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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all-

I'm a little new to this, so please forgive my ignorance. I'd appreciate any advice that you may have; please feel free to email me as well. If there's already a magazine, website, etc... that explains all this, I'd love to know about it.

My car is a '66 FB c-code 289 auto, no ac, power drum brakes. I drove is for about 4 years, and it was ok, but now I want to upgrade it so that it can be a more dependable, safer, and of course faster, daily driver. I plan on doing the upgrading in phases, so I'd also appreciate any advice on the logical steps to do together (to save labor costs). I don't have the time, or knowledge, to do the work myself, so I'll probably have to take it somewhere. I live in LA, so if you know anyone locally, that would be great.

Also, these are my overall thoughts: I'm not too concerned with keeping things "stock" since I plan on keeping this car for quite sometime; as long as I don't do any irreversible damage, I'm pretty much open to anything. Also, I don't have a ton of $$$ to spend and I'm not really looking to make it a racer, but I would like it to move. I'm not really sure where to start, but here's what I'm thinking so far:

ENGINE - Assuming my 289 is ok, what's a reasonable and relatively upgrade? I've read about using a newer EFI, which would be fine as well. I guess I'm wondering if tweaking the existing on would be cheaper then just dropping a newer one in. I would like to maybe add a supercharger down the road, but nothing too crazy, so I don't need to monster engine.

BRAKES - Obviously, I would like to go with disc brakes. Is it worth it to go with disc front and back? Anyone have experience with a kits they've bought that worked out well?

SUSPENSION - Will a larger engine require mods here also? Not really sure where to being here. Again, this is just for normal driving, not racing. But, if I have to replace parts, I'd want to get something that's a little better than stock.

TRAN - I've read about doing the T5 upgrade. I don't mind staying with the Auto, if the conversion is easier.

EXHAUST - As long as it sounds like a boat, I'm happy.

PROBLEMS - The only real problems I've ever had are as follows:

I did have the exhaust converted to dual, and when ever the engine is warm, and I punch it, the right bank leaves a nice bluish grey smoke cloud. Is this mean the engine is burning oil?

I've had to replace the part where the drive shaft connects to the rear axle (the big gear housing) twice. The times it had to be replaced, I noticed that whenever I would be accelerating, as opposed to just coasting, there's an audible low hum when the gears in that piece would engage. I'm pretty sure it was this piece, because after each replacement, the hum is gone, but in time, would come back.

Overheating - I did replace the stock radiator with a 3-core, and this helped, but I still never feel very good about it. Any sustained speeds over 90 and the temp gets a little to high.

The car has always had a slight pull to the left. No matter how many alignments, never fixed. One mechanic said they adjusted it as much as possible. Hopefully, a suspension upgrade will fix this too.

Once again, thanks for an advice. I'm glad I finally found a forum like this.

And in case you're wondering why I just don't dump this one and get another in better shape...this car has sentimental value. It was the first car I ever had, and it was the first car I ever really wanted. And when I actually got it, I decided that I'm was going to keep it no matter what - till death do us part. I'm sure you all understand...

13,049 Posts
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1,106 Posts
I would suggest sub-projects that you can handle and see tangible results. IMHO, it is more important to be able to stop than start so brakes and safety should be first. Next, Upgrade the suspension to your tastes and then tear into the drive train. I like the T5 swap and a roller cam with a 4V carb upgrade are relatively easy. Good luck and remember to have fun /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

8,037 Posts
I second the order suggest above. Brakes are critical. Suspension is almost as critical. Once a skid starts (say someone cuts you off on the freeway and then stomps on their new ABS brakes!) great brakes and suspension mean the difference between being able to steer out of trouble and just plowing in to doofus in front of you!

John Harvey

Premium Member
1966 'A' code GT fastback. Ivy Green Metallic. 327ci. Not terribly stock anymore.
11,750 Posts
He He He.... see my website for ideas. /forums/images/icons/smile.gif

If you are not prepared to lay it up then you need to take baby steps. I'd start with brakes and suspension because it is more important to be able to stop than it is to go and being able to do both in a controlled manner is key.
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