View Full Version : elijahbird7's Tbirds!

12-01-2013, 10:00 PM
Jim gets his gorgeous '59 Baltic Blue Convertible tomorrow! Wait til you see this beauty! Click on the picture of it and you will find 50 pix to look at and enjoy. This is really a great looking Squarebird!


Jim now has his '59 Tbird home and here are some more pix of it! Here is one with the top going up... or down?...

12-01-2013, 10:38 PM
All I can say is WOW!

12-03-2013, 09:43 AM
Jim sent me a pic of his gorgeous '66 Flairbird that he just sold after having it for 19 years! I asked him to tell the new owner about Squarebirds.org in hopes he will join. What a beautiful Flairbird this is! Jim says that is a Tahoe Turquoise paint job on her.

12-03-2013, 06:29 PM
Then there is his Peacock Blue '56 Babybird! The next to last pic is the only time it failed on him. Here is what he said. "The first time I ever had to bring a car home on a flatbed. The generator pulley broke in half..no water pump or generator working. Not a roadside fix for sure." Me, I dig the tow truck driver! :eek: For some reason, the tow truck drivers I have met around here, certainly do not look like her!

The last picture might be familiar to ya'll because it has been in Hemmings and also in the VTCI Scoop magazine!

After that Hemmings/Scoop shot, you will find some more pix that Jim just sent me of his '56! The last pic of the two Babybirds, is of Jim's '56 and his buddy Andy's '57.

12-03-2013, 06:33 PM
Then there is his rare Merlot '04 Retrobird with the matching top! And finally, his '79 Mark V! I hope you have enjoyed the pix and have not slobbered all over your monitor and keyboard!

12-03-2013, 08:58 PM
Julie is totally cool. She owns the tow truck company and has for over 20 years.
She is also a car lover. She has a beautiful 70's era black Camaro with T-Tops

04-09-2014, 07:12 PM
Jim just sent me another pic of two of his Birds. Here is what he had to say in his "Almost Spring" email.

"Ray, We are finally getting a few days where I can get the cars out. So far, the following projects have been completed on the '59: intake manifold gaskets replaced, fuel pump replaced, major tune up-plugs, points, cap, rotor and plug wires and carb cleaned and adjusted, new exhaust system and new radial tires. Tomorrow it goes in for replacement of the front and rear springs. The fronts had spacers in them and it sits low in the rear. .got those from McVeigh. I had my body shop guy look at a couple of places and will take it in on May 6th to work on those areas. Then the only thing left will be to replace the driver's seat cover as it has a couple of splits in it. Then done??? I imagine she will decide she needs attention somewhere along the path..

Happy motoring
Jim Elijah"

After I posted this, Jim sent me this additional information.

"One thing that was interesting..after timing was set and all tune up parts in place, it was hesitating on acceleration. Don decided to pull the top of the carb off and removed the primary venturi. He cleaned it and got quite a bit of crap to fall out. He told the other mechanic to pull the secondary venturi to clean as well. As he was pulling it up, it just broke. The metal was cracked and looked like it was self destructing. Don went upstairs to see if he had any old Ford carbs around, which he didn't. It was lunch time so he said to go have lunch and he would try to epoxy it back together so I could drive it home and we could order some parts. As I left, my mind said to go home and look to see if I still had a left over carb from the '66 in my basement...and I did have one as well as one from my '56. I took both carbs back in, and the venturies in the '66 were in perfect shape and were a direct fit...even the gasket at the top was like brand new and could be swapped over as well....made his day! Was the metal venturi suffering from ethanol??? Maybe. It's hard to see the actual crazing in the metal, but you can see where it was broken."

In checking out the carb that was used on the 1966 Flairbirds, according to Automotive Mile Posts, the 1966 used the Ford 9510 4-bbl carb on all three engines in use back then, the 390, the 390 export, and the 428. So, if that is correct, and I gather it is, the venturies from the Ford 9510 should fit perfectly on your '59 Ford 4100 carb, if that is what it is...

Here is a pic of his '59 & '56 "shy" Birds peeking their beaks out to see if it is safe to come out from Winter...

04-19-2014, 04:59 PM
Jim just sent me some more pix of his gorgeous '59 Squarebird Convertible. He had his first "top down weather" and his first "top down drive" of the season! I love the Unity dual spotlights/side view mirrors on both fenders! You do not see them like that to often because Unity Co. did not make a right hand mount for the Squarebird. You have to find one from a Mercury of that year, as I recall and make that work. Enjoy the pix!

04-22-2014, 03:03 PM
I"m still jealous Jim!! :D

Great looking Squarebird!!

-Jon in TX.

Dan Leavens
04-24-2014, 11:18 AM
Jim thanks for the pixs as she is a very striking and the colour/ combo is classic for this year. The wide whites and the wire rims completely POP:eek:the rest of the chrome on your beauty. Enjoy the cruisin:D

04-29-2014, 03:07 PM
Is obvious why we were cautioned about drooling on keyboard and screen. All so nice, impossible to pick a favorite.

06-10-2014, 03:42 PM
Here is what Jim sent me and had to say about his Tbirds and other cars....

"Ray, Went to a local car show on Saturday. Two guys were rolling this half-cow around the show and asked if they could photograph her looking at my car. Turns out the local public library came up with this idea to promote local events. They take the cow to everything, take her photo and post it online..sort of like what did the cow do today.??..weird.

I just checked with the body shop guy today, and they are on track to have the 59 finished on Friday..almost 5 weeks in the body shop.... then it will probably take me another week to clean up all the body shop dust.

We have a Thunderbird club event on Saturday that I plan to attend, but it's almost an hour and a half each way..hopefully I can make it with no issues, as I haven't driven it that far yet. The body shop guy is replacing my power steering hoses and trans cooler lines today, which looked a little old..

Also waiting for a 2014 Lincoln MKX to arrive that I ordered on May 7th. It was built on May 28th, so it should get here any day..Ruby Red metallic, stone leather with the 22" polished aluminum wheels."

Here are a couple of pix..

06-10-2014, 03:56 PM
Love those 2 blue birds!! Love them!! :cool:

-Jon in TX.

Joe Johnston
06-10-2014, 04:27 PM
Always liked Little Birds, but that cow is kinda cute too! :eek:

06-11-2014, 03:11 AM
Nice - If you can't figure how two tones of blue paint should be applied to a baby bird. Get two and paint one each blue tone !
They carry the colors well :)

MKX will definitely be comfy for trips. Great colors !

Dan Leavens
06-11-2014, 09:24 AM
Okay here is my question with the pictures Ray posted. Where does the cow get stored for travel:confused: I know it doesn't fit in the trunk:eek:

06-18-2014, 03:38 PM
I think the library has a van they use for her travels.

06-22-2014, 11:24 AM
Thanks to Jim (elijahbird7) for sending me over here. Thunderbirds certainly do have something magical about them - their shapes and colors are just so iconic.

08-31-2014, 10:13 PM
Jim said...."Don't know if you have heard of the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois. They had a large show today. Around 250 cars attended. It's a Ford-Mercury, Mustang, Cobra and Thunderbird show that they have every year. I took the 59 today and it took 1st place in Class, Thunderbirds 58-63. I wasn't paying attention at the end when they announced the Best of Show award. A friend had to poke me and announce that my 59 had won that trophy as well!!! Here are a couple of pix!

08-31-2014, 11:18 PM
Using spray cleaner and rags to remove drool from keyboard & screen.

bird 60
09-01-2014, 03:54 AM
Congratulations Jim, She looks really nice.

Chris.....From OZ.

09-09-2014, 07:17 PM
Jim sent me another pic. His gorgeous '59 Convertible was awarded another Best Of Show trophy he says! Here is the pic. And here is Jim and the trophy!

09-14-2014, 08:59 PM
Jim took his gorgeous '59 Convertible to another S&S and walked away with another trophy! I am not surprised!

"Took the 59 to the same show Saturday where I took my 56 Tbird last year and it won a 4 ft trophy for Best Ford. The 59 took home that same Best Ford 4 ft trophy this year..and yes I did put a cloth under the Troohy before placing it on the trunk. This show requires all convertibles be shown top up.

Then today I took the 59 to a show at Illinois Beach State Park Resort, in Zion, Illinois, which is right on the shore of Lake Michigan. About 125 cars total. Each car owner could vote for their 10 favorite cars. The top 20 then are awarded trophies. Then there were 4 "Special Recognition" trophies. (Biggest ones). You couldn't win in both areas. I watched as some of my friends with very nice cars were awarded in the top 20, but not mine..then, they did the "Special" trophies and the Illinois Beach Resort as host chose my 59 as their choice for the Best car!"

Here are the pix!

bird 60
09-15-2014, 03:53 AM
Congratulations Jim. I wish I was there to see your Bird in person.

Chris.....From OZ.

09-16-2014, 07:01 PM
Jim sent me a picture of his friend's '59 Convertible that he recently sold. It is a nice looking convertible, it didn't have air, but did have the 430. He has a 63 Red M roadster also. What really got my attention was the Squarebird behind it with the Opera window in the C Column! You don't see many like this and I have only seen just a very few that have had that modification made to them, and that includes Marco's '58 Squarebird in The Netherlands! Here is a pic of what Jim sent me, and one of Marco's '58.

09-16-2014, 09:33 PM
Like like someone found an original FoMoCo porthole window kit from 1957 & installed it to a Squarebird...

Seems pretty straightforward....

Dan Leavens
09-19-2014, 08:43 AM
I still have to look twice at that, as I like the C Column flush with no alteration especially not a port hole:eek:

10-07-2014, 09:41 PM
Jim just got his rear bumper back from the chromer today. It was done by D&R Chrome in Huntington Park CA. Here is what it looked like when it was delivered and over an hour later after he got it all unwrapped! Here is what he said!

"This is how it showed up today. Packaging was very impressive. This thing had so many layers of corrugated cardboard, shipping tape, wood to keep it from twisting, and brown paper covering the clear plastic covering..it took me an hour and 15 minutes to get all of those layers stripped..I think more layers than King Tut!"

Here are a couple of pix.

10-07-2014, 10:14 PM
It was not actually my bumper in the package. I got this from eBay, since I will be removing my continental kit over the winter and didn't want to just put bumper bolts in my current bumper that has holes from the continental kit. This was just an outright purchase.

10-12-2014, 04:18 PM
Jim has been working on swapping out his bumpers. Here is what he had to say when taking off the Continental kit on his gorgeous '59 Squarebird, and some pix.

"Started by getting the "horse shoe" bumper extension off. 6 bolts and of course the last one didn't want to come out because the nut was spinning way back up there. Finally got a socket up there and off she came. Here is the tire carrier part and the gas tank neck rubber extension. Just wired the license plate at the top for now, since I mounted the plate holder to the new bumper. I definitely prefer seeing the whole rear end! Will take my time taking the bumper off to swap for the new one.."

Here are the pix he sent.

10-12-2014, 07:20 PM
Looking good Jim!

Although I know it's a personal preference - to me - with the Conti-kit - the cars always looked tail heavy and like they had something tacked on there that shouldn't be.....:rolleyes:

( but I do wish I had a convertible ! )


10-13-2014, 02:10 PM
I had been debating taking off the continental kit ever since I bought the car last November. I was almost to the point of leaving it on until I saw a complete show chrome bumper on eBay for a fair price. That became my incentive to remove the kit for good. Maybe someone will want it...

10-13-2014, 03:53 PM
I agree, she looks so much better w/o the conti kit in my honest opinion- And probably drives alot better now too??

Looks like you still need to install those 2 top, center bumper "spears". It looks like you still have the "cut-off" bumperettes installed (from the conti kit). :cool:

-Jon R.

10-14-2014, 12:11 PM
Yes, the show chrome bumper I got from eBay is a complete 5 piece bumper with the pointed bullets as it should be. You can see the damage to the bumper currently on the car where the bumper extension was installed, as well as the holes that were drilled into the upper left and upper right bumper parts. I just put all the cars away for the winter, so will likely get to having the new bumper put on in the spring.

10-24-2014, 08:07 PM
Here is a picture for ya'll to drool over.... Jim just sent me this pic of his gorgeous '56 Little Bird on the July 2007 cover of Hemmings Magazine.... It is pretty cool when your Tbird is picked for that cover...
Here is an additional picture. Click on the link to see the second picture.


06-15-2015, 06:55 PM
Jim Elijah ~ elijahbird7' beautiful blue '59 Squarebird graces the cover of the VTCI July/August Scoop! His gorgeous '56 Babybird graces our Squarebirds 2015 Calendar for the month of August! So, that makes two Squarebirds Forum members who have had their cars featured in the 2015 Scoop, that I know of, so far. Mine and Jim's! Congratulations, Jim! I don't know if you received your Scoop yet, but I just got mine earlier this afternoon! Here is what she looks like!

06-15-2015, 08:51 PM
Here is what Jim had to say in regards to the post about his '59 Squarebird being picked for the July/Aug VTCI Scoop cove! Posted with his permission.

"Yes, it arrived on Wednesday of last week. Very nice to see that Terri put it on so quickly. Two exciting events that day. Just about every car show so far this season has been rained out. That afternoon, a friend with a 67 GTO messaged me to join him at a huge cruise night that happens once per month not far away. I hadn't gone to that one in about 5 years. There are usually 300-500 cars attending. I didn't know they now give one Best of Show award per event, picked by a set of judges. I was blown away, when my 59 got selected for the award that night! Made for quite a day.

The award is called the "Big Wheel".
It's made from billet aluminum in the shape of a steering wheel."

Here are a couple of pix you will enjoy seeing! It is always nice to see what our fellow Tbird lovers look like!

06-22-2015, 01:11 AM
Jim took his gorgeous '59 Squarebird to the Kenosha Show this weekend. She was awarded the Best In Class Award! Here is what he had to say followed by some pix of her and some other Tbirds that were there.

"Out of over 125 cars, they picked the top 6 cars for trophies. This is the trophy presentation, where all 6 cars had to move up to the tent to receive the awards.

Interesting thing was, there were no classes. You paid $5 on the way in, no registration, no windshield card with a number or your name. The Club that ran the show just had 6 members each pick a car to win, they then just wrote down your name, the car, and asked you to drive up to the tent...I guess it worked!

There was this red '62 "roadster?" as well and also a red Hardtop."

Dan Leavens
06-23-2015, 09:14 AM
Jim congrats on the Best in Class award in Kenosha:D

07-02-2015, 10:14 PM
Jim took his Squarebird out again and here is what he had to say!

"This one was a total suprise. Went to a show at a dealership of about 250 cars. Each car owner got a ballot to vote for 5 cars, plus Best Engine and Best Paint. The dealership employees also got ballots as well as spectators. Top 30 got trophies. They finished with the top 30, and nothing. Went to the final two larger trophies, and it took Best Paint. I usually associate that class with hot rods and ghost flames or a special paint job like yours! Unfortunately, it rained almost the whole way home.."

Here is the pic he sent me.

07-06-2015, 10:28 AM
Jim and his friend Andy, went to another show. Andy took his beautiful '57 and Jim his beautiful '59. Here is what Jim had to say, followed by the pix.

"Andy brought his Starmist Blue 57 along with me to a show in East Troy, Wisconsin. This show is always a challenge to win a trophy. Over 250 cars, and the classes are 10 years, and all makes, so we were in the 1950-1959 Stock class, which always has lots of 50's Chevys, Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs, etc. It's a participant ballot, and you can only vote for one car per class. The other obstacle is the fact that it's a relatively small town, and a lot of the people know each other, which skews the votes as well. But, the 59 came through again. They award 3 plaques per class, but, no rank of the three winners.

After the show, we went to the 1920's ice cream parlor in town, and Andy took the picture outside the shop. The owner then came out to check out the cars, since he hadn't seen the 59 before. Unfortunately Andy's '57 didn't win in the class."

bird 60
07-06-2015, 06:58 PM
Congratulations Jim, good to see you take a prize again.

Chris......From OZ.

07-12-2015, 08:54 PM
Jim went to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin today. There were 3 awards, Best of Show, 2nd place, and Kid's Choice. The 59 took Best of Show and Kid's Choice. The second photo is a shot of the young girls who kept coming back to see the car! They "Loved" it. The next generation of fans I guess.

Dan Leavens
08-02-2015, 09:41 AM
Jim congrats and she is becoming a repeat winner at the S&S:)

08-15-2015, 08:01 PM
Jim has been out on the S&S circuit again this weekend and racking up more trophies! Here is what he had to say and a couple of pix.

"Decided to give the 59 a rest and take my 56 to a "Judged" show today in Racine. The 56 took 1st in the class "1950's". The very nice 57 Chevy took 2nd place. The top trophy was called "Director's Choice", and the 56 won that one as well. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 92, so I am putting the top up on the 59 and flipping on the A/C for a drive to Caledonia, Wisconsin for an afternoon show..luckily it's only from Noon until 3 PM. JIM"

I am going to post a pic of each of these winning cars. It happens to be that back in the early 60's, I used to own a '57 Chevy just like this one...

Dan Leavens
08-16-2015, 09:24 AM
She certainly is a real beauty. Congrats:D

08-16-2015, 06:27 PM
Jim was at another S&S today and here are the results!

"Took the 59 to a show in Caledonia, Wisconsin today. It won "People's Choice/Best of Show", my 56 won that same trophy at the same show 2 years ago. About 75 cars, with some very tough competition."

Here is the pic!

Dan Leavens
08-17-2015, 09:03 AM
Jim congrats again on the Best in Show selection. You will soon have to build a trophy case if this keeps up:rolleyes:

09-20-2015, 02:20 AM
Jim continues to rack up trophies with his gorgeous '59 Tbird! Here is what he had to say about today. His buddy Andy was showing his '57 also.

"Andy with his blue 57 and I went to a car show in Rochester, Wisconsin today. This is a Judged Show with 3 judges looking at all of 130+ cars. Andy took 2nd place in the class we were both in. (They only give 2 trophies per class) I think it was a 55 Chevy that took 1st in the class. I told him, well, you finally beat me!!. He said he would hold off on celebrating until the "Best of Show" trophy was announced.....and my 59 won it!
The pose of the car is where they photograph the Best of Show car, then next year's Dash Plaques and Trophies have a photo of the winning car on them. You also park in the Winner's circle in the front of the show next year, and at the show will receive a large wooden Plaque with the photo of your car on it stating "Best of Show 2015", which is presented to you at the beginning of the show.
A very nice day after some rain in the early morning."

Here are a couple of pix he sent me.

09-26-2015, 08:03 PM
Jim was at another car show today! Here is what he had to say followed by a pic of his latest award!

"Just got back from a Thunderbird Club show about an hour and a half away. Had to take the expressway both ways, so was running at 70-75 to keep out the way of traffic. I was in the class 58-66 Thunderbird Convertible. Took first place."

Dan Leavens
09-27-2015, 06:38 PM
Jim how is building that trophy case coming along:rolleyes:

03-04-2016, 02:55 AM
Here is an email that I got from Jim Elijah yesterday. This is what he had to say.

"Ray, More old car fun. I had some projects I wanted done on the 56 this fall, camshaft replacement, harmonic balancer replacement, front spring replacement, and change out the Generator for a Power Gen, that looks like a generator, but has an alternator inside.
So, my mechanic was busy this fall, but called the first week of February to see if I could get the car to him. After looking everything over, he concluded that the rear main was leaking, as well as the transmission, so he would pull the engine. He kept pulling the engine further apart, and found some valve and other issues. He ended up with the Pistons and Crank out, and sent the block to one of his friends, and is having a complete rebuild done with all bearings, rings, etc. The transmission is back in place after a complete rebuild, and I painted and detailed that before it went back in. Hopefully the engine will be back in a few days, and it can go back together, and I will paint and detail it before it goes back in as well. He likes me to use his blaster to remove all the paint, while he does other things....still have no idea of what this is going to cost, but oh well. We have been experiencing the old syndrome, "As long as it's apart, we might as well....."


Here are a couple of pix he sent me, and also one of his gorgeous '56 Babybird before the work on it was started.

Joe Johnston
03-04-2016, 08:14 AM
I too am a victim of "mission creep" and the job list gets longer and longer every time I start working.

Great pictures and a good example of using a dual master with the original style Midland remote fender mounted brake booster to the front brakes (possibly a disk conversion?). Few options for power brakes in a Little Bird without major modifications. Sweet Little Bird!

03-04-2016, 01:54 PM
Yes, we converted to Front Disc Brakes about 7 or 8 years ago. Best decision I ever made as to stopping in a straight line. Stopped by today, and the oil pan, intake manifold and front timing chain cover have been returned and were stripped of paint, so I can start painting those next week. My mechanic had another small list of new parts he wanted me to order, so another hundred bucks! He is hoping the engine rebuild gets finished and the block returned by the middle of next week. There were issues with the rear main seal, and some previous owner work back there that needed some tweaking. He always has a line up of classic cars waiting for his experienced touch.

03-04-2016, 01:58 PM
Another point. The engine was removed without taking the hood off, since he didn't want to crack the paint off of the bolts holding it in place, and these hoods take a lot of work to get aligned properly, and this one fits really well. I made it a point to not be there when the engine came out, and will not be there when it goes back in.... Too much stress to watch that operation.

03-20-2016, 11:34 AM
Tomorrow, it will be 6 weeks since the 56 went in for work. As of now, the engine has still not been returned by the machinist rebuilding it. My mechanic is more than frustrated with this situation, since my car has tied up one of his lifts this whole time, while he has other classic cars waiting in line to get in...oh well, at least mine has had 6 weeks of heated storage!

03-20-2016, 12:04 PM
Elija, if it's any consolation, Y-Blocks need a lot of changes that I hope your machinist is taking his time doing. They are notorious for rear seal leaks.

In short, Y-Blocks were Ford's first attempt at producing an overhead valve engine. They are miles ahead of the old flat heads but sadly deficient in some areas, like oiling.

To exacerbate the situation, since your engine was produced, many changes have happened like modern fuel and oil formulas. They are nowhere near what your engine was designed to use. The machine shop can help this.

We have far better materials and methods today. You can buy a 'true roller' timing chain that was never heard of back then. The rocker shafts need slots on the bottom oil holes (like FEs have) because rocker arms aren't exactly centered. We also pull out the copper tube at the end and plug the hole to raise oil pressure and to ensure each rocker arm gets oil. The cam groove in the center bearing needs to be deepened by a lot so that cam bearing wear will not restrict oil to both rocker shafts.

If you drive this car a lot I would recommend John Mummert's aluminum heads (http://www.ford-y-block.com/ALUMINUM%20HEADS.htm) because Ford designed two exhaust ports together in the middle of the Y-Block head which creates excessive heat. They have all the right materials already installed and done. Simply bolt on.

There are more improvements to consider but these are a start. - Dave

04-08-2016, 11:35 PM
As of today, the engine has been back in the car since last week.
We put a lot of stuff on today, including the heater box, blower motor, carb, distributor and radiator. Had some paint issues on the radiator tank, so I ended up using paint stripper to take it down to bare copper, and started over, and finally got it looking good. The plan was to get it running by this afternoon, but the radiator paint issue put us a day behind, so maybe tomorrow it will be running.
My mechanic and the engine rebuilder are both in their mid-70's, so have a lot of experience with these engines. The engine guy specializes in racing engines, and my mechanic has two race cars using his engines...so hopefully all will be well. If all goes well, it should be ready to come home Monday or Tuesday.

04-09-2016, 10:41 AM
Thought I should give you an update on the progress. The engine came back the Wednesday afternoon before Easter... photos show progress.. My job was to do most of the painting and detailing. It should get started for the first time either today or Monday! Jim

Here are the pix he sent me! A beautiful looking engine!

04-21-2016, 02:59 PM
Jim sent me an email telling me that he has the '56 back home with the new engine in it. Here is a pic.

05-09-2016, 01:25 AM
Jim sent me this information and picture regarding his beautiful '56 Babybird.

"Hi Ray,
I've been driving the 56 at least a few hours a day to break in the rebuilt engine. Today I drove it about 5 hours because my mechanic wants to have 500 miles on it to do a final valve adjustment, and check everything out one last time. After one major problem with the gasket that goes behind the spin on oil filter base to the block...two gaskets failed. I got in touch with the Tbird parts supplier, and after some testing, they realized the gasket was not oil compatible!!! My mechanic made his own gasket out of a different material, and no problems since. The Tbird parts supplier has now changed out that gasket and sent me a new one, but that will just be saved as a backup.
I like this photo, because it really shows how the new front springs give the car a perfect "stance". It was probably 1.5" to 2" lower in front before the change.

Hope all is well in Texas

Here is the pic!

12-02-2016, 03:32 PM
Jim sent me some neat pix of his Tbird awards and some other information. I will post them for your enjoyment and the pix. Notice that Jim has the very rare left and right, hard to find HL-1 Winged Spotlight/Side Mirrors on his '59 Squarebird!

"Ray, Thought you may find this interesting. The Rochester, Wisconsin show is a Judged show that usually has between 130 to 170 cars. Last summer my 59 was selected as Best of Show (my 56 won the show in 2010).
The following year, the winning car is asked to park in front of the show, and all of the Dash Plaques and Plaque winners have a picture of your car on them, which go to the Class winners. Three top trophies go to People's Choice, #2, and Best of Show.

It got a little windy later on, so they had to take the sign down so it wouldn't blow into my car. A couple of people asked me for the car number because they wanted to vote for it for People's Choice, but the car is not eligible the year after winning...and you don't have to pay the $10 show fee either.
The whole town has something called "A Day in the Country", with a band playing outside the bar, artists selling their goods, and one booth where ladies sell homemade pies and cookies. This 1914 Case Steam Tractor was running very quietly all day as well...Hugh machine."

bird 60
12-02-2016, 05:06 PM
Beautiful Birds, both of them. Congratulations.:cool:

Chris.....From OZ.

Dan Leavens
12-03-2016, 11:14 AM
Jim they are sweet looking birds and both true classics.
Good stuff:D

03-05-2017, 08:18 PM
Jim just pulled the trigger on this drop dead gorgeous '57 Starmist Blue Babybird! It has had a full frame off restoration and it is to die for! Here is what Jim had to say.

"I bought it. I took my friend Andy who also has a Starmist Blue 57 with me. This car is so far over the top that he almost started to drool. This is definitely Amos Minter ++ standards. The guy who owns it now never even put license plates on it because he was afraid of scratching the chrome. The top has never been lowered either.
As soon as Mike, the restorer of this car gets a new set of full size hubcaps from Dennis Carpenter, he will swap them out and deliver the car to me in his trailer, either by the weekend or early the following week. He has some used ones, but said they don't belong on this car! The quality of this car screams for riding in a trailer, but I will DRIVE it. Jim."

Here are some pix of this beautiful Babybird. Please don't drool on your screen or keyboard! :D

Dan Leavens
03-06-2017, 08:26 AM
Jim love that Starmist colour and how the top accents / contrasts the 57. Good stuff!!!

03-14-2017, 02:47 PM
I just got this email and pix from Jim regarding his new to him '57 BluBrd!

"Hi Ray,
The car got delivered to my house in the trailer by Mike who restored it, on Sunday about 7 pm. The previous owner even rode along. I changed the oil yesterday, and took the horn ring off to paint the letters on the "Power Steering" area correctly Gold. That was the only thing I could find that wasn't factory correct on this car..
Today, I was able to go to the Secretry of State's office to transfer title, pay sales tax, and apply for Antique plates..I requested BLUBRD, so we will see if that comes through..online, it said that was available.
We had snow Sunday night, and more last night into this morning, so it will likely be awhile before I get it out for a ride..has to rain and wash all the salt off the roads first.
Hope all is well in Texas, Jim."

Here are the pix.

03-22-2017, 10:41 PM
Jim sent me some additional information regarding his recent addition to his Bird Nest.... Here is what he had to say and several new pix. BTW, Jim tells me that this Babybird has won many, many trophies over the years at major Tbird organization events.

"Had a few small things to keep me busy this week. I had been checking on everything to make sure there were no issues. One thing I forgot was if the wipers and heater worked..so turned the wiper switch..yep, wipers started. Turned the knob back to off, and they just kept going! Then when I got back home, I remembered to turn on the heater, and it worked, but there was antifreeze leaking under the car. I talked to the restoration guy, and he talked me through what I could do to fix the issues. Had to crawl under the dash to get a screwdriver to the top of the wiper motor to move a lever back, and lubricate it...good, that worked. The antifreeze was coming from the heater control module that screws into the front of the intake manifold, and is attached to a heater hose and a vacuum line. I ordered a new one that came today, and had it replaced and running by noon, with no more leaks! This car has been a trailer queen, and not driven for many years, so it takes awhile to get it ready to be a driver! Jim"

03-23-2017, 06:15 AM
Simply stunning

03-23-2017, 09:40 PM
Jim sent me some pix of the underside of his BlueBird!

03-24-2017, 12:03 AM
Jim sent me a copy of his 1956 Babybird's Factory Invoice or "Gate Release" to post.

There was staff at the end of the production line whose job was to take the vehicle off the line, check off that everything that was on the gate release, was actually on the car. If not, then the car was driven to the side, and taken to a make ready shop to have anything missing put on the car. At least, that is what I remember from talking with actual plant personnel back then who had worked on the production line in those years. That is also, as I recall, if I remember correctly, what Dave ~ simplyconnected told me.

If everything was in order, then it was driven to a point where it was uploaded onto a car carrier or on a train for distant shipping. Since this car was destined for a car dealership in Studio City, California, it was, according to the gate release, going by rail. Here is the copy of his Gate Release. He got this many years ago. He will also be ordering one for his '57 that he just got.

It is cool that anyone wanting an original Factory Invoice/Gate Release for their '55-'57 Tbird can still get them (except for some early 1955's) from the CTCI IF you are a member of their organization. If not a member, you can join and become one, and then order it from them for a $30 fee. The CTCI is the ONLY organization, that I am aware of, that has these forms available to buy. Here is the CTCI website and also the link to order the form.


Membership Information

CTCI Original Factory Invoice Order Form

For other years of Tbirds and other Ford cars, contact Marti Auto Works in Arizona who specializes in providing replacement Data Plates, Original Ford Invoices Their contact information is on their website. Contact: 623-935-2558. sales@martiauto.com

03-24-2017, 01:22 AM
Your memory is pretty much on the money, Ray.

Visualize a Ford Security Guard. He is the very last 'Ford person' who will touch the car before it is handed over to the transportation company. Once 'transportation' drives the car out the back door, it no longer belongs to Ford Motor Co.

All cars are purchased BEFORE they are assembled. 'Dealer stock' units are leased (not owned) by banks who charge the dealership interest for every month the car sits on the lot.

So, what exactly does this guard do? He's VERY busy because he only gets 60 seconds per car. As the next car stops in front of him, all four wheels are weighed, and the 'total weight' is recorded and printed in several copies including the window sticker. He observes everything on the car and matches all the options, marking them off, then signing it. The window sticker is among the copies. The trunk is open and usually the hubcaps are in there with the spare tire.

If all is well, he rolls the window sticker on a wide 'glue roller' and slaps it inside the driver's window. Then the car advances to an awaiting driver who quickly whisks the car to the railhead or transportation trailer. Imagine moving 60 cars per hour, every hour; nearly 1,000 cars per two-shift day. The transportation company employs a crew of drivers and a bus to return them to the plant's back door.

If something is awry, the car is retained and it goes back to make the paperwork (which is a contract) correct. What could go wrong? Here's where the transportation company is very concerned. What if the spare tire is missing, or a number of hubcaps is missing, or the antenna, jack, etc? Once the transportation company accepts the car, THEY are responsible for lost and stolen parts and damages. The dealership commonly supplies and/or installs some parts. These items are noted on paperwork beforehand to eliminate any misunderstanding.

If you understand everyone's task, it's a rhapsody to watch these folks in action. They are responsible to literally move over $20Million every day. - Dave

EDIT: Looking at the rubber stamp, it reads:
DRIVE AWAY GARAGE <--This is the work area where the guard is, at the back door of the plant.

03-24-2017, 02:01 AM
Thanks, Dave, and for giving us a very detailed breakdown of what actually happens, step by step once the car reaches the end of the production line. Also for explaining that stamp. Very interesting stuff! Thanks!

03-24-2017, 02:31 AM
I hope I'm not too long winded but my whole life has revolved around the automotive industry. Dad engineered and sold screws, bolts and nuts to Fisher Body. I started working for Chrysler (yep, Ford was my second auto company) right out of high school. Cars and women are my passion! Both of their bodies are marvelously engineered and fun to play with. - Dave

Dan Leavens
03-25-2017, 05:08 PM
Both of their bodies are marvelously engineered and fun to play with. - Dave

Dave I would have thought you might have mentioned the comparison of women and cars might be complex as well:rolleyes:

03-25-2017, 07:25 PM
Jim was checking the underside of his new to him '57 Babybird when he noticed that the shims in the frame had tape on them, holding them in place before the body was mounted onto the frame! Having been under his '56 before, and many other Babybirds, he has never seen tape on those locking shims before. He was thinking that he should take that tape off each of those shim positions but decided not to and started checking into it. What he found was interesting! If he had taken them off, a sharp judge who might have looked under the car could have taken off points in judging because that tape is factory correct and is intentionally put on those shims to make sure they do not move from their location when the body is lowered onto the frame! Here is what he found.

"While the car was on the hoist, I noticed there was some masking tape on the body mounts... I thought maybe someone just forgot to remove it.. But no, I looked in the Thunderbird Restoration Details and Specifications Manual by Gil Baumgartner, and found the 2nd photo that shows that the shims were taped to the frame before the body is lowered onto the frame, to keep the shims from falling off...so it is factory correct. I imagine after years of driving in rain and snow, the tape would just eventually deteriorate. Always something to learn about these cars..

Here is the description of that photo from the Manual.
"Original shims were taped in place with 3/8 inch masking tape". The attached photo I just took under the 57. I think you can see how the body would have been lowered onto the frame pretty quickly, and the tape kept the shims in place while that happened... Jim"

In the pix he sent me, you will see the shims taped into the frame to keep them in place, as shown in the Thunderbird Restoration Details and Specifications Manual by Gil Baumgartner. Then you will see the rear end of the frame show four locking shim sections along the frame, where the body is lowered onto the frame, a locking clip is put in place, locking the body to the frame. I gather that, unlike our unibody Tbirds, these locking pins are what allows a Babybird restorer to do a full frame off restoration of one! It is my understanding that on unibody cars, that body is solidly welded to the frame. In the last pic you will see one of the outboard locking shims. Jim has years of experience with Babybirds and said this is the first time he has ever seen these shims in place with the factory installed tape on them. Probably the only reason why they are still on this Babybird is because it has been a trailer queen after a full restoration to OEM factor specs...

His friend Mike has his red '57 for sale and you can see the tape on his frame also!

Jim sent me another pic of the layout of those locking shims that shows the actual page from the Tbird Restoration Details & Specs Manual, page 13.

Here are the pix.

03-25-2017, 07:39 PM
Here is some additional OEM factory correct info from Jim on Babybird rims. According to the Thunderbird Restoration Details and Specifications Manual by Gil Baumgartner IF you own a '55 or '56, your rims should be completely painted the body color of the car. BUT, if you own a '57 they made a change and the outside is painted the color of the car, white, in this case, and the inside/backside of the rim is black. Here is a pic.

03-25-2017, 07:43 PM
I tend to find cars are cheaper and easier to maintain :p

04-09-2017, 06:44 PM
Jim had his '57 out today because it was nice. Here is what he had to say and a pic he sent me.

"Decided to drop the top onto the rear deck. Think it's too early to put it all the way down, but it got up to 74 today, so had to try an "almost top down" ride. Just held the top down with bungee cords. Yesterday, I pulled out the points and installed the Petronix Ignition system. Had to disconnect the wire that supposedly regulates the radio volume depending on speed of car. Never noticed it did anything anyway.."

04-27-2017, 05:16 PM
Jim sent me an email to tell me that he received his Gate Release Invoice from the CTCI. It lists a tonneau cover and hardtop for it, which did not come with the car when he got it. But that was okay with him. Another hardtop would be something else to try and figure out where to store it. Also, he has that rear deck antenna on this Tbird. That would make it really interesting in trying to put that hardtop in place on the car! He also knows that for his license plates, he got BLUBRDY, but they have not arrived yet. Here is what he had to say.

"Ray, Just received the invoice for the 57 today from CTCI. The only thing I noticed was Tonneau Cover, which the car does not have now, and of course the hardtop. So, someone added the rear deck antenna at some point. At least the Dial-O-Matic seat was on the Invoice."

Here is a copy of the Gate Release.

Joe Johnston
04-27-2017, 07:36 PM
If he still has the snaps a replacement tonneau would be an easy and low cost addition. Just vinyl that is clamped around the cockpit by the same pieces holding the drop curtain and snapped into place. The rear deck antenna is a cool looking option, but does make handling the hardtop difficult. Most owners use a hardtop hoist in their garages which makes the job possible for one person.

04-27-2017, 07:38 PM
Hi Joe, I don't think he is interested in having a tonneau cover, or another hardtop. I think, as I recall, he already has one for his other Babybird. Yes, having a hoist in the garage is a great way to take one off and on!

04-27-2017, 08:23 PM
A few more things I noticed after looking over the Gate Release form. It does not show Engine Dress Up Kit, which the car has now, and I'm sure alot of them have been changed to that. Also does not show Full Wheel Covers, so maybe it came with the small caps, and there is nothing about a Town and Country Radio, or for that matter, any Radio...not sure if a regular Radio was standard, maybe?
Anyway, it's just interesting to see how it was manufactured, and I have some history of the licence plate renewal receipts from Colorado in the glove box, so it must have spent most of it's life there.

05-15-2017, 12:22 AM
Jim ~ elijahbird7's '56 Babybird is having a bit of a problem that perhaps some you might be able to help him pinpoint. Here is what Jim had to say.

"Ray, Just finishing a quick project. My friend is moving tomorrow, and he helped me take off the hardtop yesterday.
I have to take the car in tomorrow for an issue that sometimes it will blow smoke out the driver's exhaust after being driven, then sitting for awhile and then restarted. We think a valve stem seal may not be seated properly. Unfortunately, the morning temp is going to be in the 40's, so I dropped down the aftermarket soft top I keep up near the ceiling for now. It's supposed to be in the 70's and 80's in the next few days though, so it won't stay on long.."

Any thoughts about what this might be other than what he thinks it could be? Here are a couple of pix he sent me putting the soft top in place.

05-15-2017, 02:45 AM

...I have to take the car in tomorrow for an issue that sometimes it will blow smoke out the driver's exhaust after being driven, then sitting for awhile and then restarted...
Any thoughts about what this might be other than what he thinks it could be?..Y-Blocks used 'umbrella-type' valve seals. They are notorious for every bad thing you can think of. They harden, crack, shrink, they don't hold on to the stem tower, etc. The umbrellas are totally useless after no time but hey, this was Ford's first attempt at building an overhead valve engine. Since then, engine engineering has made vast improvements because materials and the process of engine building evolved.

When I rebuilt my 'Y' I made many changes. My machine shop installed hardened exhaust valve seats, milled every mating surface, and machined my valve stem towers for Viton seals. This machining process allows the Viton seals' springs to hold on tight, and give better sealing forever. Modern engines and aftermarket heads (like Edelbrock) commonly use these seals, so they are plentiful and cheap.
CLICK HERE (http://squarebirds.org/simplyconnected/projects/292EngineParts/Heads/) for more details and pictures. The seals start at picture #23 and continue from #33, etc.

I hope this helps. Questions? - Dave


05-15-2017, 11:38 AM
At my mechanic's now. This has that same type of seal you show in your photo which was done during the rebuild. They showed me with the mirror. Problem seems to be the oil pressure is way too high at 2000+ RPM. We did use the spring from the old pump, but he is going to cut the length of the spring a little to see if we can lower the pressure it would put out at driving speed..

05-16-2017, 03:06 AM
I have to take the car in tomorrow for an issue that sometimes it will blow smoke out the driver's exhaust after being driven, then sitting for awhile and then restarted. We think a valve stem seal may not be seated properly...

At my mechanic's now. This has that same type of seal you show in your photo which was done during the rebuild. They showed me with the mirror. Problem seems to be the oil pressure is way too high at 2000+ RPM. We did use the spring from the old pump, but he is going to cut the length of the spring a little to see if we can lower the pressure it would put out at driving speed..Alright, something isn't right at all. Y-Blocks are notorious for poor oiling. There have been many 'oil modification improvements' done to this engine over time, including kits that supply oil to rocker arms THROUGH the valve covers.

You can clearly see that Viton seals have springs holding them on their towers. They do not leak and I have never seen one come loose from any engine. You don't need a mirror to see them as you can see through the valve springs in my picture:


What about oil flow to your rocker shafts?
Are the shafts restricted?
Are the shafts plugged?


There are only two nuts holding each rocker cover on because this engine needs it's solid lifters adjusted during a major tuneup. That means it will be removed frequently (as opposed to a hydraulic lifter engine). When the covers are off, does each rocker arm show good oil flow? The engine only needs to be running for a few seconds to show oil flow. Each rocker arm has two holes; one to receive oil from the rocker shaft and the other to oil the pushrod.
I'm trying to determine if your cam's center bearing is grooved from wear, restricting flow to your rocker shafts.
Cutting the oil pump spring is NOT the answer, especially in an engine that is notorious for poor oil flow. Did someone install a high pressure pump? There's a difference between 'high volume' and 'high pressure'.

When new, my engine delivers ~40-psi at 700-rpm and ~60-psi at running speeds. As the engine bearings wear and the motor loosens up, that pressure will drop. Restriction to flow causes high pressure (like when you put your thumb over the garden hose).

Photo-bombed by my Pointer, Pepper, while hot testing my 'Y':

05-16-2017, 07:41 PM
When I had talked to our Classic Tbird Club Tech advisor and told him I was getting the engine rebuilt by my local old car mechanic, the first thing he asked was if we were replacing the oil pump. When I said yes, he said that the pumps being sold by the Tbird suppliers now put out way too much pressure for the Y Block, and to take out the pressure spring and replace it with the one from the old pump, which we did.
Monday, when my mechanic checked the pressure, it was topping out in the 80+ range on a warm engine....after shortening the spring slightly, we ended up in the 50 to 55 range, which made him a lot happier. Nothing under the valve cover looked amiss. I only have a little over 1,000 miles on it since the rebuild, so we are going to give it a little more time to see how things go. As for the way it runs, it runs extremely well, idles smoothly, accelerates quickly, etc. I will just start driving it more now that we are getting some warm weather. My mechanic was not sure what type of rings the builder used, as he mostly does racing engines..but he is no longer available due to a serious medical issue to find out.

05-17-2017, 05:51 AM
I understand your issue is, your engine burns oil from the LH side upon startup. The disadvantage is, you really don't know what was done during the overhaul although you have great confidence in your builder. (We've been here before.)

Generally, there are a few causes for burning oil, IF that is what's really going on. I say it that way because we had engines that burned brake fluid 'in spurts' but the evidence left a low M/C fluid level in the reservoir.

Valve seals/sloppy guides are causes for burning oil. Improper cylinder crosshatch, a broken ring, a warped head or bad head gasket will also cause oil consumption. Excessive oil pressure might cause oil to blow past a warped head or bad head gasket, but that is rare.

Improper 'Y-Block' head bolt torque is common because the Ford Shop Manual gave incorrect torque requirements. In fact, the spec's were too high which caused many bolts to break, kinda like this one:


That condition mimics a bad head gasket or warped head. BTW, that white stuff is Teflon plumbing sealant because this bolt passes through a water jacket.

A standard Melling M-42 oil pump works beautifully in my 'Y' with no alteration. Melling is a high quality brand, used by most engine machine shops that offer a warranty.

Because of all the little idiosyncrasies of the 'Y', even a seasoned Chevy builder will miss a lot in building this engine. The same holds true for the FE. It's good to hear your engine is smooth-running but the real proof is in longevity. Without oil modifications, the timing chain and rocker shafts are starved of oil. Don't forget to add ZDDP to your oil for the solid flat tappets. - Dave

08-10-2017, 07:50 PM
I have now passed 2600 miles since the rebuild. The smoking issue seems to have gone away. I changed the oil over a month ago, and it is still reading full, so all is good.