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1959 convertible: OEM vs repro details

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  • 1959 convertible: OEM vs repro details

    Looking closely at some of the repro stuff available out there. Some is good, some not so accurate. Probably not an issue for some, but here are a couple of comparisons. The repro nose bird on left looks ok from afar, but take a look at the details: nose angle, width of horizontal stripes, color of aqua, etc. compared to the OEM on right.

    And the convertible instructions decal, while listed as "Ford licensed" is only correct in language, not typography. I made my own, matching the original font and spacing. Happy to share the file if you want something that more closely matches. I need to scale the file to actual size, since I made this overlaying a photo of my original, still on the car, and am not sure of the exact dimensions until I get back to the car to confirm.

  • #2
    You are correct about the repro parts. It is really hit and miss (mostly miss). Thanks for offering the correct font instructions. As for the emblem from the factory the OEM ones were closer in color to the repro. The color of the factory one you show has most likely changed due to age. I've had some NOS ones and was also around when the cars were new and they were definitely more aqua than blue although maybe not quite as green as the repro. They were probably somewhere in between.

    John
    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223
    jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

    https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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    • #3
      While on the subject of convertible top operations decal , How many owners out there would have the four snaps on the side as mentioned in # 3 ( top down ) and # 7 ( top up ) .

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      • #4
        The car is covered right now, but I took this photo after removing upholstery. There are two snaps visible along the back edge. I wondered if these were for a fabric tonneau cover or if these are two of the snaps referred to?

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        • #5
          The snaps referred to in the instructions are on the side rails above the doors. The snaps in your photo were added later. I have seen aftermarket tonneau covers, either vinyl or fabric on Squarebirds so perhaps that's what they were for.

          John
          John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

          Thunderbird Registry #36223
          jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

          https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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          • #6
            Makes sense. Thanks.

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            • #7
              The "Trim and Sealant" Manual shows these snaps on the package tray. Also shown are two straps that are fastened to the rear tacking strip, one on each side not far from these snaps. These straps have the button fasteners that could engage the snaps shown in the pic. It has always been my assumption that these snaps and straps were to hold the rolled up vinyl window when it was unzipped. I've never actually seen these straps in cars I've dismantled and always assumed they were never installed when the top was replaced. Does anyone have a convertible still with the original top to confirm any of this?
              Carl, aka partsetal

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              • #8
                I don't remember seeing them on any of the convertibles I've had either. I'd have to go back and check my old photos. Peter may have a rarety. The '58 top adjustment manual doesn't show them either.

                John
                John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                Thunderbird Registry #36223
                jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

                https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                • #9
                  I had a package tray for a '59 as well as my '58 . The '58 did not have the snap fasteners but the '59 did . So I always assumed that the '59 was the first year for the rear window roll up feature straps . We have the straps on our '66 and had them replaced when the rear window was repaired years ago . It is a very nice feature to have on a really hot sunny day with all the windows down, including the back one rolled up and the top in the up position . So my understanding and experience is that the snaps were there from '59 up to '66 .
                  This feature does not explain the snaps along the side rails ( four on each side ) as mentioned in the top instruction sheet . The buttons were there when I restored the top on our '58 . Had them put back in service when the installer did my new top . They are a bit difficult to use so I can understand why they may have been eliminated in the following years . The old top I removed had the side flaps with the snaps in place and used that as a pattern .

                  Just to add, the buttons on the package tray are there to store the straps when not in use . The straps are secured on the outside with the same buttons as Karl mentioned, and approximately 10 " from the inside buttons outward . If you replace the top, under the tacking strip you will see the holes for the button screws . The strap would lay on the tacking strip and secured with the screws.
                  Last edited by OUR5T8BIRD; November 24th, 2021, 07:58 AM.

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                  • #10
                    I've had at least a dozen '59 and '60 convertibles and going through my old photos I couldn't find any that had the rear window snaps so it was not a common install. If it was done at the factory it was certainly hit and miss.

                    John
                    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                    Thunderbird Registry #36223
                    jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

                    https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

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                    • #11
                      Interestingly enough it does appear in the 49-59 Ford parts manual in 1959 but does not appear in the 60-64 manual until 1964. However the 1962 Trim manual does show it. It does say for white tops with black lining so possibly it was not available for other colors which is why it is seen so seldom?

                      John

                      top strap.jpg
                      John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

                      Thunderbird Registry #36223
                      jopizz@squarebirds.org 856-779-9695

                      https://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

                      Comment

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