My son has had a long love affair with the 1963 Mercury Meteor. The same day that my wife and I went to court to make our adoption of Eliot official back in 1994, I also brought home a 1963 Mercury Meteor four-door sedan.
Eliot grew up loving this car. When he was 11 years old, I began to modify the car, in anticipation of giving it to him when he started learning to drive. But when I started in on the project, I realized that the rear subframe area was very badly rusted. So, we purchased another 1963 Meteor from Oregon and had it shipped to our house.
We wanted to update nearly everything about the car. We had wild plans, including the installation of a 2003 Mustang Cobra IRS (Independent Rear Suspension) out back. We knew of nobody who had done such a thing to a Meteor (or even a Fairlane, the Meteor's Ford cousin), so we were on our own. We had to fabricate all the brackets to hold the IRS, find custom springs and shocks, and a way to tuck in the rear wheels without ruining the beautiful lines of the Meteor's body by cutting it.
By the time we were done with the car (Who am I kidding? We'll never be done with this car!), we had added a 1993 Mustang GT 5.0L engine, and AOD transmission and a Fatman Fabrications strut front suspension with power rack-and-pinion steering.
For stopping power, we installed Cobra disc brakes all around, and a Ford hydroboost power brake setup. We added long tube headers and 2003 Mustang Cobra mufflers. The front seats are from a 1999 Cobra, including the 6-way adjustable driver's seat. The car has Ford parts on it from 1963 up through 2003.
The best thing about this car, other than blowing people's mind with the IRS, is the hours of quality time I got to spend with my son building this car. We both learned a lot!
Our first crowning achievement was finishing the car by July 2009, for the national meeting of the Fairlane Club of America. Eliot, only 15 at the time and with a Learner's Permit, piloted his modified Meteor around Ford's Dearborn test track along with the other vintage vehicles brought by FCA members from all over the country.
More recently, Eliot won his drag racing bracket at the High School Nationals at Milan Dragway. He went five rounds, successfully defeating five other drivers, to win the first place trophy and $100.
When Eliot goes off to study Transportation Design at the College for Creative Studies in August, his Meteor will carry him there.
It was a great deal of work to build this car, but it was worth every bit of it, and all the more so, since I know that my son will never part with this car.