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Early Ford Thunderbirds

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Ryan, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. Ryan
    Joined: Jan 2, 1995
    Posts: 17,535

    from Austin, TX
    Staff Member

  2. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 35,964


    Hot Rod Girl...American Graffiti.....that Beach Boys's like a lot of guys never took the car seriously. (guess what I'm avoiding saying?)
  3. Ol Blue
    Joined: Oct 31, 2005
    Posts: 394

    Ol Blue
    from In

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

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
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  5. 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)
  6. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 6,220

    from DFW USA

    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.

  7. i always like them thunderchickens , cool pics
  8. Jeem
    Joined: Sep 12, 2002
    Posts: 5,885

    Alliance Vendor

    Amazing what a little lowering and a set of skinny Halibrands will do for a girl's car!
    Barrelnose pickup likes this.
  9. Dreddybear
    Joined: Mar 31, 2007
    Posts: 5,854


    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.
    Spoggie likes this.
  10. flatheadjunk
    Joined: Nov 10, 2006
    Posts: 288

    Member Emeritus
    from Orange CA

    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.
    Spoggie and Stude350guy like this.
    Joined: Nov 22, 2005
    Posts: 7,594

    from SIDNEY, NY

    Former HRM tech editor Don Francisco knew how to make a T-bird manly--he put a 389 Pontiac in his!
    Spoggie likes this.
  12. Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 963

    Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    from Dixie

    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 $$$.
  13. HHRdave
    Joined: Jul 31, 2006
    Posts: 1,068

    from So Cal

    Here is the rare E code, Ford's final attempt to get some speed out of these cars:
  14. SanDiegoJoe
    Joined: Apr 18, 2004
    Posts: 3,520


    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..

    - Joe
  15. 1950ChevySuburban
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 6,210

    Member Emeritus
    from Tucson AZ

    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.
  16. alchemy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,742


    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".
    need louvers ? likes this.
    Joined: May 13, 2002
    Posts: 3,258


    Hey Richcraft post some pictures of your bird !
  18. 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.
  19. Spoggie likes this.
  20. Deuce Roadster
    Joined: Sep 8, 2002
    Posts: 9,520

    Deuce Roadster
    Member Emeritus

    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.
  21. Horsepower67
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 535


    But this was probably their best attempt- the extra rare F-code.

    It's in this sharp '57 if you want to see the whole car.

    Attached Files:

  22. turdytoo
    Joined: May 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,555


    If the Europeans laughed at the '55 T-bird they must have split a gut over the '53 Vette.
  23. our 57 bird had been modified sometime ago relocated gas tank behind the seat with ez fill cap driver side back deck fill..
    the factory hoodscoop has bee lengthened about a foot ( look's normal unless we park next to a stocker).. and the back wheel wheel opening are opened up a little .. i really don't knowwho did it or why .. but our story is it was a old race car... :)
  24. i don't hate them, just never cared for them. my dad had a 56 4 or 5 years ago. it was fun to drive i guess. but, wasn't trilling either. they do make good hot rods though. just too expensive to go that route for most folks besides all the shit you would get. this white one dose it for me.

    Attached Files:

    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  25. rainh8r
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 793


    There is one around here with an early Olds in it and lots of cracking bodywork. A friend of mine had one with a 289/4 speed and radiused wheelwells back in the 70's, which went pretty well but was pretty harsh to drive for a tall or big guy. There's also one up here with a Boss 429 in it. They look fine if you give them lots of horsepower.
  26. 327-365hp
    Joined: Feb 5, 2006
    Posts: 5,318

    from Mass

    I always liked early corvettes so I never really paid attention to T-Birds until Dave Simard bought this one from the west coast. He got it from the original owner who had it customized at Valley Customs when it was near new.

  27. chromedaddyo
    Joined: Jan 11, 2006
    Posts: 642

    from Ohio

    Yeah they weren't real performance machines til Zora has some influence!

    Both my parents street and drag raced 55-57 birds in the early sixties. Dad was running high 13 low 14's in a 55 with a mild 292 and a stick. Mom was a bit of a street racer in her 56, I was told that if you saw her cruisin without the skirts on the car she was lookin to whoop on someone. Ive got to post an old photo of the 2 of them with a hood covered with trophies from the old Howland drag raceway!

  28. LUX BLUE
    Joined: May 23, 2005
    Posts: 4,408

    Alliance Vendor
    from AUSTIN,TX

    Here is what I can tell you about the "little birds"-not much except this. the roofs are MUCH tougher than they look. Years ago, I saw a fella take off (not exactly "scream off" but you get the picture) without his top cinched down. it blew off, landed in the street, and slid about 40 yards before the glass popped out of it. IN ONE PEICE.

    I walked down, and helped him pop the glass back into it (which had a few scratches on it...but that's it)and put the top back on. making conversation, I said he was lucky it didn't screw up his lid.

    He said " happens all the time!"

  29. Kustomman#1
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 255


    I just got one! It's a 55 and it's the Thunderbird blue colour just a little gay!!! But I think a mild Kustom and a different colour will be just right. Lets see some Kustom birds.
  30. beatnik
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 2,206


    I love early T-Birds, even if they drive like a bus, and aren't really all that comfortable.

    Here Spencer’s from 50 years of Rod & Custom, I coudn't find any early picks of it.


    And a few other cool ones I found

    kidcampbell71 likes this.

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