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Old 06-18-2010, 11:45 AM
'59 Jim '59 Jim is offline
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Default '59 interior

Hello all,

I just bought my '59 in Denver, and drove it 1,150 miles back to Memphis, a great trip, and more compliments than I could count. I am new to the squarebird family, and I am ignorant. Do y'all know of good places to get interiors (seats/covers), and a radiator? I hope I'm not breaking rules by asking these questions, but I figure you have more experience, both good and bad. Thanks in advance for your help.

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Old 06-18-2010, 01:42 PM
Rockin Kev Rockin Kev is offline
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Nice one!!! As the Restoration rolls on over the months and the car starts to look better and better you will think of that day you collected that car, I think we all do remember that special day...well great choice as restoring one is not that hard and all can be found here to help.
And after 1200+ miles then i dont think you purchased any rubbish.

The more you learn about the Squarebird the more you will know how much a milestone car in Fords History and other car makers the 1958-60 T-bird is.

I have purchased interiors from Concours parts in Nevada and from Larrys T-Bird in California...always a great fit for my Fords as well as T-Birds.

Oh, and your not Ignorant don't put yourself down your a Squarebird owner now so keep you head up....and ask away! thats what this site is for..HELP!

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Old 06-18-2010, 02:11 PM
'59 Jim '59 Jim is offline
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Default Thanks!

Thanks Kev! I do appreciate the help. Oh believe me, my head is held very high. Like I said, so many people stopped to look at the car, and complimented me on it, and the interior is not good, as far as the seats go. The center console is perfect, and the dash/glove box looks great. I found a clock for $75 if you send the dead clock back to them. It's funny, I want the cart to be as original as possible, but I also will never "store" the car for long. If I can't drive it, I don't want it. That's why the drive home was key to test the mechanicals, and it was great. By the way, do you use a lead substitute when you fill up? I have gotten some opinions on both sides of that question.

Thanks again,
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:59 PM
Rockin Kev Rockin Kev is offline
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I have used Lead additives in the past but we can get 95,97 and 105 ron unleaded fuel here in the UK, but my New Bird has harden valve seats so no need for additives anymore, But if your engine is original then an additive will be best,
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Old 06-18-2010, 04:40 PM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default '59 interior

Hi Jim,

Most Tbird parts houses get their interior seat covers and door panels from the same source. Kev gave ya a couple of leads. There are more in the Advertisements Forum below. Bob's Bird House, The Bird Nest, Tbird Hqs, MAC's, are some others. Call them all and ask them to send you a free catalog. Then you can compare costs. If your seat foams are shot, and falling apart under you, Jed Zimmerman, who is a member here, makes most of the seat foams for our Tbirds these days, and dealers buy from him. You will see his information in the Advertisements Forum also.

As for additives, it is good to add some zinc to your original engine. ZDDP is one that a lot of us use. Because of modern day catalytic converters, the zinc content in present day oil has been greatly decreased. Our engines don't have catalytic converters and do need plenty of zinc. If you do a Search on "zinc" you will get a lot of comments. Here is one, from simplyconnected.
"All oil with 40w in the numbers (like 15W-40) includes 1,000-ppm ZDDP. I like using Shell Rotella because it is a low ash oil. For those who don't know, when oil burns it forms an ash and your engine oil must deal with it."

As for your radiator, rather than buy a new one, unless it is just flat rusted out and shot, find a good radiator repair place and have yours repaired. That is what I did with mine. They re-cored it and it is like new again. You can get new radiators with more cores, aluminum, or exact replacements, etc., but you might be better off just getting yours restored.

And no, you are not breaking the rules for asking questions! That is what the Forums are for, to help each other fix and restore their Tbirds. And also, you are NOT ignorant! You just don't have the knowledge about these Tbirds that others do. One of these days, you might be the authority that others turn to because you have learned to fix your Tbird with your eyes closed! If you have not bought a '59 Shop Manual, you will want to. It will tell you a lot about how to fix things on your Tbird. There are other books about various parts of your Tbird that you might want to buy also, but a shop manual is a first must.

Let us know how we can help you and welcome again to Squarebirds.

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
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Old 06-18-2010, 05:06 PM
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tbird430 tbird430 is offline
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Thumbs up

Great 1st post Jim, and congrat's on your new investment too.

I'd also recommend buying your interior items from Concours Parts and seat foams from Jed on here (

Post up some pics of that Bird when you have the time...

-Jon in TX.

The 1960 Ford Thunderbird. The WORLD'S most wanted car....

VTCI Member#6287.

Last edited by tbird430 : 06-18-2010 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 06-18-2010, 07:20 PM
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simplyconnected simplyconnected is offline
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Jim, I agree with these guys:
Ask Jed Zimmerman. He is very fair and he does beautiful work. Jed makes your seat foams, too. Lots of our members have been very happy using Jed's products and his advice.

I don't add anything to my unleaded gas, but I had hardened exhaust valve seats machined and installed into my '59 heads. This applies to ALL engines built before 1980. Especially if you take your car on long trips.

They re-formulated our modern engine oil to conform with catalytic converters. Problem is, they took out an important ingredient that is essential to our flat-tappet engines; ZDDP. Look this up on the internet for a full explanation.

Ray is right about your radiator... it's made of brass and copper, and WAY better for cooling than aluminum and plastic. A recored original radiator cools much better than a new aluminum.

I have a question for you: If you bought your Squarebird in Denver, does it have 'lean' jets in the carb? This is VERY important. Don't let your engine run too lean for long. - 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
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Old 06-18-2010, 09:27 PM
Ca58tbird Ca58tbird is offline
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Jim, welcome to the forum. Thought I should post to this thread and first off "Thanks guys for the accolades" and to say that, Jim, please feel free to contact me at either or 612-708-2144. As for tbird vendors I have done business with all of them I think, and would recommend all. When I restored my bird in the '90s I bought about $6,000 worth of stuff from Larry's, $2000 from Birdsnest, and threw money out to a bunch of others. I have spoke and emailed with sales reps and owners and are all great folks at; Larry's, Birdsnest, Concours, TBirdHQ, Bob's Birdhouse and Pat Wilsons. Guess I probably missed a few too. I think it pays to shop around at their diff websites and prices do vary and much of the stuff is supplied to all by the same manufacturers.

Let us know if we can help or try helping you out.
Best Birding,
Jed Zimmerman
'58HT and '48 Dodge Panel in MN
Thunderbird Registry #3810 VTCI#7652
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Old 06-19-2010, 08:16 AM
ncbird ncbird is offline
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Default high altitude package

Great catch Dave!!!!!! Having grown up in Denver and working in garages there I can attest to the "HAP" that cars were brought in with. In some cases it was as Dave said a leaner carb or even a different carb in later years as well as dist curve changes on some makes. If a car came in and wasnt running right one of the first things we looked for was where the car was delivered. The worst case were cars delivered to Calif and then the people moved to Colorado. If you want to see the difference try hiking at 10,000 feet. As always Dave you are the eagle eye. Grant
NCbird on the Coast of NC
"Dads Bird" for my father

Last edited by ncbird : 06-19-2010 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 06-19-2010, 10:26 AM
'59 Jim '59 Jim is offline
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Default I learn more each time...

Thanks much gentlemen. I am learning a ton. I need to do a vehicle history report to see where the car was delivered. I am not sure if Denver was this Bird's original landing zone. I will get ZDDP, thanks! I am very curious about the lean carb. Is there a way of telling without tearing the carb apart? Yes I have been in the carb already, just to look at it, and that beast sparkles. I had the radiator "repaired," and it popped another hole. So you still think repair is better than replace? What kind of things do you carry with you when you drive. I want to have an emergency kit, fan belt, radiator hoses, that sort of stuff, are there any "must haves" in the kit, outside of those and fluids? And also, I want to change the spark plug wires, and points, are they hard to find (no smart comments about where they are under the hood, I figured that out already!), or are they common Ford parts? I got it tuned up, and all the fluids changes, including differential before I left Denver. Okay, I think I'm writing a book here, so I'll stop for the time being. Do I have to be a "contributing" member to post pictures? I hit the picture link , and it asked for a URL. I have no URL. Usually a browser pops up, is it possible to get that here?
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