As I also go to the Lincoln Forum to learn about '50s-'60s unibody Lincolns, the following popped up today regarding poor fit of body panels:
Originally Posted by Bill Prince
I have a 1960 Thunderbird Hardtop with a factory defect, which all 1958-60 Thunderbirds had. It is hard to notice, but I can see it. I don't know if anyone else has ever noticed it or not. I have not heard anyone say anything about it however.
These cars were designed, fabricated, and assembled by the same company and came off the same assembly line as Lincolns. So, Dan is right in saying that they were not perfect.
Anyway, the trunk lid rear edge does not line up with the die cast tail light cove housing on top. Towards the corners (left and right sides) of the trunk lid, where the trunk lid meets the tail light cover housing, the edge of the trunk lid dips down (has too much curve to it). So, rather than having the trunk lid edge follow the housing edge for the length of the housing (on each side of the car), it follows it and then starts to be too low at the edge. I suspect that the trunk lid stamping, which is very very complex, ended up having some sort of distortion from the stamping process. The cast housing was easier to get right. Why was this not corrected? Money my dear Watson.
Just an example of a factory defect.
I have pictures of many of these Thunderbirds showing the same defect, which I have seen in person as well.
(Bill in turn posted a photo of the rear of his Corinthian White '60 showing how pronounced the droop in the corners were compared to the center of the deck lid.)
A fix for those drooping trunk corners that Ford advised dealers to do via a Product Service Letter circa mid-late 1958 (which we also did note in VTCI's 1958-1960 Original Factory Specifications Manual) was to install adjustable hood bumpers in the outboard area of the panel beneath the deck lid and forward of the end trim. You'd have to tweak the lid with pressure from above and a 2x4 block at the outber corners if you wanted to get it straight.
BTW, thanks (to the poster at the Lincoln Forum) for pointing this out: now I can make judges at VTCI events aware of this in case someone's looking for an "overrestored" deck lid, and get this documented for the 1958-1960 Original Factory Specifications Manual