blog about them. Melissa’s Bad and black 32 roadsterDoug Jerger was putting the finishing touches on his AMBR contending roadster when I was there. He didn’t win, but that is a world- class hot rod. I invited Doug and his crew to my house to help, mostly to give advice on the project, and to have a few coldies. Doug along with Sammy and Moose from his shop and Melissa Jerger, his wife, all arrived at the same time. Doug in his bad, slammed dually and Melissa in her wicked black 32 roadster. Melissa’s launching a new line of apparel for women rodders call, “Hot Brod”. I’ll be running a blog on that later.


Doug had just returned from picking up a Woodie in California, so when he asked how he could help, I told him to just relax. He could see we had already made alot of progress. I asked a few paint questions and he helped out like the pro he is. Then, not 20 minutes later, Doug let me know he’d had enough of standing around watching without pitching in. Now I had guys from a professional shop tearing off the front fenders just cause they are hard workers who dig hot rods. As I said in Squeeg’s blog, these are the people you want on your next project.


1963 Falcon Wagon, ford falcon projectFinally, Mike, the first guy there, wrapped up the tear down by removing the under-dash harness. Wow! At this point, only the 4 doors and the tailgate shell remained on the rolling car. I’m glad I caught this picture of Devin Squire (Devin’s garage). Devin and I had only met briefly but he showed up and did alot of The 63 Falcon wagon “Stripped” work nobody likes but needs doing including tidying up and making sure my tools made it into a single pile. This is about the time when I realized what a big can of worms I opened. Here’s what was left.


Don’t worry! This isn’t the end of the story. I’ve got more blogs to write, so I better keep working. I’ve already finished the all important Project list and even finished a few projects! I’ll be featuring the folks who help me in each blog. Want to get involved? Own a Falcon Parts shop? Let me know! Leave a comment and I’ll see your email address. For now, special thanks to Mike and Kelly from Auto Insulation Specialists Lo-Buc-Rod. Much more later, stay tuned!


Every story I’ve written about this build can be found here: 1963 Ford Falcon Wagon Build