How classic are Little Birds? They still are very classic and still very cool. This 55 Thunderbird was picked up from a customer in Chattanooga Tennessee. It ran and drove but had problems. Even though it appeared nice from a distance, up close it was not smooth. Once unloaded at our shop we enjoyed driving it and checking it out.
After a consultation with the owner it was decided to do a frame off restoration. The original 292 Y-Block motor runs well but transmission leaked badly. The original Holley “Tea Pot” four barrel carburetor was intact and sent off to be professionally rebuilt. The car will be sorted out for correctness, the doors hinges were worn out and the body was an unknown.
The car was disassembled and tagged and bagged. While still on the chassis the paint has been ground off to reveal a fairly nice original body. There 2 layers of “car lot” paint jobs over the original white. There are dings and some dents that were bondo’d over the original color. We call this the “old cave and pave trick”. The rust is minor and the body work will be done correctly once more in the cars existence. From here the body will be removed from chassis so it can be cleaned, rebuilt, repainted and motor and trans pulled with ease. The plan is to make the car has new again and keep restoration cost low with out cutting corners. This falls under the classic car restoration category for sure.
The body work was finished and put in prime. The body was then lifted off and chassis was disassembled and motor and drive train pulled out. The transmission was sent off to a T-bird trans expert and was rebuilt. The motor ran OK and did not smoke so the owner decided to just re-seal it. Upon disassembling the motor a worn out timing chain was found and also it was one link off from correct timing. A new unit was ordered up and installed correctly as well has a new oil pump. After checking the bottom end the motor was reassembled, primed and paint Ford Red. A new 12 volt one wire alternator that looks like a generator was installed. The carburetor was sent out and professionally rebuilt. Once back together the motor was test run on our test stand and video's were made and sent to the customer. Then the motor and trans were re-installed in the rebuilt newly painted chassis.
The primed body was bolted back to frame and rolled into paint booth. Once painted and buffed the car was re-assembled replacing parts has needed. On a full 12 volt system the car fired right up and after some adjustments and de-bugging the car was finished.