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Molly Gursky ~ DrivenResto

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  • Molly Gursky ~ DrivenResto

    Molly is owner of her own classic car restoration shop in Randolph, Wisconsin! She is also the one who does all the welding for their shop! She also runs the office, but prefers to be on the floor tearing down a classic car or welding on it. She found our Forum and decided to join us because they are in the process of restoring and customizing a customer's 1959 White Squarebird that has been in that family since 1961. She has just posted a response to the Welcome we posted to her and listed their Blog so that ya'll can watch the tear down, and rebuilding of this old classic Squarebirds, which after all these years, is still in pretty good condition. I won't go into the details as to what is being done here, but will post the link to their Blog so ya'll can follow them on what they are doing. She and Steve will be posting their work in the blog or on here, as they have question and comments. In a lengthy phone conversation with Molly, I have already given them a pretty good overview of the Forum and how we can help them. I think this is their first Squarebird rodeo for them.. Their contact information has been added to the Advertisements Forum. Here is the Blog link and their website link.
    Last edited by YellowRose; November 20th, 2018, 04:16 PM.

    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

  • #2
    I called the shop and left a message yesterday. No return call today (so far). - Dave
    My latest project:
    CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

    "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
    --Lee Iacocca


    • #3
      so.... how do they build a chassis for a unibody car/


      • #4
        The Body Shop starts with a floorpan spot welded to a front and rear sub-frame. The middle section rockers are simply channels that are welded to the floorpan and torque boxes. Convertibles get extra-heavy metal channels and reinforcement plates where the rear subframe meets the rocker channels and floorpan.

        Once the base is intact, the outer subassemblies like side apertures, firewall, cowl top, back seat metal, rear tail light metal, and roof headers are 'toy-tabbed' together.

        The whole thing is bolted to two (conveyor) skids. As the body approaches the Bucks, it shakes around like a drunken sailor. The Bucks are precise fixtures that clamp the entire body. Swing arms with spot weld guns place a few strategic spot welds in critical areas around the body to hold it in place.

        Now that the body has a measurable form, thousands of re-spots are performed all over the body to make it solid. Doors and the rear deck lid are installed later, down the line. The hood is temporarily placed on the car for "paint" but removed before engine stuffing.

        Squarebirds were not done in a Ford Body Shop. Budd stamped most of the sheet metal and they assembled the body. Ford's first operation was in their Paint Department. This is highly unusual that Ford would allow an outside company to make their car body.

        Many product changes were done on Squarebirds between 1958 and 1959, like the rear suspension and many more. - Dave
        My latest project:
        CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

        "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
        --Lee Iacocca


        • #5
          I've seen a few hot rod shows install a frame under a unibody car. Think it was an F-100? and a station wagon of some kind.

          Basically they just hacked off the front suspension section and put the body down on the new frame. Didn't really show whether they cut the unibody frame rail open and let the new frame sit in the unibody channel then welded it all together or if the new frame ran beside the unibody channel.

          My guess is they will do the same procedure on the Tbird. Hack off the front suspension section and set the body on the new frame. Not sure how they will handle the rear - the frame may go all the way to the bumper or stop at the front of the trunk. Guess you could weld plates between the new frame and the old unibody frame channel to tie it all together.

          The build concept looks nice - very nice. May do something similar if I ever win the lottery. Don't like the size of the wheels very much (too big) but I know that's "in" these days. Then again - it's not my car -

          Probably will be easier to tune the front suspension with the lighter engine in there than try and make the old stuff work. Plus that will allow for R&P steering etc.

          If it were me I'd find a new hood. That one will rust from the inside out in 3-4 years (maybe less) from the looks of the interior frame. My car (bought new by my Dad and garage kept) has a tiny bubble on the outside of the hood just under one of the frame rails. It looks fine everywhere else. I'm thinking the hood didn't get dipped and is bare metal behind the inside rails. I've used one of the rust converter products and a long tube and sprayed inside all the openings on the hood frame - hopefully that will slow things down a bit.

          Couple of other spots I found on mine that didn't get much primer from the factory is the upper sheet metal and frame behind the sun visor area and above the rear glass on the roof (found that when replacing the headliner). Fixed it before I re-installed the new headliner. All that rust control made the headliner job three times as long though.


          edit - figured I would include a pic of my hood frame. Virtually no rust inside even though I have the tiny spot on top. Not from a rock chip etc because the paint is still on and the rust is underneath.

          edit #2 - dug up a few pics of the roof behind the headliner. As you can see - not much primer and what I suspect the back side of the hood looks like under the frame - not terrible - just things I've found over the years and something others may want to look at if the plan is to keep the car long.

          Last edited by DKheld; November 21st, 2018, 07:15 PM.


          • #6
            Those folks at DrivenResto have some big shoes to fill putting that Tbird on a frame -

            (of course - frame and suspension technology has changed a little since 1960)

            Looking forward to the build details....


            • #7
              Yeah, I'm with Eric. Some things are better left untouched. The stock front suspension on a Squarebird is so LONG, a spring compressor isn't needed. 'Long' also gives a much better ride because shock absorbers use a longer stroke. To replace it with a 'Mustang' front end is a big mistake but I understand why a novice would do it.

              I read that the 9" RE was going as well. OMG!

              Other members have retrofit Coyote engines, front power disc brakes and rack and pinion gears while keeping the stock control arms and spindles:

              Here's an example of a nice R&P retrofit:

              Mustang-type setups are much weaker and tend to bend without extra 'K' members.

              I also read, they want to build this car for cross-country service. That's nice BUT not with rims that are 2" off the pavement. I've seen cars on Chicago's expressways blow tires AND rims on a single pot hole. It broke my heart to think of the expense and the fact that the guy didn't have two spares.

              An artist's rendition gives an idea but implementing same into a real car is going to be a real challenge. So much of a daunting task, it simply isn't worth it in my book.

              I would hate to see the dash gauges go too. No other car uses them. I don't know if they are considering an "I did it" column either. But hey, it's their money and their car. Monster cars put the body above the frame as well...

              Still no return call... - Dave
              My latest project:
              CLICK HERE to see my custom hydraulic roller 390 FE build.

              "We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need?"
              --Lee Iacocca


              • #8
                I think everyone should do to their car whatever pleases them, but the last thing I would consider replacing is the factory gauges. Looking at the original instrumentation is part of the time-traveling effect for me.

                Steering wheel, maybe if too big a diameter, but not the original speedo and other gauges. Add some under dash gauges, replace, refurbish or update mechanisms in originals, call it good...

                I have seen some real nice customized dashes on some very expensive cars, but while I can appreciate the craftsmanship involved it takes away from the car for me. But, to each their own...

                Guess that makes me of the restomod crowd.. though most stock wheels and hubcaps don't do a thing for me either..


                • #9
                  I agree with BW, whatever floats your boat, but I always wonder when someone buys a classic style ford, and because they are a dime a dozen and don't present as many fitment issues drops in a GM small block. Or takes something like our cars and retrofits some new age dash and instrument cluster in. I bought my car after about an 18 month exhaustive search for something with as close to stock appearance and little to no rust. Why would I then guy is and drop in a Coyote motor unless mine was trashed. I can understand the logic behind a 4 speed automatic, so it can be driven over some longer distances but its a pretty long stretch to think of a circa 1960 car with an ECM and fuel injection. But like I said whatever floats your boat.
                  Ive done changes, painted all the black that came on the chrome emblems and trim red. Added LED interior lights, little things so my car is my car and not the same as all the other squarebirds, but there is a limit. I have a vehicle that includes all the new gadgets like Bluetooth and iPhone integration, but there's something about climbing into 60 year old technology and making it work that is cool.
                  South Delta, BC, Canada
                  1960 White T-Bird, PS, PB that's it
                  Red Leather Interior!
                  Thunderbird Registry #61266


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the thoughts!

                    Hi all! and specifically Hi Dave! Sorry I've been MIA for the last week. Between 2 young kinds, running a business and building cars I'm on here MAYBE once a week and I give priority to customers and prospects for phone calls. It's been a VERY busy year, so I'm sorry I haven't had an open time to chat. Honestly email is best.

                    2 things:
                    1. This is NOT MY CAR: it is a customer car. His needs come first.
                    2. It's NOT a mustang front end or a hack job of any kind.

                    Although I'm all to familiar with the cr@p that a lot of other shops call "restomods" we are not that shop. This car will preserve it's aesthetics, but will PERFORM as a modern Mustang. That is not saying it will be one, it's just going to drive like a "new" car. For most blog readers and none car people, that's an easy way to communicate what they need to understand about how we will upgrage the performance aspects. However...If you're in this group, you would need to see our work in person to understand our level of detail. But I honestly appreciate your skepticism given the tv shows and shoddy work that is put out by so many. This is a request of a customer. We are building to their specs.

                    As a side note, if I didn't want to preserve the history of the car and the overall look of it I never would have looked up this group! And despite you're biting comments and negative opinion of it, I'm so glad I did! I hope you all can appreciate the fact that I am here in search of options to keep it LOOKING stock. The wheels will not be as dramatic as the rendering, afterall, it's just a drawing, and no, it will not have the cheap parts we all know fail so easily, but it will have the Thunderbird look and feel as it's passing other drivers on the road.

                    Thank you for the feedback and opinions. As I said, with all the work in the shop and my family it's hard to be on here much, but I'll try. I appreciate your support and input as we get further into this project. I'd hate to try to do this alone with so many experienced T-bird lovers right here as resources to help keep it on point!

                    As I said, Email is best
                    Molly Gursky
                    Driven Restorations LLC


                    • #11

                      I don't think Dave or anyone else intended to criticize your shop's level of detail or your decisions regarding the car. We all understand that the customer pays the bill and that he is "always right"; even when he may not be. Hopefully the basic charm of the car will be kept and the major changes being planned will not detract from what makes it special to those of us that love the design.

                      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                      Thunderbird Registry #36223



                      • #12
                        "And despite you're biting comments and negative opinion of it...."

                        Geeez... I said..... "The build concept looks nice - very nice. May do something similar if I ever win the lottery.."

                        And.... I just offered some advice on the rusty hood.

                        Yeah - I did say you would "hack" off the front end - guess I could have said you will thoughtfully find the exact place to cut off the front suspension so the new frame will fit -

                        Still curious to see how it all turns out and how the old will be interfaced with the new - hope that doesn't bother you too much -


                        • #13

                          There were comments made by multiple posters about some of the changes being planned. I think Molly was just making a general statement about the tone of some of the comments, most of which have been negative. I don't think it was directed at you or any one person in particular. As you said I'm interested to see how it all plays out.

                          John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                          Thunderbird Registry #36223



                          • #14
                            You're right John - I'm sure it wasn't directed at one person or post but just thought since her response grouped them all together - I'd point out not all were negative.

                            I know 100 different people would build 100 different cars - we've all got individual ideas.

                            Like we agreed - interesting build. I'm really curious about how they will tie the old unibody to the new frame.


                            • #15
                              I am in the Racine, WI area; and if I can be of any assistance don't hesitate to ask.. Most weekends in the winter I am available.