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Rear Deck Lid Corner Droop

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  • Rear Deck Lid Corner Droop

    As I also go to the Lincoln Forum to learn about '50s-'60s unibody Lincolns, the following popped up today regarding poor fit of body panels:
    Originally posted by Bill Prince
    I have a 1960 Thunderbird Hardtop with a factory defect, which all 1958-60 Thunderbirds had. It is hard to notice, but I can see it. I don't know if anyone else has ever noticed it or not. I have not heard anyone say anything about it however.
    These cars were designed, fabricated, and assembled by the same company and came off the same assembly line as Lincolns. So, Dan is right in saying that they were not perfect.
    Anyway, the trunk lid rear edge does not line up with the die cast tail light cove housing on top. Towards the corners (left and right sides) of the trunk lid, where the trunk lid meets the tail light cover housing, the edge of the trunk lid dips down (has too much curve to it). So, rather than having the trunk lid edge follow the housing edge for the length of the housing (on each side of the car), it follows it and then starts to be too low at the edge. I suspect that the trunk lid stamping, which is very very complex, ended up having some sort of distortion from the stamping process. The cast housing was easier to get right. Why was this not corrected? Money my dear Watson.
    Just an example of a factory defect.

    I have pictures of many of these Thunderbirds showing the same defect, which I have seen in person as well.
    (Bill in turn posted a photo of the rear of his Corinthian White '60 showing how pronounced the droop in the corners were compared to the center of the deck lid.)

    A fix for those drooping trunk corners that Ford advised dealers to do via a Product Service Letter circa mid-late 1958 (which we also did note in VTCI's 1958-1960 Original Factory Specifications Manual) was to install adjustable hood bumpers in the outboard area of the panel beneath the deck lid and forward of the end trim. You'd have to tweak the lid with pressure from above and a 2x4 block at the outber corners if you wanted to get it straight.

    BTW, thanks (to the poster at the Lincoln Forum) for pointing this out: now I can make judges at VTCI events aware of this in case someone's looking for an "overrestored" deck lid, and get this documented for the 1958-1960 Original Factory Specifications Manual .
    Alan H. Tast AIA, LEED AP BD+C
    Technical Director/Past President, Vintage Thunderbird Club Int'l.
    Author, "Thunderbird 1955-1966" & "Thunderbird 50 Years"

  • #2
    Rear Deck Lid Corner Droop

    Great post, Alan! I have seen this droop myself also. I did not realize that it was a factory defect. I thought it was just a mis-adjustment.

    Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
    The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
    Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411


    • #3
      The picture of the 60 for sale in Texas that Ray posted shows the droop on outer trunk edges if you look closely.
      Attached Files
      Mike Lemmon
      '59 Raven Black Hardtop


      • #4
        Hey Guys,
        Christine's trunk lid does the same thing!
        Richard D. Hord


        • #5
          And I always thought that was from people sitting back there against the bumper/deck lid. I have found myself resting against my own T-Bird between the rear bumper spears at car shows, etc.

          I figured with the trunk latch smack dab in the center, the outter ends would be the only edge to "bend"....
          The 1960 Ford Thunderbird. The WORLD'S most wanted car....

          VTCI Member#6287.


          • #6
            See other thread for the same topic, I also attached a pdf to that thread of the Product Service Letter that addresses trunk bumpers.

            1959 J Convertible
            1960 J Hardtop


            • #7
              My trunk lid does the same thing... I always thought it was because the car was rear-ended... not that it has been. Just what I thought.

              Do you all think it came that way???
              1960 Thunderbird
              Been in my family since 1961
              Portland, OR


              • #8
                Rear Deck Lid Corner Droop

                Yes, it looks like all Squarebirds came that way from the factory. According to what is said here, there was a problem with the stamping of the trunk lid and they realized it soon after they '58 Squarebird came out. So they put out that bulletin showing how to put rubber bumpers like you have in your engine bay area for the hood. That bumpers, properly adjusted, push back against the droop, causing it to fit better and not droop. So I understood.

                Ray Clark - Squarebirds Administrator
                The Terminator..... VTCI #11178
                Contact me via Private Message for my email address, or Call (Cell) 210-875-1411