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  #1  
Old 08-20-2004, 10:22 PM
mikeytoyz mikeytoyz is offline
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Default 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

I have a question, perhaps you folks can help me. My father had a 59 T-bird, convertible, beige color with a white top, what I cannot finsd out any info on is this, the automatic transmission selector was not on the steering column, but on the center console between the two bucket seats, it reminded me of a control on a plane, you had to squeeze it to make it shift, I have not seen this on any pictures of any square birds out there, can you help with any info or history of this ? thanks, Michael
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2004, 10:31 PM
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Alexander Alexander is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

It was most probably a customization by a previous owner. The designers of the 1958 to 1960 Thunderbirds wanted to put all the controls, including the transmission control on the console, but cost constraints allowed them only to put the heater controls, radio speaker and power window switches on the console. All 1958-60 Thunderbirds has transmission levers on the column no matter if they were manual or automatic.

An unlikely possibility is that this was a Ford prototype.

Do you have any pictures of this console? Did any of it look like a stock console?

Alexander
1959 Hardtop
1960 Golde Top
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Old 08-20-2004, 11:27 PM
mikeytoyz mikeytoyz is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

Hi Alexander, thanks for answering my question so fast , sadly I have no pictures of the car but I can tell you it did look like a stock console just that the shifting control was located about say 5 inches down from the end of the curve of the console that ran between the two seats,the control looked like a stock item. also the color of the car has always puzzled me it was a beige, I do recall that, but I think it was the Buff beige , does that make sense, thanks again, Michael
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Old 08-21-2004, 12:00 AM
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

I think it would have been an improvement to put the shifter on the console. Too bad Robert MacNamara and his bean counters ruled Ford then. If you console looked stock someone did a good job in the conversion.

Did the grip on the shifter look like this?:

http://www.mrgasket.com/primages/1536000.jpg

or this?:

http://ignition.restocar.com/img174.gif

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1960 Golde Top
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Old 08-21-2004, 08:57 AM
mikeytoyz mikeytoyz is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

Hi Alexander, no, it looked liked a pilot control for air speed . it was square and you placed your hand around it, you them squeezed a release under the top bar of the shift, that would allow you to shift, my father got the car from my uncle in late 60's, I will ask him about it and get back to you, thanks again, Michael
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Old 08-21-2004, 09:26 AM
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

I remember seeing a shifter that you describe that was shaped like an upside-down squared-off "U" with two rods going into the console instead of the usual single. I can't remember what kind of car it was original equipment on - 1960's or 1970's Pontiac or Mustang?

Anyone remember one of these?

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1960 Golde Top
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Old 08-23-2004, 01:45 PM
tarps3 tarps3 is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

I could be way off base here, but I seem to remember the 64 thru 66 TBirds having a shifter/selector that looked like that.

could that be it?
I haven't seen one in a while, but for some reason, that sticks in my mind.

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Old 08-24-2004, 03:48 AM
flamingo 59 flamingo 59 is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

I know a guy who owns a '72 Chevelle, it has the exact same kind of center console shifter. My father also owned a '70 Mustang Mach 1 which im pretty sure also had this type of shifter.

And Welcome Micheal!
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Old 08-24-2004, 07:43 AM
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

http://www.chevelles.com/feature/jerry2.jpg
1972 Chevelle Interior

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Old 08-24-2004, 07:31 PM
flamingo 59 flamingo 59 is offline
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Default RE: 1959 thunderbird automatic transmission question

Yep. There's that airplane-lookin' control lever.
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