View Full Version : Mustang guy looking at a 58

01-08-2017, 06:51 PM
First post, been a Mustang guy since 95 - 66 fastback and along comes a 58 square bird. Its a strange one in that there is small rust bubbles bottom along the beauty curve above the rear wheel and down by the rockers, on the front of the rear fenders as well as along the front of the hood line but floor boards are beautiful! Spare tire well is great, frame seems good, interior basically needs everything non metal. Chrome pitted and worn but might be presentable.

Motor looks too clean to be original but looks like an FE likely the original 352. Used to run a year ago but start motor went and they couldn't get it out. Otherwise, the car looks like a solid 124mi daily driver that got parked.

Body looks solid and very straight other that the rust bubbles, SIlver car w red interior that got a white paint job but didn't do engine compartment or doorjams. Be easy to paint silver again as the jams and engine compartment are actually pretty clean. Right rear pot metal on the corner cracked and broken several spots. I checked the front and rears of each wheel well, and they look solid but the rear fenders at the bottom in the front as I stated are crispy.

Wrong hubcaps, mufflers shot, no fender skirts. AM radio, no AC, no frills but everything seems there, Aircleaner etc.

I think I can get it for 2K.

Just curious how these cars are for rolling restoration. This one looks like it could be a driver pretty quickly but likely needs a going through, shocks ball joints etc.

Curious what thoughts you guys might have about it; especially if this is normal where you see rust bubbles here and there but not in the major spots like floorboards, cowling etc. Are they fun to drive in stock trim? How is the market these days, are they very popular???

Do they really only get 11 miles to the gallon?

Can't post pics as I am too new...

Cheerz, M

01-08-2017, 11:26 PM
Mark, you raise a few questions:

How much work will YOU do on this car?
Are you looking for an investment?
What are your capabilities; can you weld, fabricate, paint, trim, etc.
What service will you use this car for? Will you drive in traffic? Will it be a garage queen? Are you looking for Mustang-type acceleration?
What is a realistic budget for this restoration?
How close to 'original' will you aim for or is that a concern?

Most popular cars cost about the same to restore. Naturally, a Falcon won't fetch as much as a Cougar, Mustang or Squarebird. NY is on par with Michigan so we are very familiar with rust and the work involved to restore it. Most Squarebird parts are still available but like most classic cars built for gasoline, many engine components need to be upgraded to burn gasohol.

I'll wait for your answers before we choose a topic for discussion. BTW, I'm retired from Dearborn Assembly and VERY MUCH a Mustang guy. - Dave

01-09-2017, 06:44 AM
Thanks for the response, i have been playing with cars since I was 11 - a triumph tr3 vintage racer (my dads). Still have it. In 95 i bought a 66 fastback that i have kept as a period piece stock and original but significantly modified drive train and suspension for tracks and autocross fun stuff, no fender to fender serious stuff though. I weld, design (built a custom watts link that allows for dual exhaust out the back, grafted invisibly an electric power steering from a junk yard car...), painted several cars and boats, build motorss and trans etc, completely refitted a 120 ft mega yacht $3m project for a wealthy developer, nominated for refit of the year by showboat mag. So i have skills, ideas, 3kids, one in college so not much $$$ to invest hence my skill set ;o)

I wasn't looking for a tbird but always liked them. This one poped up so i went and looked at it. I would probably toy with it. Get it running and drivr/tinker with it. No concours but likely not modified. Depending on how much my wife and i like it we could keep it and continue to improve its lot in life as a toy or flip it in a year or so. So investment is a consideration but my main love is cars of this era. The funkier deco, the better. I'Ve had 10 hudsons, some 50 cars over the years, never a t though. So im looking for "local insights".

if i can get it running and driving which i think i can, looks like a grand for interior likely go through the front end and brakes and see how we like it. Have no problem driving a car with patina...

01-09-2017, 11:05 AM
The biggest trouble spot on Squarebirds is the inner and outer rocker panels. A lot of times the major damage is hidden behind band-aid repairs. If the outer rockers look original then the inner rockers are most likely ok. I would say $2000 for a '58 that's not going to need substantial body work is a decent price. However resale prices for hardtops are not that high so it's important that you can do as much of the work yourself as possible. The prices are probably comparable to Mustangs but the cost of reproduction parts is much higher. A new dash pad is going to cost you $450-500 plus installation. 58's also have coil springs in the back which can be problematic. If you are looking for a car to tinker with then it's probably ok to buy but I would stay away if your want one for investment. I doubt that you will get your money back. I've bought and sold dozens of Squarebirds over the years and the market doesn't justify putting a lot of money into hardtops.


01-09-2017, 10:22 PM
I'm with John with regards to the rear end. '58 was the only Squarebird year for the coil spring rear end. Some members have retrofit leaf springs and perches found on '59 and '60 Squarebirds.

A '59 or '60 would be a better choice. They are out there.
I asked about you intentions because these cars came with no seat belts, bias-ply tires, drum brakes, flat tappet engines and they were designed to run on gasoline, not gasohol.

I always tell folks to be on the lookout for a 390, build that because parts are much cheaper and more available, then swap engines in your car. All the final dress components fit and all FE engines will bolt to your transmission. (Keep your flex plate and starter motor with the trans.)

The rest of the car is straight forward and similar with many Ford restorations. Many of our members now have power disk brakes, radial tires, electric wipers and seat belts.

The Squarebird will turn heads where ever it takes you. It's heavy because the sheet metal is heavy. This car is rewarding to restore and fun to drive. I was hoping to hear, this car is your passion and something you waited for. If it is not, you should look for a car that is. - Dave

01-10-2017, 06:54 AM
Its funny how things work for me. I like to watch CL for old cars, don't buy very often unless its a deal and the car has personality. I like to find cars with personality - then I become passionate about them. When i say personality i mean the specific car (not a 58 but that specific 58) speaks to me. This car caught my eye, i went and looked at it and havnt been able to get it out of my mind. I loved the simplicity of it. I like the size of the sb, the 65/66 are much cooler with the dash etc but i dont like the size as much. You guys are right that i would not pick up a mustang coupe because it would be too easy to get upside down. I am not looking to go thru the disc brakes and upgrades i went thru on my mustang, just play with it. Frankly I don't mind drum brakes that work correctly. I am old enough to have learned survival skills related to drum brakes ;o) If anything turns me off about sb, its the gas milage, I get rotten gas mileage with my 400 hp/tq mustang about the same as they say these get around 11mpg or a $20 round trip to work at back 35 miles away.

Seat belts aer pretty easy... HMMM got some thinking to do, have a feeling this guy will call me eventually with a low price. Wish i could say what my answer would be. They are pretty cool cars, would like it if the chrome was a little better though. Thats a big tab!!!!

01-10-2017, 04:11 PM
I'll type fast this time before the login times out.

Early 58 352's were solid lifter. Compression ratios dropped slightly in 59 and then again in 60.

58 352's were known to have machined cylinder heads. Nearly impossible to find replacements.

Our barebones 60, p/steering & brakes was 3800 lbs.

When we installed the new upholstery, front and rear, we used high quality tywraps with long nose pliers ground to a needle tip instead of hogrings.

You know the 58 you are looking at was from the era of non-detergent motor oils. There may be a sludge layer under the intake manifold as well as a clogged up oil pump pickup screen.

With your knowledge and experience this car could be an e z go.

All the best,

01-10-2017, 06:43 PM
Austin, there are a few 'tricks' you can do to help your posts.
Many of our members write their post on Wordpad, a free program that comes with Windows. It has a spell checker and it never times out.

When you are satisfied, highlight your text and hit Control-C. That copies your text into your computer's memory. Then open your Squarebirds post, click on the blank screen and hit Control-V. That copies your text to the post. If you need help with this, call me (248) 544-8834 and we'll practice it together.

When you log in, there is a small box next to your name with the words, 'Remember Me'. Click in that box, then enter your password. After a few posts, your computer will not time out. - Dave

01-10-2017, 08:12 PM
Thanks, I'll just type faster