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Ford LTD Turned Into Powerful "Farmer Buggy"
Power is no problem when Billy Causey takes his “farm buggy” out into the woods. The rig’s 302 cu. in. engine pumps out more horsepower than he can use on rough ground. Stripped down, shortened, and decked out with chrome valve covers and a hardwood rear box, it looks like a cross between dune buggy, race car and ATV.
    “I had a 1979 LTD, 2-door with only 84,000 miles on it, but heavy surface rust,” explains Causey. “It had been in the family for years, and the engine and transmission worked fine. It wasn’t worth restoring, but I didn’t want to crush it for salvage either.”
    Causey had tinkered with strip-downs since he was a kid. He stripped away the bodywork inside and out, leaving only the floorpan over the driveshaft and transmission.
    He shortened the frame by about 21 in., slid the engine back about 17 in., and shortened the driveshaft by about 38 in. Those changes required shortening the linkage as well and installing new motor mounts for the engine.
    Moving the engine back required shifting the radiator. The original radiator didn’t fit between the frame rails, so Causey replaced it with a radiator from a Mustang 289. It didn’t have the transmission fluid cooling capability of the original radiator.
    “I found a transmission fluid reservoir made for drag racers and positioned it in front of the radiator for air flow cooling,” says Causey. “It’s a nice little cooler, finned so air flows over it nicely, and there’s no need for a fan.”
    He moved the battery to the rear for traction and built a wood box on the back.
    “I wanted it to look a little bit like the old Beverly Hillbillies car,” says Causey. “I mounted two race car type poly seats with safety harnesses where the frame kicks up over the rear axle. They are actually behind where the rear seat used to be.”
    Moving the seats back required extending the steering wheel shaft. It now sits in the open. Causey remounted the ignition switch and a kill switch on a brace for the steering wheel shaft. The brace comes up between the driver’s legs from beneath his seat.
    “I welded the spider gears solid so it has a live axle like a go cart,” says Causey. “That’s an old dirt track trick. It’s a cheap way to make a high-power rear end. I shortened the springs to lower the car, but kept front and rear suspension. I also put bigger wheels and tires on it.”
    He especially likes his “purple tower of power” which he says gets lots of attention. It’s a 9-in. extension that lifts the air filter and carburetor into the air.
    “It gets wild looks, but also having it up that high really chills the air/fuel mix,” says Causey. “It cranks and runs like a top.”
    Although he has had the rig on the road, it was built for off-road driving. Causey notes that the low center of gravity makes it hard to turn over.
    “I can drive right down through a ditch and up the other side,” he says. “I can turn on a dime and get 9¢ change. I can also throw a chainsaw, spade or other tools in the back to get some work done.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Billy Causey, 4220 Hwy. 378, Conway, S.C. 29527 (ph 843 397-2853; billy.causey@horryelectric.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #1