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Projects 1962 Thunderbird Rescue

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 62RestoBird, Dec 26, 2014.

  1. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    Hi all. First post. Long time lurker.

    I've tried a couple TBird boards, But I don't really fit in there. I want to modify my TBird a bit (while remaining respectful to the original design) and they all seem to be 80 year olds who want to argue about whether it's "gold" or "Castillian gold" and jump down your throat if it's anything besides factory original restorations. Little too uptight for me. Not everyone, but those that are really ruin it for me. So here I am hoping HAMB is the right spot to hang with some laid back cats!

    About 7 years ago, I acquired a 1962 TBird with intentions of repairing it and making it a fair weather driver.

    I'm military and shortly after purchasing it I was transferred and I had to leave the car behind. The car has been in storage since then so all these pics are old. Happily, we are transferred back to where the car is stored, so work will begin again soon!

    I'm not proud to say, the previous owner took me for all I was worth when I bought the car.

    Bub said on the phone it was his dad's (who had recently passed away) and he bought it from the 1st owner who had it in a garage for the last 30 years.

    When I went to look it, it was complete but needed rust repair. It must have been a 12 month regular driver for the first owner if it had sat in a garage for the last 30 years and it was in the state it was!

    The fuel tank was out of it, so the guy had a line run from the fuel pump to a jerry can. Battery was dead so we jumped it. It started right up from cold (well, it was at least cold to the touch on the block) a settled right into a nice high idle. No odd noises, no smoke (other than a quick start up puff) and pretty smooth. Transmission shifted and at least moved it. Brakes were marginal to non functional, so I didn't drive it anywhere.

    Wiring was a bit of a mess in the engine bay, but everything worked on the dash and it ran, so I chalked that up to something to clean up later. power windows all worked, which was a plus. Dash clock didn't work, but that's no surprise on these old hacks. I have different plans for that spot on the dash anyways.

    My wife was with me and she knows how much of a TBird fan I am. My first was a 78 (bought with my late Dad) and several others up through the years (80-94). Foxbirds, Aerobirds, turbo coupes, and a couple 5L MN12 platforms. Little did I know, she had already arranged a flatbed for the car before we left to look at it, the only question in her mind was how much we were going to pay for it. As the flatbed rolled up, she said "happy birthday"!

    Well, between being starstruck by an actual 62 I could afford and my missus being so accommodating, I night have overlooked a bit more issues with the car than I normally would have. Oh well, such is life....

    We had it flat bedded home and up on jackstands it went for rehab:

    [​IMG]

    The guy had cut most of the trunk out and I knew it needed rear 1/4 panels. Not unusual on even a 10 year old car where I live. The PO had tried to build rear 1/4's out of "patches" and it turned out a right mess:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I almost wish he had left the rusty pieces alone, at least I'd have something to use as a template instead of the mess he left me.

    Engine bay is a mess and someone really went nuts with the gold rattle can paint:

    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking it must have been punched in the nose at one point in it's life, There's burgundy, silver mink (OE color) and white panels in there. All rattle-canned black at one point. There's also panel alignment issues.

    I crawled under and used the pick and magnet to inspect the rest. I was suspicious immediately since it had a relatively fresh (and very thick) coat of tar/undercoating so I was pretty aggressive with the pick. My first warning should have been bub not protesting when he heard me going at it with the pick, I would have been pretty livid if someone was at my car like that. He was pretty casual about it all. But he said he didn't want me pulling up the interior, I could see the floor from underneath and it was a 1962 so some rusty floor (no perforations though) was to be expected. I agreed to not pull up the carpets. Unbelievably, it all checked out good from underneath... or so I thought.

    So I thought I had a car that needed a little cleaning, freshening up and metal work. 2500 was a good deal around these parts for that. Little side bonus is he had a box with a complete set of new rubber pieces from a Thunderbird parts house. Larry's TBird I think it was.

    I got the interior out, and it became obvious I had been "taken". When the carpet came up, pieces of metal came up with it. They had been "glued" down with construction adhesive (or something similar) and goofed up good from the outside with tar. I found the same in the "frame" (it's a unibody car, no frame). Here's some of the less infuriating rust damage:

    [​IMG]

    The floors aren't that big of a deal, but the rotted overaxle frame stampings are. So are the rotted inner rockers (structural on this car). Luckily, the doors still close and open cleanly, so there's no body sag. A couple pieces of 2x4 square tube inside the rockers will make sure they stay that way.

    It's all stuff I can fix, it's just more than I planned on. I was looking for a project I could drive and enjoy as I built it up. I've had too many sit in the garage until done only to be sold or (grrrr) wrecked or (GRRRRR!) stolen shortly after completion.

    To the cars credit though, the drivetrain seems solid, it's all there (even little trim bits) and it's repairable. I can work with that.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  2. Stu D Baker
    Joined: Mar 4, 2005
    Posts: 2,607

    Stu D Baker
    Member
    from Illinois

    I really like that body style a lot. You have a huge project ahead. Break it up into several "repair projects", and it may go better for you. Good luck, and welcome to the HAMB. Post along as you progress.
     
  3. Good luck…..Glad mine looked like that but had no rust, I hate rust.
     
  4. LOU WELLS
    Joined: Jan 24, 2010
    Posts: 1,727

    LOU WELLS
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from IDAHO

    THE VERY EXISTENCE OF FLAME-THROWERS PROVES THAT ALCOHOL AND HOT RODS EVOLVED SIMULTANEOUS!!!
     

  5. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    Survivor car it is not. So I'm going "restomod" with it. That's more my tilt anyways. I can never leave anything alone it seems and I like modern function with classic looks. Probably why all the sewing machines I buy are 1950-1960 vintage and convert to electronic control. Favorite is a green Singer 319W with all it's optional pieces, followed by a minty green Kenmore 1500 and a (subtle as a farmers tractor) Singer 328. But that's another topic for a different forum.....[​IMG]

    Initial plan is to do the rust repair, body work, paint and probably disc brakes. A bit of extra bracing to tie the unibody together a bit better front to rear (IE: may try some cornering type fun with it eventually).

    The drivetrain will get a freshening up (carb work, light repaint, aluminum intake, etc) and a duraspark conversion. It will get a nice big dual speed electric cooling fan (quiet down that engine driven fan roar) that's been just taking up space in my garage for a while now. Drop in an alternator, go through the wiring (for safety sake) and then drive it for a year or two. Most of this stuff I have already sitting on a shelf in the garage or in my 83 mustang (waiting to be scrapped) so it's just a matter of installing it.

    Phase 2 will be suspension work, phase 3 will be drivetrain (still pushrod, but EFI). I'm thinking about a Windsor 408 stroker (drop some weight and gain some HP/Tq) and an overdrive transmission (need a highway cruiser, Canada is pretty big between destinations).

    Interior work will be done as I go along. Currently looking at installing a set of Turbo Coupe multi-adjustable seats in place of the lowback front buckets (already have a set). Not period correct, but I like supportive and adjustable seats! The adjustable lumbar support is nearly a necessity for my messed up back anyways. I've also been rear ended before and fully appreciate the benefits of head support in such events. They will at least be recovered in the style of the original T-Bird buckets if I go that way. My 83 mustang (scrapping it) will donate it's red front and rear seat belts also. Red belts and chrome buckles will suit the 'Bird interior nicely.

    As mentioned, I'm in Canada so the major work being divided up in chunks to with the Canadian winter cycle. The car will be a spring/summer/fall car only. Worst it will see is rain. Winter will be the build cycle time.
     
  6. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    So, the next bunch of posts are going to be me spitballin' the build since it will be at least a couple months before we move back to wher the 'Bird is.

    As I mentioned earlier, I'm scrapping my 83 Mustang. It's a good old hack and I could save it, but we just don't have the space anymore and it's got some rust issues in places I don't want to deal with. Selling it wouldn't get me much either.

    So, I'm planing to pull the engine bay wiring out and use the duraspark system on the 390 and do away with the points. The 83 distributor guts will transfer over to the FE distributor. The alternator will come over too and replace the generator. There's actually a lot of similarities in the 62 and 83 harness components since they are both carbed. Should be easy to parse the 83 harness down and splice it in to the 62. Probably do a "hidden wiring harness" type of deal to keep the engine bay clean.

    The 83 brake system will give the basic pieces for mocking up a front disc brake system. The master (maybe the booster too) will replace the single reservoir on the 62, the combo valve will transfer over. I'll make some brackets for the drum brake spindles and mount the mustang calipers. The 11" rotors are 4 bolt, but they will do to get the brackets and spacers fabbed up.

    Fittings, hoses and such will come from the donor mustang. Lines I will bend up myself.

    Once it's all done and working, I'll swap out for more competent parts:

    A little digging reveals the 84-86 Crown vic MC is a direct bolt on swap for the mustang 7/8" bore MC and has a 1 1/8" bore. The SVO and the Mark VII also use the same/similar MC.

    More digging reveals the Mark VII fox platform uses the same size caliper housing but the biggest piston of all the fox platforms: 73MM. Another straight over swap when the time comes and will make for better braking force, especially with the Vic master.

    Finally, the Mark VII uses 11" rotors, but in 5 X 4.5 pattern. Which, by happy coincidence (unless I'm mistaken), is the same spacing as the 1962's spacing.

    That also opens up the possibility of using Mark VII stuff to do a rear brake conversion on the 9". Rotors should slide right over the studs. Might have to turn down the axle hubs though. The 9" might be bigger than the Mark's 8.8 hubs. then it's just a set of brackets and calipers away from rear discs. Big bonus is that I can retain the rear e-brake (cables and all), which is needed for inspection in Canada on a street vehicle.

    Getting the right proportioning valve for rear discs should be a simple as ordering up a Mark VII piece. Since they're both fox platforms, it should bolt right in place of the mustang valve.

    When all done and buttoned up, it should be one very nice and responsive brake system, even if I don't do the rear disc brakes. Bigger bonus is the parts will be fox platform and available at any little local parts place. Bigger bonus is high perf brake parts will be as simple as ordering up some fox parts

    The turbo coupe seats will come from the mustang. They're high back with headrests. Aesthetically, not period correct for the car and not exactly my first choice. But I've been in accidents and am fully aware of the benefits of head support in a rear ender. They are also multi adjustable and with my messed up back, the adjustable lumbar is almost a necessity. I'll cover them like the rear seats and try to tie the look together that way.

    The 62 will also get an electric fan. I've got a big unit sitting in the garage that I used to have in my Silverado. Grafting it in will be simple and it will do away with the fan roar of the engine driven fixed fan. Might free up a couple HP too.

    I'm toying with the idea of rack and pinion using the mustang power unit. I'm capable of building it, just not sure if I want to. I'll pull the system off the mustang and toss it on a shelf for now.

    The floor shifter will also be salvaged from the mustang, not sure if I will use it. It can sit on the shelf too.

    The cruise control on the mustang will also come out. I'd like to get it into the TBird, but time will tell on that one.

    I'll also save the cluster from the 'Stang. It's got the tach and I'd like to see if I can use it on the Bird to convert the non functional clock to a tach. That's very much a plinking around project for some idle winter day.

    the last thing I have is a Mustang power lock set. I scabbed it off a wrecked car to use in my 83, but I may adapt it to the Bird to give it power locks.

    That's about it for now. Still formulating a plan on how to attack the bird. For sure the first thing is sheet metal and structure though. Then: brakes.

    :)
     
  7. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 25,271

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    great body style - rust just sets a project back because if there is some there usually more - keep at it
     
  8. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    I was originally thinking of painting car silver like so:

    [​IMG]

    seems to go well with the red interior like mine is.

    But the more i look at the original "silver mink", the more I find myself warming up to it:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had it in my mind I wouldn't go "Silver Mink" because the paint on my 62 looked like a crap blue, but I'm beginning to think the poor spray job that was done on it just isn't doing the color justice. There is something that just feels right about spraying it the original color too.

    I like the chrome "old school" 5 spokers and the thin whitewalls. Probably end up looking just like the car above. It's just a nice look. Hard to improve on the looks of a 61-63 bullet bird. Ford pretty much nailed it as a good looking "custom" right out of the gate. from the body panels to the interior, it's pretty hard to make it much better without looking overdone!

    No rear skirts though, not my style. I like to see the rims.

    Mine is originally "silver mink" and red interior, which I am told is a relatively rare combination.

    Keeping in mind "rare" does not mean desirable or valuable......:rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  9. ynottayblock
    Joined: Dec 23, 2005
    Posts: 1,954

    ynottayblock
    Member

    just a heads up on the front disc conversion...you will have a fun time putting a dual master and booster on these birds with the front shock tower support brace. you will need a compact unit to fit under the brace or a master with a remote fill resevior. ford didnt leave much room toupgrade to a dual master and booster. avoid hacking up the support brace like ive seen so many others do on these
     
  10. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    Thanks for the heads up.

    I'm looking at making a new support brace out of DOM and possibly adding a Monte Carlo bar. Should be relatively easy to make enough clearance if I build it that way.

    More to just tighten up the front unibody and let the suspension work than make it a corner carver.

    4000+ lbs is only every going to corner so good.

    :)
     
  11. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    Yeesh, I see what you mean:

    [​IMG]

    Pretty janky.......o_O
     
  12. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    Same thread, a gent named "hawkrod" chimes in and said he used a 66 brace on his 62 with a 1973 F100 brake push rod:

    [​IMG]

    Looks pretty good!

    what did we ever do before google?

    :)
     
  13. missysdad1
    Joined: Dec 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,945

    missysdad1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One word of caution: take your project one small do-able step at a time. Otherwise you will be overwhelmed. If it were mine I'd ignore all the other issues and concentrate on getting the rust repaired properly. Find sources for the repair panels you'll need...and keep your eye out for a rust-free donor body for the panels that are not reproduced.

    Then take a course in welding and bodywork at the local community college. You'll need to do the rust work yourself 'cuz nobody can afford to have it done professionally...IF you could find a shop that would do it properly, that is. Most qualified shops won't touch rust work these days, especially on a car that's as fragile as a unibody 'Bird like yours.

    It'll be a task, that's for sure, but welcome to the H.A.M.B. As long as you don't go Pro-Touring or some other high-tech route and stick with traditional hot rod and custom modifications you'll be welcomed here! Good luck!
     
    HOTRODPRIMER likes this.
  14. Great advice,,and I like the idea of silver. HRP
     
  15. 55willys
    Joined: Dec 7, 2012
    Posts: 1,604

    55willys
    Member

    My first car was a 62 T-Bird, my dad gave it to me when I was 9. A real rust bucket but I did manage to get it to run. Been on the hot rod path ever since. It looks like we will have one in the shop soon to do some minor body mods to. Jim Ford
     
  16. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    No worries, I've done this type of work before. I either have the MIG, shears and metal brakes at home or I have access to the big ones at work. Lathe and such as well.

    Metal repair is first for sure to get the structure solid. Then cosmetics and a spray.

    Next would be brakes.

    I'm in Eastern Canada, so this is as "rust free" as it gets without buying an already restored car or traveling south a thousand miles or so.

    Good suggestion though. I had considered heading out to somewhere like Arizona at one point with a trailer to grab a good back half, but then I might as well just buy an already restored one for the same or less money and time....:(
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  17. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,404

    2935ford
    Member

    Nice thing about the bullet birds, they do not need a lot of mods to look great......maybe a wheel change and paint (eg. metal flake). Because of the vehicle weight....they make a really nice cruiser.

    Keith 63 002.JPG
     
  18. If you're running no skirts, you should radius the rear wheelwells to match the fronts ala' Budd Andersons' AMT 'Bird...
     
  19. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    I've thought about it.

    I look at it one day and think: Heck yeah!

    I look at the next day and wonder what I was thinking the day before!

    Seems to be a love it or hate it look.

    I'll probably end up just leaving the stock openings alone. When I'm back and forth on something like this, I find it's usually better to err on the side of caution and not do it.

    :)
     
  20. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,404

    2935ford
    Member

    You mean like this? Just added a set of old baby moons I had lying around for the fun of it.

    63 bird baby moons 003.JPG
     
    JeffB2 likes this.
  21. 62RestoBird
    Joined: Dec 26, 2014
    Posts: 12

    62RestoBird
    Member
    from Canada

    I've also thought this was a cool little concept:

    [​IMG]

    Bit too much on the "mustang" side of the house though. Looses the TBird flavor. Still, pretty neat!

    Things like the TBird "Italien" are also cool:

    [​IMG]

    as well as the Bulletbird that the gent grafted the Starliner roof on:

    [​IMG]

    I've never been a fan of the formal roof design, but the fastbacks and such don't look quite right to me either.

    Again, I'm back to the leave it stock if you're not quite sure.

    The bullet birds are soooo hard to modify and have it look right. I thinkit's just that ford go it so close to right to start with that anything else just looks...."off".

    I'll probably just do rims and tires on the outside and all the improvement will be "under the skin" mechanical stuff....
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2014
  22. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,404

    2935ford
    Member

    Pretty much my thoughts also......Ford got it right with this design.......like the '65 Riviera.....kinda hard to improve on the body design w/o messing it up.
     
  23. perry1mj
    Joined: Apr 25, 2010
    Posts: 24

    perry1mj
    Member

    I agree I've got a '63 I need to get under motion. It's needs some rust and dent repair, but other than Shaving some trim and lowering it, there's not much to change. I want to put Impala dual antennas on mine, but I've got to get creative as there isn't a much flat surface on the rear quarters.
     
  24. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427

    Raiman1959

    I love the design of the 61-62-63 T-bird....I dragged mine out of a field in northern NM few years ago, which sat for 15 years....thankfully the dry area left minimal rust! I'm still working on it, and my feeble wisdom is to do ''small'' jobs at time, instead of diving right in on the whole thing! It's a big car, and can easily get overwhelming! My biggest surprise wasn't so much the body work or the engine/tranny work, but the interior was a bugger to replace correctly!!! The interior prices $$$ are out of this world:eek:for replacing door panels and dash (notorious for cracks)! All in all...I learned to ''pace myself'' and not get to mentally overwhelmed...after all, it's a 21' foot car, and big doors. Once I got it running correctly, I took it out on the side roads and floored the gas-pedal, and it bolted out from under me. It reached 100 mph, and scared the sh*t outta me:p:D...juice brakes can get squirrely at speed...but the 390 is a nice engine! ---------I painted mine sea-foam fenders & doors with an "off-white" hood and trunk...looks cool with the two-tone paint.....have fun with your car!!! Can't beat the slick design:D 002.jpg 001.jpg
     
  25. SmattaHead
    Joined: Dec 24, 2012
    Posts: 22

    SmattaHead
    Member

    Some projects take longer than expected, but are worth the time, energy and effort.
    I've been working on mine for about 4 years now. Finally getting my brakes sorted.
    I've used Mustang related parts which seems to be working out just fine.
    It also helps to have friends that know more than you!
    Keep up the good work! Enjoy!
     

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