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  #21  
Old 01-03-2011, 08:39 AM
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The story I've been told is that about a decade ago (when it was owned by someone in Iowa) my car was going to be a drag car; hence the 4.10 gears.

I have 28" diameter rear tires. But yes, the rpms still do get up there. I stay off the interstate roads. I'd like to someday get a spare third member with something like 2.90 gears in it. Keep the 4.10s for when I want to go to the strip and waste some gas.
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  #22  
Old 01-03-2011, 10:06 AM
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Default A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

I just had an enjoyable conversation with Lee Holman of Holman-Moody! He told me that when Ford got back into the racing program in the late 50's, the Ford Racing Team gave them access to the plant and were able to get their Tbird bodies, running gear, parts from the plant from stock that had not been through the line. Therefore, he said, these Tbirds did not have a VIN # or Data Plate information assigned to them. In that way, they did not have to strip out interiors, etc. and modify them for racing. They took the bare bodies, engines, trannys, and built them for racing. So there goes my idea about getting them recorded into the Tbird Registry! I gather that all of them have been crashed or scrapped over the years. The only one left, that I know of, is the one in a private collection that I have the pictures posted of. He said if I call back in a couple of weeks, after he gets his computer fixed, and data restored, he will send me some stuff. His Mac went out on him over the New Years holiday.
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  #23  
Old 01-03-2011, 02:08 PM
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Default A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

Mark sent me this very interesting article on Racing Tbirds. In it, it says that Holman-Moody had 6 Squarebirds. The H&M website, and Lee Holman (who said he was 16 at this time) says they had 10 of them. They were going back and forth to the Ford plant and getting parts and stuff they needed a lot. This article says: "Ford did some investigating to find out just who built and prepared those race cars, and found it was Holman-Moody," Cotter's and Pearce's text reads. "John Holman purchased a bunch of scrap Thunderbird parts from Ford's Atlanta assembly plant, and nearly won the biggest stock car race of the year. Ford officials were amazed, and the performances certainly put Holman-Moody in good stead when the AMA ban came to an end." I was not aware that Ford had an Atlanta assembly plant for Tbirds. I have always read that Wixom was the only plant that produced Tbirds. I got the impression from Lee Holman, that their trucks were going back and forth to Wixom, but I will ask him about this.

This article also reports on the Ed Fincke owned Tbird that was set up for racing, but apparently never raced. I see he has "dog dish" hubcaps on his Tbird! You will find this interesting reading. I have downloaded the pictures and saved them. They are bigger than on the webpage, so you will get a better view of them here.

http://www.hemmings.com/mus/stories/..._feature1.html
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird-1.jpg (41.3 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird-2.jpg (24.6 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird-3.jpg (40.8 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird-4.jpg (40.4 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke-N-'60Tbird.jpg (65.3 KB, 89 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird352EngineWell-1.jpg (40.1 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60Tbird352EngineWell-2.jpg (26.7 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60TbirdInstrumentPanel-1.jpg (35.8 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60TbirdInterior-1.jpg (36.0 KB, 90 views)
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60TbirdInterior-2.jpg (31.6 KB, 90 views)
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  #24  
Old 01-03-2011, 02:13 PM
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Default A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

Here are two more additional pictures from that article that I could not get in below. One of them is of Lenny Page driving #83, a Holman-Moody T-Bird Power Products car.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg EdFinke'60TbirdTrunk-1.jpg (41.3 KB, 94 views)
File Type: jpg LennyPageNr83Tbird.jpg (23.4 KB, 94 views)
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  #25  
Old 01-03-2011, 04:41 PM
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A couple things to keep in mind as you track the history of this car. The first Daytona 500 was run in February 1959 and this wasn't the first race of the year at that point in time. H&M or any Shop competing at the Nascar level should have been receiving cars by December 1958 in order the assemble for the new season. This 59 with a build date of August 1959 seems to be very late in the season, especially since the new 60 Ford Starliner with the 352HP engine was due and the car of choice for the 1960 season. It does seem unlikely this car was chosen/ordered for Nascar racing in Aug 59, maybe thought on a lower tier racing series.

As for the rear wheel wells, I see a very nice job done in matching the front wheel opening when creating the rear opening, not a quick radius job done to fit some race tires on. And that workmanship appears on the hood and front fender vents.

For Historical info, try to locate Period Racing Programs, magazines, newspapers from that time, reporters names and contact them. If this car had a significant history, chances are it would have been written about at some point in time. Tom Higgins comes to mind of the Charlotte Observer Newspaper, currently retired, started covering motor sports in 1957. Possible that Nascar itself may have archives from that time. There's a new Nascar hall of Fame in Charlotte. Could be allot of research. Or you may be looking towards the NHRA or other drag racing media from that period. Sorry I have more suggestions than info to provide.

Mark, welcome and glad to have you on board and a charter member of the VTCA, joined myself in 72 or 73, have my original scoops put away somewhere. Nice that you've held onto this car for all those years, continue to document what you can, to date, you have the most history with this car.
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  #26  
Old 01-03-2011, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YellowRose View Post
This article also reports on the Ed Fincke owned Tbird that was set up for racing, but apparently never raced. I see he has "dog dish" hubcaps on his Tbird! You will find this interesting reading. I have downloaded the pictures and saved them. They are bigger than on the webpage, so you will get a better view of them here.
Look at the speedometer readings!!!
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  #27  
Old 01-03-2011, 06:00 PM
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Default A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

I just spoke with Lee Holman again. He said this thing about them picking up Tbird parts from the Atlanta plant might have been true, but they were also going back and forth to Detroit. He reminded me that he was only about 16 then, working in the shop, but doing cleanup and breakdown stuff. However, he did say that he thought Ford was shipping stuff to the Atlanta plant for easier pickup by them. Henry Ford got behind the Racing program, he said, and sent a letter down to the ranks to give H&M all the assistance they could. He wanted Ford to be a force in racing again. So they pretty well got what they wanted.

He mentioned the Mobile Economy Run which they participated in using Falcons, as I recall. If I understood him correctly, some of the Tbirds were shipped to the Central US to other racing teams to use.... Remember, they not only built cars for them to race, but they built them for other teams, and I gather, still do.

I asked him what they were using for rear ends and axle rating in the Squarebirds. He said they were using full floating rear ends, and 3:25 - 3:50 axle ratings (not the standard axle rating the 430MEL cars came off the productions line with) depending on the track they were running on. He also said that their trannies were, at first the standard manual 3spd trannies and then the early T-10's when they came out.

He is going to send me some pictures and stuff when he gets his computer fixed. He also said that in the next 2 weeks or so, they are going to add some new historical features of their race cars to their website and he has about 40 on Tbirds that they will be adding. So in about 2-3 weeks or so, start looking for them on their website. I gather it will be a new feature. You might want to bookmark the web page. It is http://www.holmanmoody.com/
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Last edited by YellowRose : 01-03-2011 at 11:34 PM. Reason: Added text
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  #28  
Old 01-03-2011, 11:57 PM
Alan H. Tast, AIA Alan H. Tast, AIA is offline
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That '60 from Ohio and the Hemmings article is full of inaccuracies! Bill VanEss and I both wrote to the editor at the time, pointing out a LOT of the incorrect items and claims in the story when it came out, like the car having a the 360hp 352 from the factory (it didn't), so once again another myth is floating around that has to be debunked. In fact, look in this Forum's archives for the comments I gave on this car a few years ago after the article was first printed. It was at the '99 VTCI International, where I spent time looking it over and got photos of the ROT sheet. For the record here's info on the car:
0Y71Y153799
63A X 56 02E 1 9

CLAIMS 1-25/NASCAR; FULL INTERIOR; B-J Auction 1/97; EBAY 9/04 MILFORD, OR; '99 IC; HEMMINGS MUSCLE CAR ARTICLE

Yes it has a 3-speed manual and the 3.70:1 rear axle, but it also had a full interior, radio, heater, backup lights and the ROT gave no other hint about the tires/wheel covers other than it had 14" wheels/wheel covers and 14" 8.00x14 nylon WSW tires. Those '56 Ford hubcaps on 15" wheels don't help it much, and the modified exhaust and added white graphics? Puh-leease...NASCAR prep? As the old Southern saying goes, "Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit."

Now, take into consideration the build dates on both Mark's car (as the previous post points out) and the '60 in the Hemmings article, which is May 2, 1960. Sure doesn't look like they were too eager to build up a race car before the start of the racing season. Not only that, but as the aforementioned post notes, the '60 Fairlane tudors along with the Starliners were the cars that were being built up since they weighed less and would have been less complicated to prep for supsensions, etc. In fact, the '59 H-M-built cars were provided with '60 grilles to "update" them for '60 and '61 usage.

Ford had an assembly plant in Atlanta, but no T-birds were built there. It would make sense that Ford would ship parts to it from Wixom and other plants for distribution to or pickup by the stock-car builders in the South.

This madness has got to come to an end, folks.
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  #29  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:13 AM
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Default A '59 Mystery Tbird Set Up For Racing...

Thanks for the update, Alan. If anyone knows about these things, Alan sure does! This so-called Race "Show" Car is in the Tbird Registry as #4779. I also thought there were some things wrong about that report, I don't have anywhere near the knowledge about these old cars that Alan has. This thing about it being a "moonshine" car I think was mentioned, but in one article as I recall, it was said that this car (regardless of what the plaque says) was not one of the cars used for "moonshine" runs. As Alan said, after 50 years having gone by, stories get mixed up with each other, reporters get their facts from other reports that have errors in them, (like the number of Tbirds that Burdick got and how, and the number of Tbirds that H&M put together. Some say 6, Lee says 10) and you end up with incorrect reports.. I guess I will stop looking into this, but I do think we have come up with some information that was also good. It was good to get the information I got from Lee Holman, though he was a young teenager back then. He was working in the shop and seems to know what was going on. Now he is the head of H&M. Thanks for taking the time to fill us in, Alan. We certainly appreciate you!
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Last edited by YellowRose : 01-04-2011 at 12:20 AM.
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  #30  
Old 01-04-2011, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan H. Tast, AIA View Post
This madness has got to come to an end, folks.
Hell Alan, us rubes get a buzz out of reading these stories, (this madness) - of course when we find out it ain't fact we get our bottom lip down a bit!!

But maybe somebody will come up with a ripping story that is also 100% true? - who knows, we can only keep our fingers crossed.

Now about the guy over here with the factory 427 Flairbird......hehehe..

PS: Any story from Stateside is believable for me - I don't know jack about NASCAR history or Ford racing history etc.
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