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 Post subject: 1970 Subaru FF-1 Project car
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:13 pm
Posts: 388
Location: Norcal
Hey guys, after seeing the 2nd issue of JNC mag and the 50th anniversary article about Subaru, I decided it was about time to post up my classic Subaru project car :)

Now i'm a long time member of several Subaru clubs, including NASIOC (North American Impreza Owners Club), USMB (Ultimate Subaru Message Board), and RS25 (another Impreza club, mostly GC owners), and I have threads about this car on both NASIOC and USMB that are a bit more in depth. USMB is down currently due to hackers :( But here is the NASIOC thread in case you want to check it out:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthr ... ?t=1351744

Anyway, I'm going to start this thread (in a condensed form) and try to keep it updated in conjunction with the other two threads. So lets get started...


About a year ago a fellow member of USMB found a 1970 FF-1 up at a Sierraville junkyard. For those of you who haven't read the 2nd issue yet of JNC, the FF-1 was the first Subaru with the boxer motor drivetrain as well as the FIRST Japanese FWD car sold in the U.S. Its VERY rare to find one here in the U.S. as only a couple thousand were sold here (it was only sold in the U.S. from 1970 to 1972, when the GL/etc. model line with a newer chassis started to be produced by Subaru) and most have been long since scraped. Here are a couple photos from when it was found at the junkyard:

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Yes, that is POS spray painted on the trunk lid... The first thing I fixed on the car.

The car was in pretty bad shape. Lost of rust on the lower part of the chassis from sitting in that tall grass, trash all over the interior, rotted seats and such, and dents on pretty much every part of the body. HOWEVER, the engine did manage to start up with only a few minor fixes (spark plugs/wires, distributor points, battery, etc.). Here are a couple more pics from the first couple of weeks I had it, including a short video of it running:

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyM2KHv6fCc

I immediately started with cleaning up the car as much as possible, and removing some of the interior pieces that were rotted. As I kept working with the car, I realized this was going to have to be a 100% restoration... EVERYTHING needed to come off the car and be restored/repaired/modified in some way or another.

Here are a few more pics, mostly of the unique suspension design (4-wheel independent suspension, wishbones up front too). Note the INBOARD front brakes, a very strange design (and impossible to find brake pads for). I also cleaned up the engine bay a bit to see what condition it was in:

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The 15x6" Pugeot wheels with 205/55/15 tires I had on my previous classic Subaru (a 1978 4x4 DL wagon) didn't fit the FF-1, so I realized tires were going to be a problem as well (I'm still not 100% on what i'm doing for tires/wheels, but ill get to that later).

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More pics from continued dismantling of the car, one piece at a time...

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Note the interesting dual-radiator concept, with NO engine fan!

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As I was going along, I started working on the rust to see exactly what I was in for...

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The main bearings were actually shot on the motor, and since the 70's subaru motors are pretty much like Legos, I'm going to use a different motor so no big deal (I kept everything of course). JDM rebuilt EA63 motor (1400, instead of a 1100):

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The gearing for the 4-speed in this car is VERY short, meaning its only capable of about 80mph, so i'm looking into using taller gearing from another 4-speed from a later year in the case.
I also started removing some of the surface rust so it didn't get any worse while the car was outside, plus I got a good luck at how bad the bad rust really was:

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That was the state the car was in about 4 months ago, before I took it to get blasted at American Stripping Co. http://www.americanstrippingsacramento.com/ where it was blasted with a mineral/plastic two-step process followed by an epoxy "primer" coat to prevent further rust:

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A month or so before I took it to the blaster, I contacted several places about having some custom bodywork done to repair the rust and do a few other things. I eventually managed to get ahold of a shop just down the street from me, Roseville Rod & Custom http://www.rosevillerodandcustom.com/home.htm where the owner, Ben, was 100% willing to do the job and 100% on the same page with me for what I wanted to do with the car! I just picked up the car today (I only had them do the metal work that I'm personally incapable of doing).

A couple of extra things they did for me were: Raise the rear fenders (for clearance), delete the rain gutters, plug all the molding holes, delete the fender indent on the rear, make custom rear bushings (going to have some front bushings made that need replacing, stock replacements are not availible),

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A couple photos from today, the folks at Roseville Rod were even willing to deliver it for me (thanks again Ben!):

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As of now, I have a ton of work to do... However, I need to return the front suspension to Roseville Rod for the custom bushings, and I also plan on having a roll-cage installed but I need seats and custom seat brackets before I can do that, which will probably be next year.

In the mean time, i'll be doing some minor bondo work along with mounting parts and other small detail work. After the roll cage, it will be off to paint :)


Last edited by Kostamojen on Tue Jan 25, 2011 1:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:19 pm 
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Location: Norcal
Here are a few more pics of some parts i've accumulated and restored so far:

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After posting all that, here are a couple of photos of FF-1s from various places

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:21 pm 
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very cool. you must bring that to jccs '09 ...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:33 pm 
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Location: Norcal
And finally, here is a quick run-down for what I plan for the car...

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That gives you a good idea of the sort of look I'm going for. Purpose wise, I don't plan on driving it TOO much, and I don't plan on racing it, but I'm kind of 50/50 on a race-car look or a modified look. I'm severely limited parts wise, minus engine bits, so I can't really upgrade things like brakes/etc. (although the JDM Sports model has disc front brakes rather than drum front brakes).

The interior was pretty much scrap since all the foam turned to mush and is un-replaceable. So for the interior, I'm ditching most of it and going with custom seats (probably classic racing seats from http://www.classiccarseats.com/ ) and keeping the interior sparse, including ditching the rear seats and just covering up some of the door panel/interior panels with black painted metal. Carpet... I'm still not sure if I even want to do carpet yet! I kind of like the white-bare-metal idea.

Color wise, I actually did a poll over on NAISOC and USMB, and white won out...

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This is my 2nd choice:

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Wheels, I don't have many options due to lack of space under the fenders (even with the modified rear fenders) and the rare Subaru 4x140 bolt pattern. (Only some Peugeots have that pattern!). My easiest route is to figure out which tires I want (right now i'm leaning towards 195/45/14 Toyos) and go to http://www.stocktonwheel.com/ and have some custom steelies made. My idea wheel would be a 14x6" Enkei like the 13" enkeis I tried on the car while it was at Roseville Rod, but the offset is an issue and Its probably best to have custom wheels made so the offset is as best as it could possibly be.

The 1400 engine I picked up isnt the best (really not better than the stock 1100 motor, other than the fact I know that one is in good working order) so eventually I plan on building a 1600 (which is dry sleeved rather than wet sleeved) with dual-port heads and custom cams and such, but keeping the larger Weber carb setup. And since the early EA motors are all lego-like as I mentioned, I can keep the same disty/wiring/carb/intake manifold setup.

Yes, I have thought about doing a newer EJ motor swap, but its out of the question... It would require firewall modification along with a complete suspension redesign, and thats not within my budget or means to do. So i'm just going with a modified classic motor, which is actually MUCH easier to work with anyway :)


So, let me know if you guys have any questions, and feel free to comment!!!

P.S. If you have any JDM FF-1 parts or know anyone with any parts, let me know, there are a couple of things I still need...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:34 pm 
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Burabuda wrote:
very cool. you must bring that to jccs '09 ...

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If its done by then :p

But yes, when its done i'm going to JCCS and several other shows ASAP! The Vallejo show is not too far for me either, and of course I'll take it to a few local meets too.

I've looked, but I don't think ive seen pics of any FF-1's at any JDM classic car meets here in the U.S. yet... Have you seen any yet?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:39 pm 
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no, but interesting jnc's appear each year

we won't need to go to japan (eventually) to see some of the rarest jnc's (i hope)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Just for kicks, here is my "other" car :) :

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And here is pic of the 1978 Subaru DL wagon that I sold to make room for the FF-1:

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
1995 Subaru Impreza (2.5 RS Swap)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:21 pm 
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ahh another USMB'r :D welcome to the club and hmmmm those 15" Pugs do look good and I might have some rims that might work and they "might" come available for the right price/trade.... they are the 1974 13" sport mags, Moosens is the only other guy I know with them lol, btw my USMB s/n is bajavwnsoobnut and I have a 76 4wd Wagon (if you haven't noticed the tread I have here in the subaru garage). If you want to chat sometime I can download ICQ again lol or something...

btw Sweet FF-1 and Imp!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 8:54 pm 
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bajasoobnut wrote:
ahh another USMB'r :D welcome to the club and hmmmm those 15" Pugs do look good and I might have some rims that might work and they "might" come available for the right price/trade.... they are the 1974 13" sport mags, Moosens is the only other guy I know with them lol, btw my USMB s/n is bajavwnsoobnut and I have a 76 4wd Wagon (if you haven't noticed the tread I have here in the subaru garage). If you want to chat sometime I can download ICQ again lol or something...

btw Sweet FF-1 and Imp!

I already sold the 15" pugs, the offset is far to low to use on the car. And 13"s are just too small... Thanks for the offer though.

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:10 am 
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Wow. Can't think of anything else to say, so rare and cool! In 1970 there was one in Holland to check if import would be feasible but sadly nothing came of it....

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 10:43 am 
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That is one amazing project. Hats off to you! I'm surprised that the car sat in the junkyard for so long. Most people write off a car with much less rust than that, and I can't even imagine what it must be like to find parts. Thanks for rescuing it!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 27, 2008 5:47 pm 
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ben wrote:
That is one amazing project. Hats off to you! I'm surprised that the car sat in the junkyard for so long. Most people write off a car with much less rust than that, and I can't even imagine what it must be like to find parts. Thanks for rescuing it!

I think most of the rust was actually caused by the junkyard, everything was on the bottom of the car in the grass (wasnt even visible until the car was moved) but the top of the car was in pretty good shape rust wise. The latest registration of the car was ~2003, so it hadn't been there TOO long, but long enough obviously :(

Parts have been better than I expected, but there are a couple I need (like the vent covers on the side of the car) otherwise i've been lucky with engine parts and such, enough so that it will be no problem getting it running again.

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
1995 Subaru Impreza (2.5 RS Swap)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:17 am 
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2002WRX_5speed = Yayoi

nice...NASIOC representing :D I know that place in Roseville...they restore some nice cars out there. Might as well install some tube frame while you are at it... :D

How much are you willing to spend on the wheels...ROIN might be able to help you out. Shipping might cost you though (Italy). Have you tried looking in Yahoo Japan...send me a pm on which wheels you want and I'll look around

Although not a subaru...if I have one, I will keep the look close to this:
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:32 pm 
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Man, I soooo need to find the aftermarket weber intake manifold so I can run the dual barrel downdraft carbs like this car!!! :tu:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRTfgQa9 ... re=channel

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
1995 Subaru Impreza (2.5 RS Swap)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 9:47 pm 
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I have never seen those types of manifolds before but it might just be a dual carb manifold from a GSR and they adapted it for a weber or even dellorto 40-44mm downdraft, but I can say that that car is overcarbed for sure

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 11:58 pm 
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Its a Weber aftermarket intake manifold, not the GSR "dual carb" one:

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That is a 90hp 1300 motor in that vid, so its a rather potent engine.

The weber manifold has the advantage that it runs two intake tracts, one to each head, while the stock manifolds basically take one intake track and divide it between the heads.

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 5:46 am 
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huh that is very interesting, never seen one of those before, but hey you learn something new every day I guess lol

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:28 pm 
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Did some more "mock up" today to figure out if I needed any more bolt/screw holes and such, and to figure out what exactly I need to do for interior panels. I thought maybe I might be able to re-use some of the press-board pieces, but it looks like thats not a possibility. I can use them as a template though.

The rear panel actually needs to be wider and also shorter so it fits its space better. I don't plan on running a rear seat, so i'll need to cover some areas there that aren't currently covered. I'll also have to extend the rear under-window area a bit to cover some of those holes. I'll probably make that out of cardboard next weekend if i'm not busy.

As you can see, i'm trying to figure out what I want to do about gauges. Since I wanted to run a tach and oil temp/water temp gauge, I figure I might as well do a whole custom dash... I went over which items I'll need to operate the heater/vents, but I figure I can trim off a bit of that lower dash piece since I won't be running a stereo. I can also put some power-plug sockets in the holes on the dash on either side (I have some extra ones from a forester dual-plug kit).

I'm not sure what to do about turn signal bulbs... I havent found anywhere that sells them yet. Other than that, I have a good idea of what size gauges I want to run now. I plan on doing a mechanical speedo, 8000rpm tach, oil temp gauge, water temp gauge, voltmeter and fuel gauge. I'm not sure which fuel gauge to get, I need to figure out what the sensor range is for the stock fuel level sensor. I'm also not 100% sure about mechanical speedos and using the stock speedo wire, so I need to look into that.

But ya, I do plan on keeping the dash like that, except powder coat it black... Maybe do a red vinyl stripe to cover up the holes above where the gauges will go. The "wood-look" surface is completely non-usable, and ugly anyway :p

Oh, and I still havent decided on a spot to mount the MSD ignition... But there are several options I can see now.

Here are the pics from today:

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
1995 Subaru Impreza (2.5 RS Swap)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 9:42 pm 
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Dude, this is going to be awesome. We get dibs on featuring it in JNC when you're done, okay? :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 10:18 pm 
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ben wrote:
Dude, this is going to be awesome. We get dibs on featuring it in JNC when you're done, okay? :)

Its going to be awhile :|

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1970 Subaru FF-1 Coupe viewtopic.php?t=3002
1995 Subaru Impreza (2.5 RS Swap)


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