I really should only work on one project at a time…

Posted: March 8, 2010 in Thunderbird, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

…but, I am so easily distracted, it’s hard to stay focused.  So, while there are literally hundreds of things I need to do on the Diamond T, the other day I worked a little on the ’59 Thunderbird.

This car has been setting in the garage for 5 years now waiting for me to finish stripping off the remainder of the old candy paint job, after I had to fix the right rear quarter after a minor parking lot shunt “customized” it.  I got most of the color off down to the primer, and had swapped a set of LTD II front spindles and disk brakes onto the car, bought a set of 17″ “Salt Flat Special” wheels,  and work stopped cold.  First it was the ’36 that kept me from working on it, then it was Craig’s Impala, now it’s the Diamond T.  Enough, I had to do something.

I’d always loved the look of these late 50’s cars with their wrap-around panoramic windshields when they’re chopped by sinking the windshield down into the cowl.  The ‘Bird I thought would look good with a very subtle chop done this way, particularly with the tonneau cover I’d built for it originally.  Since the car has been dormant, I figured getting going on a windshield chop would get me re-enthused about the car, and inspire me to finish it up again.

I started by pulling the glass, and stripping out the dash.  The body where the glass sets, a pinchweld at the top of the cowl, I started cutting out with a cutoff wheel in the die grinder.  The idea is cut out this entire part of the body, and recess it down into the cowl, thus lowering the glass. 

I additionally wanted to keep the forward “cant” or angle of  the windshield frame,  so the profile of the car would appear stock, but different.  This turned out to be pretty easy to do, and with a couple hours of work, I had the windshield frame completely cut out of the body.  I trimmed enough metal off the bottom to let it set down as far as I could, which was 2 inches, and started tacking it back to the body. 

The result is exactly what I’d pictured.  The original hardtop, which I’d made removable when I first built the car, was painted but never used.  I’d done a folding top, using ’64 T’Bird top frame, which worked but was a little too tall, and never really liked.  The plan now, is to have the steel top “chopped” the same amount as the windshield, keep it removable, and thin up the massive rear pillar by cutting a wedge from the back of the pillar and leaning the entire rear window forward several inches.  I may try to make the steel top stowable in the trunk, by cutting the forward part of the top off and making that section hinged, like the Retractable hardtop Fords of the late 50’s.  Whether that will work or not, I’m not sure, but it’s an idea.   Thanks to James D from the HAMB board for the photoshop of the two top versions.

Anyway, I was happy to get the windshield frame dropped and the glass set temporarily in place.  Nice look, just enough to be different, but not enough to look “stepped on”.   I’m thinking of a bright Mercedes silver color, since the car has such obvious “Jet Age styling”, would look better than the dark organic candy blackcherry color it used to be.  That, and I’ve always liked the song “Silver Thunderbird”,  so that would be sort of fitting.

More updates as they happen.

  1. Kirkus says:

    One project at a time? Where is the pain in that!? ANd the lost parts, and forgetting where you left off……… At least thats the story in my world

  2. Jack Logan says:

    What size and brand of tires and wheels are you using on the T-Bird? They look great and fill those huge wheel wells! Nice job.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s