'61 convertible resurrection

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    Waylon Kain

    Hey all – new to the forum and just landed my first slab.  Let me give a quick back story on how this thing became mine.

    A friend of a friend (a guy I’d met only a handful of times and usually at a bar with a loud band playing in background) had this ’61 he picked up down in texas. He’d had it for a decade or more and occasionally would give me a ring or shoot me an email when he was thinking of selling it and see if i was interested – I was, but never had the scratch he was asking for it at the time. Well last weekend he called me again – and same ol’ song and dance … or so i thought. He told me he had an offer and i again told him with recently purchasing a new house, having not one but two kids, buying the wife a new Flex that I again just didn’t have the cash to spare. He then tells me that’s not a problem (i’m thinking he’s going to let me make payments) but he says he’s going to GIVE me the car. GIVE , like free. come get it. He had a standing offer on the car, a guy that would stop by his house in Long Beach every now and then and offer him cash for it. But he wanted me to have it and to build it with my son. He know this exact year/make/model was my absolute dream car – and he wanted the car to be built with love by me and my son. I will own this car until I’m in a box and then my son will own it.

    So now the pics and bit more of the story.


    Car was originally a Texas car – and from the paperwork I have, it’s only legally had two owners.

    This is where it has sat for the last two years in North Long Beach – we pulled it from it’s grave Sunday morning. This is the first time it’s been moved in two years and only the second time it’s been moved in twelve years. I’m sitting on a planting bucket:

    pulled it w/ the truck across the street to an alley to be loaded up. thankfully it rolled and the tires held air:

    All 5,200lbs of it loaded up

    Got it back home to Lake Elsinore – only about an hour drive. And immediately got to washing the 12+ years of out door life from it’s paint:

    For me – this is what’s it’s all about. My boy Broderick jumped right in an wanted to help. He’s almost 3


    Then got’er all backed in next to my other favorite car – my daily driver, 2003 Lincoln LS V8

    Now for the bad, remember she sat outside for over a decade – thankfully not in snow:

    The good news is I have the front and rear panels and the frames, and further good news is I work for a classic aumotive interior manufacturer – sooo I know a few people who can help. But this is definitely going to take some time.


    Paperwork tells me the last time it was legally registered was 1980. However the plate on the car says 1998 – not sure if the plate is correct for this car or if someone just through it on there to cruise around town. Another receipt tells me the trans was removed and rebuilt back in 98 as well. A good sign. The 429 hasn’t fired in over two years – but it did turn over and would attempt a start. Another good sign. Bad news? someone swiped the carb and air cleaner. I’ve got another carb here at work I’ll toss on it when i get to that point just to see if i can get it to fire – but i’ve got a lot of engine prep work to do before i get to that point:


    All in all the car is pretty damn straight, all of the glass is there and solid and it appears all of the trim is there – which i’d give an 8 out of 10, a few dings here and there. The worst of it is the floor pans are pretty shot and the rear deck lid is starting to separate due to a bad case of rust. The passenger side doors have their fair share as well. but all in all I think i’m at a pretty good starting point.

    I just picked it up yesterday and was out in the garage until midnight w/ a six pack and some Lucero playing – just cleaning grime and gunk out of the interior. I mean there was actual soil at least 1.5 inches thick in some spots – complete with earthworms. So first steps will be continuing to clean it out so i can better asses the damage. Also, bit by bit crossing engine prep steps off my list so i can see if it’ll fire.

    Look forward to adding updates and hearing everyones thoughts.

    Oh and random – found this plaque below the radio:

    G.J. Martin was the first original owner of this car (whoever that may be) but what’s cool is I found a insurance list stating he owned 7 other cars at the same time as this one – and 6 were lincolns. Including a 1972 Lincoln Limo. So it’s gone from one Lincoln loving family to another. Cheers.



    Dimitri Gerard

    Verry nice !


    Waylon Kain

    Gave the beast an oil change, replaced the plugs and plug wires this weekend. Also cleaned the distributor points and rotor and found out i only needed to add brake fluid to get some break power – albeit not much – but some. Got a new used 2 barrel bolted down and almost hooked up. Good news was the oil wasn’t full of metal shavings or water , it was old – but clean enough. Also the trans fluid is red and clear – found some paper work that shows the trans was pulled and rebuilt in 2004 – which means?? the engine must’ve been running in 2004, or why would you worry about the trans? so. all good signs. all good news.  From what i can tell the 38K on the car might be original miles – the story i’m piecing together is that the guy who bought it new in 61 also had a total of 7 other cars at the time – which meant this never got driven. He sold it to a woman in 1975 and from what i can tell it was last legally registered in 1980. My guess is the transmission blew and they parked it – from what i’m told the trans were prone to go bad on these. Just a theory.


    Btw. found two of these in the block – now that is one old ass plug.


    Dimitri Gerard

    Good that the transmission is in good condition . broken mine and already looking for 2 moth for a replacement ( still no luck ) and rebuild at this stage is not a option anymore


    Waylon Kain


    Car fired right up after all my prep work.

    Quick list of what I did prior to trying to start it:

    New Plugs all around

    New Plug Wires

    Cleaned points and rotor in distributor

    New Fuel Filter

    Ran gas line into external gas tank – as I do not know the condition of the cars gas tank, didn’t want to risk it.

    dumped some good old marvel mystery oil on all 8 cylinders to insure they weren’t froze and let it sit for 24hrs.

    Turned the car completely over by hand, again to insure it wasn’t frozen.

    Filled radiator

    attached new carb with new gasket

    ran new vacuum advance lines to distributor

    Oil change and new filter

    checked spark – the old fashion way w/ a screw driver jammed up in a plug wire

    New ignition cylinder installed due to lost keys.

    Dropped in new battery

    She fired right up and idled with no issues. Hell she ran better than some cars i’ve had going down the road.

    We then bled all the brakes until i ran out of brake fluid. Need to re bleed them, but noticed almost all of the brake lines have some what recently been replaced. Still need to pop all the drums off and check their condition.I pulled it up and down the driveway – but due to the external gas tank sitting on the fender I didn’t venture to far.

    Next step is drop the tank and check the condition of it’s internals – flush and reinstall – then see if it can’t run like it should.Oh and the top went fully down and into the trunk, deck lid even screwed into place as it should – I really feel like this car WANTS to come back to life.

    Now that  I know it runs and isn’t a garage lawn ornament, i spent some time cleaning up some of the chrome.It’s amazing what a high speed orbital and some heavy cutting compound can do – then finished it up with a lot of chrome polish by hand. 55 years of build up came off in about an hour.



    Waylon Kain





    That’s a solid looking 61 and it’s awesome that it started right up with minimal work.

    The trunk lid rot is typical on those cars, but generally a replacement can be sourced or yours might be repairable if it’s not too rotted.

    I look forward to following your progress!

    Resistance is Futile.

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