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YellowRose
03-14-2010, 04:03 AM
There was a very rare special order 427 available through certain ford dealers for 1963-1965 Thunderbirds, 120 of these ’high performance’ T-birds were made. Only 6 are still known to exist today. It is documented that Bob Tasca, a well known drag racer of the 60’s, ordered a factory fitted 427 1964 T-bird that was said to do 0-60 mph in 6 seconds flat with a top speed of 135 mph.

scumdog
03-14-2010, 04:16 AM
I recall a '66 (or maybe it was a '65) with a facory 427 here in New Zealand - if I can get the old brain to work I'll post where I read it.

YellowRose
03-14-2010, 04:43 AM
Here is a very interesting article about a 427 equipped Flairbird! Be sure to read Page 2 because it mentions that there is a 427 equipped Flairbird in New Zealand. It appears that Earl Dods is also in New Zealand. His email address is on the last page. I think you are going to enjoy seeing the pix of his beautiful Tbird and 427.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2080960

Here is more information regarding the 427 engine.

Ford's 427 in3 (7.0 L) V8, introduced in 1963, was a racing engine pure and simple. It was developed for NASCAR (http://www.squarebirds.org/e/n/na/nascar.htm) stock car (http://www.squarebirds.org/e/s/st/stock_car.htm) racing, drag racing, and serious street racers. The true displacement of the 427 was actually 425 in3 (6,965 cm3), but Ford called it the 427 because 427 in3 (7.0 L) was the NASCAR maximum size. The stroke was the same as the 390 at 3.78 in (96mm) but the bore was increased to 4.23 in (107.4mm). The block was made of high nickel content iron and was made with an especially thickened deck to withstand higher compression. The cylinders were cast using cloverleaf molds—the corners were thicker all down the wall of each cylinder. Forged pistons were employed (the only production Ford big-block with such) and forged rods inherited from the 390 Hi-Po.

Two different models of 427 block were produced, the 427 top oiler and 427 side oiler. The top oiler version was the earlier, and delivered oil to the cams first and the crank second. It gained something of an undeserved reputation for insufficient crankshaft (http://www.squarebirds.org/e/c/cr/crankshaft.htm) lubrication under heavy abuse. When under extremely hard acceleration oil in the pan would tend to slosh back. This was remedied by Ford later by including a factory windage tray under the main bearings. The FE engine was Ford's main race engine in the mid-1960s and as such was under constant engineering scrutiny and subject to frequent design updates based on extreme racing experiences. The side oiler block, introduced in 1965, sent oil to the crank first and the cams second. In street use the two blocks are equivalent. Today, the premium aftermarket aluminum replacement block uses a top-oiler system.

The engine was available with low-riser, mid-riser, or high-riser intake manifolds, and either a single four-barrel carburetor (http://www.squarebirds.org/e/c/ca/carburetor.htm) or a double four-barrel setup on an aluminum manifold for highest performance. The twin four-barrel setup with the high-riser induction system is estimated to have delivered over 500 hp (373 kW); Ford never released an official power rating. Other models were rated at over 400 hp (299&nbskW).

Source: http://en.allexperts.com/e/f/fo/ford_fe_engine.htm
which has a breakdown on all the Ford FE engines. It says that the FE DID stand for Ford/Edsel and was, at first called the F/E engine, and then someone dropped the / out of it.

Alan H. Tast, AIA
03-14-2010, 04:08 PM
There was a very rare special order 427 available through certain ford dealers for 1963-1965 Thunderbirds, 120 of these ’high performance’ T-birds were made. Only 6 are still known to exist today. It is documented that Bob Tasca, a well known drag racer of the 60’s, ordered a factory fitted 427 1964 T-bird that was said to do 0-60 mph in 6 seconds flat with a top speed of 135 mph.

Uh, where'd you come up with this info? Sorry for my skepticism, but PROVE ME WRONG with factory documentation, sources for info, VINS, data plate photos/rubbings, invoices, etc. Too many myths float around based upon partial or heresay info. This is the first time I've seen a number of 120 quoted. The Tasca '64 was featured in CARS magazine in '64 (article reprinted in the Brooklands '64-'76 Portfolio). Of the 6000+ '64-'66s I've recorded info on there's NO car in my listings with anything other that codes for a 390 or 428.

YellowRose
03-14-2010, 05:05 PM
While researching the designer of the Flairbirds, I came up with that information from several sources. The information here comes from Earle Dods (I think it is) in New Zealand. earledods@hotmail.com You will see in his report on the restoration of his 1965 Flairbird, he talks about restoring his '65 Flairbird with a factory installed 427 engine.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2080960 (http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/Factory%20fitted%20427,%20there%20is%206%20left%20 that%20I%20know%20about%201-1963,%202-1964%27s%20and%203-1965%27s%20there%20was%20supposedly%20120%20427%27 s%20put%20in%20thunderbirds%20but%20it%20is%20very %20hard%20to%20document%20this.)

"Factory fitted 427, there is 6 left that I know about 1-1963, 2-1964's and 3-1965's there was supposedly 120 427's put in thunderbirds but it is very hard to document this."

In my research, I saw it written that these 120 Flairbirds with 427 engines were mainly used in racing, but they could be and were, special ordered through certain dealers. So the reports go. There is supposed to be one in a Washington state museum that is factory. You will see the account of that on Page 2 of the cardomain article above.

I am trying to find the report that I saw on the Automotive Mile Posts website, regarding the 427. They repeated the same thing that Earle said. You might want to see if you can email him. He said he owns a '65 Flairbird with a factory 427 in it and knows the other guy in New Zealand who lives 15 minutes from him who owns the other one. That one was destined for Australia, but was not allowed in, so the owner transferred it to New Zealand, so the report goes. If I find more, I will let you know. I saw about 3-4 references to the 120 427 cars made, and only 6 remaining.

You should be able to get Earle and the other owner to provide you with a VIN number and data plate information. Unless the data plates have been re-created, that should give you documentation we need.

NOTE!! We don't have to ask Earle Dods for the VIN & data plate information! His car is in the Tbird Registry! Look here!

http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdatasheet.asp?RegistryNumber=9047

1965
Body Style: 2-door Hardtop
VIN: 5Y83Z169395
Production Codes: 63A-E-65-03F-24-1-4

Earle Dods says: I am still restoring my 1965 Thunderbird. It was red on red, I am now painting it tiger orange. It has landau door panels but is not a landau which is rare. It is a factory 427 - I have done some research and 120 427's are in Thunderbirds and mine is one of them. I know of 5 others. I have put on Cragar S/S rims and chrome valve covers and FPA headers. It has 58,000 org miles. Go to http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2080960 to see more pictures of my car. Registrar's note: This Thunderbird resides in New Zealand.

I am aware that a Z coded engine for the Flairbird is a 390. However... in my reading on this, I read something, somewhere (I have done so much research on this, I lost track of where it was) that when Ford got a special order from one of the few dealers who were allowed to order these special order cars, that they took the 390's out of them, popped in the 427's and did not change the data plate. Most of these cars, so I read, but not all, went to racing teams that Ford was supporting, so they would have an edge on their competition. It would be interesting to find out what the other NZ data plate has on it, and the one in the Washington museum.

BTW.. Australia/New Zealand has 268 Tbirds of all years in the Tbird Registry.. I just finished checking EVERY New Zealand Tbird in the Tbird Registry from 1963 (since it was said that a '63 in NZ has a 427 in it). The ONLY one in the register with a 427 engine is Earle's '65.

KULTULZ
03-14-2010, 06:18 PM
I am aware that a Z coded engine for the Flairbird is a 390. However... in my reading on this, I read something, somewhere (I have done so much research on this, I lost track of where it was) that when Ford got a special order from one of the few dealers who were allowed to order these special order cars, that they took the 390's out of them, popped in the 427's and did not change the data plate.

This was not unusual for FOMOCO to do this in the period. It was released for a driver that wanted more performance than the 300HP OR 340HP engine could deliver. This was a low-rise engine (they came in several versions) with an hydraulic valve train so it was not an absolute beast on the street as would have been a High-Riser (would require special hood for carb clearance) or later Medium Riser. It would have been attached to most likely an MX trans and even if beefed might not have held even a detuned 427LR. The LX (TWIN-TURBO) was used in some 64 THUNDERBOLTS and even they wouldn't take the pressure. FORD released the C6 late in 1965 production and that would have held.

I cannot imagine where FORD would have supported them for any type of racing due to it's weight and size. It was a rich man's toy.

Regardless, the truth will be found in the build sheet or the engine I.D Tag found behind the distributor.

That's my opinion and that and a couple of dollars will get you a coffee...

YellowRose
03-14-2010, 08:46 PM
Thanks, KULTULZ, for your input. I have been searching for more sources regarding this 427 engine being installed in the Flairbirds. Here is another one..

http://www.carhistoryclub.com/files/ford_thunderbird__19641966.htm

A 390cc v8 engine remained standard. Optional ones ranged in power up to the 427-cu.-in., 425hp thunderbird super high-performance v8, with two four-barrel carburetors. Customers could choose a new engine option: Fords 427-cu.-in. Cobra jet v8.

gaffney1951
03-14-2010, 10:30 PM
Cobra Jet engine was 428 c.i. (smaller bore than the the 427, 4.13" but longer 3.98 stroke, and didn't come out until the 68' model year in the Mustang. There were 428 engines avaliable in the Flairbirds but they lacked the extra main webbing in the block and other internal upgrades that were introduced with the Cobra Jet engine including low riser 427 heads, heavier main caps and a more performance oriented cam. Mike

YellowRose
03-14-2010, 11:44 PM
Hi Mike!

It looks like Car History has their facts wrong about the Cobra Jet V8 then....

Read what Thunderbird Concepts has to say about the 427 and the Flairbird... 120 produced in Flairbirds, and 6 known remaining...

http://www.thunderbirdconcepts.com/ford-thunderbird-history.htm

Here is the Wikipedia entry regarding the 427 in the 1963-1965 Tbirds.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Thunderbird_(fourth_generation) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Thunderbird_%28fourth_generation%29)

At the bottom of the page is the link to Earle's '65 427 in New Zealand.

gaffney1951
03-15-2010, 12:33 AM
the old saying. Don't believe anything you read and only half of what you see. There are a lot of bogus or misinformed "car facts" floating around out there.:) Mike

GTE427
03-15-2010, 12:00 PM
A factory 427 1965 Thunderbird as described does sound more of a Urban Legend than fact.

Looking at the history of Factory Race Cars/Hot Rods, the 1964 Ford Thunderbolt, incomplete cars were sent to Dearborn Steel & Tubing (DST) for modification/fabrication and 427 installation, these cars didn't carry the 427 in the VIN code, but are well documented. Shelby took 1st gen K-Code 271HP Mustangs and modified the engines, sold as 306HP, likewise well documented. Yet a 306HP K-code factory engine does not exist regardless that this engine was delivered new in a Shelby.

Camaros, originally crate engines were installed by dealers, VIN's and engines do not match and later COPO cars had factory installed 427's, with matching VIN's.

These are just a few examples. Dealer installed or 2nd party installed engines are not Factory installed. Let's also keep in mind that Factory supplied race cars or cars supplied to racing teams were not for street use. Ford Supported Racing Teams wouldn't be supplied street cars at this point in history, race cars come to mind in this instance, as history has shown.

This story loses credibility in the following quote:

"Ford got a special order from one of the few dealers who were allowed to order these special order cars, that they took the 390's out of them, popped in the 427's and did not change the data plate. Most of these cars, so I read, but not all, went to racing teams that Ford was supporting, so they would have an edge on their competition."

The "Factory Assembly Line" was in the business of building production line cars for the masses, not specialized cars for individuals. The thought of having surplus cars sitting around the factory to chose from, taking apart a completed car and re-installing a performance engine seems unlikely. And if so, the ROT sheet would reveal a Z code car anyway. Where was this work done? on the assembly line? If this was done by the factory, there would be department or division strictly for that purpose, or a sub-contractor such as DST or Kar Kraft. Chances are there would be an account of this happening, like the Thunderbolt. Historically Factory supplied race cars are shells of the street versions, sans insulation, full interiors and other weight savings measures, a randomly selected completed Z coded inventory car hardly seems the candidate for this, especially 120 times.

Lastly, Racing teams that used 65 Thunderbirds? Nascar, NHRA, IHRA, USAC, never have I seen any reporting from the day or currently of Ford backed Thunderbirds of this era in competition. Can anyone name these teams?

Using my imagination, somehow someone reworded 100 1964 Ford Thunderbolts to derive 120 1965 Ford Thunderbirds and the Internet has help keep the Legend Alive.

Despite my opinions and what we know from history, we'd all welcome the documentation and proof to validate these cars as history continues to be written. Can anyone add to this?

YellowRose
03-15-2010, 03:13 PM
I continue to pursue information regarding the validity of a 427 equipped Flairbird. I want ya'll to understand that I am just posting what I am finding, what others have said about this. It might be an urban internet Flairbird legend. And it might not be. We know for sure there was ONE 427 equipped car that left that plant, the Tasca 427. Another 427 equipped Flairbird is claimed to have been bought by for someone's wife. The owner, Joan claims her husband bought one for her, that she drove it home directly from the factory and that it now, after her husbands passing, resides in a Seattle Museum. I have checked the inventory of the LeMay Auto Museum in Seattle, and it is not on their list of cars being displayed. That does not mean that they do not have it. It could be in some other Seattle car museum. I am trying to get in contact with her. Maybe El Gaupo can help us out here. I only know of the one major auto museum there, but there are probably others.

I have also written Earle in NZ to see if he or his neighbor down the road that has the second 427 in NZ, can provide some proof that it was a factory installed 427. It would be good if we could put this story to rest, one way or another! For further reading, if you have not done so already, read Earle's accounting of his restoration of his 427 equipped Flairbird, both pages. Then click on the second link and see how Bob Tasca managed to get his 427 equipped Flairbird.

http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2080960 (http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/Factory%20fitted%20427,%20there%20is%206%20left%20 that%20I%20know%20about%201-1963,%202-1964%27s%20and%203-1965%27s%20there%20was%20supposedly%20120%20427%27 s%20put%20in%20thunderbirds%20but%20it%20is%20very %20hard%20to%20document%20this.)

http://s211.photobucket.com/albums/bb9/orange427tbird/427%20Tbirds/

NOTE: Gary and I were posting at the same time, apparently! He just saved you from having to bring up the above link to read the article about the Tasca 427 Flairbird. We may never be able to provide proof that Ford was putting in 427's in a '63 Bulletbird, or '64 & '65 Flairbirds. There was no specific engine code, that I know of, to indicate that a 427 was the engine installed in that series of Bird. From what I read, when a 427 was installed, the data plate indicated a 390 because Ford had not set up a code for a 427 for those Bulletbirds and Flairbirds. So, as far as the data plate goes, any 427 equipped car probably shows it has a 390 in it, like Earle's does.

KULTULZ
03-15-2010, 03:15 PM
Here is an explanation/answer to the last post-

-TBIRD RESTORATION GUIDE 1958-1966 By William Wonder- (http://books.google.com/books?id=bmyANIk7xNsC&pg=PA183&lpg=PA183&dq=TASCA+427+THUNDERBIRD&source=bl&ots=TOiQL2shex&sig=KOE8ORV92_4GT55JZvdyl_n6O8U&hl=en&ei=foSeS9ynE8m0tgelt7iGBg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CAkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=TASCA%20427%20THUNDERBIRD&f=false)

It describes a line assembly of a 427 BIRD for TASCA FORD.

Is this book embraced by enthusiasts?

I learned long ago to NEVER SAY NEVER WITH REGARDS TO FORD MOTOR.

GTE427
03-15-2010, 03:59 PM
I was about to paste in the info on Tasca but see that Ray and Gary have already presented this. Here's what I had to say...

I've read Williams Wonder's (Thunderbird Restoration Guide 58-66) account of how the 427 Tasca Thunderbird came to be. While technically this was a Factory Installation, it borders on Mis-use of power and theft.

Mr Wonder states that Ford was NOT willing to equip a Thunderbird with a 427, so Tasca arranged for a 427, tagged as a 390 with a different transmission to be inserted in the line to be installed in his car, without Ford's approval. The entire story would certainly be a good read.

I would think of this more as stolen goods than a factory equipped car. Guess some of our Automotive Icon's could have become politicians.

GTE427
03-15-2010, 04:21 PM
Another consideration from that period of time. Sanctioning Bodies such as Nascar and NHRA had production requirements for stock cars, production cars and engines to be qualified for their racing events.

Building such a car as a 427 TBird for racing and keeping it a secret really underminds the whole project as the cars wouldn't be qualified for competition and couldn't be used.

YellowRose
03-15-2010, 04:25 PM
In the CARS article that is referenced below, it says that "the assembly plant insisted that the engine would not fit and they would not hold up the line trying to shoehorn the big monster in place".

Apparently, they were wrong about it not fitting.. Bob got his mismarked 427 routed through ordinary channels and treated to the big power house, including the High RPM COM. It looks like the Medium version of the 427 would fit in there.

Unfortunately, I cannot talk with Bob, Sr., as he passed away earlier this year. I am awaiting a call from Bob, Jr., to see what he knows about Ford putting other 427's in other customer's or dealers cars. Maybe Ford found out, because of this, that you could "shoehorn" a 427 into the engine bay of a flairbird... However, if they did not know it before this event, how did someone, supposedly, get a 427 into a '63 Bulletbird and '64 Flairbirds? The mystery deepens, but I love a good mystery. Maybe I can help prove some of these cars actually did come out of the factory with 427's yet. I also have a call into Bob Oeschger, who worked the line all those years of the early Tbirds in the Wixom plant. I will see if I can jog his memory about special order Bulletbirds and Flairbirds with 427's in them....

KULTULZ
03-15-2010, 05:15 PM
I don't understand why FORD would have assembled a 63 BIRD with the 427. The M-CODE 390 was still available. I can understand 64-65 as the 390 315HP was anemic trying to pull that mass. 1966 saw the introduction of the 428 345HP which would have moved it pretty well.

Further, I fully understood the pull TASCA had with FORD and the vehicle was built (described as a 1965 model)(I do not agree with the dishonesty claim). It also had its' sheet metal modified which I find very distasteful. TASCA was obviously considering offering a Dealer Special automobile. He obviously wanted factory assembly as to have a factory warranty. It is also described as the assembled car being driven directly to TASCA FORD where the engine was gone through. That explains the 500HP claim.

BTW- TASCA FORD was responsible for the 1968 428CJ. FORD did not have enough interest in street performance and their sales reflected that.

If the engine was a 427LR, it would have to had 390 exhaust manifolds (unibody apron clearance) and other details already assembled. A stock assembly 427LR (street release) would have had many accessories that needed to be changed to not stop the line. Who performed that service? It was not like the 59-60 J-BIRD asm whereas the line was not slowed that much.

One would need the cooperation of a supposed 65 427 BIRD owner (and how many may not realize what they have and how many have been scrapped?). One would have to have the actual broadcast sheet and Engine I.D. Tag off the engine along with multiple Casting I.D. Nos. There would also have been Dealer Notification Letters and TSB's to describe the production change and give info on build details and field repair (including part numbers).

That would be a real accomplishment after all of these years, especially if not one is actually registered somewhere.

I am beginning to go along with the thought that somewhere the TASCA BIRD was a one-off and somewhere there was confusion between an actual 427 BIRD and the THUNDERBOLT (there was also a 1965 FAIRLANE THUNDERBOLT).

BTW- I started @ a FORD DEALER at the ripe age of eighteen and one of my first patients was a 64 retractable. I love these things (conv).

KULTULZ
03-15-2010, 05:33 PM
A factory 427 1965 Thunderbird as described does sound more of a Urban Legend than fact.

Looking at the history of Factory Race Cars/Hot Rods, the 1964 Ford Thunderbolt, incomplete cars were sent to Dearborn Steel & Tubing (DST) for modification/fabrication and 427 installation, these cars didn't carry the 427 in the VIN code, but are well documented. Shelby took 1st gen K-Code 271HP Mustangs and modified the engines, sold as 306HP, likewise well documented. Yet a 306HP K-code factory engine does not exist regardless that this engine was delivered new in a Shelby.

TASCA FORD and SHELBY had the same (if not more) capabilities to modify any car chassis).



Camaros, originally crate engines were installed by dealers, VIN's and engines do not match and later COPO cars had factory installed 427's, with matching VIN's.

These are just a few examples. Dealer installed or 2nd party installed engines are not Factory installed.

Agreed. The 1967 427TP MUSTANG was not a factory car but it was built and ran FX.



Let's also keep in mind that Factory supplied race cars or cars supplied to racing teams were not for street use. Ford Supported Racing Teams wouldn't be supplied street cars at this point in history, race cars come to mind in this instance, as history has shown.

This story loses credibility in the following quote:

"Ford got a special order from one of the few dealers who were allowed to order these special order cars, that they took the 390's out of them, popped in the 427's and did not change the data plate. Most of these cars, so I read, but not all, went to racing teams that Ford was supporting, so they would have an edge on their competition."

The "Factory Assembly Line" was in the business of building production line cars for the masses, not specialized cars for individuals. The thought of having surplus cars sitting around the factory to chose from, taking apart a completed car and re-installing a performance engine seems unlikely. And if so, the ROT sheet would reveal a Z code car anyway. Where was this work done? on the assembly line? If this was done by the factory, there would be department or division strictly for that purpose, or a sub-contractor such as DST or Kar Kraft. Chances are there would be an account of this happening, like the Thunderbolt. Historically Factory supplied race cars are shells of the street versions, sans insulation, full interiors and other weight savings measures, a randomly selected completed Z coded inventory car hardly seems the candidate for this, especially 120 times.

The installation (if true) would have been done on a running basis. The engine(s) would most likely have been sourced from Molman-Moody.

An engine door code is not always exact. Several versions of the 390 were Z coded. The Engine I.D. Tag absolutely gives the build information.

The 1964-65 COMET 289HP build is a perfect example. FORD forbade MERC DIV to offer such a car. They (MERC) first offered a modified 289 of their own design and later the production 289HP. The door code did not change and the build info was detailed on the build sheet. They had to offer the package to keep sales up.



Lastly, Racing teams that used 65 Thunderbirds? Nascar, NHRA, IHRA, USAC, never have I seen any reporting from the day or currently of Ford backed Thunderbirds of this era in competition. Can anyone name these teams?

Using my imagination, somehow someone reworded 100 1964 Ford Thunderbolts to derive 120 1965 Ford Thunderbirds and the Internet has help keep the Legend Alive.

Despite my opinions and what we know from history, we'd all welcome the documentation and proof to validate these cars as history continues to be written. Can anyone add to this?

Agreed on racing sanctioning bodies. They wouldn't have been very competitive on the high-banks with the 1966 FAIRLANE.

IF they were actually assembled, my thought is that they were for rich enthusiasts.

YellowRose
03-15-2010, 08:18 PM
Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated. This certainly has generated some interest! As a result of all this, it is my hope that someone can come up with the proof that their Tbird went out the factory door with a 427 in it. Or didn't...

The fact that someone comes up with an 427 Engine I.D. Tag, or numbers on the block or engine, to me, would not prove that 427 came out of the factory inside a flairbird... It would just mean that it was ID'd as a 427 engine properly. About the only things what would prove something would be paperwork that indicated the car has a 427 engine installed. A copy of a Special Order, or Modification sheet of some type. A copy of the sales paperwork, perhaps. Or a copy of the Standard or Optional equipment sheet showing a 427 in the engine bay.

I just had a very nice conversation with Bob Oeschger, who worked Quality Control on the line for many years. He said that he does not recall seeing 427's installed in a 1963 or 1964-1965 Tbirds.. But that does not mean that they weren't...

He said that IF there were some flairbirds going out the door with 427's in them, they were probably being converted in the Executive section of the line. Cars that were destined for Ford Executives were shunted over to what he calls the Executive line. These were cars that Ford executives would drive for awhile for quality checks of the line work being done on the cars. I remember last year he told me that these cars, when put together were given extra, extra attention because the line workers knew they were going to executives for testing or use. They did not want the executives coming back at them and complaining about shoddy workmanship. I also got the impression that cars destined for certain high ranking Ford dealers were also shunted off the main line for processing..

He also said that Special order cars were done in a Special Order section or the Executive section if certain well known dealers ordered them. So it was possible that there were special orders for 427's that could have been done in those sections and he would not know it. One person who would have, unfortunately, just died last month. But Bob's boss is still alive, at 83 and has a sharp mind still. He is going to call him. He figures he would know.

Now, let me tell you a bit about what Bob told me about Bob Tasca... Bob was married to one of the Ford VP's... So he had very high contacts. He had a large dealership, now run by his son, and a lot of pull at the corporate level. He ordered and got tons of cars from Ford over the decades. He would fly in, inspect the cars, inspect the line, point out problems with various cars, as he saw them, and they would get taken care of. He made sure the cars he got for his dealership were top of the line. When he came to the plant to visit, he was met by any number of the bigwigs of the company, because of his connections. They drove to the line in electric carts, and would walk the line inspecting it and the cars on it. There was always a lot of excitement and concern when Bob Tasca showed up with an entourage of Ford executives in tow..

So, when Bob was told that the assembly plant would not put a 427 in a flairbird for him, because it would not fit in the engine well, Bob, apparently knew it would, and used his contacts to have one ran through the line, along with the newer High RPM COM. Now, considering who he was and his relationship to the Ford executives, they probably did the change out in the Executives shop.. One more thing that Bob mentioned was the Rausch Company, if I have that right. Apparently, they did work on Special Order cars, or modified cars for Ford. He briefly mentioned them.

I saw someone posted something about the 427 would not work with power brakes and power steering, or something like that. Whatever that was, must have been worked out, because, according to the article, Bob said he drove the car back home to the East Coast... Now I hope that Bob, Jr., can tell me if his Dad had more than one 427 equipped Flairbird made at the factory after this one..

So this catches me up to date.

Alan H. Tast, AIA
03-15-2010, 09:35 PM
5Y83Z169395[/COLOR]
Production Codes: 63A-E-65-03F-24-1-4

Earle Dods says: I am still restoring my 1965 Thunderbird. It was red on red, I am now painting it tiger orange. It has landau door panels but is not a landau which is rare. It is a factory 427 - I have done some research and 120 427's are in Thunderbirds and mine is one of them. I know of 5 others. I have put on Cragar S/S rims and chrome valve covers and FPA headers. It has 58,000 org miles. Go to http://www.cardomain.com/ride/2080960 to see more pictures of my car. Registrar's note: This Thunderbird resides in New Zealand.

So the guy claims the car was red/red: color code E is for Silver Mink Metallic, which means the car's been repainted at least once, and more than likely there were other changes made at the same time or in conjunction with the respray. If this car was supposed to have originally been built for export to Australia, then why is the DSO code for Jacksonville, Florida? And why would a 427 car be fitted with an open-ratio 3.00:1 rear axle vs an EquaLock or a higher-ratio rear if it was intended to duke it out 1/4 mile at a time? With all the other mods he lists, I am still a Doubting Thomas that it came with a 427, but confess I haven't gone to the links provided to check out photos.

As for the VIN/data plate not having a code for the 427, I find that difficult to accept for one simple reason: misidentifying the engine installed, especially with the numerous internal differences, would have dealt a service writer, the man behind the parts counter and warranty people fits of frustration. Other than the engine ID tag, how else would the service department at the local dealership know that they were dealing with a special-order car with an engine other than what was listed unless they had some other kind of identification like a DSO code that had more than two digits to indicate a special order?

Let's face it: it isn't beyond the realm of possibility that some previous owner (or even the current owner) can swap out engines or claim that a 390 is a 427 since they're both FE-type engines. Externally they're virtually the same except for a few spotting features: heads and manifolds can be swapped along with other accessories like the oil filter adapter, and you'd have to be up on your engine block casting numbers to check this aspect out before you start checking stroke and bore.

I strongly suspect, as others have noted or alluded to, that "Thunderbolt" and "Thunderbird" are being used interchangably in this myth. The numbers sound about right for the '63-'65 Fairlanes, but I'm not well-versed in this aspect of Total Performance history. The comment Kulutz makes re. service bulletins referencing service deviations is valid. In my collections of TSBs from the period I don't recall seeing anything calling attention to the 427 and installation in a T-bird, and that's something that would have caught my (and many others') attention immediately!

My 'crap detector' is still pegged on this one. There's too many unscrupulous people out there willing to trade on the desire of people wanting "the rarest of the rare" by fabricating tall tales like this one for personal ego, monetary gain, etc., and, for that matter, plenty of gullible people willing to believe these claims.

I'll take my bag of popcorn out of the microwave and watch this discussion for a while...

KULTULZ
03-16-2010, 01:51 AM
I saw someone posted something about the 427 would not work with power brakes and power steering, or something like that. Whatever that was, must have been worked out, because, according to the article, Bob said he drove the car back home to the East Coast... Now I hope that Bob, Jr., can tell me if his Dad had more than one 427 equipped Flairbird made at the factory after this one..

I made an earlier post describing differing styles/ratings of the 427 but did not post for some reason (Advanced CRS). Let me add a few things here while I can still remember.

The 427 that went into the TASCA BIRD had to be a 427LR. It went straight to TASCA where the engine was gone through. It describes how 500HP was gotten out of it. It says the hydraulic C2SZ cam (I am thinking it was the M-CODE 390 cam) was installed. This would have given the engine a decent manifold vacuum level to support a vacuum booster and low enough RPM's to support power steering. They had to make the engine more docile to have it operate on the street in a luxury car. A set of custom headers was used to clear the fender aprons.

All of that about assembly is correct. Cars were especially built and detailed for execs.

BTW- The High RPM COM would be the new C6.

A 427LR was a street engine and had a strip version. A true 427 was a beast that would rattle your fillings loose.

simplyconnected
03-16-2010, 02:10 AM
Something isn’t right about this story: Why would a dealership build a 427 (and COM), have it installed at the factory, then tear it down because it isn’t exactly what they really want? It didn’t happen at the plant.

Life in a Ford assembly plant is NO picnic. There are no ‘extra’ people to do ‘executive’ modifications, and everything is accounted for including man hours and parts. Man-count is dictated by WHQ, and so are production numbers. These demands are nearly impossible to achieve; that’s why we have a Plant Manager. He comes from and reports back to WHQ.

‘Scheduling Dept.,’ makes the patent plates as orders are received, then a tray of them are sent to the Body Shop for build. From there, all departments get a broadcasted schedule showing this particular car is coming, a ROTation Sheet is printed, and the car follows. (That’s three verifications.)

Ford doesn’t get engines from dealerships, they get racks of engines from Engine Plants. The Engine Buildup Dept., is a subassembly. They marry transmissions to engines, and do ‘final dress’ (pulleys, belts, A/C, generator, exhaust manifolds, etc). When that body gets to ‘Body Decking’, the engine & trans subassembly is there to meet it with the CORRECT components according to the ROT sheet, schedule, and the patent plate.

There may be ‘special runs’ of at least 250 cars. Not ONE, or TEN. If there is no code for a special run, Ford makes a new one (like the Cobra-R). The plant doesn’t have time for low-production deviations.

A new unit rolls down the line each minute. Production pressure is so great, if any department loses two units in a shift, that department WILL answer to the Plant Manager. You don’t want to speak with the PM too many times or you won’t be around much longer. It’s that tight. Not many last. Nobody’s career will take the heat for some dealer holding him up because he wants to ‘try’ something different.

Defective engines are changed in Repair Bays. Two mechanics do four per day, requesting new parts from Engine Buildup, and defective parts are sent back and charged to the engine plant through Quality Control. Ford won’t pull a good engine, just to install a 427 from, God knows where. 'Warranty' won't allow that. Who is going to pay the 4-hours?

You can see how this is going… Dealerships have NO business in the assembly plant. Just before the car goes out the back door, a Ford Security man checks every car’s build sheet against what he sees on the car. If he approves, the car gets weighed and recorded. Then, the car no longer belongs to Ford because a contracted independent transportation company takes over and drives the car out of the plant.

KULTULZ
03-16-2010, 02:37 AM
The fact that someone comes up with an 427 Engine I.D. Tag, or numbers on the block or engine, to me, would not prove that 427 came out of the factory inside a flairbird... It would just mean that it was ID'd as a 427 engine properly. About the only things what would prove something would be paperwork that indicated the car has a 427 engine installed. A copy of a Special Order, or Modification sheet of some type. A copy of the sales paperwork, perhaps. Or a copy of the Standard or Optional equipment sheet showing a 427 in the engine bay.

Correct, but it would be a possible indication of what came through. These tags were usually tossed at the first service and I am not sure if repros are avaliable.

http://www.hotrodders.com/gallery/data/500/Engine_ID_Tag.jpg

Say we have an early GALAXIE with a Z-CODE 390 (most 390's of the period were Z-CODE). This tag would positively identify the HP rating of the installed engine.

KULTULZ
03-16-2010, 02:52 AM
Something isn’t right about this story: Why would a dealership build a 427 (and COM), have it installed at the factory, then tear it down because it isn’t exactly what they really want? It didn’t happen at the plant.

You have to understand how competitive car sales were during this period. All makers were participants in motor sports. TASCA was a performance dealer, No. 2 in sales I believe in that period. FORD did listen to dealers at that time.

The car was built and driven straight to the dealership to modify it for street usage. A true 427 was a beast. Not many understand this. It was modified to power a lead sled. This was the purchasing dealership's decision. At one time, one could go to the assembly plant and take possession of a car bought from a dealer.

What you describe is very true, but there many variations during this period.

-TASCA FORD AND THE 428CJ- (http://www.dearbornflashback.com/68dragteam.asp)

I find it very plausible.

YellowRose
03-16-2010, 02:54 AM
I was going to try and post the article from CAR magazine here regarding Bob Tasca's 427, but you would not be able to read the second and third pages to well. Go to the link below and you will find the three pages at the bottom of Earl Dods pix. You can use Zoom and zoom in on them to read them better. Keep in mind, that Bob Tasca had a ton of clout with the upper management of Ford for several reasons. Married to the daughter of a highly placed Ford VP, owned a large car dealership that was also part of the Ford interest in racing, had a very successful stable of racing cars, and worked with the Ford engineers on drag projects at their Kingman, AZ facility. Back then, his 472 THUNDERBOLT (not his Thunderbird) held the National Super/Stock speed record. He was not your average dealer...

http://s211.photobucket.com/albums/bb9/orange427tbird/427%20Tbirds/

Gary, thanks for posting that article about Tasca Ford and the 428CJ. Fascinating reading and it emphasizes what I have been saying about Bob Tasca. He was not your run of the mill car dealer... He had a lot of pull... Now if I can find out from Bob, Jr., if his Dad ever had more 427 equipped Flairbirds produced at the plant for his dealership!

gaffney1951
03-16-2010, 09:05 AM
to see a little controversy on the forum. Gets the blood flowing, and that can only be good for some of us older folk. I think the so called "urban legends" even if untrue, do, if nothing else tickle the imagination. The good news is there is nothing to prevent us from being are own Bob Tasca. Personally I will being shooting for a minimum 500hp/500lb.ft. for my 60'. You just have to remember that the rest of the driveline and rear suspension have to be modified to stand up to the power you create. It's always a good thing to put a little more thunder in your Thunderbird.:D Mike

GTE427
03-16-2010, 09:48 AM
Great stuff!, to all the contributors.

Regarding my comment about theft, as Gary puts it -dishonest-, I really don't believe this applies to Tasca either, with his clout, connections, and resources I don't believe he'd have to mislabel a 427 into rotation nor would it go un-noticed by management, workers and inspectors. This would have happened under Ford direction internally or being sourced out. My reference was towards the account of how Tasca acquired the 427. Gary, can you provide info/links to the Hipo Mercury as I'd like to read up on it.

Ray, interesting info from Bob about the Executive Line, waiting on your follow up. And I believe you were referring to Jack Rousch, who currently markets Rousch Mustangs, Trucks among numerous other endeavors. Speed Channels "Car Crazy" visited his shop on this weeks episode. Rousch/Fenway Nascar team, that's also Jack, has his hands in all sort of motorsports past and present.

I was about to ask what a High RPM COM was, thanks for the info, the C6 as it is known today. Thanks for the clarification. having read the differences between and mods required to install a C6 in a Flairbird, guessing this C6 would have raised an eyebrow if not slowed down the assembly line, contrary to the article stating "the staff never even noticed".

Dave, your explanation of the assembly line is just as I would have imagined and wouldn't leave much room for foolery. Bringing us back to the difference between a assembly line built car vs one-off, mule, experimental, fill-in-the-blank type of car that was vastly different than our original subject, 120 427 1965 Thunderbirds. The Tasca car came to be, qty 1, the details of which would be very interesting.

Eager to read more on the 427 65's.

GTE427
03-16-2010, 01:02 PM
Back to the 120 65 TBirds. As Alan and other have mentioned warranty, parts department support, service department support, etc, all would be required on cars sold to the public for use on the street if it was truely a legitimate car for street use. Not to mention if a car ever had recalls, Ford would have to identify and track their cars.

Imagine a warranty claim on your 8000 mile engine, to be informed that your engine doesn't exist for the car and thus there is no warranty. Many Hipo cars from that period came with reduced warranties down to NO warranty on race cars like the Thunderbolt. The Ford 406 & 427's in specific car lines had warranty issues that were in the TSB's of that time. So claims that Ford built 120 Thunderbird for race teams and as street cars alike without any means of identification or Marketing doesn't strike me as practical, nor does a un-identifiable, luxury, 4000 lbs Thunderbird Race Car when the emphasis of the day was towards the lighter Mustangs Fairlanes and Falcons.

Can anyone comment on the Government and Industry Codes of that time that Car manufacturers were bound by. Were new cars sold in 1965 required to have VIN numbers identifying their Engine either by Insurance Institute, Highway Safety Agencies or the Government? What is the requirements of the AMA Automotive Manufacturers Association in 1965? Was a 390 engine coded 427 installed automobile legally possible in 1965?

YellowRose
03-16-2010, 01:42 PM
Earle Dods is a member of Squarebirds! He is thev8guy !! He joined back in May, 2009, but has not been back on since. He made a post about him having a factory installed 427 in his '65 Tbird. He registered himself as "Neil" Dods, but if you look up thev8guy you will see his user id. I am about to email him to the email address he gave us. He has not answered the other one because it might have gone into his spam folder. This one might also, but I am gonna try! Can you imagine! He joined last year, told us a bit about his 427 and no one ever said anything to him about it being a factory installed 427! Well, I will see what I can come up with if he will answer the emails. Here is the thread!

http://www.squarebirds.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=32227#post32227

YellowRose
03-16-2010, 03:36 PM
In doing more research, I found something that shows that the 427 engine had two engine codes. There was a Q-427 and a R-427. So the listing shows. I do not know if the Q-427 or the R-427 was the Big Monster. It did not say. BTW, I have written Earle at his email address he gave when he became a member. I will see if he responds. Some of you guys in New Zealand know him, apparently, as I noted in that thread I cited. If you know how to get in contact with him, please let him know that I have emailed him twice. He should check his spam folder since his email service will not know my email address.

GTE427
03-16-2010, 04:08 PM
Ray,

Off the top of head the early Q-code 427 had a single four barrel carb, written as 427-4v, the R-code had 2 four barrel carbs, aka dual quads, 427-8v. I know by 1968, the de-tuned 427-4v in it's final year was a W-code and HP rating had dropped to 390, gone was the forged crank, gone was the solid lifters replaced by hydraulic camshaft.

As far as a monster, the 427 block is the same physical outside dimensions as any other FE block, believe the 427 had the numbers 352 cast into the front left side on the block. When equipped with low-rise heads, the complete engine is the same size as the 352, 390, 406, 428. When you get into the medium rise and hi rise heads is when the overall engine gets taller and interfers with hoods. otherwise same dimensions and size as the other FE's.

Knowing this, I struggled when reading about the Tasca swap refering to the monster and shoe-horning in. That statement made no sense to me and lead to further dis-belief that the reporting was acurate

YellowRose
03-16-2010, 06:01 PM
Hi Ken!

Thanks for the explanation of the 427's. Whether or not we prove or disprove the existence of 427 engines in Flairbirds, or a Bulletbird, this has been an interesting experience for me. I have learned so much more about these old Birds that I did not know and I think others have also.

I have just contacted Marti Auto Works on the off chance that they have any records on the Flairbirds. My memory told me that they did not, but I was not sure. I already knew they did not have any records for the Squarebirds because I contacted them a couple of years ago. The records they have go from 1967's and up. So no luck on tracking down a record of Earle's VIN number and production records through them! Or any other Square, Bullet or Flairbird..

YellowRose
03-16-2010, 06:57 PM
One of the many, many friendships that have been developed because of my association with Squarebirds is that of Phil Skinner, Collector Car Market Editor of Kelley Blue Book. Phil, like Alan, has been sitting on the side, eating popcorn and taking all this in. Here are his comments regarding the 427 story.

Unless someone has verified factory documentation, I would say the 427 in a T’bird is a myth.

First, the 427 was not available with either power steering or power brakes, or should I mention, an automatic transmission, all standard equipment on a T-bird.

You said one car has a data plate with the 390 coded on it, I find this hard to believe. 1964, a limited number of Mercury Comets were designated as A/FX drag cars and were delivered with 427s. The Comet had no code for 427 and on the chassis and the data plate, the VIN actually has a blank for the engine entry. Also, you can bet that these cars would have six-digit DSO codes. Also, the lady who saved the 1955-57 T-bird invoices also managed to save the 1962-63 Sports Roadster invoices. If there was a special order 427 equipped car, you can bet she would have saved that one too!

Note: Marti Auto told me they never got anything in the way of records from her below 1967's. As far as I know, those records are lost...

Can a person put a 427 into a bird? Yep, the block has the same dimensions as the 390 FE. But would it be proper with correct headers, I doubt it.

Ford’s Total Performance program had a very tight control on the full-size cars that had the 427’s, both dual and single 4-barrel carb editions. I don’t see them dropping these engines into a T-bird, the car just wasn’t built for that type of activity.

It really boils down to let’s see some factory literature such as engineering reports, original order forms, etc. In court, they call it “best evidence”.

Regarding the one-off Tasca T-bird, the 427 and 390 are from the same family. Tasca did have a lot of pull in Dearborn and could probably get whatever he wanted. I kind of think the 427 dressed up as a 390 was a little embellished. While they both bolt up the same, and the hi-po Cruise-O-Matic story is plausible, there are other differences like the different intake manifold, what type of exhausts headers were used, and the big thing is out of the car, the 427 had some unique items like the cross-bolt mains, to deal with.

My bet is that it was a custom ordered car, another one where the data plate could reveal many secrets. BTW, I checked out the posts on the website related to this subject. I really pretty much agree with Alan Tast’s viewpoints.

Phil Skinner
Collector Car Market Editor
Kelley Blue Book kbb.com

1-800-258-3266 x 4464
pskinner@kbb.com

The above information is provided with Phil's permission.

KULTULZ
03-16-2010, 09:00 PM
In doing more research, I found something that shows that the 427 engine had two engine codes. There was a Q-427 and a R-427.

Q and R signify intake style, either 4V (410HP) or 8V (425HP).

The 427 released for street was far detuned form an actual race 427.

For instance take a 1964 GALAXIE 427. Street release would have been a low riser while if one bought the lightweight it would have been a High Riser with a bubble hood. Both had the same advertised HP ratings but were far apart from one another.

YellowRose
03-17-2010, 05:57 PM
Here is some additional information on the Bob Tasca 427 1964 Flairbird. I thought it was a 1965, but Bob, Jr. said his Dad bought a '64. In talking with him this afternoon, he did say that his Dad got it at the plant. He said they put the engine and tranny in there. He said he does not even know what happened to his Dad's 427. He has no information on it and has no idea where it is. He did say that Alexanders Custom Shop In Detroit did do the extensive customization of it. That is about all he knows about it. I guess we will never find out what the data plate said on it when it left the plant. Here is an additional write up about Tasca Ford.

Tasca Ford still operates today at its original location on 777 Taunton Avenue in East Providence, Rhode Island. The premier Ford performance dealer during the muscle car era, Tasca Ford entered the performance market in 1961 when Bob Tasca formed a special high-performance division. Early projects included a 427 Thunderbird in 1965 and a "505" Mustang, which featured 505 bhp and supposedly inspired the Boss 302 Mustang. Tasca's personal driver in 1969 was an 11-second Mustang. But most impressive were Tasca's drag racing cars, first a 1962 406 Galaxie, and then a 406 equipped Fairlane (supposedly the inspiration of the factory 1964 Thunderbolt). In 1966, Tasca Ford debuted its Holman-Moody built "Mystery 9" Mustang, which quickly changed names as its et's dropped. By 1969, Tasca was running a fuel funny car, but that strayed away from the "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" mantra. By 1963, upwards of 60 high performance cars (40% of total sales) were being sold each month. Tasca also sold the first Shelby AC Cobras in the Northeast. But Tasca will be remembered as creating the inspiration of the Cobra Jet 428. It all started when Tasca reworked the standard 428 Police Interceptor with reworked heads and a 735-cfm four-barrel Holley carb and dropped it into their 1967 Mustang GT coupe. They called it "KR" for "King of the Road" and word soon reached Ford management. They decided to offer the new 428 from the factory but passed on the Tasca name (The "KR" label was actually used on the CJ-powered GT 500 Shelby Mustang) and labeled it the "Cobra Jet" which saved Ford's performance image on the street. But the performance era would soon end, and Tasca actually switched over to Lincoln-Mercury in 1971. But it switched back in 1994 and the home of Ford performance lives on.

Source: http://www.musclecarclub.com/musclecars/general/musclecars-dealers.shtml#tasca (http://www.musclecarclub.com/musclecars/general/musclecars-dealers.shtml#tasca)

YellowRose
03-30-2010, 03:39 AM
Here is a picture that I received from Bob Tasca, Jr. of his Dad's 427 Flairbird. He has no idea where this car is these days. Bob, Sr. said the same thing to Neil Dods, before Bob, Sr. passed away earlier this year.