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  #1  
Old 01-13-2015, 12:30 AM
Daleo56 Daleo56 is offline
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Default Project Snowbird - 1960 Hardtop

The wife and I spent Christmas 2014 in Reno with my family and while the wife was walking the dog she found this mostly original 1960 Thunderbird down the street. After a week of walking by it she finally decided she wanted it and we bought it.

This Thunderbird was built in Wixom on July 26th, 1960 with a 352 powering a Cruise-O-Matic to 3.10 gears. It does not have AC but it does have power windows and leather seats.

As far as we can tell it was bought new by Frank Hadley Jr. of Northern California and spent its life in Santa Cruz and eventually Portola/Quincy, California until Frank passed in 2009 a honored veteran Captain of the US Army. His relatives sold the car to the gentleman I bought the car from however due to over $900 in back fees and health issues he never registered it. I guess that makes me the second owner however I hope to connect with the relatives someday to find out all I can about Frank and the stories of this Thunderbird.

It has most of the Moroccan Ivory paint and 7,330 miles to date. The thick undercoating saved it from rusting out although it does have a couple spots above the outer rear wheel wells

It only took a few hundred dollars to get it running with a new gas tank, ignition wiring and air in the tires. It needs a thorough cleaning before I know the extent of additional repairs but it does run and drive well. The floors are solid and the engine bay is only in need of a cleaning and a few parts I can get on Ebay. It has all of the original molding and, except for a cracked windshield and some questionable tires, it is relatively roadworthy.

We towed it home a few weeks later and now have it safe and sound in Azusa, California.

I had created another thread but will use this post to chronicle the cleaning, discovery and restoration of Project Snowbird.

Thank you for your comments and following this project.

Tim Daleo
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  #2  
Old 01-13-2015, 03:06 AM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default Project Snowbird - 1960 Hardtop

Tim, thanks for posting the pix and the story of the history of your Tbird, that you have been able to determine so far. I was looking through the pix you posted and noting some of the work that needs to be done on her. Cleaning the engine bay should be fairly easy to do and make her look nicer. Down the line, the dashpad is going to need replaced I see. You can only get them in just a few colors, which means you will probably have to spray paint to the color it is now. Instructions for replacing the dashpad can be found in the Technical Resource Library, as will a lot of other good information you will need.

Do the gauges work? If not, the Constant Voltage Regulator (CVR) might be shot. It is behind the instrument panel and sometimes attached to the back of the instrument panel. That information is also in the TRL. If your gauges are not reading, I would suggest that when you get to troubleshooting and fixing that problem, that you save yourself some money and buy one of the solid state ones from Dave Dare ~ simplyconnected. You get a discount if you become a Paid Member in doing so. I went through a couple of regular oem CVR's before I switched to a solid state one and have not had a problem since. If the CVR went out and allowed 12v to get to the 6v gauges, it could damage them. Dave's unit prevents that from happening. If they have been damaged, the Bird Nest can repair them.

Did you get a new gas tank sensor when you bought the tank? Often times, if the gas gauge is not reading right, it can be because the float has gas in it, or the sensor in the tank is corroded and not working right. Some times you can clean it and the contacts and get it working again. If not, you can get it from one of the tbird parts houses.

I see you are going to have quite a bit of interior work to be done.The seat foams are available from Jed Zimmerman here on the Forum. He makes them and also will restore your steering wheel for you. He did mine and it looks brand new now. It looks like your emergency brake handle is missing?

You will want to go to the Advertisements Forum and start calling or email the major parts suppliers for their free catalogs. That way you can price compare and see who stocks what parts and who does not. The Bird Nest in Oregon, the Bird House in Delaware both have parts cars and new parts. As already said, Carl Heller ~ partsetal on here, also has a ton of Squarebirds parts and parts cars and ships all over the world. When it comes to replacing the door panels and seat covers, you will want to do some price comparing. Many of the parts available are only made by one or two companies, who sell to all the major tbird parts houses. Some of the parts companies make their own parts.

A lot of the chrome can be polished up to look good. If you are not going to take her to Concours quality for show and awards, that should do the trick as chroming is expensive. Good luck with restoring her and we will be interested in seeing how the work goes on making her pretty again. Apparently, the engine is in good condition and I see you are getting to drive her a bit.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-2015, 12:25 PM
Daleo56 Daleo56 is offline
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Thank you for the response. Yes, the dash is completely warped and is need of replacement. I figure I will buy a white one and then paint it to match using vinyl paint. In other restorations I have had my upholstery guy do a double stitch wrap on dashes but I am not sure if I want the look for this build.



The gauges all work except for the clock. When I replaced the gas tank I cleaned and inspected the sending unit and it works correctly. The generator light is on at idle so I will have to polarize the regulator or replace it at some point. I will check the CVR voltage when I pull the dash apart to re-key the ignition.

The front leather seat covers need to be replaced but the rears may be able to be cleaned and saved. I know Concours Parts sells the leather covers or I could have my guy do the leather. The foam is hard and needs to be replaced so I will contact Jed about that and the steering wheel. There is also a place called Larry's about 45 minutes from my house that apparently carries bird parts.



The original headliner has a small hole but is otherwise in good shape so I will leave it alone and the door panels just need to be restapled.

I have a chrome place locally but I think most of the chrome will clean up with a little polish. The only thing I cannot do is paint and we will have to decide whether to repaint it or leave the patina. My body guy will lead in the couple of rust spots and I have matched paint already to blend in on those spots.

The remaining things that I need to work will be wide-whites, carpet, Dynamat, weatherstripping, suspension rebuild and a new windshield. Including the interior it will be about $5,000 for the parts I need to complete the job so it will take me about six months to save up that kind of money. I am also rebuilding another car which will take up part of my time.

This will not be a show restoration but I hope to return it to an honest car that we can drive back and forth to Reno and Arizona for shows.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:31 PM
toddgilroy toddgilroy is offline
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I took my clock to a local antique clock and watch repair here in Omaha. Cleaned it up, lubed it, etc. for $30. Works great now.
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  #5  
Old 01-13-2015, 02:15 PM
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Default Project Snowbird - 1960 Hardtop

I am going to make a few more comments regarding your post that might be a help to you, Tim. Regarding the dash pad, that is what was done with mine. Mine was black and I wanted it yellow to match the rest of the car. So my interior guy painted it yellow using a SEM rattle can paint to match the yellow interior.

Regarding the clock, it might be a simple matter of cleaning it, or checking to see if it has power going to it. The wiring diagrams and the clock info is in the TRL. After my CVR went out, apparently, it let 12v get to the 6v gauges. I sent my clock off to the Bird Nest in Oregon, and they rebuilt it and quartzed it. Costly, but worth it to me. The solid state CVR of Dave's will not allow 12v to be passed on to the gauges, should it fail. Dave warranties his CVR units.

It might not be unusual for the generator light to stay on at idle. As long as it goes off when you increase the revs on the engine...

I see that you are going to have to re-key the ignition switch. Check the TRL on that, and also on the light switch. There is information on that there.

Information on replacing the carpet is also in the TRL. A lot of things that you will be working on have already been added to the TRL over the years, thanks to our members who have been down the road you are on. Some of them many times over, over the years.

Larry's Tbird & Mustang Parts carries a lot of parts for these old Tbirds of ours. It is one of the catalogs that you will want to pick up along with all you can get for free.

Check the Advertisements Forum for information on who to call to get a new windshield. Here is one that I know of and hopefully, others will give you additional leads. Bob's Classic Auto Glass - (800-624-2130)

That is all that I can think of for now. I hope this saves you time, effort and money and helps you bring her back to her glory days again...
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  #6  
Old 01-13-2015, 02:19 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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Your story and pictures bring back so many memories for me. I too, was jogging in my neighborhood, when I spotted my car sitting under a tree in someones front yard. Like your car, the owner let the registration expire, so I ended up with a pretty good bill in back fees.
My car was also white, when I bought it, with the same color interior. Was the exterior color originally white on yours? Mine was the Beige Metallic, which I believe was used on the Car of the Year 1960. I am going to stay with the Corinthian White when it comes out of the body shop.
I also started with a pretty low budget, but will be into the car for 2 to 3 times the original estimate. A lot of lessons learned. One thing I might mention is that if you spend $1000+ at Larrys they will give you a 10% break on all parts. It's not to hard to spend that amount.
You said you have a chrome shop near you. Is it Universal Plating? Just curious.
I also have been chatting with another new member here by the name of Roger. I believe he is in Monrovia and has been diligently getting things done on his car over the last 6 months. One of these days we are to meet up so I can change out his steering column.
Over the years, I have met some really nice TBird owners and made some good contacts. If I can be of any help, contact me. I'm located in Long Beach, so we are pretty close.
BTW, welcome to the site.
Nyles

Last edited by Tbird1044 : 01-13-2015 at 02:20 PM. Reason: add info
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:23 PM
Daleo56 Daleo56 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowRose View Post
Larry's Tbird & Mustang Parts carries a lot of parts for these old Tbirds of ours. It is one of the catalogs that you will want to pick up along with all you can get for free.

Check the Advertisements Forum for information on who to call to get a new windshield. I don't recall which company it is off the top of my head, but they are listed.

That is all that I can think of for now. I hope this saves you time, effort and money and helps you bring her back to her glory days again...
As soon as I get it road worthy I am going to drive out to Larry's and spend some cash!
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Old 01-13-2015, 02:30 PM
Daleo56 Daleo56 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tbird1044 View Post
My car was also white, when I bought it, with the same color interior. Was the exterior color originally white on yours? Mine was the Beige Metallic, which I believe was used on the Car of the Year 1960. I am going to stay with the Corinthian White when it comes out of the body shop.
I also started with a pretty low budget, but will be into the car for 2 to 3 times the original estimate. A lot of lessons learned. One thing I might mention is that if you spend $1000+ at Larrys they will give you a 10% break on all parts. It's not to hard to spend that amount.
You said you have a chrome shop near you. Is it Universal Plating? Just curious.
I also have been chatting with another new member here by the name of Roger. I believe he is in Monrovia and has been diligently getting things done on his car over the last 6 months. One of these days we are to meet up so I can change out his steering column.
Over the years, I have met some really nice TBird owners and made some good contacts. If I can be of any help, contact me. I'm located in Long Beach, so we are pretty close.
BTW, welcome to the site.
Nyles
I see you are local too. Right on! Yes, Universal Plating is about 3 miles from me. I live in Azusa near the canyon. I am just a few miles from Monrovia and actually have a small shop in Duarte where I do these restorations. I do them for fun and to learn about different cars.

This car is the Moroccan Ivory, which is a yellowed white, and since my painter charges $7,500 for a base paint job this car will stay original

I do not get to LB that often but when I go to get new tires in the next month or so I will go to Performance Tires and be in your area. Let me know your information!

I also was thinking about front disc so I need to see if I can find a kit that works with the stock 14" rims before I commit to tires.

Tim Daleo
Azusa, CA
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Old 01-13-2015, 03:21 PM
Tbird1044 Tbird1044 is offline
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There's a ton of info on the disc conversions in the TRL. It seems that if you get the right 14" rim there are conversion kits that will work without using a spacer. Right now, I'm staying with the drum until I get the car on the road and drive it a bit.
There is also Lucas classic tires in Signal Hill. I have been to both places. I'm not to far from Performance. I have dealt with them several times.
Nyles
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  #10  
Old 01-13-2015, 04:37 PM
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Default Project Snowbird - 1960 Hardtop

Tim, let's see if I can save your some money and troubles.. You cannot... use your oem 14" rims for a disc brake conversion because they are NOT disc brake ready rims. You will have to go find a set of disc brake ready rims off a newer Ford disc brake equipped car. I found five on a disc brake equipped Granada at a junk yard and bought them. Now... since you are going to have to buy tires for that Tbird, I would suggest you save yourself some headaches in trying to find disc brake ready 14" rims. Solve the problem by buying 15" rims instead, and 15" tires. Then you wont have the problem. The information on what parts to buy, where to get them the cheapest at, and how to do the disc brake conversion are available to our Paid Members. To become one, have a PayPal account, go to the Donate to Site button at the top of this Forum, and sign up as a Paid Member. There are a lot of additional features, and advantages you get by being a Paid Member. You can find that information in the top section of this Forum in the Announcements section. Paid Membership is $20 a year.

You should also swap out that single MC and the power booster you have under the hood and put in a dual MC and an 8"dual power booster, for safety sake, instead of what you have now. That single MC and booster will not handle a disc brake conversion. We can also tell you what to put on to replace it. I even got my set up in chrome for just $20 over the non-chromed unit. You will be able to detach that booster from the mounting bracket and re-use that bracket since you do not have AC. I would suggest that you invest $20 and become a Paid Member. I think I already gave you $20 in good information! Here is a pic of what my '59 setup looks like..
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File Type: jpg ChromedDualMC-N-PowerBooster.jpg (80.4 KB, 312 views)
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