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Old 12-17-2007, 09:53 AM   #1
Ryan
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Default Early Ford Thunderbirds



I'm just gonna put this out there... I've never liked the 1955 to '57 Thunderbirds. It's not that they aren't pretty little cars -

To read the rest of this blog entry from The Jalopy Journal, click here.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:11 AM   #2
squirrel
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Hot Rod Girl...American Graffiti.....that Beach Boys song...it's like a lot of guys never took the car seriously. (guess what I'm avoiding saying?)
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I only took one picture of this Thunderbird at the 07 Monterey Historics and it's not clear enough to read the poster. It may be the car mentioned below, but I'm not certain.
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Ford Motor Company’s Tom Center Award, honoring the most significant Ford at the historic races, went to Dr. John Miller and driver Chuck Day for their 1957 Thunderbird.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Not great pics, but a start. From Vintage Airs site


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Old 12-17-2007, 10:31 AM   #5
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Didn´t the Spencer T-bird end up as two cars? There was a magazine feature on it somewhen in the `90s, (R+C?) with the custom body work. Doane later rebuilt it with a new chassis, and the original modified chassis went under another stock bodied black bird. (This is all IIRC)
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:35 AM   #6
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I've got a late '50s Hot Rod Magazine with an early Tbird. Someone crammed a Hilborn-injected 454" stroked 392 Hemi in it. The front two injector stacks were shorter than the rest to clear the stock hood. They had to put a small bubble on the back of the stock hood scoop to clear the magneto, but otherwise it looked 100% stock. What caught my eye was that it was running high 120s in the quarter back then.

These cars may have been duds from the factory, but there was never a shortage of people messing with them. But just like Vettes from the same time period, you rarely see them modified because they're "worth more" stock.

Dammit.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

i always like them thunderchickens , cool pics
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:46 AM   #8
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Amazing what a little lowering and a set of skinny Halibrands will do for a girl's car!
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I saw a 55 bird at a show a couple years ago in San Diego. The car had black seaweed flames over green metalflake paint. A shit ton of pinstriping, and supremes. Every guy there HATED that car, and bitched about how much he ruined a piece of history-blah,blah. I thought it was by far the coolest bird I have ever seen- I mean, It worked. I wish I had taken a picture, cause I never saw it again.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:53 AM   #10
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

A few years ago the Doane 'bird needed to be transported to the LA Roadster Show and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.When you pop the hood and see a Dominator on a 302 you know it's gotta be serious.That car has a 3rd gear in it that will make you go to confession.It was then owned by Chuck DeHeras.I don't know who has it now.Ford also built a few early birds that ran on the beach in Florida.They were called Battlebirds and were designed to compete with the 'vettes, windshields cut off, headrest fairings (like the D Jag's ) and a hot Y-block that Smokey was "unofficialy" involved with.I think there is a website that talks about them.Also, Chuck Daigh who was mentioned is, I think, in his late 70's and will drive circles around guys half his age.He was driving at the Historics this year.Anyway, just some trivia some might enjoy.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Former HRM tech editor Don Francisco knew how to make a T-bird manly--he put a 389 Pontiac in his!
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:55 AM   #12
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I remember those Battle Birds. They were really cool.I also remember when there were lots of speed attempts on the Beach at Daytona.Now they just have turnstiles to collect $$$.
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Old 12-17-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Here is the rare E code, Ford's final attempt to get some speed out of these cars:

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Old 12-17-2007, 01:16 PM   #14
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I have this rad picture of my dad and his prom date standing by my grandfather's porthole T-bird. She is rocking the bee-hive and a fur wrap, my dad's wearing the skinny lapel white jacket and white pants... Pure style.

I'll try to dig it up..

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Old 12-17-2007, 01:39 PM   #15
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

They never did much for me, but they're my wife's favourite car.

I suppose if I ever built her one, I'd try to go late model 4 cyl, and rack-n-pinion steering. I've been told these cars were heavy though.

Ya know, it wouldn't take very many mods to make a nash Metropolitan mini-T Bird if you mess with the rear pillar and put in a porthole.
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:42 PM   #16
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I remember reading an article in an old HR or RnC about putting knockoff Halibrands on the Spencer T-Bird. Probably about 1956. They were the "latest thing".
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Old 12-17-2007, 01:55 PM   #17
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Hey Richcraft post some pictures of your bird !
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:37 PM   #18
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I really like a bunch of cars that Doane did, this T-Bird is very cool. He also did a Sunbeam for racing, these two cars have very similar lines, and it is very cool. Typical Doane Spencer.
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:39 PM   #19
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

Here's a few vintage T-bird pictures and videos I found on the web a while back. This is all the same car, I believe:

videos:
http://billhughes.com/tBirdVette.mpg
http://billhughes.com/insideTBird.mpg






As a push car:

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Old 12-17-2007, 03:29 PM   #20
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Default Re: Early Ford Thunderbirds

I like the early T-Birds ...
So much in fact I bought one. Black 56 with red interior.
Loved the way it looked ... and it was a decent car ... ( only
had 42 thousand miles when I bought it from the original owner )

But they are just uncomfortable ... for a 6 foot 2 inch
overweight man ...
A man came up to me one day
while I was out in it and started stacking up one hundred dollars bills.
When he got the stack high enough ... he owned it.
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