She’s topless, again.

Posted: December 12, 2013 in Thunderbird
Tags: , , , , ,

A balmy 13 degrees, and she’s topless. This morning after building a fire in the stove, I plowed the driveway, the neighbors drive, and my parents drive. By the time I got done, it was warm enough in the shop that my fingers didn’t freeze to the tools, I got busy and got the top lifted of the T’bird. The reason? Not just to have it look different in the shop, but to make it easy to make the “trough” around the sunken windshield frame.

This had been just tacked together, the 2″ wide gap between windshield frame and cowl had to be filled with sheet metal. I made some cardboard patterns, the strips had to be arched to fit in the curve, cut the stops and got started welding. I was interrupted by a trip to the hardware store to get more 3″ disks for the cut-off tool and some flap disks for the small grinder, but still got it almost all finished. Picked a couple more barrel bolts so I can finish up the fender skirt project too.

It’s good to get one more thing (almost) finished. It won’t be long now until I can get to the final body work, and make it all pretty. Stay tuned!

Windshield trough.

Windshield trough.

View from the interior, over the sunken dash.

View from the interior, over the sunken dash.

I'm anxious to get some primer on this thing.

I’m anxious to get some primer on this thing.

A sleek, spotted beauty.

A sleek, spotted beauty.

  1. HiWay103 says:

    What was once the “big square ‘bird” to something subtly ethereal. This is going to be some kinda custom hotrod. Enjoy your newsletter a lot! I just scored a 351/C-6 that I don’t know what I’m going to do with, but couldn’t pass up at 68k miles.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Hello Brian, I have a pair of squarebirds, a ’59 and a ’60. I’m almost done with the ’59 and the ’60 I’ve been toying with the idea of making it a roadster. My question to you is the following… Was yours an original convertible or a hard top? And (if it was a hard top) how did you reinforce the unibody before cutting the top off? Thanks.

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Johnathan, the converts and coupes share the same body shell. It’s as rigid with the top off as it was with it on. The hardtop is a complete, separate assembly that is welded to the windshield frame at the front, and the wheelhouses behind the rear seat brace at the rear. Mine, to answer your query, was a coupe. I simply cut the roof off with a Sawzall. Over the w/s frame is a “Z” shaped sheet metal bridge between it and the top. I cut through it, then drilled the spot welds out of the base on the w/s frame and removed it. The top now mounts with a pair of Chrysler Sebring convertible top latches, pivoted 90 degrees from their original mount on the Chrysler tops side rails, so they’re now forming part of the tops new interior “header”. The B pillars have a pair of Chrysler K car hood latch pins, the latches are in the top of the quarter, with simlple cables to release them. It works great. I also have a ’64 convertible top frame which I used to use on the car, but with the w/s sunken, it no longer fits, and I’m not engineer enough to figure out how to chop it and have it still fold properly. In addition, they’re cast aluminum, and I don’t have a way to weld them. Also have what I think is ’61-’63 top frame, complete. What I don’t have is convert w/s frame stainless, which I’d like to find in order to make mine look more proper with the top off.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks for your prompt reply Brian. Looks like I’ll be cutting a top of during the the x-mas break :). By the way, your tbird looks awesome with the sunken windshield.

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