(first posted 4/1/2017) Mrs. Moparlee and I dropped in to St Clair Av. – the Little Italy area to those of you who know Toronto. We were walking around when this loooong black shape caught the corner of my eye as it glided by, in stark contrast to the jellybean and teardrop shapes of cars today, and pulled up to the curb a ways ahead. A lanky guy got out on the passenger side and rushed into the bank.
When we caught up to the big Ford, I started snapping photos, and noticed the driver, an older gentleman, standing near the car and looking wistfully at it. I went over and explained that I was shooting his car for a website, Curbside Classic, that specialized in old car finds at the curb. “Curbside Classic?!?” he blurted out with a startled look. “The guy in the bank there is from Curbside Classic; Niedermeyer is his name, like our great hockey players. He just flew out from Oregon today to buy my car, and he’s in there getting the cash right now. He’s planning to drive it back as soon as he pays me and drops us off at our house.”
“Oh, uh; I just remembered; he didn’t want anyone to know about him buying it. It’s some kind of hush-hush thing. He’s a bit…ah…odd”.
The owner went on; “This guy Niedermeyer said he’s always had a huge crush on these cars, and has been looking for just the right one for years, and when he saw my ad in Kijiji, he called and said he just had to have it, and wired me a deposit. But there’s something a bit disingenuous about him, sort of pretending like he doesn’t truly love these cars either, or being somehow embarrassed about his passion for them. And swearing me to secrecy about buying it. He’s obviously quite complicated and conflicted; he should go see a shrink. They’re cheaper here in Canada too”.
“And there’s something to do with his wife too, like she doesn’t want him to have it, or so he thinks, anyway. Or he’s just embarrassed about her knowing his passion for these. He said it’s going straight into a storage unit, and he’s only going to be able to take it out to drive in secret once in a while. Told me he had to make up a story to her about going to a car museum here with his Canadian Curbside Classic buddies in order to explain his trip out here. She must be a real ball-buster. My wife loves this car. What a waste.”
The owner told me he had just pulled out his baby from winter storage in his garage a couple of days ago, and cleaned it up to sell it, strictly out of necessity as they were moving into an apartment and wouldn’t have parking for it anymore. He said he had bought it second hand and made a bunch of modifications. These mods, I am sure, would include the fancy spare tire carrier, the vinyl roof with opera windows and landau bars, wire wheels, chrome tailpipe tips, probably the mudflaps, and maybe some more on the interior.
He went on: “This guy Niedermeyer is really worked up about my modifications. He said he just can’t believe that someone could actually make one of these splendid cars look any better than how they came from Ford’s design studios. He thinks I’m some sort of car styling-folk art genius. Said he couldn’t believe his luck in finding this. His big worry was that I would sell it to someone else first. I wouldn’t do that, especially after he instantly wired me a deposit. But I’m beginning to think maybe I made a mistake; he’s pretty weird about this car. Maybe he’s some kind of car fetishist? Or maybe he’s a car masochist and he’s going to demo-derby it?”
“He stretches the truth, to put it mildly. He apparently claimed on his website that he had bought a ’72 a couple of years back, but then he had to take it back. Someone must have called him out for being a liar. Then he claimed it wasn’t really the right car for him, or something like that. And that car was such a steal. Idiot! Why would he do all that? And why would anyone want to read this crazy shit? You just can’t trust these internet self-aggrandizers. The more I read his stuff, the less I trust his intentions with my car. Maybe I should just drive off and leave him stranded here.”
What could I say? He had some valid points. Frankly, that whole incident with that ’72 LTD really was pretty lame and embarrassing, especially since that car was so pristine and cheap. What is the real story about his thing with these cars?
The seller continued: “I confronted him with that whole fiasco to, and he was obviously embarrassed and more than a bit cagey. He claimed that the only reason he didn’t buy that one was because it wasn’t a ’71, as well as not being a coupe. Said something about having had a mystical experience in a ’71 Galaxie 500 coupe one night in the summer of 1971, with three high school girls while on LSD. And that finding this one was like the Holy Grail. No wonder he’s wacky. So what’s he going to do with it? Look up those girls on Facebook almost 50 years later, and propose a reunion or reenactment? Good luck with that. They’ll pretend they never knew him. More likely, the whole story is just another of his many obvious fabrications.”
“I’m telling you, this guy is a whack job. Get this: when Niedermeyer found out that my car had the relatively rare and desirable 429 V8, he went all quiet and queasy on the phone. And then he told me it absolutely had to have the 400! Said he would pay me whatever it cost to have a 400 installed. How bat-shit crazy is that? And it’s not exactly easy finding one of those 400 boat anchors anymore that doesn’t have a bad block.
But I found one, and it’s in there now. Actually, it didn’t cost me a penny; I found this guy who swapped me straight across for my very healthy 429, and installed it for free too. He was so thrilled to upgrade his Marquis whose 400 was tired. Aren’t they all? I told Niedermeyer it cost me $3500 for the swap, plus my time in finding it. ‘No problem’, he said. He was just overjoyed to know that it’s going to have the 400, like the one he drove that night in ’71 when he was all fucked up. Can you believe it? Well, if you’re one of his followers at that site, you probably can. What other crazy shit does he go on about there?”
Mrs. Moparlee was getting more than a bit bored, and I could sense she was starting to wonder about all the time I spend at CC. I had been hoping to catch Paul come out of the bank with a wad of cash, and see him drive off in his new car. What was taking him so long? Maybe his bank account was overdrawn? He’s always complaining about not making enough money from Curbside Classic, even though he owns something like a dozen houses. I have to admit, he is a bit…ah…complicated.
But then I remembered about the seller being sworn to secrecy, and figured if I actually did meet Paul, he’d undoubtedly swear me to secrecy too, at pain of banning me from CC. Or something much worse (I hear he’s a bit hot-tempered). So I decided we’d best skedaddle along.
I wrote this up as soon as we got back home, my first ever CC submission, and emailed it to Jim Cavanaugh Friday evening. He was pretty jazzed when he read this, and said he’d make damn sure it got posted first thing Saturday morning, well before Paul can make it back to Oregon. Even if Paul is even half the the crazy-fast driver he’s always bragging about, it’s still going to take him at least 40 hours driving straight through, if he doesn’t get tossed in jail by the RCMP. And if that tired 400 doesn’t spill its guts.
So I figure he won’t get home until Sunday night at the earliest. I made Jim swear he’d take this post down again Sunday noon, so nobody say anything about this to him afterwards! It’ll be our little collective CC secret, ok? These neurotic types need to be indulged once in awhile. Maybe, just maybe, one of these years Paul and his beloved ’71 Ford will finally come out of the closet. I’m not holding my breath, though.
Here’s the links to Paul’s embarrassing saga with that ’72 LTD:
Thank You All For Your Great Car Buying Advice, But I Bought This Pristine ’72 LTD Instead (NOT!)
“My” ’72 LTD Is For Sale, Really
1972 LTD Sold To Germany – The Europeans Are Buying Our Crown Jewels
So much ’70s goodness in a single package! The streets of Eugene will finally be complete! The perfect start to a glorious April!
I am going to “forgive” the “50s” Continental kit because…..reasons… OTOH the “wires” actually look pretty good with the blackwalls, But the oval window AND landau bars… S**t or get off the pot! ? Either could work M8, not both.?
Am I the only one that can get a 2nd generation T-Bird “vibe” from the rear (photo #4,)?
I get some kind of feeling when I look at those pictures. Not sure I’d call it a vibe, more like naus… oops, I mean nostalgia. First car I legally drove on the road was a ’72 LTD in high school driver training. Brilliant story, best April Fool’s I’ve seen yet, and probably could be written about many of us here on CC, albeit with different cars. Here, perhaps is mine:
Happy April 1 to all our US friends from the UK.
Greetings to our M8s across the pond! ?
Well now you’ve gone and gotten us both fired, Lee. How I let you talk me into this I will never know. I should have figured that with a natural road car like this, PN would have plenty of screen time in the Canadian flatlands. He sent me a terse text about 10 minutes ago that we ruined the big announcement he had planned . If I’m lucky I get this comment up before I lose access.
Damn, that annual 75k in CC income is gonna be missed.
Jim, it was a nice run while it lasted!
I recognize this car. These conversions were done by a company called Emetic Automotive, which was ran by rather eccentric Canadian businessman named Corey Trevorson, Jr. Although the company operated out of a rickety converted warehouse in Halifax, they were known for the quality of their work. Detractors referred to this type of subtle modification as the “Semifly” look, but taste is a subjective thing. You guys can make fun of this car all you want, but Paul has come out of the closet as a Semifly Dude, and we need to be as supportive of him as we can be.
I’m glad he’s come out of the closet as a Semifly Dude. Carrying that secret around must have been a living hell.
Whether it’s caused by nature or nurture, I hope Paul knows that we all still love him just the same…
Emetic automotive – what a name!
Perfect! Eh Paul, an opera window fetish. Who knew? What a truly perfect way to come out of the landau bar closet–on April Fool’s day, no less! No-one will believe it! Brilliant!! Absolutely brilliant, even Stephanie wouldn’t believe it. Bravo, now you are set for your upcoming arrival in Detroit with this Motown Bliss. I am impressed to no end! Happy April 1st.
Shhh!….On the “down low”…. EVERYONE who went through high school digging on “The Electric Light Orchestra” has a “thing” for “opera” windows.
Seeing one with a continental kit is the first time I actually thought that the rear looked longer than the front on these boats.
Well skewered, both the car and the boss. And all of us really, either we need therapy or this actually IS the therapy 🙂
But seriously, why all that intrigue to fly out and pay cash? You could have wired the money and I’d gladly have flat towed the Ford out to Detroit with my 40hp Beetle.
Last summer in Nashville, it wasn’t too hard to determine something was brewing with Paul when JPC and I went for a drive in my ’63 Ford that Sunday morning. Paul kept whispering something about “only 8 more years”. At the time I though it was something to do with the upcoming election in November, and, as politics had never even been mentioned all weekend, Jim and I left well-enough alone.
This solves it. Paul has rightfully earned the title of “The 1971 Ford Whisperer”. However, I have a hunch this Ford may be for Stephanie, and it might be adding to the collection. Or not, as a divorce was once mentioned: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-1971-ford-ltd-convertible-the-name-on-the-title-starts-with-the-letter-n/
We all remember the cars of our youth fondly… Paul (in his youth) worked at Towson Ford in 1971… How could he not love this iconic automobile? ?
BTW Jason, that link to those letters?… It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever read on this site. I’ll have to click and reread that later. For me that car’s model year sister (The ’72 LTD Convertible) was the car I wanted SO bad as a teenager, but I settled for my ’73 LTD 2-Door Hardtop.
I’m with you on the big Ford love… your ’63 is another favorite of mine.
Welcome to Push-PN’s-Buttons Week at CC!
First the acknowledgement of the weaknesses of a car that represented his personal high-water mark of wealth and career success, and now this…
Great write up and very appropriate for today! I know everyone has there on taste, but I can’t say I am a fan of any of the modifications on this car. I am not a huge fan of these 71-72 LTD’s but I generally think they were nicer looking the 1973’s. Even though I usually like 2-doors, I always though these LTD’s looked better as 4-doors.
Your comments of the 400 Ford are a little off base. The 400 Ford was nothing more than a tall deck 351C, very similar to the relationship the 351W has to the 302. The 400 Ford has a reputation as a boat anchor because it never had anything but a lo-po version from Ford. The only major design flaw that these engines had from Ford was the excessive deck clearance with the factory pistons. This can easily be remedied with aftermarket pistons, which are necessary to overcome the low compression these engines had.
As for the “bad blocks” there were some problems with block cracking in the lifter valley, but only on specific blocks. This only applied to blocks cast at the Michigan Casting Center cast before March 1977. The 400 blocks were only cast at the Dearborn Iron Foundry and the Cleveland Foundry for 1971-72. For 1973, the blocks were either cast in the Cleveland Foundry or the Michigan Casting Center. So none of the 1971-72 Fords would have had issues with bad blocks. Further, in 1977 the HD truck block was introduced, which was used on passenger cars form 1978 on. This block had extra reinforcement and is the strongest factory 335 series engine block, short of the 351C NASCAR block.
These engines were very durable if the maintenance was done properly. There are a ton of Ford Trucks with 400’s that have a ton of mileage. For years there was little aftermarket support for these engines, but now with the availability of improved pistons, it’s very easy to build one of these engines to be a very strong performer with mostly stock parts. 400 hp with stock Iron heads is easy, and of course any 351C aluminum head will work on these 400’s as well. Not only are popular amongst the Ford truck crowd, but there are numerous Pantera guys who have swap hi-po Ford 400’s in place of the 351C. John Kasse also built a couple 400 Fords that one the engine masters competition, beating out the Ford 385 series big blocks (among other so-called “better” engines). But as long as the “myth” of these engines continues, at least the cores for 400 builds remain dirt cheap.
We had a 1971 LTD for 30 years (Nov. 1970 to summer 2000) in our family. It came with the 400. The thing rattled and pinged from day one till I finally swapped it out for a 429-4V from a 1971 Ford wagon in 1989. Something about the head chamber design, but we had to run premium gas in it even with its low compression ratio.
Now the 429, with its 10.5:1 or 11.0:1 compression ratio (depending upon which Ford literature you chose to believe; we had all of the factory sales and repair manuals) definitely required premium fuel plus lead additive, in the later years (after the mid-1980s when there were no longer any stations selling leaded fuel). But it was well worth it! The difference in torque and power between the two engines was significant. At triple-digit speeds, you could mash the go pedal and that 429 still had more to give (I chickened out at 120mph).
The rattling and pinging was a common compliant with the 400 which was due to the excessive deck clearances I spoke about above. This problem could be further aggravated by improper ignition tuning and carbon buildup in the combustion chamber. Not all 400s suffered from detonation problems and the only time I have experienced them with a 400 was due to carbon buildup and or timing issue. I am not just talking base timing rather a improperly working mechanical or vacuum advance. Ford distributors are also well known bushing wear which leads to excessive play and inaccurate timing.
Of course a 429-4V with high compression is going to out perform a low compression 400-2V. The point is these engines have a ton of potential. And although there could be some tuning issues, they were generally good engines in Stock configuration.
I built a TMeyer 434 Stroker on a Ford 400. The block can take serious power, although mine is only making 270 RWHP. Those are real dyno horses, too, not, “I has to be making 400 HP” bragging horses.
It delivers such kapow! torque it feels a lot stronger than the 365 rear wheel torque. That would easily be 450 at the crank.
It rumbles, vibrates and does wicked burnouts. It is also not about to blow up as the TMeyer pistons take care of the detonation problems the Ford 400 was famous for. It runs just fine on Chevron 94.
There is plenty more in it but it only has a 650 cfm carb to make it easy to drive. Iron manifolds don’t help much, either, but I really dislike the wrenching headers entail.
The Ford 400 is just a tall deck Cleveland and the later ones, after 1978, were very stout engines. Problem was everybody wants a 460, so the 400 doesn’t get much interest but in real terms, there is little difference in a Mk V with a 460 or 400.
Gotta love that roof treatment. Poorly placed opera windows in order to fit in landau bars and a half vinyl roof in a garish color with the front half being stainless-steel. Looks like the guy cleaned out the JC Whitney catalog. This car has it all! Semi-fly, indeed.
I bout swallowed my tongue on “bat-shit crazy” which this article is.☺
p.s. I may be Ford POS crazy; but I like that car.
April Fools day? At first I’m like huh??, that’s not something I think Mr. Neidermeyer would even come close to liking (the baroqueness — not the car itself) then it’s like, oh. Har har. April fools day!
Good thing there’s lots of rivers, lakes and boat ramps close by so Paul can sail this yacht around Eugene.
Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick? Prolly could have bought that H – body out in Boston for a lot less and achieved the same look. Drive it home, stop at Warshawsky’s in Chicago on your way, get you a can of Simoniz and one of those drawer pull grills. Set of wire wheels and you’re good to go. No, I think you really need what I think they used to say are “Gatsby” white walls! Very popular look here in the ’70’s.
So many lame accessories in one place and a rear bumper turd to finish it off PN will love it, a fine replacement for his Xbox.
For me I’ve thought Ford pulled off the 1971-72 full sized coupes a lot better than the Mercury’s of the same vintage, I also thought this was the last great era of the Full sized Ford’s.
Since this body/platform lasted from 1969 till 1978 it certainly was successful. (beaten only by the Model T and Panther for “standard” Fords).
Now, I’m not a Ford guy, So YMMV, But I consider the Panthers to be the last of the “great full-size Fords”, even though they had a rocky start. When I’m long gone there will still be Crown Victorias and Grand Marquis on the road. ? Hmm, A latter day Model A…(I’ma poet ‘n don’t know it)…?
Interesting story….but the vulgar words were a bit of a detraction.
I love the vulgar words.
It’s about time people can express themselves in print (internet) in our street vernacular. Plenty of other car mags stick to the traditional rules. I mean let’s not pretend we didn’t do LSD with two girls in the back seat of a car when it actually did happen!
I am a regular reader and visitor to this site and vulgarity is all too common on the internet as it is…..The story was communicated well enough to be understood without needing to drop the f bomb in it unless they want to start putting disclaimers at the top of the articles advising adult language is contained within as not all readers of this site may be necessarily of adult age.
Adult age? There has never been anything on this site that your average English speaker hasn’t heard by age 8. No one ever went blind or caught a dread disease from seeing or hearing a word. (even the dreaded “F” word) There’s a big difference between obscene/ abusive and colorful.
I guess I was raised in a different era…..If I had used language like that in casual conversation at the dinner table growing up, I would have been reprimanded immediately and likely spanked or sent to my room without supper….but to each his own….it is only my opinion.
A blog site is more of a bar room than a dining room. No one here ever crosses the line of normal adult conversation, unlike the civil,respectable place that is the YouTube comment section where the worst language is often “written” by those under 18.
I agree Dave. I know this was a 4/1 story, but I could/should have passed this one by.
Well done Moparlee!
I could see the King of Kensington driving this.
amazing how the side profile remind me of a huuuuuuge Mustang II ghia
Perfectly timed re-post!
In a word HIDEOUS!