The 1962 Thunderbird project

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Topic review

Expand view Topic review: The 1962 Thunderbird project

by AArdvark » Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:12 pm

Update: Car has returned to the back field under a tarp. All that work drying it out and it will winter again in the elements.


by AArdvark » Tue Jul 07, 2009 4:15 pm

Front brakes are done. Whole system needs to be bled, but that can be done at leisure. Still pretty soft pedal but they work. The car rolls again. I drove it out of the barn but had to use the tractor to turn it around as there is no reverse.

Don't know what the next step is.


by AArdvark » Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:10 pm


Back brakes are done. Ready for wheels. Replaced everything from the brakeline manifold back. Having a slight problem getting spring kits for the front. Should be here next Tues. Sandblasted the brake drums and painted, hi-temp rusto. black. Shouldn't rust again until the car hits 2030, least I hope so.

Brakes were insanely complicated to re-assemble. We din't touch the other side so We'd have an example of how everything fits together. Good thing too.
tomorrow is grind the inside floor pan and paint with rubberized paint. Carpets are on the close horizon. Found front and back glass for ~ $800. Student loans were not meant for this. (see previous post about 'it's my money, Dad') hell he's working two jobs, I can't complain.


More pix, I promise. If anyone cares.
Body/paint guy is coming to look at it and ballpark a figure.

by Jack Straw » Tue Jun 09, 2009 5:22 am

AArdvark wrote:Ever hear how a mouse can fit thru a hole no bigger than it's head? Well, that's only PARTIALLY true.
hahha, rodent glory hole

by AArdvark » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:03 pm

Re: siphon gas

You could stick a pool hose down into that tank! I forgot to mention, it takes LEADED gas. Some of the forums say that unless you really push the engine hard unleaded won't make a difference. Others say that valve seat deterioration is inevitable...
Say again?

He's gonna rebuild the motor and put in hardened valve seats so no biggie.

Re: dead mice

Yes! I took pictures for the truly morbid! Ever hear how a mouse can fit thru a hole no bigger than it's head? Well, that's only PARTIALLY true. Forensic evidence suggests that the late mouse got herself knocked up by another mouse and then tried to fit thru a lug not hole in the spare wheel. Pregnant mice don't fit. They get stuck half way thru and then have a partial litter right there and then they all die. Then time passes.

The summer sun beats down on the closed trunk of the car as it sits in the field. Nice hot summer sun.

Then I open the trunk.


you really want me to post the picture?

by Ice Cream Jonsey » Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:06 pm

De... de.... de-decomposing mice????

by Jack Straw » Mon Jun 08, 2009 2:39 pm

you should just be able to siphon the gas out of a car that old, they hadn't even thought of those one way valve things like on newer cars. When gas is 5c a gallon who would siphon, right?

If you do drop the tank, POR-15 sells a GREAT sealing kit for it so you can be sure that you won't need to drop it again after a tank or two shows you where all the rust holes are =)

by AArdvark » Sun Jun 07, 2009 2:26 pm

Update 07Jun09 (teletype machines and Morse code in background)

Removed back seat and side panels. Got all four power windows to work. Finally remembered to bring trunk key out. Cleaned the trunk of all decomposing mice. Disgusting. removed all moldy cardboard trunk panels. Found gas tank access hole! Actually had some 1962 gas in the tank, maybe we wont have to pull the tank off after all.

Sandblaster won't work with wet playground sand.

by AArdvark » Thu Jun 04, 2009 5:45 pm


He bought a sandblaster cabinet in order to er..sandblast various parts of the alleged vehicle. Needs to hook up a vacuum in order to see anything while the sandblaster is running.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 5:38 pm


Maybe this will be the end result

by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 5:35 pm

Sorry about the picture width thing again.

by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 5:34 pm








by bruce » Sun May 31, 2009 9:40 am

Weird, Vark, you and my wife have the same birthday.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 9:19 am



OK, car has moved, under it's own power, to the barn where it was promptly placed on four jack stands. Wheels and drums (front and back) were removed.
This was Friday.

Yesterday. New brake cylinders installed on the rear. Old ones totally frozen solid. Waiting for the spring kits and front cylinders to come in. Started fabricating new brake lines. Removed front wheel bearings. Large snake removed from under passenger seat, released back to the wilds. Wet vac was sucking up most of the water and large sections of carpet. Carpet was removed in stinking handfuls. That rain last Thursday was pretty bad for a car with no front or rear glass. Actually, the last who-knows how many years was bad for it. Surprisingly floor pan not rotted out. The car is actually pretty solid for being out in the weather for so long. I'm surprised at how easily the hardware broke loose. I was expecting more of a fight from forty year old bolts. The car had been sprayed with undercoating at some time. Don't think it was factory, but it's really held up.

Today (my birthday btw). Fuel lines, fuel pump and fuel tank. Need to check for holes and leaks. The car runs, right now, by having a one gallon plastic gas tank in the engine compartment with a hose to the carb. This would imply that the fuel lines are in a non-working state. Hate to drop the gas tank because it's on so nice, but it's the only way to tell for sure.

Hooking up a (boat) battery revealed that power seat controls work. Two out of four power windows work. I can hear the other two trying to work, might just be stuck gears, (it happened to the PT cruiser). Large AM radio works. The speaker was probably a birdbath for the last decade or so. Have to pull that eventually. There's enough room for a hidden stereo/ MP3 player. But that's years away.

Will provide pix soonest. My camera is in Virginia right now but will use my mom's or something.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:49 am


( A reply to an update inquiry)

NO. he's supposed to ask my brother for some space in his pole barn for storage. So far it's still sitting out in the weeds with a tarp over it. It's his money....sigh.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:38 am


Update: Nothing.

Still under the same tarp. Hasn't even thought about it. Maybe, in ten years when the body is totally rusted away he can sell the engine for what he paid.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:37 am


(a reply to the overall condition of the car)

The roof is pretty lumpy where the FD hit it with the hose. All tho outside plastic thingies (insignias?) are melted. It will need a paint job. that's about the extent of the fire damage. Starts right up with a fresh battery tho. He found a 63 parts car with intact glass so maybe he won't be paying too much for that.. No reverse gear. It might just be low on tranny fluid or something. He wants to pull the old one and put a five speed in there. Whatever.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:19 am


The car was delivered today. not quite as terrible as I first thought. It WILL need a boatload of work, though. It does run. It started right up as soon as we hooked up a battery. The gas tank might or might not have holes so we rigged a 1 gallon gas can to the intake hose and gravity fed it to the carb. loud as fuck as one might expect but it turned right over. I was surprised.
The paint was ruined when it was inside a barn during a fire. It needed paint anyway. That's how the windows and much of the exterior plastic was ruined.

It's a one owner car. The seller was a dealer at one time and this is a demo model. Ovid, NY. Traded in a '59 merc for $1874.40 and paid three grand in cash. (we assume a bank check) Total price was $4874.40. 1,675 miles at time of sale. Jesus wept. Power windows and power seats, wow, and the windows actually still work. Still has the original spare tire, although I wouldn't try to drive on it.

Here's a couple pix. I'll have more. My kid took a bunch of pictures on his digital but he needs to send them to me.




by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:19 am


(a reply to the fact that old cars are expensive)

I told him most of this when I first heard of it. It's his loan money (he said) and he is responsible for paying it back so he can spend it as he sees fit.

He wants the experience of working on a project car. I guess that means he wants the depleted bank account, the garage full of parts in various stages of
assembly, the long hours being covered in grime and rust, the joy of stripped out and broken bolts, the fulfillment of unavailable parts and all the other things that go with rebuilding rolling iron. Right, Mr. Straw?

The owner of my shop took a look at the pictures and said EXACTLY the same thing about buying an already restored car for less than what it's gonna cost him. He collects cars and has other people restore them, strictly an investment scheme.

The alleged car is being delivered this Saturday. I'll post more pix then.


by AArdvark » Sun May 31, 2009 8:17 am


Initially, I was annoyed. What the hell is he thinking! But after a half hour I'm thinking he's a big boy now and it's his money and he has to pay it back, not me, right? If this whole project tanks out he can pull the engine and only fix that up and sell it for what he paid out. I guess my brother will let him have some space in his new pole barn in Chili. He says it's a long term project which means ten years or so. It also means that he has to buy all his own tools and parts. So, I guess he can learn restoration as he goes. Maybe if he watches enough Monster Garages and Pimp My Rides he can figure it out.