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  • A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

    For those who have seen the Welcoming comments in that Forum for Mark Mundorff ~ AVANCIER THUNDERBIRD, you will see that he has owned a '59 Tbird set up for racing. He has owned it since 1967 and has been trying to find out it's history prior to him purchasing it. Holman-Moody says it is not one of their cars that they received from the factory. Their website says they received 10 cars, but other accounts has it at 11 to 13. Mark and I have been having an email conversation back and forth and I asked for permission to post his comments in hopes that someone out there might know something about this Tbird so that we can nail down more of it's history. Here is what he has to say.

    "My name is Mark Mundorff and I am one of the 20 or so charter members of the original VTCA out of Tulsa back in about 1972. Don Brix was the key person at that time if my memory serves me half way correctly. In the late 70’s, I sent a full set of all the original service bulletins from a local Ford dealer to Larry Seyfarth in Detroit. I don’t know what might have happened to all the stuff I sent to him like that? (My note: If anyone knows Larry Seyfarth, I would like to get in contact with him regarding the location of that complete set of original service documents!)

    I just recently “rediscovered” your web site and I just recently rejoined the other larger club out of Wash state. I do think there is a very legitimate need and desire for a group that you are representing here for just the 58-60 T-birds. By the way, I have had mine since 1967. And maybe someone in this group will have some comments or insight into my mystery bird. No one else has in the many years and efforts I have made trying to discover where it came from and why.

    In a nutshell, mine is a 59 T-bird…….430 engine……3 speed overdrive, no options at all on the car. 2 shocks per wheel, 15 inch tires, custom functional side vents into the engine compartment and 1 in the hood , radiused wheel wells in back, traction rods welded in on the rear axle, top speed 160+ mph with ease and stability. Bought in Omaha in 1967 with 30,000 miles on it. VIN Plate says had automatic trans and accessories. Was factory black then gold then red with white top as it is now. There is no sign of ever having had an automatic transmission. (My Note: So it left the factory with a VIN # and Data Plate showing what it was when it left there. That seems to indicate it was not one of the H&M Race Cars. I do not know if they left the factory with VIN #'s and Data Plates, but I make the assumption that they did, in order to control car production and status. I tried to contact someone at H&M but they are closed.)

    The driver’s side sun visor has the word “AVANCIER” nicely hand lettered on it. From what I have been told, that is old world French meaning “ahead of its time” French language experts say most French would never use that word or know what it meant. The hood vent is on the passenger’s side and is professionally molded into the hood metal with a shallow trough running back to the windshield for no reason what so ever!

    I have told and asked many people if they have any ideas……..speculation but nothing concrete. Omaha is where the 59 T-bird came from that almost won the 1st Daytona race. Rumor is that other T-birds came to Omaha without general knowledge of most people. Speculation is this was one Ford put together for racing from the factory itself. Holman and Moody says it is not one of theirs. When we bought it, we were told the sister to it was wrecked in a race. We were told there had been 11-13 of them originally. Holman and Moody said they only built 11 of them? (Note that the Holman-Moody website says 10!)

    By mid racing season, one problem the T-birds had was uplift at the speeds they were capable of going. Ford was working on how to keep them down………..but very very little is ever written about that. This version, has no problems at 160 mph staying stable and on the ground, because of the very functional side vents very professionally cut in and directed to the engine compartment. Was it a Ford built test car for race development that got shipped to the car builders in Omaha? No one is left that seems to have any knowledge back then. Is it doomed to slip into history and forgotten? It is an absolutely beautifully built and finished car, every bit a show car that goes from 0-160+ from grocery store parking lot to race track with the loaf of bread and bottle of milk in the back seat.

    Any thoughts or comments are welcome.

    Mark Mundorff
    Mapes Industries
    Lincoln NE
    68514 "

    mmundorff@mapes.com

    Since then comes additional comments from Mark.

    "Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. You can use my name and address and email if you would like. That is fine with me. My guess is no one will know about it after trying for the last 10 yrs and the trail is growing colder all the time. One thing that is a really curious circumstantial item of interest but unverifiable is this. When we bought the car, I was 15. We farmed in central Nebr, about 150 miles west of Omaha. Dad, who is now 93, is the one who recalls some of the comments made about the car. I just wanted a T-Bird. We knew nothing of T-Birds or racing given our background. He is the one who was told the 2nd car like it was wrecked in a race. But the oddest recollection he has is insightful since it is totally meaningless! They mentioned to him that at one time, they did know if they were going to take the top off and run as a convertible. That was an irrational comment to him since it made absolutely no sense! (My Note: Ford Tbirds were run with the tops off, known as "Zipper Tops". I will post some pix of these '59 Tbirds.)

    As far as the service bulletins, they were all the originals, all in exact chronological order, all in excellent shape, all in neat boxes saved by our little town Ford dealer who went out of business in about 1974. All were sent without making copies (you can imagine copying 500+ pages in 1974) and all were acknowledged recvd and thanks extended to me by Larry. At that time I had been and was an active member of the original VTCA and have the original paper listing those first 20 or so members. But I do NOT have copies of the service bulletins. I assumed they would be in good hands? Wasn’t that kind of thing achieved and stored for future use? Larry was President of the club for at least several years and it was he that I sent the VIN number to and it was he who told me the car did not exist in Ford’s records.

    As far as contributing to the Forum, I would be more than happy to. The effort and information available here is invaluable. I will send you a check. (My Note: To become a Paid Member) As far as Lincolns, both of my T-Birds have the 430 Lincoln engine, so the connection is there for sure. For the purist, neither are stock in details, but both used to stop traffic and turns heads when they were running. I took the 60 sunroof on my honeymoon back in 84 and it was gorgeous !! I still have the car but she is gone to follow her dreams.

    I am very happy to have rediscovered your group and plan to stay involved and support it. But by all means, use my name and I will try to send you a picture soon.

    Take care and Happy New Year.

    Mark Mundorff"

    mmundorff@mapes.com

    I have asked Mark to send a number of pictures, showing the engine well, the modifications made to the body, etc. and the VIN # and Data Plate information. Now, IF ANYONE knows anything further about this Tbird, Mark and the Forum would love to know about it. Please post here.

    Here are several pictures. One of the famous Petty-Beauchamp race with Beauchamp in his '59 Tbird. One of a Holman-Moody '59 race car restored as it was in 1959 and one of a "Zipper Top" Tbird. I will post the other pix that Mark just sent me in another post! You will see about 8 pix of what it looks like today, including the VIN # and Data Plate information. The VIN # appears to be J9YH163343 but it is a bit hard to read that one "3". That VIN # is NOT in the Tbird Registry.
    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

  • #2
    A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

    Here are the pix that Mark just sent me. I am sure you will be interested in seeing these. Notice that the brakes are set up for Disk Brakes all around it appears to me. I hope Mark can send me some pix of the engine well. You will get to see a full drivers side view of the car.
    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


    • #3
      That's very cool to see old race cars still around or even if it's a replica. I had the chance to buy a 66 Charger replica that was all period correct just couldn't get it in the country without a huge hassle so I let it go
      Attached Files

      Comment


      • #4
        Very exciting car there Ray! Hope someone knows something.
        With those modifications, my most humbe guess would be that it´s a private racing car modified by someone with a little raceshop who might then race it on the weekends. The wheel arches looks a bit like something that either vent into dirt tracks as it is quite generous, or maybe for fast pit stops for tire change? In a way also like some kind of gasser for the dragstrip, but att the efforts to do the modification for the radiator cap on the hood don´t make any sence for dragracing but more for endurance stuff or at least long enough for the engine to go very hot. La Carrera Panamericana? Those cars might need double shocks to hold on over the distance? That would be exciting! The radio antenna confuses me though. What racecar have that? The seats looks like stock as well, and as in my car, there is nothing that holds the backrest in place, I can´t see anyone racing a car without good racing seats with a lot of seat belts to keep the driver in place during cornering and braking.
        Last edited by Anders; December 30th, 2010, 09:07 PM.
        sigpic..."Lil darling Ruth"
        http://www.tbirdregistry.com/#33158

        Comment


        • #5
          A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

          According to the Data Plate, this Tbird left the Wixom factory with a 430MEL engine, a VIN# of either J9YH163343 or J9YH165343 (it is hard to read. Which is it Mark?), as either the 63,343th car to come off the line, or the 65,343th car out of 67,456 '59 Tbirds produced. Neither of those VIN #'s are in the Tbird Registry - www.tbirdregistry.com

          According to the Data Plate (which looks like the original one to me) it left there as a 2Dr HT which it is, with a Color Code A = Raven Black paint job all over. With a Trim Code of 1Y = Leather Interior. With a Date of 10H = 10 August, near the end of the production run, as it's VIN # indicates. With a Trans Code of 4 = 3 Spd Automatic COM, (required for the 430MEL engine) and an Axle Code of 5 = 2.91:1, standard for the 430MEL engines according to Automotive Mile Posts.
          http://automotivemileposts.com/tbird...fications.html

          I have no idea what the grease pencil 359 indicates. So this Tbird, according to it's Data Plate, left there as a standard 430MEL Raven Black, with black leather interior, a 3 Spd Automatic COM tranny, and a 2.91:1 axle, produced towards the end of the 1959 Tbird production run.. Can anyone add to this?

          I can't tell what the lettering on the back window reads. I can see that it does not have the standard '59 Tbird rear view mirror. It could be the '60 mirror with the Day/Night knob at the bottom that they switched to in the '60 run. It has a later model mirror on it, as my Tbird does, after I replaced it with a mirror that gave me better rear viewing. And yes, those seats look like the original black leather seats that came from the factory. Not seats that a car fully set up for racing would have. It appears to me that, as Anders suggested, this might have been a private individual who was prepping this car for racing to some extent, but not a company like H&M.
          Last edited by YellowRose; December 31st, 2010, 12:59 PM. Reason: Additional Information

          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
            The guy that I got my car (with the open rear wheelwells) from also lived in Nebraska.....

            Coincidence?
            Attached Files
            http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...ryNumber=33517

            Comment


            • #7
              A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

              Hey Greg! Any chance of you contacting the previous owner of your beautiful Tbird and asking him if he remembers doing a similar thing to a black '59 Tbird with black leather interior? Maybe he might be the one who did the racing mods to this car. You never know. Mark said he bought it in Omaha in 1967. You might run the information by your previous owner and see if any of this rings a bell with him, if that is possible to do.

              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
                More On Mark's '59 Racing Tbird..

                More information from Mark regarding his '59 Tbird partially set up for racing and his 1960 Golde Top. In another post, I will give you some history and pix of the '59 Tbirds in the 1959 Daytona 500 that the Burdick Garage Racing Team out of Omaha, Nebraska should have won. The decision to give the race to Lee Perry is still being debated today amongst oldtimers. The following is from Mark and I will probably put some comments in from the research I have done so far.

                "I went digging through my old emails concerning T-birds that I got with other office emails and found this one dated 11/08.

                Per Bob Mays who knew Bob Burdick, who had the 59 T-bird that almost won the 1st Daytona.

                "all I know is what Bob told me. "some Ford Factory reps asked him if he would go south and race. Roy Burdick said sure, but he would need something to start with" One day six 1959 T-birds showed up at his garage in Omaha. Roy asked where they came from? The guy delivering them said "they fell down an elevator shaft at the factory and they were brought to Omaha for scrap".

                Bob Mays thinks the one Johnny Beuchamp drove in Daytona was on of these and not from Homan and Moody!! (My note: Bob is correct, as history records it was a Beauchamp driven Bob Burdick Tbird) And Bob Mays knew them all personally. And then he finishes his comments by asking, "what happened to the others"? (My note: Both Roy and Bob Burdick have passed on recently, but Roy's brother Budd is/was still alive. I am trying to find out if the Burdick Garage Racing Team in Omaha still exists or who might have the records of those 6 Tbirds) Bob Mays still may be alive and I can try to tell me more in detail that his short email that I sort of forgot the details about. Think what kind of ruckas it would make for a Nebraska race car builder and driver to win Daytona? Holman and Moody were southern boys and was Petty. They say that is still one of the most disputed races in NASCAR history!

                Thanks again and you can post anything I write to you if you want."

                And then this PM.

                "Ray, I also found the place where I saw the vents similar to mine. If you have a copy of Alan Tast's book on Thunderbirds, 55-66. Look on page 81 and look at the sketch on the lower left hand corner and then look at the picture of the front vents on my T-Bird and if that does not make your hear skip a beat.

                I have seen this before, maybe years ago when I was working with Larry Seyfarth (My note: I have contacted a Larry Seyfarth in Detroit (I think I have the right one) to find out if he still has all those service bulletins that Mark sent him years ago, and if so, would he like to divest himself of them..) on trying to find the history of my car? All hit a dead end. So what does the 359 mean? The roof line detail, which you cannot see in the picture is extremely classic in detail and is a great refined detail for appearance reasons only. Concept for a new model?"

                Followed by this one!

                "Your interest in this quest is so very much appreciated. I sent you an email this morning with the serial numbers for both the 59 Avancier and the 60 SR.

                The 59 does not have booster (My note: I asked him if it had one under the hood. It probably has the under the dash booster) and it has a single MC. Dual MC did not come about till mandated by the government in about 1967. Not on any american car anyhow as std equipment.

                The 60 has the booster on inside I think. I would have to look for sure.

                I will need to see if I can find any pictures of when I finished some of the restoration years ago, on both for that matter. (My note: We would love to see pix of your '60 J Code Golde Top also. I am missing an email from you!)

                On the vents, yes there are several sketches of vents on the sides of cars, but this one looks like a dead ringer in almost every detail including center rib, slant of the vents and shape of the vents and placement on the fenders.

                If you would, look for the other email for not only the serial number but other interesting comments. But just for the record the 59 is J9YH165343. The 60 SR is also a 430 and early production with smooth roof band.

                And yes, that is that the same Larry Seyfarth. He had a white 60 and worked for Ford at the time. (My note: I read somewhere, that Larry Seyfarth was a Ford engineer and might have been involved in producing the Squarebird.)

                One of my purposes in pursuing the history of the 59 is that if it has some historical value, I probably would not take it out on the road very often when I do get it running again. If not, then I will not too concerned. When I got the car back in 67, it fulfilled the prayers and dreams of a kid that could only dream of such a car! And then, there is was! Can you imagine bringing a car like that back to a small town of 700 people in the middle of Nebraska. It was the talk of the town for weeks!"

                Mark's PM/emails are posted with his permission

                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


                • #9
                  This is why Squarebirds web site is so AWESOME! Where else can you go and get all this great automobile history!
                  Keep up the great work guys, this is great!
                  Richard D. Hord
                  sigpic'60 Thunderbird "Christine"
                  Registry #33436

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    More on Racing Squarebirds...

                    Here are several websites that talk about the Daytona races, the Beauchamp-Perry race, the Burdick Garage Racing Team, operating on a shoestring, unlike Holman-Moody. You will probably find them interesting reading. Of the 40+ NASCAR races ran in 1959 Tbirds took the flag 7 times. The '59 Tbirds with their 430MEL engines held their own in competition and then some. Suddenly, NASCAR race cars where going faster, but on tires, at the time, that were not built for that high speed, so I read. Here are some web pages, followed by some racing Tbird pix.

                    http://www.wilsonsracereport.com/?p=1657

                    http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/opin...ick/index.html

                    http://midwestracingarchives.blogspo...b-burdick.html

                    http://www.playlandspeedway.com/burdicks.html

                    Now for the pictures. You will see a couple of Tbirds as "Pop Tops" or "Zipper Tops" as they were also called. Some of the Tbirds (I don't know if they were all configured like this) were modified so that their tops could be taken off and the car races as a "Pop Top/Zipper Top". When they wanted to race it with the roof on, they just bolted it back onto the car. #12 and #41 and #64 were also reported to fall in this category. I do not know about the Burdick #73 car.

                    I am going to try to find a contact with the Burdick family and Holman-Moody tomorrow, to see if they kept the VIN #/Data Plate information on these Tbirds. If I can get them, I will post them and register them in the Tbird Registry. Here are some more pix. Dr. Walter Warpeha of Minnesota, built a replica of the Burdick #73 car and you will see a couple pix of it. Also of a young Roy and Bob Burdick and the car. In another pic there is Tbird #12, 37 and what appears to be #54 fighting it out for position. There is a Daytona500 '59 race pic. Another pic of #64 by itself and one of #41. It is difficult to tell which car was sponsored by who. Dr. Walter Warpeha's Tbird is in the Tbird Registry! Here is the link to it!

                    http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=5670

                    I just discovered that Dr. Warpeha credited Holman-Moody as being the owner of the #73. That is accurate, as you can see from the pictures and the links. That is Bob Burdick and his Dad Roy standing by the #73 car. The car was obtained from H&M.
                    Attached Files
                    Last edited by YellowRose; January 3rd, 2011, 11:26 PM. Reason: Corrected some information

                    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


                    • #11
                      More Information From Mark

                      The following is a result of several more PM's or emails from Mark about his Tbird(s). Mostly about the '59. Hopefully, he will send me some pix of his '60 430MEL Golde Top also.

                      "This 59 never had anything! It was tough to steer and took someone used to stopping farm trucks to stop it without power brakes. There is nothing behind the dash and certainly nothing in the engine compartment. I have taken all that in and out when I replaced the dash pad. There was nothing but a rats nest of mismatched wires and inline fuses everywhere. And a radio and heater. And factory, (My Note: Almost certainly NOT factory. They did not install seat belts at the factory to my knowledge) very industrial looking seat belts, almost military style with heavy webbing and dull aluminum flip locks. Looking back,that seems odd for a car that had only 30,000 miles on it. The 60 SR was much better organized.

                      And I have a little experience swinging wrenches since we had between 10 and 15,000 cubic inches of engine and farm machinery to maintain and my father and I did it all."

                      Next comments:

                      "What if one of the scrapped T-birds had been a Ford concept car that they usually destroy anyhow. What if it came from Ford that way and was never really raced, only sort of test set up that way. Maybe it was all Ford, including the shock towers and suspension changes and limited accessories and the vents were part of the concept ideas." (My note: First of all, I doubt that the 6 "scrapped" Tbirds that "fell down an elevator shaft at the factory and they were brought to Omaha for scrap" never fell down an elevator. Someone on the Ford racing team probably used this as a reason to ship 6 Tbirds to Burdick to use in racing against the non-Ford NASCAR cars. They probably marked 6 cars as being scrapped for whatever reasons and then had them shipped to Burdick to be "scrapped". I don't think this was a concept car either. I think either it was a car from Burdick's that was only partially modified. Or it was someone else, a person, or some other shop that had some ideas about cooling the engine and started this modification but did not finish it. I have not seen vents cut in the other racing Tbirds of H&M or Burdick cars. I doubt that Ford had anything to do with the modifications made to the car. It is my thinking that car left the factory exactly as the Data Plate says. I have asked Mark if he has found a ROT/Build Sheet for it, because if he has, it will tell him exactly what was on the car or was not, when it rolled out the door.

                      It is a long shot but speculation is all I have to go on after so many years of asking around."

                      Next comments:

                      "The 1959 is: J9YH165343, This is the Avancier T-Bird. In looking at the steering wheel and steering column on this car, the center medalian does not say power steering and there is no shift location insert for automatic transmissions. And from my recollections, the wiring is a mess with none of the wiring colors and stripes matching from the front side of the car to the rear. The 60 SR is just fine! Also, not unusual I suppose for work done back then, but all the body work done was in lead. Did you ever run across that sketch of a Ford T-bird with the vents sketched in like mine. It was a copy from Ford archives I saw somewhere a long time ago. Part of me thinks this was a collection of efforts combining custom concepts, racing configuration and a test vehicle for Ford or someone with Fords support. Supposedly, from what I understand, there were several people in Omaha with direct connections to Fords racing interests and had direct Ford support, separate and apart from Holman and Moody?

                      I asked Dad again about his memories and he said that they also told him they were running speed trials on open highway west of Omaha. He said he does not really remember who it was he talked to, just the person he talked to on the phone when he asked about the background of the car when we bought it. That was the same conversation I guess when they told him they did not know if they would be running as a convertible or not. Lots of loose ends but from so long ago that there is little way to connect it all into one history.

                      Is this the way you would set up a car more for speed trials than circle track racing. And why? Does Dad's recollection have merit of guaranteeing 180mph per Ford. 160 is a piece of cake and you can eat it at the same time at that speed!!

                      The 1960 Sunroof is : OY71J114482 early production with smooth band. It did have a wind bar on it originally. I gave it someone in Calif in about 1974 who was restoring to original and I did not want it on. The 60 is modified anyhow so original potential is long gone."

                      Next comments:

                      "I lived in Austin for a couple years and got down to San Antonio once in while. As I mentioned, somewhere in the boxes of slides I have from long long ago is the Avancier T-Bird in Lukenbach (TX). I should try to find it.

                      On one of my business trips in the last couple years, I stopped at the NASCAR museum in Mooresville and looked at the one they have on display. I also had my laptop with the picture I sent to you to show them. They were puzzled at the car and had no idea, which did not surprise me. They did let me crawl around the car on display and look under it. That car was definitely set up for racing with all the roll bar attachments and multiple shocks mounts and I believe a guard around the drive shaft. Mine does not seem to have had any of that.

                      What I did notice was the quality of the welding of the shock mounts on my car was very neatly and professionally done. Not so much on the museum car! The wheel wells are still completely intact, in the original profile, although slightly bulged out as if to give a little more room for tire changing.

                      (My Note: The following is somewhat of a repeat of an earlier post with some additional information.)

                      Here is another little anecdote from the memory of someone who was around the people who owned and raced Johnny Buechamps car that almost won that 1st Daytona. He said Ford aproached them to see if they wanted to race for Ford. He said sure but he had nothing to race. This persons recollections, which I have in an email to me, said one day a truck pulled into their shop with a bunch of T-birds on it. When someone asked where they came from, the driver said "they fell down an elevator shaft at Ford" . He does not know how many were left there. He also said he thought Ford tried to get into the game later on by building their own versions of race prepped T-Birds? He said it might be possible a couple of these were sent to McFayden Ford in Omaha. But that is total speculation. He has seen the pictures of my car, but can add little of concrete substance to the conjecture.

                      What I really want to know is if this might have been a car sent to Omaha, to those racing the T-Birds, and they were asked to work on keeping these cars on the ground at the speeds they could go. My 60 with the 430 will reach about 150 mph and then the hood buckles and pops the latches. Otherwise it was starting to drift sideways at that speed.

                      With the 59, at 160 mph, you can eat a Big Mac and super size drink because the car is steady as a rock at 160 mph and backing off the accelerator. Dad said he was told it was guaranteed to reach 180 mph by the used car dealer we bought it from. I don't know about that, but 160 mph and steady is not that far off!! The little piece of paper that came with the car had a hand written list of "upgrades" including heavy duty everything. (My note: NOW I just noticed what he said! "That little piece of paper that came with the car had a hand written list of "upgrades"" could be the ROT/Build Sheet I was asking Mark if he had! I have asked him for a copy of it.) You can let the clutch out in 3rd gear from a dead stop and accelerate to about 100 mph and then shift into overdrive to go on up to 150 plus and never touch the clutch again from that dead stop. By the way, it has over sized drum brakes all the way around, no disc brakes. (My Note: I took them to be disc brakes from the look of them!)

                      The radiator cap you see is my own modification to move the expansion tank from over the engine to the fender wall. It always leaked and was hard to get that pot metal flange to stay tight. After I made my own tank, and added a flex fan with shroud, I never had another heating problem or water leak problem. Both 430's had the same problem and both got fixed the same way. So, before that, there was nothing but the engine compartment you could see looking down the little scoop opening. But I always knew the original expansion tank was leaking again because antifreeze droplets would start hitting the passenger side windshield coming out of that little reverse scoop.

                      That is a neatly formed little trough coming out of that opening! The entire effort there has no obvious use. Assuming they just wanted to let more air out for some reason, they sure did not need to form that trough. And from an appearance standpoint, form had to follow function, because for visual reasons, that trough is pointless. Unless something from the passenger compartment went in and out of the engine compartment for monitoring? Then a little trough would be understandable, if not preferred or required, by tech people wanted to keep wires and hoses from flying around? Would locals go to that much work or is that a hallmark of a factory mentality."

                      More comments:

                      "Alan Tast lives here in Nebraska, not too far from me, and I gave him the VIN numbers and he has seen a picture of it. I tried to relay some of the anecdotal information to him as well. (My Note: I am trying to get the two of them together so Alan can go over the car(s) in detail.) The car seems to have no beginning and seems to be presumed simply a customized T-Bird, which it is. But why weld in additional shock towers in front that limit the turning radius of the tires before hitting the locks? Why weld in traction bars? Why mold in a " small hood scoop" on one side that adds nothing aesthetically, as would a show car modification would explain. Why a show car without a single typical accessory that would be considered a "nice touch" for a show car. It has a radio and heater, that's it. And why not power steering at least? With that 430 engine, it is hard to steer with manual steering. And why a 3 speed transmission, on the column no less, for show car? The only comparable rationale is that is exactly how the race cars were done. Except, no vents on the fenders and hood. Some have suggested it was converted to a show car after being built into the race configuration. That would make sense certainly. And so we are left with the ultimate question with no basis for explanation..........AVANCIER."

                      "Reply about power brakes: This has the 3 speed overdrive in it. The pedals are just plain rubber, as you might see in a basic Ford car of that era which is probably where they got the clutch and brake pedals when it was equipped from the factory that way." (My Note: I had asked Mark if the brake pedal had the POWER BRAKE word on it, indicating that it left the factory with power brakes in place. If it did, someone replaced it.)

                      I am up to date on comments from Mark. There you have the saga of the '59 Tbird Race Car.. On Monday, I plan on calling Holman-Moody to see if anyone is still there who can tell me about their racing Squarebirds. Both of Marks Squarebirds have now been registered in the Tbird Registry by me this evening.
                      Last edited by YellowRose; January 2nd, 2011, 10:28 AM. Reason: Additional Information

                      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


                      • #12
                        Better have some good tires on that car if you're going to be blasting down a deserted Nebraska highway at 150mph ...

                        I'd be interested to know what sort of HP that motor has, and what rear end gears it has.
                        http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...ryNumber=33517

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

                          Hi Greg, Down in the text of one of the initial posts is the full breakdown of the VIN # and Data Plate information. It left the factory with the standard 430MEL engine in it and an Axle Code of 5 = 2.91:1, the standard axle on a Tbird with a 430MEL engine. As far as I know, and Mark can tell us if this is different, it still has that axle in it. I do not know if someone souped up the 430MEL or not, and he might not know.

                          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


                          • #14
                            Rear Axle ratio comment

                            Ray, the hand written note, not a factory note, says the axle ratio is 4:11.

                            When I was working on the car way back in the 70's, it was not unusual for me to take it out on the asphalt road and take it up to 140 mph as a routine. I had brand new 15 inch Michelins on it. The 160 mph was much less often since it seemed a quantum jump in speed as compared to a relatively mild 140 mph. And the tach was pushing the limit I thought for that engine. The car ran very smooth and very comfortably at 140, so that kind of became the typical high end just for the fun of it. As I mentioned, the 60 would start drifting a little at 140+ until the hood buckled and the latches let go, then it was ok too at 140 mph. It has an automatic and 2:91 .

                            But it was fun with the 59 to start in high gear and simply not shift except into overdrive and feel and hear the engine pulling faster and faster. Starting out in that was is not advisable if you want to keep your clutch, but it seemed to lock up fast and not slip at all. But I did that only very occasionally.

                            thanks

                            mark


                            Originally posted by YellowRose View Post
                            Hi Greg, Down in the text of one of the initial posts is the full breakdown of the VIN # and Data Plate information. It left the factory with the standard 430MEL engine in it and an Axle Code of 5 = 2.91:1, the standard axle on a Tbird with a 430MEL engine. As far as I know, and Mark can tell us if this is different, it still has that axle in it. I do not know if someone souped up the 430MEL or not, and he might not know.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

                              Mark, your '59 Tbird is now in the Tbird Registry as #34135.

                              http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...ryNumber=34135

                              Your 1960 J Code Tbird was submitted by the Heartland Vintage Tbird Club quite some time back, I gather because it is # 1521 in the registry.

                              http://www.tbirdregistry.com/viewdat...tryNumber=1521

                              If you will send me the Data Plate information on it, I can update that part of the Tbird Registry for you. John Rotella, of Love Fords website also runs the Thunderbird Registry www.tbirdregistry.com

                              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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