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1978 Ford Courier


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This is not the newly reissued Crusin' Van. I built this originally back in 2009, using the 2WD Flareside reissue from 1995. It stayed as built until earlier this year when it got a refresh. 

Here's how I justified the rebuild. Story is, the truck was originally built by a guy in New Mexico. He was big into flathead V8s, but also into mini trucks, and when he one day struck a deal on a relatively clean Courier with an aftermarket Flareside bed, he had to jump on it. The body and chassis were great, but the 2.3 four was shot, but since our guy had a bunch of Flatheads laying around, the following course of events was predictable. While he was at it he  lowered it, swapped in some bucket seats, hosed the thing off in black primer, and slapped on some yellow steel wheels, painted to match the already-yellow 1950 Ford flathead he had laying around. The rear bumper had a very noticable bend, so it was yanked and replaced with a hand made filler panel, itself fitted with '49 Ford tail lights. 

Our guy... we'll call him Larry... drove the whitewalls off the thing for twelve years, during which time it had begun to show it's age. During his unplanned Covid-19 vacation, he finally had time to get around to that friggin' '50 Ford F1 he'd had languishing in the shop the whole time. Upon finally getting the '50 into a condition somewhat resembling running, he decided it was time to part with the old Courier, so onto ebay it went. When the dust settled, it ended up with a guy in Michigan. We'll call him Kurt, because that's what the truck says.

Kurt had always wanted to do a flathead swap in a Courier. He could never explain why... but there it was. Kurt was enamored with the swap, and the overall rundown look of the truck as it was when he got it. But there were a few issues. For one thing, Larry had put nearly 70k on the truck during his years of ownership, and while the flathead had been fresh when he'd stabbed it in, it was showing it's age now. Fortunately, Kurt had a '49 Mercury engine he'd had laying around. It was treated to a rebuild, and outfitted with a twin carb intake and Offy finned heads. The '50 Ford engine now sits in the garage to be rebuilt just in case Kurt blows up the Merc mill. (He'll certainly try.) Other than that major mechanical upgrade, he kept things simple- he did a little bit of 'de chroming', as Larry's discount-auto-store clip on chrome accents for the drip rails and windshield molding were getting a little haggard. He also upgraded the sound system and popped on some '46 Ford hubcaps. 

Here it is in it's original 2009 configuration, and how it looked up until early this year. I had a thread posted here when I originally built it but I can't find a trace of it 12 years later.

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Basically the kit is largely stock, with the exception of the engine, seats, steering wheel, shifter, roll pan, wheels, and tires. I did install the front frame crossmember backwards originally, I don't recall if I did this to better fit the Flathead or if I just screwed up. Likely the latter. After 12 years I remember the engine was from an AMT '50 Ford Convertible, with an AMT parts pack air cleaner, and the wheels and tires came from a Galaxie Limited '46 chevy. These were chosen because they had nice six lug hub detail... even though years later I opted to cover up said hub detail.  I don't recall the shade of yellow I used back then (if I had to guess it was something from the old Rustoleum American Accents line), but I found a "close enough" match with Tamiya for the refresh.

Here's the 2021 incarnation...

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The hot New Mexico days did a number on the 2009 paint job. The fake phone number is so obvious it amuses me, so I didn't bother trying to photoshop a more legit looking number onto the new door signs, which are internet stock images printed onto Micromark white carrier. 

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Originally the bed wouldn't sit level and the truck looked like it was broken in the middle. I managed to get it to look a little better this time around. I also redid the front side markers with actual transparent orange paint this time, instead of just painting them yellow as I'd done originally. 

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More stickers are about the only change from this angle. And the plate- every model I've finished in 2021 has had the NCC 1701 Michigan plate, as a way to commemorate the 55th anniversary of Star Trek. I didn't have the old yellow Offenhauser decal from the AMT '49 Merc, so instead I robbed one from the Revell Kurtis Midget. The one with the Offy four banger, obviously. 

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In addition to the fresh Flathead, the engine bay was also treated to a new Optima gel-cell battery, which was purchased from Pro Street Hobbies on ebay. I may yet add a few underhood doodads such as heater hoses and the conspicuously absent brake cylinder. Maybe in 12 more years...

Now that I think of it maybe I need to getting around to building that Larry guy's '50 F1. :)  

 

 

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Great finished result and I like the backstory.

Good to see one of these Couriers built. I vaguely started one last year, to be fitted with a '90s (ish) Thunderbird V6 engine because of a backstory. I mocked it up but remember the bed sitting a bit high, never got beyond that point!

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