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YellowRose
12-16-2012, 09:20 PM
You should find this very interesting! Conny is a brand new member to the Forum, and it surprised me when he said that he was the owner of a '58 Tbird Convertible with a 430MEL engine! So I assumed that someone had put a 430MEL engine in it after it left the production line. Now I know that there are no records of a '58 Tbird ever coming off the Wixom production line with a 430MEL engine in it. They were planning on having one, because there is a '58 advertising brochure they put out that listed the 430MEL as an optional engine for the '58 Tbird. However, that never came about for what ever reasons. So this got me involved in a conversation with him and with John Rotella of the Tbird Registry.

It turns out that John knows about this '58 prototype '58 Tbird 430 Convertible! He has it registered in his Registry, but had lost contact with it until Conny reported that he now owned it. There were TWO '58 Tbirds reported to have had 430MEL engines installed in them. John told Conny about the article in William Wonder's Thunderbird Restoration Guide 1958-1966. On Page 27 it states that back in 1958 Motor Trend magazine test drove a prototype '58 Hardtop with the 430MEL engine in it. The article states that no examples like this were thought to be sold to the general public. No mention was made as to what happened to that car. The 430MEL engine option did not appear on the Tbird production line until the 1959 model year. However, they were being put into the Lincolns which also were produced on the Wixom line.

The next statement in that article is the grabber! "However, one convertible, VIN #H8YJ129793, (My addition - Build date of 08H- 8 August - Data Plate 76A - E - XG - 08H - 4 - axle 1) is reported to have been equipped with the 430. This engineering prototype had the engine installed in the car AFTER (emphasis mine) leaving the assembly line." The VIN # on Conny's car has that VIN # on the Data Plate and the car is Corinthian White with the Red & White interior! To me, that plate looks to be the OEM plate. Here is what I know about that car. Conny found it in California, where, if I understand this, it sat for about 30 years. He bought it in February this year and had it shipped to Sweden. He had the engine restored in the States, and then shipped to him, along with new bumpers and other new parts for the restoration process. The engine is in the container with these new parts.

John Rotella has this Tbird in his Tbird Registry, as # 1393.
http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdatasheet.aspx?RegistryNumber=1393
It was entered into the registry over 10 years ago.

Dave Dare~simplyconnected, tells me that, apparently the Engineering Division needed a '58 Tbird to use to make the necessary changes to so that the engine bay would accept the 430MEL engine. So they took a completed '58 (with the 352 engine of course and the H8 coded Data Plate) from the production line, took it to their Engineering facility and made the necessary changes to it required for the 430MEL engine install that they were planning for the 1958, 1959, 1960 Squarebirds. After making the changes, they did not change the Data Plate, but left it with the original one. What we do not know is if, while they had it, they swapped the PBU-L 352 tranny for the PBB-M 430MEL tranny and the 3.10:1 352 axle for the 2.91:1 430MEL axle. These are things that Conny is going to check when he gets a chance to get it up on a lift and look for the tranny and axle tags. Also start checking codes on the block, headers, intakes, etc.. Right now, it has no engine in the car. I do not know if the tranny is in it still. Dave suggests that they just might have left the production line tranny and axle as they were when the car came off the line. What happened to this car after Engineering had completed their work on it we do not know. Dave says it was probably driven and tested for awhile, making sure everything was working correctly before they went into full production on this combination for the '59 Tbird. After that, it might have been sold to a dealer or a private individual. We do know that somewhere along the way, it ended up in California and has sat there amongst several Bulletbirds for at least the last 30 years.

I have asked Conny if he can provide us with any other information regarding past owners, the company he bought it from, etc.. It does appear, according to Bill Van Ess, and John Rotella, that Conny does own that prototype Tbird. There does not seem to have been any hanky panky with that Data Plate. I will post some pix of it. Conny, hopefully, will be posting up in the Squarebirds Forum, as he needs help in restoring it. Here are the pix and I will probably have to do more than one post. In the very first picture, look down the left side of the Tbird and you will see the noses of 3 Bulletbirds sticking out! It was much easier to see in the big picture he sent me, but you can still see them here.

YellowRose
12-16-2012, 09:26 PM
Here are the additional pix. I have no pix of the engine.

YellowRose
12-17-2012, 01:27 AM
I just posted a lot of information and pix of the '58 430MEL Tbird Convertible of Conny, in Sweden, in the Our Rides Forum. Conny is working on gathering parts to restore this rare Tbird. One of the things I am wondering about regarding this Tbird that was used as the prototype to engineer the engine bay for the 430MEL engines to be put in the '59/'60 Tbirds, is if they also changed out the 352 PBL-U tranny to the PBB-M 430 tranny, and the 352 3.10:1 axle to the 430 2.91:1 axle. The Data Plate does not indicate that, just what it had in it when Engineering took it from production after it came off the line.

I have suggested to Conny that if he wants to find that out that he inspect, when he can, the tranny to determine if it has the tranny tag on it still and if so, which one. That will tell him if they swapped out the tranny for the 430 PBB-M, or left the 352 tranny on the car. Same for the pumpkin. If the tags are in place. The tranny tag is located on the left (drivers side) of the case as shown in the picture attached. It should say something like PBB-7003-M or something like that for the 430 COM. If it says PBL-U or something similar to that, it is a 352 COM.

The other thing he should check is the date codes on the 430MEL block just to be sure that it is the engine that was on the car when it left the plant. That code should have a date sometime prior to 8 August, 1958, the date it was scheduled for production. If it has a date later than that, then that would seem to indicate that someone put that 430MEL engine in the car AFTER it came off the line. Especially if the date codes are some months or some years later than the Schedule or Build date. However, according to the Thunderbird Restoration Guide, 1958-1966 Page #27, the VIN # listed there as having the 430MEL engine installed in it, IS the same VIN # on Conny's Tbird. If you want to double check that VIN #, you can also find it engraved in the engine bay frame. I including that also. With the engine out of the bay, you should be able to find the location of the stamped VIN # on the frame. It should be identical to what is on the Data Plate. If it is, that confirms what the Data Plate says and the book says about your Tbird. If it is not... Then someone has been playing games with that Tbird before you got it...

To help Conny locate these codes, I will post some pix for him to go by. The code for the 430 engine block is located on the left hand side of the engine (drivers side) in front of the left hand cylinder head. Conny the picture will show the assembly date codes breakdown. The first figure is the Plant which built the engine. The second figure is the Year code and on your engine it should read a 7 or an 8, indicating the engine was built in 1957 or 1958. If it says a 9 or a 0, I would think that would indicate that engine was installed in that car some time AFTER it left Wixom. The third figure is the Month, and it should read as a 1 through 8. After that, would indicate that it was made after August. The fourth number would give you the actual day it was built.

If the tag is still on the rear axle pumpkin, if it is a 352 gear set up it should say 3.10:1. If it was changed for a 430 engine, it should say 2.91.1.

Here are the pix that I found for you Conny to go by when you get a chance to check the codes.

Anders
12-17-2012, 07:37 AM
If you ( Conny ) contact me, ( see New Menbers Welcoming ) I can guide you to one Birdfriend who ownes, and knows A LOT about the 430 Engine here in Sweden.

tbird430
12-17-2012, 02:51 PM
Welcome to the site Conny!!

This sounds like it will be an interesting thread to follow. I'll get my popcorn ready... :D


-Jon in TX.

YellowRose
12-18-2012, 05:32 PM
Conny has replied to me and I will paraphrase what he had to say here. I have suggested that when he can, he check the 430MEL engine and tranny codes to see when the engine was built and which tranny he has. Also that he check the VIN # on the engine bay frame to make sure it is the same as the one on the data plate. Here is what he said about how he found this Tbird.

"I was transferred to San Francisco in February this year and went around to look for a ford convertible. When I was 16, I bought the first Mustang -66ht then. When we came to this place, I knew my friend had some Fords, but not so many at first. I was interested in a black T-bird -59 Convertible with 430 but after that walked around and looked, I asked what was under the plastic further on. He said that it was a T-bird -58 convertible but half worn condition, I looked through the car and saw that there was no rust but most dirty and it seems that it had been a long time over 30 years, he explained. I went back to Sweden and checked how many there were 58 convertible and I got a message that there are probably just over 100 left. I decided to buy the car, took the first plane back and bought the car . I decided to buy up most of the car parts that I needed and take the opportunity to refurbish the engine in the USA, it is cheaper than in Sweden. Now when the car is at home in my garage in Sweden so I thought it would be funny to register the car in a T-birds page just to see how many -58 convertibles there are around the world. Then I was told that this car has a special story, I think this is fun for me, it's like buying a lottery ticket and won. I've always wanted a T-bird -58 -59-60 convertible and now I have one and I am going to renovate in a good condition and go to one of the world's biggest car exhibition Power Meet located in Västerås 30 miles from me. (Comment by Ray. Anders has told me this summer event in Vasteras draws some 10,000 cars!) I will inform and send cards to you every since I renovate the T-Bird. I do not know if there is something special more value in this car than any other T-bird -58 convertible but if there's any clue it would be interesting and know where the pricing is. I've talked to the man I bought the car and he's a bit concerned about anyone knowing his location or wants me talk about his T-birds he has. But I can reveal that he has around 15-20 cars, 5-6 -58 to - 60 and 10-15 -61 to -65. I will tell you that day he thinks it's ok to visit him. Have a good one Ray. I'm glad you guys are so helpful to me. Once again, Thanks, Conny."

Joe Johnston
12-18-2012, 06:19 PM
I think we all have to agree!!!!

Its always good to hear a special vehicle like this has a new owner that will preserve it!

Anders
12-19-2012, 04:32 AM
Conny called me this morning, and I will help him as mucha s possible with how I fixed my rear axle travel, and also with contacts with other Birders here. He seems to go all in, as he have ordered A LOT of parts already and as Ray mentioned, send bumpers to chrome in US as well as haveing th engine restored. There is plenty of money to be saved that way. Have in mind gentlemen, that everything is half or a third price in USA compair to here. Clever move. He also said he know someone in US who have the original white cellulosa paint, so it will be very exciting to see this babe in her former glory later on.

YellowRose
12-19-2012, 05:34 PM
I just got an email from Conny and a number of pictures of his VIN # on the engine bay frame. It DOES match the VIN # on the Data Plate. So as far as I am concerned, he has the real deal, THE prototype '58 Tbird with the 430MEL engine in it that was used to engineer the '59/'60 engine bays for the 430MEL engine! I will post a picture of the VIN #, but first here is what Conny had to say. I cleaned up his text a bit.

"Hello Ray I've been down to the garage and looking for "the" Vin # in the frame until it was over on the left frame legs, I had no idea it "was" without you told it. But it looks like it has stamped the whole number 2 times. I have a question about the last card in the odd-numbered patch that sat in the driver's seat what is the number? Now you look carefully at the photographs and hope it's the right number on the frame the same as the Vin plate. Have phoned Anders in Gothenburg and we'll call each other this weekend and talk further. Have a good one Ray. Talk to you again Conny S"

I asked Dave about that frame member being stamped on it twice. He said they did not stamp them but actually engraved them into the frames. I gather the first engraving was light, as you can see by the bottom one, so they must have engraved it in again to be sure it could be seen. I should have suggested that Conny clean off that area really good before he took pix of it, but you can see that it does match the Data Plate VIN #.

The question he asked me about that BAP tag, is an interior tag of some type that is probably a vendor tag. I found one like that with a BAP number like that, hog ringed to the back rest of the back seat when we were putting in the new interior in my '59 Tbird.

Sooo, it looks like we can put to rest any doubt about this being the real deal. The engine bay VIN # confirms it. I am glad to hear that Anders and Conny have been talking and will some more. Anders can be a great help to Conny in advising him on restoring this Tbird and getting it back on the road! Thanks, Anders.

Here is one of the VIN # pix. You can see the lighter bottom number much better on the big pics that Conny sent me. I had to downsize it to get it on the Forum. I decided to crop a big pic and just get a close up of the VIN # so you can see it better.

YellowRose
12-20-2012, 12:59 AM
One of the things that I found interesting regarding the Motor Trend report in William Wonder's Thunderbird Restoration Guide, 1958-1966 is that no 1958 Tbirds ever went into production with the 430MEL engine in them. I have been aware for some time that Ford was planning on marketing the 1958 Tbird with the 430MEL engine, as borne out by their 1958 Marketing Brochure put out in March, 1958! In that brochure, they list the 430MEL engine and tout it as an optional engine for the 1958 Tbird. However, as we all know, for whatever reasons that we will probably never learn, they did not get it done. It was not until August, 1958 at the end of that production run when Engineering picked up that 352 equipped '58 Tbird Convertible from the Production line and started the process of fitting the 430MEL engine into the Squarebird engine bay. It was not until sometime in the 1959 Squarebird production run that the 430MEL was offered in limited numbers. I do not know that date.

Here is what I really find puzzling. This just dawned on me, after re-reading the Wonder article. Some time before August, 1958 someone had figured out how to install a 430MEL engine in a '58 Hardtop! This would have been sometime before April, 1958 because of the following report. According to the Wonder book, Motor Trend magazine reported in their April 1958 edition that they road tested a 1958 Hardtop Tbird with the 430MEL engine in it! If Engineering already knew what modifications to make to the engine bay to put that 430MEL engine into that Hardtop they provided Motor Trends to test, why did they need a convertible as a prototype to modify? Another question I have is did they test that Tbird with the 352 or the 430MEL tranny and axle gears? Does anyone have that copy? If so, can you check to see if they provided the VIN # for that Tbird, as was reported for Conny's Tbird? Does it state which tranny and axle gears they had on the car? Somewhere that Tbird might still be out there, as Conny's was, or it might have been crushed. It would be good to know and if we could locate that Tbird that would really be special.

Here is a link to a copy of that marketing brochure which John Rotella of the Love Fords Forum and the Tbird Registry (and a member of this Forum) emailed me a copy of the brochure to share with ya'll. It is in .pdf format. You can right click on it to save it and print it out if you want to.

http://www.squarebirds.org/SB/1958TbirdMarketingBrochureMarch1958-FDC1258-engine.pdf

jopizz
12-20-2012, 01:29 AM
I have a copy of the May 1958 Motor Trend article where it was named Car of the Year. It was reprinted in the Sept-Oct 1987 Thunderbird Scoop. In that article they make mention of the 430 as being rumored so I doubt that they had tested one previously although they do list acceleration figures for it saying that it's similar to a 1958 Lincoln. The picture of the engine in the article is a 352.

John

YellowRose
12-20-2012, 01:40 AM
Hi John, according to Wonder's book, Motor Trend tested a 1958 Tbird Hardtop with the 430MEL engine in it and reported the results of the test in the April 1958 edition. So someone in Engineering had to have done the work to configure the '58 Squarebird engine bay to install that engine in it so they could provide it to MT for testing.. That would have had to been sometime in the early production run in 1957 or shortly after the new year in 1958 to have the car ready for testing sometime before the month of April when the magazine came out. As I was just discussing with John Rotella, if they had already figured out what had to be done to the engine bay to accept the 430, prior to April, 1958 why did they take a convertible in August, 1958 and do the same thing to it?? Puzzling, but I am glad they did because it still lives! Now in Conny's hands!

jopizz
12-20-2012, 01:54 AM
I did see the note in William Wonder's book. I just find it odd that there was no mention in the May 1958 Motor Trend article that they had tested a '58 with the 430 in the April issue. It seems like the writer would have mentioned it instead of just saying that he had heard that it might be available. I guess until someone comes up with the April article we'll have to keep guessing.

John

simplyconnected
12-20-2012, 03:27 AM
Gentlemen, when a new product is developed they never do ONE CAR. They do many of each. Never just one.

Understand that it isn't just the motor mounts that are different, so are the exhaust manifolds, "H" pipes, throttle and trans linkage and many details. By the time this change hit the assembly plant, ALL the parts had been tried, approved, and the line was well-stocked with 'launch' parts (that's how they are labeled).

Engineering approves the product drawings with full details, then the tooling goes out for quote. All this takes many months of careful planning, purchase of materials, and then they test new part consistancy in a 'pilot production run'. Checking fixtures are made as a 'standard' for Quality Control. Upon QC's approval, production starts. Never before. The Stamping Division (in this case, Budd) works with Ford Foundry Div., Engine Engineering, Transmission and Chassis, and Assembly Division in a joint effort for the ultimate launch in Wixom. The 'trial run' was done in Ford's Pilot Plant. If something was wrong, responsibility went back to the proper division and no downtime was suffered in Wixom.

Ford didn't make the unique "H" pipe. A vendor like Arvin did. So, that's another part that needed to be engineered, tooled, built, purchased and tested. Then, 'Service Parts' MUST be available at the same time production starts, for dealerships.

I think it's a wonderful thing that you guys found a Squarebird that was pulled off the line and fit with a 430, but this has been played out many hundreds of times. I remember when the 460 was introduced to the Thunderbird. The car wasn't new and the engine wasn't new, but the application was. The 460 was also in Lincolns, Econoline Club Wagons and F-series Pickup trucks. All of those bodys were well established before this new BBF engine came around.

What I don't understand is, why were Squarebirds a candidate for a MEL engine??? Thunderbird isn't a Mercury, Edsel OR Lincoln.

BTW, sometimes the Marketing guys get wrong info. - Dave

wackid
12-20-2012, 05:09 AM
The MEL option motor was mentioned in the 1958 marketing brochure.
Maybe the did plan it for '58 but could not get it done because of vendors which could not deliver on time.

Off course when you get the change to give a road rest of a well known auto magazine you give the best ride with them. A convertible with a big engine. ( we have a proto type ready) Good reading stuff for the readers. Maybe we have a "car of the year" title. The readers want one.But sorry that option is not available yet. You'll have to wait next year.

Ford could not afford to admit to say they made a mistake. Brochures printed. Marketing material was sent etc.

Comes in mind. OR could it be a matter of a safety issue because of the rear individual springs? To heavy and power handeling?

DKheld
12-20-2012, 07:50 AM
What I don't understand is, why were Squarebirds a candidate for a MEL engine??? Thunderbird isn't a Mercury, Edsel OR Lincoln.

Dave

Neat find - had I bought it the car would have been a fake. As the saying goes - "if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any". (case in point - just recieved my new video security system - hard drive is missing) :mad:

Dave - I know the answer on the 430 ..... some engine designer in the MEL division dreamed of a Tbird but wanted his 430 in the car.
He had naked pictures of one of the Ford Execs at a Christmas party. The dream became a reality. :rolleyes:

heh heh
Eric

simplyconnected
12-20-2012, 01:12 PM
...Dave - I know the answer on the 430 ..... some engine designer in the MEL division dreamed of a Tbird but wanted his 430 in the car.
He had naked pictures of one of the Ford Execs at a Christmas party. The dream became a reality...This is more common than not, but it's really hard to convince top exec's to invest millions in an 'unknown' project. They don't want to lose.

I went over the story about Pontiac's GTO with Ray: In 1961 John DeLorean was promoted to Chief Engineer at Pontiac Div. The Tempest started out in '61 as a 4-banger with a SOLID driveshaft, with no universal joints (check it out). This engine was nearly identical to the 326/389 only sawed in half.

The 389 was a common engine in all '59 Pontiac models, so it was around for a long time. DeLorean had two Tempests retrofit with 289's for his own personal use. This was NOT a GM project, he did it on his own. He ran them around Detroit for a year and used those cars to convince GM exec's to support and build the 1964 GTO. Even as Pontiac's Chief Engineer, he still had to convince GM's top brass. There was nearly zero prototype cost to GM. Suddenly, the 1964 GTO was born and they sold like crazy. DeLorean then went to Chevrolet and two years later, Chevy answered with the Chevelle 396 (in three HP versions), and why not? The body was the same and assembled on the same line as the Tempest/LeMans/GTO. Again, they sold like hotcakes.

Sometimes the wheels of change can work in reverse. Henry Ford II turned down the Mustang program for SEVEN YEARS, ever since 1955! When he finally approved the project, he told Iacocca, "This better work." I guess 'failure' has more sting when YOUR personal portfolio is on the line. Ford had already gone though the Edsel disaster, which would leave anyone gun-shy.

I believe either Ford was running behind on FE production or Lima (Ohio) Engine Plant had a surplus of 430 engines. I am sure there was a practical reason behind Thunderbird wearing a MEL engine for only two years. (430's had a short life, from '58-'65.)

Eric Taylor, your luck runs like mine. Sorry to hear about the HD. I bought an expensive TV graphics card for my computer at Best Buy. I opened the sealed box at home. The remote and all cords were there but NO graphics card. Oh, boy... Called ATI, they said to return it to the store for an exchange. The store manager was convinced I stole the bare computer card since I admitted the box was 'factory sealed' when I opened it. He finally relented. My lesson learned: To avoid embarrassment and a lot of unnecessary pain, open the box and make SURE everything is there before checking out.

In my youth I was embarrassed when Dad bought electrical appliances... Before we left the store he would say, "Plug it in and let's see it work." Guess what... I do the same thing. There's no discussion when 'failure' happens. Thanks Dad.

tbird430
12-20-2012, 02:43 PM
The only "engine bay mod" would be the bolted & welded in 430cid motor mounts on a 1958 T-Bird.

I would like to see these on this white '58 convertible overseas.

-Jon in TX.

tmjsong1aolcom
12-22-2012, 06:03 PM
I am not sure where the notion that the vin numbers were engraved into the frames of the 58-66 birds. Based on visual observations of more birds than I can count the vin numbers were stamped into the frames or more correctly unibodies.

As for multiple stamps at least on the 58 bird this is not common but happened a lot. I have a 58 where it was stamped in to the same lower frame three times. I can forward a pic of this to Ray for posting. I did have an early bird (parts car) where the spacing of the stamping was wider than the one on the 58 in question and the letters and numbers were a bit larger.

I am hoping that Conney can document this bird to the nth degree and really document it's current condition. I am a bit of a sceptic but am open to learning new things about birds. I am hoping it is real but time will tell.

Fuz
58's&64's
Sun Prairie, Wi.
tmjsong1@aol.com

YellowRose
12-26-2012, 03:14 AM
"Fuz" sent me a picture of a '58 frame with three stampings on it. Actually 2 1/2, because the bottom stamp only has part of the numbers on it. So someone stamped it again, and then a third time. I assume this was done at the plant. Here is the pic.

scumdog
12-26-2012, 04:22 PM
Some of the numbers seem to be different in one row compared to the other, i.e. the 3 at the end, the Y at the beginning.
Almost a different font.

Just an observation

YellowRose
12-26-2012, 05:56 PM
Yup, I noticed that also, and is very plain to see that the bottom VIN #, for whatever reason, was only partially stamped.

simplyconnected
12-28-2012, 08:24 AM
I am not sure where the notion that the vin numbers were engraved into the frames of the 58-66 birds...That came from me. I told Ray that these VIN numbers are engraved. I should have been more clear.

VIN numbers come from the Scheduling Department based on orders (and parts availability). Normally, VINs are assigned in the Body Shop. Since convertibles are so different and harder to make, they are mixed into the line to give the workers time to 'catch up'. Rarely, do two convertibles have consecutive VIN numbers.

Since the bodys came from Budd, they flew through Wixom's Body Shop. The Body Shop is where the VIN (from scheduling) is assigned to a built body. They deliver a ratio of so many hard tops, then a convertible, in consecutive order, to the Paint Dept. Build Sheets (or Rotation Sheets) are printed in Paint (just after the ovens) based on the VIN info from the Body Shop, and broadcast throughout the plant because the correct (paint colors, axles, tires, seats, & engine/trans) must be built in advance in subassembies that all come together in the correct sequence.

The Trim Department used a huge pneumatic 'number roller' that hung over the line from a counter balance, to make the VIN characters in the frame. The operator set the VIN number, clamped the machine to the frame and it rolled the characters over the paint.

That picture showing multiple numbers; only the middle number is valid. It starts with a star and ends with a star. This machine was a fight, all day long. The numbers must match the rotation sheet. Then, the number was supposed to advance in the machine for the next car (it didn't always happen as planned).

The picture is a good example of a substitute worker, just learning to control the VIN machine. First he's too high on the frame, then he's too low. Finally, he gets it right in the middle.

Today, Ford uses a smaller machine to engrave the numbers into various parts of the body. The machine gets instructions from a computer and simply drags a stylus to form characters (instead of printing). It's much safer than the pneumatic monster to operate and far easier to muscle around. If a body is out of order or skipped (pulled off the line), the computer easily adjusts the VIN accordingly. Back in the day, the characters were manually set (or adjusted) in the 'number-rolling' machine. - Dave

YellowRose
12-28-2012, 06:53 PM
I received a reply from Motor Trends magazine Back Issue department. There was NO report of them testing a 1958 Thunderbird Hardtop with a 430MEL engine in it in the APRIL edition. I went back and re-read that comment in the William Wonder book. It reads, "Although, in April, Motor Trend magazine tested a prototype of the 1958 hardtop with this engine, no examples were thought to have been sold to the general public, and the option itself did not officially become available until the 1959 model year."

I misread that statement. I made an assumption that they reported the test results in the April edition. It does not say that. It says they TESTED it in April. I have gone back to Motor Trends and asked them if, after the April tests, did they publish the results, and if so, in which Month?

The other thing I note, that although the March Marketing brochure touts the availability of the 430MEL engine as an Option for the '58 Squarebird, this comment above states that it did not officially become available until the 1959 model year. That might have been a surprised to Marketing, who was already touting it.

I will let you know if I get an answer back from Motor Trends on the test results conducted in April (1958, I assume...) and what they say if I can get them.

Alan H. Tast, AIA
12-29-2012, 12:41 PM
Ray:

It must be remembered that, prior to the digital age, magazines required a few months' lead time from the cover date. Items for an issue to be released in a monthly publication, say for instance in June, may have been written in March-April, meaning article preparation/research had to preceed submission, typesetting, etc. By the time printing and distribution takes place it well could be into mid-late May before it would have hit subscribers' mailboxes or newsstands.

To help place this in perspective, photos taken of '58s at the Dearborn Test Track that were included in magazines in February 1958 were shot in approximately November-December 1957.

YellowRose
12-29-2012, 01:12 PM
Hi Alan, thank you for that insight into conducting road tests and reporting on them. After I realized that I had mis-read that comment in the book, I went back to Motor Trends and asked them if they would look at the rest of the editions that came out after April 1958, and see if they could tell me if and when they did publish the test results. Hopefully, they did and will tell me which edition.

YellowRose
02-04-2013, 08:16 PM
It's time to get the popcorn out, pop some and sit back and read this! I have been communicating with Motor Trends Magazine regarding their testing of the 1958 Squarebird back in 1958. According to William Wonders book referenced below, Motor Trends was supposed to have tested a '58 Squarebird with a 430MEL engine in it. In his Thunderbird Restoration Guide 1958-1966. On Page 27 he says that back in 1958 Motor Trend magazine test drove a prototype '58 Hardtop with the 430MEL engine in it. The article states that no examples like this were thought to be sold to the general public. No mention was made as to what happened to that car. The 430MEL engine option did not appear on the Tbird production line until the 1959 model year. However, they were being put into the Lincolns which also were produced on the Wixom line.

That sent me looking for a copy of that test drive of the '58 Squarebird. So I contacted Motor Trends and they search every 1958 Motor Trends edition for the '58 Squarebird test results. The ONLY report they could find in any edition for 1958 was in the MAY 1958 edition, which I now own.

The Performance report was written by Sam Hanks. NOWHERE in that report does he talk specifically about actually road testing the 430MEL engine in a 1958 Squarebird. In his write up he does not talk about the 430MEL engine performance compared to the 352 engine. EXCEPT FOR THIS.... There is an Acceleration example showing the acceleration for a 300 bhp engine and a 375 bhp engine with an asterisk next to the 375 bhp (the 430MEL rating in 1958) figure. In that asterisk, it states: "Horsepower is probable figure of prototype installation. Engine is identical appearance-wise to '58 Lincoln with 4-barrel car. BOTH CARS (capital letters my emphasis) had Cruise-O-Matic transmissions and 2.9 to 1 rear axle." That leads me to believe that they must have tested two '58 prototypes, one with the 352 engine and one with the 430MEL engine. It does not state that one was a Hardtop and the other a Convertible. We know that the '58 Marketing brochure lists the 430MEL engine as an optional engine for the '58 Squarebird. And... wikipedia states this... "The 430 cu in (7.0 L) engine was produced from 1958 through 1965. It was primarily used on Lincolns and upper level 1959-60 Mercurys although it was also optional on 1958-60 Ford Thunderbirds."

On the other hand... In the article by Sam Hanks he mentions that "I hear lots of talk about them going to a bigger engine of 430 cubic inches for the T-Bird. Not that they need it! The present job has plenty, so they don't need 360, or the 400 horses I've been hearing about too."

Does anyone know if Sam Hanks is still walking this earth?

Here is the Acceleration results from this issue that leads me to believe they test two prototype engines, the 352 and the 430MEL.

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 10:07 AM
Now I know that there are no records of a '58 Tbird ever coming off the Wixom production line with a 430MEL engine in it. They were planning on having one, because there is a '58 advertising brochure they put out that listed the 430MEL as an optional engine for the '58 Tbird. However, that never came about for what ever reasons. So this got me involved in a conversation with him and with John Rotella of the Tbird Registry.

It turns out that John knows about this '58 prototype '58 Tbird 430 Convertible! He has it registered in his Registry, but had lost contact with it until Conny reported that he now owned it. There were TWO '58 Tbirds reported to have had 430MEL engines installed in them. John told Conny about the article in William Wonder's Thunderbird Restoration Guide 1958-1966. On Page 27 it states that back in 1958 Motor Trend magazine test drove a prototype '58 Hardtop with the 430MEL engine in it. The article states that no examples like this were thought to be sold to the general public. No mention was made as to what happened to that car. The 430MEL engine option did not appear on the Tbird production line until the 1959 model year. However, they were being put into the Lincolns which also were produced on the Wixom line.

The next statement in that article is the grabber! "However, one convertible, VIN #H8YJ129793, (My addition - Build date of 08H- 8 August - Data Plate 76A - E - XG - 08H - 4 - axle 1) is reported to have been equipped with the 430.

This engineering prototype had the engine installed in the car AFTER (emphasis mine) leaving the assembly line.

...hmm...

This little factoid explains why the unique 1958 Model Year MEL Engine Series engine mounting design was carried over only in the 59/60 BIRD and not the 59/60 MEL cars (LINC - MERC).

Thank You! An another interesting little part of MEL history has been discovered.

I have a photo of a factory trial fit 430 in a 58 chassis.

YellowRose
02-05-2013, 11:17 AM
Hi Gary, Thanks for you post! Can you email me that picture so I can post it for others to see? Thanks.

Ca58tbird
02-05-2013, 11:58 AM
Ray, what a fantastic story and a terrific bird find. Who would have ever thought, a 58 ragtop with a 430? Great research all you guys have done on it. Betcha Conny's one happy bird dog know knowing all of what you have come up with about his Bird.

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 01:16 PM
Hi Gary, Thanks for you post!

Can you email me that picture so I can post it for others to see?

Thanks.

:o

Ray,

I have constant trouble finding your E-MAIL addy. Can you post it?

YellowRose
02-05-2013, 01:26 PM
Gary, my email address is ALWAYS a part of my signature element! If you look at it, you will see that my email address is:
rayclark07@att.net :D

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 02:12 PM
Gary, my email address is ALWAYS a part of my signature element! If you look at it, you will see that my email address is:

rayclark07@att.net :D

:o

You seem to overlook the fact that I am suffering from advanced CRS. I bet you have told me this ten times... ;)

Photo on the way.

YellowRose
02-05-2013, 03:17 PM
Hi Gary, I received the picture and will post it below this. Yessss, I seem to forget that you do have CRS! :eek: I must have it also!:D

GTE427
02-05-2013, 03:56 PM
Great vintage picture. Notice the heater hose routing circa 1958 and the surge tank orientation. My guess is the car would have had a electric fuel pump since the mechanical pump location is obstructed by the surge tank. Not to mention the Holley, I often wondered why the Holley is frequently listed for the 430.

Thanks for posting.

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 05:44 PM
Great vintage picture. Notice the heater hose routing circa 1958 and the surge tank orientation. My guess is the car would have had a electric fuel pump since the mechanical pump location is obstructed by the surge tank. Not to mention the Holley, I often wondered why the Holley is frequently listed for the 430.

Thanks for posting.

The fuel pump was mechanical and mounted in the same location as the FE. This in return did not require the surge tank to be turned.

My guess is that engineering went with the LINC-MERC positioning of the fuel pump which made no sense as it put the pump right behind radiator heat/prop wash which led to many vapor lock problems.

FORD DIV seemed to favor the HOLLEY/AUTOLITE while LINC-MERC went with the CARTER (although HOLLEY was used on the 58 LINC).

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 05:46 PM
Notice the heater hose routing circa 1958

:eek:

Good Catch! First time I have noticed that.

KULTULZ
02-05-2013, 06:16 PM
:eek:

Good Catch! First time I have noticed that.

:o ...sheesh...

The heater hose routing shown is correct for the 58/60 MEL. The pressure side (heater core feed) was moved to the rear of the intake in the 1961 LINC 430 redesign.

I'll be OK... Now where is that GERITOL mama?

dgs
02-05-2013, 10:21 PM
I'm amused that the 352 hits 60 in 10.1 seconds and the reviewer comments on a possible higher HP engine saying "... Not that they need it! The present job has plenty ..."

In reviewing modern cars, magazine writers now are disappointed if any car can't hit 60 in 7 seconds or less. My Mazda3 will do it in about 7.5, my 5,000 lb Saturn Outlook SUV will do it in close to the same.

Times change I guess. :D

simplyconnected
02-06-2013, 01:02 AM
...Times change I guess. :DModern cars shut off everything that taxes HP, and direct all the torque to the drive wheels. As soon as your foot lifts off that Wide Open Throttle Switch, things go back to normal.

Back in the day that was impossible, so we ran bigger engines. Bigger engines were heavier and all cast iron, which caused 'diminshing returns'.

dgs
02-06-2013, 07:05 AM
Not to mention the move from 3 & 4 speed transmissions to 5, 6, 7 and even 8 in some cars now and the addition of lock up torque converters. I have to believe that the COM torque converter is fairly inefficient compared to modern designs.

Still, with 300 HP & about 4K lbs to move, 10.1 seems slow, inefficiencies or not. I wonder if that was done with the transmission in 'D' and not D1 and therefore without the benefit of first gear? That would have a serious impact on acceleration.

Joe Johnston
02-06-2013, 09:47 AM
These vintage pictues are a wealth of info and good to see it shared with everyone!

GTE427
02-06-2013, 12:03 PM
The fuel pump was mechanical and mounted in the same location as the FE. This in return did not require the surge tank to be turned.

My guess is that engineering went with the LINC-MERC positioning of the fuel pump which made no sense as it put the pump right behind radiator heat/prop wash which led to many vapor lock problems.

Gary,
Can you expand on this? Was the 430 MEL with a lower fuel pump mounting location a one-off casting or a regular production casting? Would Ford and Linc have had two different blocks? Would like to know whats in Conny's 58 convt MEL.

My earlier remark regarding heater hose routing was about the routing on the inner fender in 58 vs. on the intake manifold in 59. All good anyway, now know something additional about the 61 and up MEL.

YellowRose
03-17-2013, 02:13 PM
I just received this information regarding the 1958 Squarebird and the 430MEL engine from Bill Van Ess, through Alan Tast. Thank you Alan for forwarding this information. Here is what is said.

"Bill Van Ess, who maintains the 1958 Thunderbird Convertible Registry, has provided some additional informaton regarding it and the road test articles from the period. This response should put to rest some of the questions about the car and debunk some of the myths that have been circulating about '58s with 430s.
Alan H. Tast AIA, LEED AP BD+C
Technical Director, Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
http://www.vintagethunderbirdclub.net
Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"

From: Bill Van Ess

Sent: Saturday, March 16, 2013 4:56:12 PM
Subject: Re: 1958 T-bird Convertible Question

Hello all,

Let me try to answer some of your questions. The car that Motor Trend tested in the May '58 issue is not the same car your friend now owns. Your friends car wasn't even built yet when the Motor Trend May '58 issue came out. The car your friend now owns (H8YJ129793) was built in August '58. The car that they used for the article was probably built before March of '58. It took roughly 2-3 months between the time that they wrote the articles for publication before the actual magazine article would come out.

This car, H8YJ129793 was at the VTCA national meet in '72 and had a 430 engine installed in it then. It was found in a junkyard before that and was restored. Without knowing any information prior to that, nobody can say with any authority that it was a prototype. Without factory paperwork, it is anybodies guess if it was one of the prototypes built by Ford. And even if it was, it would have been a car that Ford had taken after it left the production line and had the 430 installed in the engineering department. It wouldn't have been done on the production line because Ford wasn't set up to install the 430 in the '58 model yet. The whole assembly line would have been shut down while the workers would have to figure out what wiring harness to use, different exhaust system, carb linkage, different front springs, what goes where, etc. As I stated in my '58 convertible registry, this car COULD of been one of the prototypes, but without factory paperwork it could never be proven. Someone could have installed a 430 in that car sometime between 1958 and 1972. A lot can happen to a car over 14 years. The data plate would have been put on the car while it was on the assembly line, not after the car had left. Production for the '58 model was much slower than by the time they were building the '60 model. I read that when Ford shut down the '58 model year production line, that they still had orders for over 8,000 units which were built as '59 models. They couldn't build the cars fast enough to keep up with the orders that were coming in.

Motor Trend published TWO articles on the '58 Thunderbird, first one February '58 and the second one in May '58. Neither of these articles say ANYTHING that they drove a prototype with a 430 engine in it. In the February '58 issue they tested a car with Michigan license plates EN7497 and the May '58 issue the car tested had Michigan plates AV6264, two different cars. They did mention the possibility that the 430 was going to become available but they never drove one. You are probably confused with the article in the March '58 issue of Motor Life in which they did say they had driven a 430 prototype but the weather prevented them from making any accurate acceleration tests. They had seen Fords own results and simply published those. And the times published were much faster than what was found in actual tests later once the production 430 powered cars were built. This prototype had to be a hardtop as a convertible hadn't even been built yet. To the best of my knowledge, there was never a magazine test of a '58 with a 430 engine in it, hardtop or convertible. Hot Rod magazine tested a '59 HT with a 430 in their July '59 issue. That was the first magazine article I've ever seen that tested a Squarebird with the 430 engine in it.

Some other things you mentioned about your friends '58 convertible, the J in the serial number is not for a 430, it is for the car being a convertible. The first letter of the VIN is an H, which stands for 352. The next digit is an 8 which stands for a 1958 model, Y is the assembly plant Wixom and as stated, the J is for convertible. Ford did use an S code for the pilot plant. This is a short assembly line where they would have built pre-production cars to see how the line flowed with respect to the cars going down a production line. They didn't have a separate plant to build just prototypes. Quite often a car that came from the pilot plant would be used as a prototype later on, or used as a barrier crash test car, emissions testing, etc. The pilot plant would reveal where problems might arise once the actual production assembly line would start up. There was no prototype plant. That sort of stuff was done in engineering. Also it was quite common for a magazine writer to mistranslate information for an article. They tested lots of different makes of cars and would often just take the information provided to them from the manufacturer as to what rear end ratios, transmissions, options, etc were available. And that is where a lot of mis-information could be found about the 430 engine being available, performance times, etc. And the manufacturers would often quote faster acceleration times than stock to make their products seem faster than what they actually were. Remember, they were in the business to sell cars and make a profit. And if the magazine published faster 0-60 times for one car vs another, a reader could be swayed one way or the other.

Ford would usually loan a car to a magazine for a road test and it would be returned back to Ford (usually within a couple of days) after they were finished testing it. Ford would then check everything out and go over the car to make sure everything was OK on it and then lend it to another magazine to use as a test car. These cars were carefully prepared for the magazines so as to not have any problems with them and, quite often had been carefully "massaged" in order to get the best performance times, etc. When I talked with some of the old Shelby engineers about those "test" cars they told me that they had the tire manufacturers mold up a few sets of tires out of softer, drag racing rubber so they would hook up good at the drag strip, the distributor would have different advance built in, the vacuum hoses would be all hooked up but were not functional, carbs would have different size jets, sometimes different rear end gear ratios, etc. Everything would look stock on the outside, but they were much different than what you would buy at the dealership. What happened w/ these cars when Ford was finished with them is anybodies guess, and it is quite possible that some of these were used by some Ford executives for a while or until they got something else to drive. Some of those Ford executive cars would then be wholesaled off as used cars to dealers. It is very rare that any prototypes are sold to the public, but yes, some did get out.

Hope this answers your questions.
Sincerely,
Bill Van Ess
1958 Thunderbird Convertible Registry"

So there you have Bill's comments. We have William Wonder's account that... "However, one convertible, #H8YJ129793, is reported to have been equipped with the 430. This engineering prototype had the engine installed in the car after leaving the assembly line" and Conny now owns that Tbird.

KULTULZ
03-17-2013, 06:02 PM
Sorry. I did not notice this post until now...

Gary,

Can you expand on this? Was the 430 MEL with a lower fuel pump mounting location a one-off casting or a regular production casting? Would Ford and Linc have had two different blocks? Would like to know whats in Conny's 58 convt MEL.

My earlier remark regarding heater hose routing was about the routing on the inner fender in 58 vs. on the intake manifold in 59. All good anyway, now know something additional about the 61 and up MEL.

It (front cover) must have been a unique casting or modification. See the photo caption under the photo in POST #11.

I am thinking they went with the original MEL positioning of the fuel pump to cut cost (although the positioning led to much vapor lock and hard starting problems). The LINC and J-BIRD were assembled on the same line in WIXOM. The BIRD 430 was just a re-calibrated MEL 430 (LINC) (LINC went to 2V in 1960 whereas the BIRD retained the 59 4V).

The 58 LINC also used the unique engine frame mounts as were used on the 59/60 J-BIRD. LINC-MERC went to a FE style mount in 1959 while the BIRD retained the more complicated earlier mount system.

YellowRose
03-17-2013, 08:22 PM
I just received an email from Conny in Sweden. Here is the gist of what he had to say.

He thanked me for the additional information regarding his '58 with the 430MEL engine. He is not sure what rear axle is on it. He said when he spins it, it goes not quite three full turns. I need to tell him to check the "pumpkin" and see if there is a tag on it, or if there is an inscription as to what gear ratio it has. He sent me some pix of his '58 headed out to the paint and body shop to be worked on. He said the metalsmith is going to blast her and put on pol15 and underbody same in instructions book. In looking over the car the metalsmith has find around 50 small bumps so he´s going to knock out all the bumps, and so the car will be painted completely original again.

He also sent me a picture of his Mercury S55 1966 428 cj original (only two in Sweden). He said he will take home this car when he leaves his Thunderbird to renovation . I will post a picture of it also for you to see.

He said since it is winter in Sweden still he does not have much time to fix his cars, as his job takes all his time at the moment. But with Spring coming, he will be able to start again. He said that he probably has not understood how important it is to take care of his Tbird, for it is a bit unique, but I think he does now!

Here are the pix he sent me.

simplyconnected
03-18-2013, 04:39 PM
...He is not sure what rear axle is on it. He said when he spins it, it goes not quite three full turns...
Ok, how many times does the drive shaft turn when he spins the axle FIVE or TEN times? You don't need a tag to know the exact gear ratio.

This is a direct gear ratio...
|D/S:axle|.|D/S:axle|.|D/S:axle|.|D/S:axle|
2.69:1 = 5.38:2 or 13.4:5 or 26.9:10
2.91:1 = 5.82:2 or 14.5:5 or 29.1:10
3.10:1 = 6.20:2 or 15.5:5 or 31.0:10
3.56:1 = 7.12:2 or 17.8:5 or 35.6:10 ...and so on.
If he can't keep track of both counts at the same time, have someone else help count one end.
- Dave

YellowRose
03-19-2013, 07:16 PM
The next few posts will be made with permission of those who wrote them, regarding Conny's '58 Tbird with 430 engine. I have forwarded them on to Conny, and asked for pictures of the engine bay, showing the mounting brackets, pix of the casting numbers, and date code on the engine and the tranny. Both Jim Reed and Bill Van Ess state they think the data plate on the car is original. Here is what Jim Reed had to say in his email to me and others.

"Alan, I agree with (almost) everything Bill says (see below). I have those HR magazines that Bill mentioned and others from the era that tested sqbirds. I had meant to reply about this mystery '58 convt. when it was discussed awhile back, but didn't immediately and then forgot.

Here is what I recall from decades ago. VTCA member, Fred Brand, of Frontenac, KS (near Pittsburg, KS), drove a white restored/modified '58 convt. to the 1972 VTCA meet in Springfield. I was fascinated with that car. At the time, I think it was only the second '58 convt. I had seen since I first got the sqbird bug in 1967 (the other was a red bondo buggy for sale in Overland Park for $350 which I test drove in 1967 but I turned it down--in the same neighborhood was an Acapulco blue '60 a/c convt. with a bad tranny for $65 I think, but I needed a driving car to go to KU).

Fred Brand's car at the '72 meet had a '66-7 428, a complete '60 black leather interior, a/c, etc. Very nice car. Probably the first time it occurred to me what a cool idea it was to drop in a 428. It definitely was not a 430. I last time saw that car was in the early-mid 90's at a car show in Ft. Scott, KS. Fred still owned it and I wanted to talk to him but he was wandering around and I never did.

Fred's bud from the Pittsburg area was H.J. Maxwell, another VTCA member. I think he rode shotgun with Fred to Springfield. To back up a few months to June/July '72, in Prairie Village, KS, there was a plain jane '58 Regatta blue '58 hardtop advertised in the KC Times/Star with 18k one owner miles for $2,500. I wanted to buy it but the bank though $2.5k was way too much for a 14 year old car and won't give me a loan. Max ended up buying the car and drove it to Pittsburg. I never saw it again but he kept it for years afterwards.

Fred and/or Max told me of a '58 convt. with a factory prototype 430 installed that they had recently found in a Joplin, MO, salvage yard. White with red/white interior (My note: Same colors as Connys Tbird) and needing restoration. Max bought the car and towed it to Pittsburg. I always wanted to see it (and the Regatta blue coupe again) but never got around to it. Then in the mid-late 70's, Max moved to northern CA (My note: This is where Conny found the '58 Tbird) and had the two 58s transported there. I think conversed with him after he moved, and I wanted to see him and the cars on one of my work trips to the area, but never did (I did see Elmer Knitter a few times in Mountain View, one of the early sqbird pioneers). My understanding in was that Max later had passed (cancer in the 80s?), but can't recall who told me that. Never knew what became of the 2 cars after that.

In recent months while surfing the net, I stumbled upon a video with Fred's white '58 428 that was from a few years ago. The then current owner was doing a video walk around talking about the "original interior" (?), how great the car was, etc. I think he and the car were in CA. It was Fred's car. I think I downloaded the video on one of my computers, and I will try to find it for you.

I have no idea what the VINs were for those 2 '58 convts. I never saw the mystery 430 car, but only know of it via Max (and I think he knew what he was talking about). I also may have heard a similar story regarding that car being in a Joplin salvage yard from Roger Amos, a VTCA member who lived in Joplin and owned a red '60 430 convt. So I would say that yes, there was/is such a car and that it probably was a 430, but I can't prove it myself, nor can I vouch for its authenticity. As Bill says, it likely would have had the 352 engine mounting points (I recall seeing a '59 parts car in '72 which had an owner-installed 383 MEL and it was on the 352 mounts).

As we all know, on paper (the original Ford sales lit.), the 430 375hp (with 10.5:1 c/r and big valves) engine was supposedly an option in '58. No tri-power like the Merc/Linc.

Another car I looked at in 1967 (I looked at many dozens of sqbirds in '67 all over the KC metro area while shopping for my first) was a red '59 430 coupe with red/white interior. About 90k miles, $550. Test drove it, and wow, what a difference vs. the many 352s I had test-driven. I decided though it may not be a good idea for a poor student to have a well worn gas hog with a rare big engine with hard to find part$, etc., so passed on it. I wanted a/c too anyway. That was the only 430 I recall seeing in my searches in '67. I wonder if it may be the same car that is currently in the local KC area (previously owned by our local club member, Ron Brunig, and now owned by club member, David Johnson).

I never saw a stick in '67 when I was shopping nor a sunroof, though I knew they existed as I had the original sales lit.

In all the decades since and after looking at probably thousand(s?) of sqbirds in person and in pics, I have never seen in person a '59 430 with factory installed a/c. I recall at seeing at least 2 '59 430s with a/c, but the owners admitted that they put it in. I wonder if there actually were any with factory a/c. I also have never seen in person nor in pics, a '58 with a stick, though I guess there must have been a handful per the Thunderbird Registry. I think the estimate of 1% stick + 1% o/d is accurate for the '60s, but I suspect that is too high for the '58s and may be bit high for '59s (?). I have seen very few '59s with sticks; most sticks I've seen have been '60s. Also, I have never seen a "late '59" with a fully automatic top (I suspect there weren't any).

There is nothing like a sqbird!

Jim"

YellowRose
03-19-2013, 07:21 PM
Here is what Bill had to say after that. Again, published with permission.

"Hello Everyone, I spent some time last night and went through my Scoops from 1972 through 1974 and Jim is right. I wasn't there myself and was only relying on my memory about who had what car there. Thanks Jim for setting the record straight!

HJ Maxwell was at the '72 Springfield meet but he had a HT there. Fred Brand had a '58 convt at that meet (with a 428 installed). HJ Maxwell bought that convt from a Joplin, MO junkyard in Nov '71 according to my records. He claimed the odometer said 30,000 miles which he believed to be correct as the carpets & interior was almost perfect shape. The car also had every option available installed on it. Why was it in the junkyard then? Maybe because someone ran into problems trying to install a 430 in the car? Who knows? I haven't heard anything more about that car since then, (up until now). I would love to see if they had the welded motor mounts on that car. Anybody know if H8YJ129793 have the welded motor mounts in it? That would be interesting to know also. They don't need to be there in order to put a 430 in a Squarebird. I've often wondered why Ford did that. Maxwell had an ad in the Sept '72 scoop looking for various parts for that '58 convt then. When I started the '58 convt registry in 1976, HJ Maxwell was living in CA at the time. That was the last that I had heard about that car until recently. Anyway, all of that hardly makes any difference as there is NO WAY that it could ever be proven that this car was one of the prototypes built by Ford without having factory paperwork stating that. The info stated in Wonders book was taken from my registry book and I did NOT say that this was one of the original prototypes. I stated that "this car is quite possibly one of the prototypes built" but NEVER did I say that it absolutely was. This is what happens when something is taken out of context. It is my belief that this car COULD be one of the original prototypes built by Ford, BUT, chances are extremely good that this car had the 430 put in by a previous owner. We do know that Ford built at least two 430 prototypes, one HT and one Convt, but we don't know the VIN of either of those cars and probably never will. I highly doubt that Ford would still have that info.

Alan, I know you did find a factory Ford photo of the engine compartment of a 430 in a prototype '58, were there more pictures of that prototype that you remember? Did you ever read anything about why Ford put the welded motor mounts on the 430 cars while doing research for your book at Ford? I would gladly drive to Dearborn and do more research on this is if you thought the info was still there and where to look for it.

Jim, I find it interesting your comments about the no A/C in a 430 car. I've never paid any attention to that. As for a stick in a '58, yes that is very rare. You may know that I collect all Squarebird VINs and data plate info and this is what I have in my records.
1958 - 5 manuals out of 636 records
1959 - 26 manuals out of 1,095 records
1960 - 45 manuals out of 1,835 records

Please note that I haven't added at least another 300 records to my datatbase in the last couple of years. When I get some time I will start doing that again but it will be a while before that happens.

Bill Van Ess"

KULTULZ
03-20-2013, 07:33 AM
Ray,

As you most likely know, AUTOMOTIVE MILEPOSTS (http://automotivemileposts.com/contentstbird.html) has quite a bit of info on the BIRD on it's website.

THIS PAGE (http://automotivemileposts.com/tbird1958specifications.html#engine) has info regarding the 58 MEL 430 prototype installation and the 59/60 J-BIRDS.

YellowRose
03-20-2013, 07:45 AM
Hi Gary, Yes I am aware of that information in Automotive Mile Posts. I use that website a lot to look up information about these old Birds of ours. Thanks for putting the links in!

YellowRose
03-30-2014, 03:03 PM
I just got an email from Conny Soderholm in Sweden about his '58 430MEL Convertible and the work he is doing in restoring it. Here is what he had to say.

I'm so busy with my work. Now spring has come to my town and now I have time to be in the garage more , got home a supply of auto parts 3 weeks ago and there was my engine but automatic transmission remains in Hayward together with my new tires and some chrome parts I need to replace on the car. Then I bought new parts from the T -bird Headquarters, trim, exhaust systems , shock absorbers and new weather stripping . Hope it 's ok to buy a little new to the car ? I want it to be like new when I'm done with it, as you can see I have blasted the chair cores , some pictures of the body that has riktads (Not sure what that is) up without bumps and sandblasted very carefully and cautiously , not a single rust repair has (Not sure about this either )behövds done without just founded and t plate directed a little , the car painted in two layers with extra clearcoat want bodywork in mint condition.

Have some photos of the engine that has been renovated and , 30 drilled new connecting rods , pistons , cam, and timing chain peaks by Olden as you can see, numbers shown on the peaks 575 0063 and I do not know what all the numbers shown so I hope you can help me get my engine identified . The numbers are stamped on the front are 4- 87CZ and on the outside of the block you will see for themselves what it says.

My plan was to try to catch to get the car ready in the summer but I'll have to sacrifice another winter, the question is how closely I can be when it comes to renovating the car? To me it feels like it might as well be sold when it is still going a total renovation, hope I did not break anything in this decision. I have saved everything replaced except for the carpet which was completely exhausted.

Thanks Ray because you want to help me with information and tips for my renovation of the T-Bird.
Sincerely Conny S

As you might recall, Conny has a 430MEL engine in this '58 Tbird. You might want to review all the comments regarding this car and that engine that have been previously posted. I have asked for large pictures of the engine block to help determine the casting number on the engine. I will post them if Conny sends them. Here is what the car is looking like now, as he continues with the restoration of it. As you can see from the seat, it looks like his foams need to be replaced. Conny, have you found the ROT/Build Sheet in the springs of the seats? That is often where they put that paperwork. If you have not looked, look for it. It is an important piece of paperwork that should tell you what the car left the factory with what was installed in it.

YellowRose
03-30-2014, 04:18 PM
Conny just sent the engine pix and one of his seat springs. You will be able to see the stampings on the engine, though they are backwards or upside down, and some are hard to read, after all these years. I sent the large pix to Dave ~ simplyconnected for him to see. I had to downsize them to get them on here. But here they are.

The number/letters on the next to last picture look to say DIF at the top at the left, and 575 at the top at the right. The middle stamping at the left seems to be 0063 or 0068, and the same on the middle right. The bottom left is 575 and the right side I cannot read.

Conny JUST told me that there is a Decal on the windshield, and sent me a picture of it. I thought it was a VTCA decal, but I can't determine that. It does say Joplin, MO on it but instead of 1972 it says 1970. In fact, according to what is posted below in previous posts, it was in a Joplin, MO junk yard that this Tbird was found and rescued from. Then later, the owner moved that car and another '58 with a 428 in it, to California. That is where Conny found his car. Conny is going to ask him painter to peel back the paper covering that decal and take a picture of it and he will send it to me.

Dan Leavens
03-30-2014, 06:32 PM
This is getting really COOL!!!:cool:

simplyconnected
03-31-2014, 12:25 AM
I'm not sure what the question is but I can shed some light on these numbers.

First of all, Dearborn Iron Foundry (DIF) made cores. Cores for blocks, heads, rear end housings, manifolds, flywheels, etc.

Sounds simple, right? No. These cores must be perfect. Cured cores are dipped in refractory 'paint', baked, and some show numbers from the core machines from which they came. Ford knew what day and shift each core was molded, for quality purposes.

They had to be absolutely dry. Any water vapor would cause a terrible explosion immediately when molten iron is poured on it. The rule is, water can be poured on hot metal but hot metal cannot be poured on water. I've been there a few times when this mistake happened. It literally rocks the earth, spewing hot iron in every direction. First, iron is heavy and it will knock you down, next it is hot and will burn you up. Even up to today, we have not found the full potential of steam.

Cores are assembled in a long assembly line where each core is carefully placed in correct order and 'thimbles' separate and hold cores back where iron will displace air. The 'stack' looks like this picture one of three:
https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRyk0-TidG9Efsa9lpTnZNhULODgR304g8p8cfxV4gQLrO7KmGf_w
The other two pictures can be viewed HERE (https://www.google.com/search?q=molding+core+boxes&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=F-s4U_v9LZO_qQHVh4CoDg&ved=0CEYQsAQ&biw=1381&bih=686&dpr=0.9#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=UC8miQxGN9BMMM%253A%3BenSa2sKZWGl7XM%3Bhttp% 253A%252F%252Fpatentimages.storage.googleapis.com% 252Fpages%252FUS3302250-0.png%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.google.com%252Fpate nts%252FUS3302250%3B2320%3B3408).
So the casting numbers will show the basic part number, the day and shift it was made and the foundry or plant. Most of this is for use inside Ford.

The last operation on this line is the actual pouring, cooling, and extracting the block.
Once the part leaves the foundry, it goes to an engine plant, where they do all the machining (milling, drilling, tapping, boring, balancing, honing and grinding) and assembly. Then completed engines are cold tested, then hot tested. Engines go to assembly plants, to service depots, and some are held back for engineering and quality control tests, like running it under full load on a dyno until catastrophic failure.

Those hand-stamped numbers were applied in the engine plant AFTER the head was machined. Hand stamping is not normally done on production engines. They use different methods including bar code stickers, etc., for internal controls (again, for shift, date, version). This is usually a very temporary indicator that may be removed before shipping. - Dave

YellowRose
03-31-2014, 12:46 AM
The question is what do the stamped numbers indicate regarding this engine? Do they indicate what engine this is, for example? It is supposed to be a 430MEL. What year is it, etc..? Conny would like to know what they mean and so do I for that matter.

simplyconnected
03-31-2014, 03:22 AM
After reviewing the posts regarding this build from 12-17-12, I see there are many posts that are duplicated. Instead of going through everything again I merged both threads.

The casting numbers are just that, internal Dearborn Iron Foundry controls for the 430. All engines built from early January, 1964, include an engine identification tag. This tag describes C.I.D., model year, year and month of production, and change level number. Before then there were no engine tags. We simply went by the codes already described in post #3.

This engine is definitely a 430, and cannot be anything else. The 430 is unique in many ways. There were not many made so correct parts are very difficult to find. Many aftermarket parts were never produced because of low demand, like the block-thermostats, domed pistons and vacuum-oil pump.

The block deck is tapered at nine degrees and the original piston domes match that design.
http://squarebirds.org/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=9103&stc=1&d=1396210167
Notice the far right hand piston (#8) looks like it is all the way up at the top but directly below there is a lot of cylinder wall showing. This rebuild is fitted with common flat-top pistons, not domed & tapered pistons because they are simply not available. Concours engine builders had new pistons cast and machined by Wisco to their exact bore size for about $1,300.00 (or more per set).

This makes the 430 one of the most expensive engines to rebuild to the original design. Flat-top pistons and rings are commonly used but they reduce the compression ratio far too low. Output HP is lower than the FE 332, which is sad. The idea of installing the 430 is to enjoy 350-375 HP, not to install an extremely heavy, newly rebuilt engine that produces 240 HP. - Dave

partsetal
03-31-2014, 04:48 PM
The block was cast June 19, 1958. Interesting to note that available information indicates that all 58 blocks had only the front mount positions, but this one also has mid mount provisions. This additional mounting position was not available until 1959. Could this block also be special or since it was late production (June) had they already switched over to 59 features?
Carl

GTE427
04-01-2014, 12:45 PM
Using the 1959 service bulletin attached on another thread, you should be able to decode the stamped assembly date. This does not pertain to casting numbers.

The assembly date is on the machined pad ahead of the first cylinder bore, left bank, unless it has been machined off. The photos show stamped numbers in other locations that are not legible, these locations differ from the bulletin.

Keep us informed with your findings.

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=9337

edit: "The numbers are stamped on the front are 4- 87CZ and on the outside of the block.." from post #52. I missed your earlier post. This date is 7-3-58, the Z typically refers to a service part, not sure in this case, anyone else have experience with this? All the dates seems to be in order.

GTE427
04-01-2014, 03:54 PM
Interesting to note that available information indicates that all 58 blocks had only the front mount positions, but this one also has mid mount provisions.Carl

Also noticed the chassis is missing the traditional 430 motor mount brackets thus the mid mount would be in use. Carl, wouldn't this cause hood clearence issues? Maybe you could direct more questions to Conny with your experiences. To reverse engineer this build.

YellowRose
04-11-2014, 05:46 PM
Conny just sent me this email regarding the motor mounts.

"My friend will look for motor mounts in some box. He say that there's only some steel plates between the motor mounts and body . I dont know how this comes out but I will come back when he finds them in the box. Conny"

This friend is the one who is doing the work on his paint job, I gather. So I will post any pictures that he sends later on regarding this.