Mike Eddy has one of the greatest jobs in the performance industry. He builds and maintains Vic Edelbrock's race cars and restorations at Edelbrock's excellent Torrance, California, facility. When he's not working on the original Smokey Yunick Trans-Am '67 Camaro or the '69 Boss 302 Trans- Am Mustang once driven by George Follmer, Mike cruises in his 65 Ford Falcon Ranchero. What makes Mike's cruiser unique is the enhanced but original Paxton supercharger restored by Craig Conely at Paradise Wheel. In case that doesn't squeeze your trigger, Mike is also restoring an original '64 Falcon Sprint that raced in the '66 Trans-Am and also competed in SCCA A/Sedan between 1965 and 1973 under its original owner and builder, who was Mike's neighbor. No doubt much of this early Ford performance influence originates from the fact that Mike's father worked for Carroll Shelby on the original Cobras and Mustangs in the '60s and also worked on the SCCA Falcon with his neighbor. Mike has been known to get behind the wheel of the Follmer Mustang and other Edelbrock cars at historic Trans-Am races throughout the country. All this colors the background of this very cool, vintage, supercharged small-block Ford in his 65 Ford Falcon Ranchero. Other cars in Mike's collection include a two-door '64 Falcon wagon and a '65 sedan delivery, so it's obvious Mike's connection to these early cars is intense. When you're involved at this level, the word is immersed, and Mike is a card-carrying member of the '60s Ford Full Emersion Club.
Paxton superchargers were originally developed by owner Robert Paxton McCulloch for flathead Ford engines in 1937. McCulloch eventually sold the Paxton supercharger portion of his business to brothers Vincent, Joseph, and Andy Granatelli, who employed the Novi name that had become synonymous with racing at Indy. McCulloch, meanwhile, went on to become known for lightweight, two-stroke, chainsaw and go-kart racing engines.
The carburetor that you can't see under the Paxton bonnet on the 65 Ford Falcon Ranchero started life as a mechanical-secondary, 700-cfm Holley reworked by the legendary Murray Jensen. The Jensen-converted carburetors were nicknamed Turkey Herder carbs, equipped with four-corner idle circuits and Dominator three-circuit secondary metering blocks to ensure smooth secondary fuel delivery. Mike says Jensen was doing these conversions 30 years ago, long before it became part of current carburetor mystique.
The rest of the drivetrain is pretty straightforward with a C4 three-speed automatic that spins a 9-inch rear axle with 3.50:1 gears.
Mike says that some of the 65 Ford Falcon Ranchero best features are hidden underneath the chassis. He credits his friend Doug Holmberg of DAH Works in Redondo Beach, California, for the outstanding header and exhaust work. The Falcon saw production with a tiny, single exhaust, so the fuel tank is offset to the driver side. Doug built a complete dual system with headers, merge collectors, and a cross-pipe leading to a pair of Flowmasters located on the passenger side, feeding a pair of resonators where both pipes exit behind the rear axle. "It's totally stealth," Mike says.
The 5.0L engine is a little bit newer than the car and runs a Ford Racing B303 hydraulic roller cam, a set of Eagle rods, JE 9.5:1 pistons, and a set of lightly ported GT40 heads topped off with an Edelbrock (what else?) RPM intake. The Aviaid oil pan is there mainly because of Mike's road racing background.
The real focus of this engine is the Paxton ball-style supercharger that is based on the original McCulloch supercharger used on factory '57 Thunderbirds. The Paxton superchargers were ball-drive, meaning the internal step-up ratio used to increase impeller speed employed a planetary ball-drive system. Mike says his supercharger is capable of around 7 psi when everything is working properly and the belt doesn't slip. Paxton now produces the Novi series of geardriven superchargers and sold the tooling for the older ball-drive SN series superchargers to Craig Conley, owner of Paradise Wheel (ParadiseWheels.com). Craig rebuilt and restored Mike's SN-60 supercharger and upgraded the impeller. Craig also makes all-new castings for new/old Paxton blowers or can rebuild an existing supercharger. Word has it that Craig is also working on a dual Paxton supercharger kit for FE Fords.
"You can tell when the belt bites." - Mike Eddy