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  #1  
Old 08-06-2012, 01:19 PM
KIRK! KIRK! is offline
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Default NEW GUY With a '58

Greetings! I'm Kirk, along time classic car fanatic/owner, but first time T-Bird owner. I'm the Editor for the Goodguys Gazette so I'm around old cars for a living and have had more than I'd like to count. I just sold my last project and it was time for a family friendly ride. I kept digging around and kept coming back, as always, to a Ford. I have had LOTS of early '60s Fords, from '60 Starliner (May Cause Dangerous) to a '64 Galaxie convertible (my first car), but only one '50s Ford, a '57 sedan and a '47 coupe. I wanted something that would hold the three of us, that was presentable, but not so nice that I was afraid to drive it. I looked at several Galaxies, Falcons and T-Birds over the past month or so. None of them lived up to their descriptions, unfortunately.

This '58 T-Bird was on eBay. The guy listed his number so I called. It ended up being the builder who was selling it for the owner. The owner had it built as a driver for his 14-year-old son. His son ended up not wanting it and wants a vintage MG or Austin-Healey instead (still good taste). I talked with the owner too and both seemed honest so I bought a plane ticket to Portland, Oregon to check it out and hopefully drive it home.

The owner picked me up in it at the airport and we headed out for the test drive. It drove great and pretty much met the description. New paint that was even nicer than described, new 352 with 390 heads, new interior bits like seat covers, headliner, carpet and door panels (the rest will clean up nicely). Sold!

We went to his house to do the paperwork and meet his son. We finished up and I headed for home.

She drove great, with just a couple minor issues on the way home, like vapor locking in the 95-degree heat climbing the mountains. The trans also doesn't kick down and won't manually go into L, but those should just be linkage adjustments. The vapor lock issue should be an easy fix with an electric pump and fuel line reroute. Oil is also spitting out of the breather.

I stopped to help out another rodder just south of Redding on Sunday morning. I saw him on the northbound side with his hood and trunk up. I turned around at the next exit and pulled over to see what I could do. After about an hour he was back on the road. What was cool was that he and his wife had flown to San Jose to buy the car and were driving home to Vancouver, Washington.

Plans? For now I just plan on 15" Supremes, skinny whites, front disc brakes and lower the front 2". I'll replace the little chrome bits here and there that the PO didn't do.

A few pics rom this morning in front of my work. Still bug carnage everywhere!












Last edited by KIRK! : 08-06-2012 at 03:45 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-06-2012, 02:06 PM
newbird59 newbird59 is offline
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Kirk,

Welcome! That's a really great story about how you got your first tbird!! Your 352 looks SUPER clean. I am in the process to making mine look like yours. There are really cool people on here willing to help out with your bird (if you have questions or need parts).

I was looking at cars a lot before I settled on my 1960 thunderbird. I was going to buy a new car (I got a promotion at work) and thought that I would go to a dealership and buy something "fun". I thought about it for a long time and then thought..."why not build something?" So here I am. I'm not as experienced as you with older cars but the community will love your knowledge on this site.

p.s. I'm a Napa guy. I see you are close in Concord.


-David
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  #3  
Old 08-06-2012, 03:16 PM
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Congrats. Looks like beauty. Was the car originally white. The only reason I ask is that the engine compartment is painted black. It should match the body color. Other than that someone did a real nice job detailing it. I notice the oil fill cap on the valve cover which is non-original. It should be on the intake manifold so I assume that was replaced with aftermarket aluminum one? That's not a bad thing just not original.

John
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  #4  
Old 08-06-2012, 03:34 PM
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Welcome to Squarebirds, Kirk. It's always great to see another restorer climb aboard. I hope you post often. We'd love to hear your experiences. - Dave
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  #5  
Old 08-06-2012, 03:44 PM
KIRK! KIRK! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopizz View Post
Congrats. Looks like beauty. Was the car originally white. The only reason I ask is that the engine compartment is painted black. It should match the body color. Other than that someone did a real nice job detailing it. I notice the oil fill cap on the valve cover which is non-original. It should be on the intake manifold so I assume that was replaced with aftermarket aluminum one? That's not a bad thing just not original.

John
Good eye. Yes, apparently it was a special order with Colonial White. I wish the engine bay had been kept whit, but it's not a huge deal.

The stock intake manifold was cracked and thus replaced with an Edelbrock that was painted to look factory. The oil filler was of course added to the stock covers.

Color code on the tag is "H" I believe.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:48 PM
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Color code H would be Gunmetal Gray. If it was originally white it should either be code B for Winterset white or E for colonial white. They changed to colonial white about midway through the year.

John
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2012, 04:20 PM
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DKheld DKheld is offline
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Nice looking car. X2 on Dave's comments - hope to hear more from you. Cool story on helping a fellow car enthusiast and then have it turn out to be someone else who just bought his classic.....

About the only thing I can add is that the '58 is unique on the front suspension. From what I remember - it should have dual shocks and the brake hoses are different than the 59 & 60. Could be fun with the disc conversion.

Speaking of brakes.....I converted mine to front disc's years ago using Granada spindles. They are supposed to lower the car 3/4 to 1 inch but I didn't notice any difference. Scarebird now makes a bracket and you keep your original spindle. Easier to have it aligned with the original spindle but would not lower it as you mentioned you might like to do. Could be that in Cali. you won't have much trouble finding alignment shops that can wing it with different spindles though?

I noticed your brake master cyl is on the firewall with no booster. Looking at the brake pedal (swift sure power brakes) I'm guessing you have the Kelsy Hayes booster under the dash. There is a loooooong thread on converting to disc's that is sure to give you some ideas. Pretty sure the pics of my conversion are still there but if not just let me know and I can re-post although mine is a 1960. Search on disc brakes in the 58-60 forum.

The 352 had a road draft tube on the intake so you may need to add a PCV type system to keep the inside of the engine happy and not spit oil and vapor out the breather.

Good luck on the projects.
Eric
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Old 08-06-2012, 04:20 PM
KIRK! KIRK! is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jopizz View Post
Color code H would be Gunmetal Gray. If it was originally white it should either be code B for Winterset white or E for colonial white. They changed to colonial white about midway through the year.

John
Just checked, it's E.
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2012, 05:02 PM
RustyNCa RustyNCa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKheld View Post
Nice looking car.

About the only thing I can add is that the '58 is unique on the front suspension. From what I remember - it should have dual shocks and the brake hoses are different than the 59 & 60. Could be fun with the disc conversion.

The 352 had a road draft tube on the intake so you may need to add a PCV type system to keep the inside of the engine happy and not spit oil and vapor out the breather.

Good luck on the projects.
Eric
When you stopped in Redding, sounds like you were just a few miles from my little bird ranch

Yes, the 58 arms have an option of dual shocks or to run one shock in either locale. On our 58 we are running just one kyb shock on it. We managed to convert to disc brakes on the stock spindles, keep the factory sway bar mount and lower the car more the 2" without to much trouble, but our 13.5" rotors won't allow you to run anything less than 17" rims on the car.

I agree about the need for a PCV valve to deal with oil vapor, seems like I had to add one on ours because of the edelbrock intake. Can't remember to well now, our poor old 58 has been sitting dormant for a few years now.

Cheers
RustyNCA
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2012, 05:03 PM
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Dan Leavens Dan Leavens is offline
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Cool

Kirk glad to see another 58 survivor and of course I am partial, as my wife's 58 is also colonial white. You will no doubt have lots of fun cruisin in your TBird and getting the chrome stuff replaced is not a biggy Welcome to the best site on the planet,,,
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