Got the wagon home & significantly less gross

I brought the wagon home this past weekend. Amazingly with a new battery & some gas it fired up and drove out ofthe yard it was sitting in Brakes/transmission/engine all seem to work (I’m still going to go through them all). The engine runs rough and does seem to have some kind of valve issue, but it runs better than I was lead to believe

Once we had it on the trailer & strapped down I used some waterproofing tape(butyl back aluminum) to seal the roof holes for now to at least stop moisture getting in. Then it was back home with one stop to fill the tank on the wagon and another to spend $10 at a car wash powerwashing as much of the grime of the exterior & engine bay as possible.

Once home and unloaded we started cleaning it up. The seats & door cards had a massive amount of black mold on them, but bleach and scrubbing did amazing things for the seats as you can see in the half-done shot to the right. The backs of the door cards have rotted cardboard, so a winter project is going to be to try and peel off the vinyl and glue it to new backers.

The insides of the door were amazingly rust free, and will only need some minor cleanup & a few coats of Materseries to keep them looking good. The car has an old “Rusty” rustproofing sticker so maybe that is why the doors survived so well. I found some small rust pinholes in the cargo floor & spare tire well, but they should be pretty simple to weld in patches.

After bleaching & scrubbing the seats look quite presentable and I am really happy with them. I tossed the armrests as they were all some combination of stained, moldy & torn; I do have a decent set of red ones that will work for now. Once I get a new filter for my shop vac the interior will get a vacuuming, and I’ll start pulling out the old rubber mat in the back footwell. Unfortunately the power tailgate seems to be DOA, and it would require a bunch of dis-assembly to diagnose so I’m probably going to hold off on dealing with it until the spring.

In addition to the cleaning I got some small jobs done on the car(new exhaust donut gasket, new radiator cap, running some seafoam through the motor, seal tears/cracks in old 1/4 glass & windshield gaskets with RTV). I’m starting to make lists of what the car needs so I can better plan my strategy. Amazingly it runs and drives well enough that I’ve taken it on a few short drives. The next few weeks are going to be skimpy on free time to work on the wagon, but I have a backlog of car shopping posts to finish anyway.

One has been chosen.

I had absolutely no expectation of finding something this (relatively) quickly, and this car is the opposite of nearly everything I’d been looking for. But love is blind, and sometimes bloody stupid. Regardless I am now the (somewhat nervous) owner of this 1964 Ford Falcon wagon.

It is the midrange model and has a few options(automatic transmission, power tailgate window) but is still pretty spartan. The exterior still has the original white paint and the tan seats & door panels are there and decent, though the carpeting & headliner are missing. This car has been sitting under a pine tree for about eight months due to a bad valve. The battery is flat and it won’t start and the tree has left it dirty outside & moldy inside.

According to the previous owner he bought it from Iowa via ebay in 2009 and had a lot of work done(tires/radiator/starter/exhaust/new front floors) to make it a decent driver and used it regularly until “a valve went bad”. However he knows nothing about engines and couldn’t explain it any further. I’m going on the assumption the head is bad on the off chance it means I’ll be pleasantly surprised. My plan is to go out where it is still sitting with a battery & fresh gas to see if i can get it to run enough to at least make loading it on a trailer easier.

Besides the engine the single biggest problem with the car is the roof. The edge of the roof is badly rusted/rotted from above the back doors all the way to the tailgate. This is apparently common on these wagons as condensation forms on the inside of the roof and collects in the edges rotting them out from the inside. I’m going to just seal the holes for right now, and deal with proper repairs in the spring. I’ll probably weld in patches for now and depending on how that ends up looking probably look for a good roof to splice in down the line.

For now though my plan with this car is to make it a reliable beater and just enjoy it without trying to make it perfect. An old wagon with a chrome roof rack and faded original paint is undeniably cool, and should make for a great project.

Of course updates will be posted her as things happen with the wagon, I will also still be posting car shopping entries from the backlog of vehicles I looked at before I bought this.