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  • Interesting FOMOCO History From bikerguyflip

    Shortly after Phil Draper ~ bikerguyflip joined us, I received an interesting email from him giving me some history of the Ford Company. You might enjoy what he has to say.

    "Thank you for accepting me. I find your site very interesting for a number of reasons, first, I knew Ben J. Smith in the fifties. I wanted to build fiberglass 55-56 t-Bird reduced in size on a Crosley frame, I keep bugging him for drawings, finally he brought me this roll of paper, I tried to look at it in the car on the way home from church, no way. When we got home I tried again, this time in the living room. again no way. Then I went upstairs, thirty-five feet of clear floor. I don't remember how wide the paper roll was, maybe three feet but longer then thirty-five feet... it was dark blue on white paper and I was so disappointed, nothing looked right. It was not a 55-56 T-Bird, so I gave up... he had given me a half scale drawing of the future '57 Thunderbird long before it's debut. He also drove the XE1500 to church which in reality was the soon be be released Continental ll, only this one had a retractable hard top. At my age I have so many stories. Back then any car owned by Ford had a bulls-eye on the corner of the windshield a red center with number in the center, red meant restricted drivers only, green meant anyone that could have a company car. Some times there may have two or three reds in the church parking lot as there were engineers from all the auto manufactures going to our church... In the sixties I owned two '59 birds, one had factory air...I just help a young man restore a '57... I have so many more stories or if you have questions about these, all you have to do is ask, be careful what you ask for. You can always share anything I write you as I think it may interest your group. I will look forward to hearing from you. Yours in history, Phil (bikerguyflip) Draper."

    Here is a picture of what the Continental Mark II looks like... It would be great if he had a picture of the retractable top version! I have asked him...

    CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116034
    Attached Files
    Last edited by YellowRose; December 3rd, 2017, 10:38 AM.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
    "It's Hip To Be Square"
    Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

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

  • #2
    Interesting FOMOCO History From bikerguyflip

    In response to his email, Phil ~bikerguyflip sent me this information.

    "Ben Smith drove it to a church function and we rode with him, my dad and he were good friends. I don't even know how I remember the designation, everyone denied it ever existed. I don't know of any photos of the XE1500. Ben Smith had a website a few years ago (no longer available I found) where he made reference to it, not as the XE1500 but as a Mark ll retractable hardtop he had built at Ford. After leaving Ford he and his youngest son, Dave, founded a company that retrofitted Mustangs with manually operated retractable hardtops... Ben was ten years younger than my father. A very interesting man another engineer, Bob Studt, came to church with a 1955 Ford. It had a barn door hasp bolted on the hood with a padlock. He would not open the hood but told me it had a free piston engine, a type of compressor the Germans developed for their submarines. I believe Ford was driving a turbine with it. Bob was quite tight lipped, always. I think Ben may be still alive in his nineties, living in Arizona, Google him, you will find it very interesting...he had a lot to do with the design of the Thunderbirds. Phil Draper."

    Here are some additional links you might find interesting.

    1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable Hardtop...1965 Ford Mustang With Retractable Hardtop... Continental Mark II With Retractable Hardtop...

    http://www.providencejournal.com/car...-stand-out.ece

    The Retractable Hardtop story as told by Hemmings Magazine....

    https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hc...r/3747391.html

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
    "It's Hip To Be Square"
    Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by YellowRose View Post
      In response to his email, Phil ~bikerguyflip sent me this information.

      "Ben Smith drove it to a church function and we rode with him, my dad and he were good friends. I don't even know how I remember the designation, everyone denied it ever existed. I don't know of any photos of the XE1500. Ben Smith had a website a few years ago (no longer available I found) where he made reference to it, not as the XE1500 but as a Mark ll retractable hardtop he had built at Ford. After leaving Ford he and his youngest son, Dave, founded a company that retrofitted Mustangs with manually operated retractable hardtops... Ben was ten years younger than my father. A very interesting man another engineer, Bob Studt, came to church with a 1955 Ford. It had a barn door hasp bolted on the hood with a padlock. He would not open the hood but told me it had a free piston engine, a type of compressor the Germans developed for their submarines. I believe Ford was driving a turbine with it. Bob was quite tight lipped, always. I think Ben may be still alive in his nineties, living in Arizona, Google him, you will find it very interesting...he had a lot to do with the design of the Thunderbirds. Phil Draper."

      Here are some additional links you might find interesting.

      1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner Retractable Hardtop...1965 Ford Mustang With Retractable Hardtop... Continental Mark II With Retractable Hardtop...

      http://www.providencejournal.com/car...-stand-out.ece

      The Retractable Hardtop story as told by Hemmings Magazine....

      https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hc...r/3747391.html
      Very interesting reading Ray / Phil , thanks for sharing .

      Comment


      • #4
        This is an awesome piece of history and if not fully documented already, needs to be!! First hand info from this time frame is almost non-existent!!!

        Would love to read more!

        Comment


        • #5
          Interesting FOMOCO History From bikerguyflip

          Phil ~ bikerguyflip just sent me some additional information regarding a '29 Model A on a '32 frame. Here is what he said.

          "The person pictured below is George DeLorean. I haven't even scratched the surface yet, my youngest brother still lives in Detroit where he has always hobnobbed with the automotive elite. He was personal friends with John DeLoreon. He works daily with his brother George, now 86 and still very active. Knew many of the Ford engineers that worked on experimental cars. Just last month he finished restoring a '29 Model A, on a '32 frame built for Harry McAuliffe, now in his late eighties or early nineties, with Arden hemi heads on a 59AB flathead engine. My brother called me one day and asked if I wanted a DeLorian to drive, I said no... so my life has been interesting...Phil"

          Here is that picture!
          Attached Files

          Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
          '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
          "It's Hip To Be Square"
          Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

          Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

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

          Comment


          • #6
            As Joe has already mentioned this is a MUST capture of historical information on our site, as it relates to FOMOCO

            This is an awesome piece of history and if not fully documented already, needs to be!! First hand info from this time frame is almost non-existent!!!
            Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
            Thunderbird Registry
            58HT #33317
            60 HT (Sold )

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting FOMOCO History From bikerguyflip

              The good thing is that we are capturing it here for posterity. So these tidbits of FOMOCO history that Phil is providing will always be available.

              Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
              '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
              "It's Hip To Be Square"
              Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

              Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Interesting FOMOCO History From bikerguyflip

                Phil continues giving us a living history of FOMOCO from his memories of many, many years. Here is more...

                "So many stories have come back to me. I just remembered at the time I owned two 1967 Lincoln Continentals, two '59 Birds and was driving a 1969 Mark lll. Out back I had a couple '58 Mark llls. That chrome trim would have filled 5 or 6 semis at least.

                I never met John, I guess he was quite a character. My brother and I were at my sister's B&B in New Jersey when he said lets go up to New York and visit John, but I declined. My brother and he seemed to be cut out of the same piece of cloth...When my brother lived in Ann Arbor, I was tripping through his shop when I came upon an AC Shelby, bright dark blue metallic, one of two built with a 427 side oiler and an automatic tranny. He was doing some body work on it...Like I said...interesting. When I came to Bay City there was a warehouse, filled with surplus chrome sixties Ford, Lincoln T-Bird etc. I had no idea they were going to scrap it and sell the building...I was an independent engineer called in to do a job, self taught like Ben Smith. I had to dig out a couple of Continental pieces for service, literately tons were scrapped. Wish I had them now...Phil."

                Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                '59 Tbird "The Yellow Rose Of Texas" aka "Tweety Bird"
                "It's Hip To Be Square"
                Thunderbird Registry #33025 VTCI #11178

                Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or (Cell) 210-875-1411 (Home) 210-674-5781

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

                Comment

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