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View Full Version : Hi all, new '58 T-bird owner from OZ.


chris58
05-29-2014, 12:41 AM
Hey all, I recently purchased my father in laws 58 thunderbird. Basically he's terminally ill and wanted the car kept in the family and also now financially struggling due to illness so it was a great opportunity to help him out and take on a classic car at the same time.
Now I'm new to Ford's as I've always been a gm man or Holden in Australia so this is going to be challenging to say the least.
The car is a 2 owner, 1 in the US and 1 here with 71000 miles, raven black with white and blue interior.
Now there's a few thing I do want to do to get it where he wanted it which won't be too hard but one thing I'm struggling with is getting lap sash seat belts for it. I actually want them front and rear as I've got kids but can't find any information about where to get them from. This is only the start and no doubt I'll need more info the further I go so all help will be appreciated.
Thanks Chris.

simplyconnected
05-29-2014, 01:36 AM
Chris, most of these Squarebirds came with no seat belts because none of the cars had them here until about 1964. They may have become available as a dealer-installed option before the mandate.

The truth is, any car can be fitted with seat belts. The 'anchor' is a thick plate, welded to the bottom of the floor pan, in places where the seat belt bolt enters.

My father helped design the GM seat belt bolt back in the early '60s and the company he worked for manufactured them. They were a chromed shoulder bolt with 1/2"-13 self-tapping threads. Fisher Body used them in all GM cars and trucks. Just under the hex head, the seat belt was allowed to pivot on the shoulder area while the 1/2" threads were tightly screwed down.

Assemblers on the production line fitted the bolt through the seat belt hole and used 100-ft/lb pneumatic impact wrenches to install each seat belt half, through the carpet and into the floor. Again, these bolts made their own thread in the bottom floor plate. The reason for that method was because a 'rolled' thread is much stronger than a 'cut' thread. No nuts were used.

You can buy seat belts just about anywhere, but I would visit my neighborhood bone yard. They destroy good seat belts, daily. Find a decent set and use the bolts as well. If you have welding capability you can do the job (just be careful not to burn your carpet). If not, find a good garage mechanic. - Dave

frank58
05-29-2014, 09:32 PM
There is a wealth of information in the Technical Resource Library
including a few seat belt installation guides.

http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

Dan Leavens
05-31-2014, 05:56 PM
Chris welcome to our site and yes, I would deffinitely install seat belts front and rear. Don't worry about asking questions as you go through the restoration as these guys / gals are good, This is why this is the best TBird site on the planet:eek:

chris58
05-31-2014, 08:46 PM
Thanks guys, I've had a bit of a look through the technical section and have a pretty good idea of how to go about it. Finding older style cars to get belts from in oz is a bit of a challenge these days but they are out there.
Does anyone know of any thunderbird part suppliers in Australia.
Thanks.

simplyconnected
05-31-2014, 09:26 PM
You can buy color-matching seat belts on eBay or find them in a bone yard. Even modern cars and trucks are good candidates. - Dave

del
06-02-2014, 07:33 PM
Hey all, I recently purchased my father in laws 58 thunderbird. Basically he's terminally ill and wanted the car kept in the family and also now financially struggling due to illness so it was a great opportunity to help him out and take on a classic car at the same time.
Now I'm new to Ford's as I've always been a gm man or Holden in Australia so this is going to be challenging to say the least.
The car is a 2 owner, 1 in the US and 1 here with 71000 miles, raven black with white and blue interior.
Now there's a few thing I do want to do to get it where he wanted it which won't be too hard but one thing I'm struggling with is getting lap sash seat belts for it. I actually want them front and rear as I've got kids but can't find any information about where to get them from. This is only the start and no doubt I'll need more info the further I go so all help will be appreciated.
Thanks Chris.

Hi Chris - I found that the 60" belts work fine for the front seats, but are way too long for the rear. At least that's how it worked out on my 1960 'Bird. Even "crossing" the two center pieces, by the time you make the buckle end as short as you can, the blade end piece is still too long. I got mine a few years back from Andover Restraints. I haven't seen any shorter than 60", but I also haven't looked very hard.