View Full Version : 1960 tbird for road trips

03-05-2015, 08:01 PM
hey guys im a newbie here so I appreciate everybodys help in advance..
I was wondering if anybody had some advise on what engine and tranny combo would be good for a 60 tbird. I received it from my wife for Christmas and we have decided to use it for road trips ....4 to 5 hour drives.... I was thinking maybe a crate engine or getting an engine and rebuilding it... something very reliable....it currently runs decently and has had some work done but needs much more, it has a 352 and a COM tranny.....ANY IDEAS....maybe, alt conversion...electric fan...secondary fuel cell...disk brakes.. etc..

03-05-2015, 08:41 PM
Rebuild the engine and tranny. Barry Rabotnik has a book out on building performance FE motors and has good suggestions on tweaking the oiling system, which I have done on my 390.

More brakes are always better. At a minimum replace the single with a dual master.

If your trips are mostly highway you can keep the stock belt-driven fan. Otherwise go with an electric.

Rebuild the suspension with new rubber and install heavier front and rear sway bars.

Pertronix kit in the distributor to replace points.

03-05-2015, 08:43 PM
Two of the best features of this forum are the Technical Resource Library and the search feature. The Technical Resource Library has a lot of great information pertaining to every system on your car including modifications like disc brakes, alternator conversion, electric fan, etc. You can find the link to it at the bottom of my signature or at the top of this forum. You can also use the search feature to look up prior threads by other members. The search button is at the top of the page. Just put in one or two words of what you are looking for and it will bring up all the previous threads with that subject matter. Just about anything you are planning to do someone has attempted before and has probably written about it. As far as motor/trans combination it all depends on your budget and level of ability. Anything other than an FE (352,390,428) motor and COM trans will require modification. Many members have gone to a 351 or more modern fuel injected motor and C6 or AOD transmission. Anything is possible. Don't hesitate to ask as many questions as you like.


03-05-2015, 09:31 PM
Thanks for the info guys i heard that a 390 is a good option because engine parts are always available and i might go with aluminum heads so i dont have to worry about unleaded gas.....as for the front end, all of the bushings have been replaced...i do need the sway bars though.....i was also looking at the shop manual and i cant figure out how the front shocks go...when i first got the car it didnt have any and i think thats why the car is a bit jumpy at high speeds.....

03-05-2015, 09:42 PM
The front shocks go inside the springs. They slide in from the bottom. They are held in place by two bolts on the bottom A arm and one nut on top. A 390 with aluminum heads and aluminum intake is the way to go in my opinion. If I had unlimited funds I would also add aftermarket throttle body fuel injection.


03-05-2015, 10:03 PM
Yea sounds nice...i was thinking of the edelbrock street tbi set up it looks nice or something similar for the mpg...it will be a while before i start swapping things out first i wanna make a list of what i would need...thanks guys...

03-05-2015, 10:05 PM
If you are gonna go with an electric fan(s), you will need a 100+Amp alternator. Find a more modern Ford with an electric fan(s) in a junk yard. Pull the fan(s), anything else you need for the fan(s) and the alternator, which is probably going to be a 100+Amp unit. Get the Dual Master Cylinder, and if it has an 8" dual power booster, grab that also, and the mounting bracket. Then think about adding disc brakes up front, using the information we provide in the Paid Members Forum. Paid Membership is $20 per year. The money we can help you save will be well worth the Paid Membership.. The members on this Forum can help you make good choices in repairing, restoring or modifying your Tbird. We have the best Tbird techies around the world on here.

03-05-2015, 10:25 PM
Yea im about to register right now...thanks for the help guys....

03-05-2015, 10:29 PM
I drive mine regurally on 2 1/2 hour interstate drives. It had the original 352 but I replaced it with a rebuilt 352 after mine lost the rear oil seal and needed the valve seats replaced. The replacement engine I found already had all those things done and was cheaper than rebuilding my 352 (although I kept it).

I still have the COM transmission - always seems like it should drop into overdrive on the interstate since all modern cars have it but if you drive it enough you will get used to the big V8 turning higher RPM's.

IMHO you won't gain enough fuel mileage to justify the TBI - I mean you are talking about a "Square" bird so hardly any aerodynamic qualities compared to modern cars. I guess the advantage would be the elimination of the carb but it would introduce the complexity of the "pooter" for the TBI. One of those dang if you do and dang if you don't scenario's

Disc brakes are a must.

Possibly a flex fan to cut down on the fan noise on the interstate if you don't go with electric.

Radial tires of course but you will need new wheels if go with Disc brakes - pick a few days to read through the disc brake thread - it's a long one but there are easy options these days as opposed to 10+ years ago when I did mine. In fact the hard part might be finding the wheels unless you order new.

Electric wiper conversion - mine still has the original vac wipers and they work fine (until you nail the gas pedal to pass and vac drops to 0) but I avoid rain when possible and use Rain-X.

A new crate engine and OD tranny sounds nice - but would require lots of mods. Shifter, drive shaft, fuel system, electrics, engine/tranny mounts, etc - but if you have the funds that would make it more "modern"

!!!! A/C !!!! - these cars do not have a fan that even circulates the hot air so when you are stopped in the heat it's like being in an oven.

Just a few ideas - :D


03-05-2015, 11:10 PM
yea I definitely want AC....I put some insulation and it helped a lot....when I bought the car the guy also gave me a 58 hardtop for parts and it has all the ac stuff but I think I rather go aftermarket, I heard its more powerful but I don't know if that's the case......

03-05-2015, 11:23 PM
The other problem with the older AC systems is that some of the parts are not compatible with the new refrigerant.


03-06-2015, 12:31 AM
Ernesto, down the road if you want to add AC here is some information you will want to check out regarding aftermarket AC systems.

1958-1960 Tbird Aftermarket AC systems

A good number of people have gone with Classic Auto Air because they already have a 1958-1960 AC System designed for the Squarebird.


Also a good number of Squarebird owners have gone with Vintage Air systems. I am told that they are a very good company to deal with. However, unlike Classic Auto Air, when I talked with them about doing Rose they said they do not have anything specifically designed to go into a Squarebird. But they can do it, because other Squarebird owners have gone with Vintage Air and they work well.


Here is a company that I do not know anything about, but they may have complete systems for a Squarebird.


I did not find anything for 1958-1960 Tbirds with this company.


Hopefully, this will be a help to you and will cut down on the amount of searching for a good AC system for your Squarebird. IMO, either Classic Auto Air or Vintage Air is the way to go, with Classic Auto Air already having a 1958-1960 Squarebird dedicated system available.

Perhaps others on here can give you some additional information.

03-06-2015, 12:49 AM
thanks for the help Ray(talk about going above and beyond)....im looking up the ac systems as we speak.....great info

03-06-2015, 01:16 AM
Ernesto, I see you tried to post pix. If you are having a problem, call me at 210-674-5781 and I can tell you how to do it. I can call you back on my nickel..

03-06-2015, 01:25 AM
The only reason why I talked with Vintage Air is because their headquarters is here in San Antonio. One of these days, because they are here, I might have them replace my OEM AC with one of theirs. Now Classic Auto Air is also a very good company to work with, I am told. Hopefully, some of the guys who have their AC system will chip in and comment. The good thing about them is they have a specific set up for the 1958-1960 Squarebird already available. Vintage Air has to make one up to fit the Squarebird, but they do it when they have an order for a Squarebird AC system.

03-06-2015, 02:17 AM
I really appreciate the help Ray. ill post some pictures tomorrow so I can ask the guys what is a good color combination.....

03-06-2015, 02:29 AM
Okay! I looked at those pix and I see what you say about the dash pad. That is a very pretty color of blue also.. It may be difficult to find interior colors to match the exterior paint and the dash pad. But as we talked, down the road, one of the Tbird parts houses close to you might be able to help you match things up. If not, there is always white, as I said! However... checking Automotive Mile Posts, I see they did not offer a complete white seat cover set for 1960, in vinyl or leather... So much for that idea! Here is a website that I use a lot and you will be able to make good use out of it also. This is the Interior page, but you can slide down to the bottom of the page and look at the other pages that refer to the 1960.