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The soon-to-be-mine '59 hardtop

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  • The soon-to-be-mine '59 hardtop

    Here are the pictures taken by the current owner. I'm going to take more tomorrow when we actually get to see the car in person. Hope y'all's tetanus shots are up to date. This is a glorious mess I'm getting myself into.



















  • #2
    Hi John, I can see there is no trunk lock. If that trunk is locked, you will have to take out the back seat, and with a longgggg shaft with the appropriate socket on the end of it, reach in, and see if you can unscrew that bolt that keeps the trunk locked. That should allow you to pop open the trunk. John can tell you what size socket to use, I think. Now... there is such a thing that is called the ROT (short for Rotation) Sheet, or the Build Sheet. The ROT/Build Sheets were generated every day and given to the shift supervisor to hand out to the linemen so they knew what to put on in and each car as it came down the line. The first number on the form was the number indicating what car that was in line to be built next. It is a very flimsy sheet of paper that told the linemen on the production line what to put on and in the car. They were told that when they were finished using it inside the car not to waste time and get out of the car to throw it away. But to stick it in the seat springs. Now, that could have been the back rest springs of the back seat, the back seat springs, or in the springs of the front seats. Some put it in the center console, some, under the dash, and some even put it in the glove box. Some even put it under the carpeting... That sheet is often not found, because after 50-60 years it crumples up into dust. On the other hand, some of our owners have found parts of it, and some even have found a perfectly readable sheet. So when you are taking out the seats, or the carpeting, or anything else inside the car, look for this sheet. Because it will tell you the exact date that the car was built and all the details that went in it and on it, including the VIN #. IF you can find it and if it is in good shape, you will want to protect it in a document protector as an important record of the car and how it was built. Many people have never found it, but some have, and have displayed them on the Forum. I will show you a picture of what to look for. Remember to get me the VIN # and the data info under it off the Data Plate. I certainly hope that it has one on that drivers side column the door closes on. Here is that pic. It is a 1960 ROT/Build Sheet, but the 1958 & 1959 look the same.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    The Terminator.....
    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

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

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    • #3
      Based on the condition of the rest of the interior I'm not optimistic about finding the build sheet.

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      • #4
        IF the lineman put that build sheet in the back rest springs, the back seat springs or the front seat springs, or under the carpet, there is a good chance that it has been protected from the elements pretty well over the years. Some of our owners found theirs in the back rest springs in perfect condition and very readable. Others, not so much.. A lot depends on whether or not previous owners got into the interior and made a lot of changes and either threw out the build sheet because they did not know what it was, or found it dissolved or torn up.

        Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
        The Terminator.....
        Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

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

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        • #5
          John once you have your TBird home the restoration begins one project at a time. There are some very knowledgeable birders on this site who have been there and will help each step of the way. The journey begins and look forward to your pics of your progress.
          Dano Calgary,Alberta Canada
          Thunderbird Registry
          58HT #33317
          60 HT (Sold )

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          • #6
            Just got back from making the purchase. In some ways, the car is better than the pictures make it appear. It's also worse in other ways.

            The Bad:

            More dents than it looks like in the pictures.
            The windshield and door glass are all cracked.
            Much of the car is in the trunk.
            The console appears to be AWOL.
            The trunk lock has been drilled out and the lid mangled to get the trunk open.

            The Good:

            It's a factory AC car.
            The back glass and quarter windows are good.
            The floor is solid as new.
            Very little rust, almost entirely surface.

            The seller also had printed out a few pages of information that let me decode the VIN to see how the car was spec'd from the factory. No real surprises. It's a 352, COM. It also had the base interior (4x) and was painted Colonial White. So a fairly generic bird. It was number 16,703 to roll off the line-- on August 18th. All around, nothing special or rare. I don't know how many AC cars there were, but it doesn't strike me as being a rare choice for a Texas car.

            It's going to be delivered Saturday. Then I'm going to get to work cleaning the interior and trunk, cataloging everything I find. I'm going to hold off on any serious work until I can get the appropriate manuals to really see what I'm doing.

            I only took three more pictures while we were down there. I don't know about posting the VIN plate on the forum, but here are the two I took of under the hood. The air cleaner is present, he just took it off so I could see the carb.





            Looks like a shot of Marvel Mystery Oil and some new plugs and she should fire right up... right?

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            • #7
              I see you were able to get the Data Plate information and that it is pretty much what it was when it left the factory. White exterior, 4x Black & White interior, 352 and COM. The Date is probably not the actual date it was made, but the approximate date. The Build Sheet, if you find it, will give you the actual date. The Data Plate date is +/- the date listed, depending on if they were ahead or behind in production. It is usually a few days off from the Build Sheet. As for the broken windshield and glass, you may be able to get those from Carl Heller ~ partsetal on here. Carl has a ton of OEM parts off his Squarebird parts cars and ships parts all over the world. Also so does John Draxler of Tbird Ranch. His contact info is in the Advertisements Forum. There are other companies who also sell the glass and you will find them in the Advertisement Forum also. As for rust, four areas you need to take a good look at as soon as you can are, the trunk, the rockers, the floor pans (especially the passenger side, which often gets rusted out the worst because it spends more time driving through water than the left side because of the slope of our roads) and the support beam under the radiator and the battery. That area under the battery is often rusted out due to battery acid over the years. I had to have that area on mine repaired. '59 Squarebirds with AC were fairly common.
              Last edited by YellowRose; March 3rd, 2019, 11:19 PM.

              Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
              The Terminator.....
              Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411

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

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for showing the pictures of your new acquisition. I thought the one I bought last Oct was in bad shape but seeing yours gives me hope.
                Attached Files
                59HT TBird Registry: RN#76495
                Sweet Home Alabama, Where the skies are so blue.

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                • #9
                  first thing that comes to my mind is a serious compressor (2 stage) and sandblasting capability. Would want to buy another trunk lid as opposed to dealing with that one. Hope you have a large indoor area!

                  Keep us posted!!

                  john
                  1958 Hardtop
                  #8452 TBird Registry
                  http://tbird.info/registry/DataSheet...r~equals~8452)

                  photo: http://www.squarebirds.org/users/joh...d_June2009.jpg
                  history:
                  http://www.squarebirds.org/users/johng/OCC.htm

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                  • #10
                    I have a console if you can't find one close to home . Also would have the chrome molding for the console side .

                    Good luck with the project .

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by YellowRose View Post
                      That area under the battery is often rusted out due to battery acid over the years. I had to have that area on mine repaired.
                      The engine compartment is in surprisingly good condition. I didn't see any signs of the battery tray being eaten away, which I definitely expected. The VIN plate is in better condition than anything else on the car. Good to know about the date. I really hope I find the build sheet.

                      Originally posted by captjohn View Post
                      Thanks for showing the pictures of your new acquisition. I thought the one I bought last Oct was in bad shape but seeing yours gives me hope.
                      Looks like you had less cleanup to deal with. I'm going to bug-bomb this thing before I even get started. It came from an area that has lots of critters with too many sets of legs.

                      Originally posted by JohnG View Post
                      first thing that comes to my mind is a serious compressor (2 stage) and sandblasting capability. Would want to buy another trunk lid as opposed to dealing with that one. Hope you have a large indoor area!
                      I'm thinking the same thing. Got to see how big a compressor I can run on 110. I don't have 220 in the garage and we rent, so adding 220 is out of the question. My indoor space is the crowded side of the 2-car garage. The bird wouldn't fit in the garage even if we took everything else out. So that space is going to be reserved for the smaller projects- basically anything that can be fixed off the car.

                      Originally posted by OUR5T8BIRD View Post
                      I have a console if you can't find one close to home . Also would have the chrome molding for the console side .
                      I appreciate that but I'm not ready to start collecting parts yet. Even if I had the money I just don't have the space to stockpile much.

                      Another interesting fact... the registration sticker on the windshield says 6/78. So this car hasn't run in forty years. Well, I suppose it's possible it has fired up since then. But it seems unlikely. The question is, why was it parked? I'm going to try to get it running just for giggles. Is there a record for the longest an engine has sat and then been started? The guy I bought it from got it and a '60 from an estate sale. But even the estate didn't have the title because it seems that guy also bought it as a parts car. So this poor bird has been buzzard fodder for decades.

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                      • #12
                        Ah yes the 2 car garage. Here's what mine looks like with the 59 stuffed in it.
                        As to the engine - mine sat for 13 plus years. I did a compression test and found 2 weak cylinders. But after a week of Mystery oil soak the engine fired and ultimately the 2 cylinders came back. I put in fresh oil, new plugs, points, condenser and fresh gas in the carb. The carb leaked for the first several times it ran but eventually the gaskets swelled and it no longer leaks.
                        Good luck getting it up and running.

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                        • #13
                          They are exaggerating when they call mine a 2-car garage. My wife parks her little Hyundai on the one side and there is just enough room to walk around the front of her car to get to the door into the kitchen. The other side has the water heater, I couldn't even park my little Honda there much less a T-bird. I'm not even sure it would fit through the door. It's probably going to be a problem at some point. But at least I can fit an engine stand and a decent work bench for other projects.

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                          • #14
                            Have you got a good digital camera? I have over 1000 photos of my car in various state of blow out and build back up. Invaluable when a year goes by between take apart and reassembly...

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                            • #15
                              Haven't gotten a camera yet. The one on my phone will have to do for now. I'm definitely open to suggestions on what models to look at though. Ideally, I need one that takes decent video too. I've got folders on Flickr and Google drive specifically for the Thunderbird. Making sure I have backups.

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