|1962 Ford Thunderbird|
But I still like early 60's Thunderbirds. JFK had 50 bullet bird convertibles in his inaugural parade. I guess that's cool, I mean usually they use big black limousines, don't they? The T-Birds looked cool, and they were built with the latest technology available, but it's all old now. The best that can be said for them is that they used unibody construction. I would say they were one of the first, but the whole industry was in a transition period back then. Most cars these days use unibody construction. The only one I can think of that is still body-on-frame is the Cadillac Escalade and that's only because it's basically a truck.
When I think about fixing up one of these old Thunderbirds, I like to imagine all the cool stuff that I could install that could make it better car, a car that you would actually want to use instead of something that constantly needed attention.
|Ford Thunderbird 390 Engine|
What happened to the diagonal braces?
- the carburetor with electronic fuel injection,
- the fan belts with a serpentine belt
- the front drum brakes with disks, and
- the 3-speed automatic transmission with a 4-speed.
But then you get into even more exotic projects, like replacing the front suspension with something that will let it drive like a modern car, or hopping up the engine so it will deliver 400 HP instead of the 300 it came with originally. Many of the cars that are out there have way less than 100,000 miles, so you might be able to simply work on the top end and leave the bottom end, including the entire short block alone. I wonder if you would even notice the power difference. Driving around town at 25 MPH you aren't going to need the extra oomph. About the only place you can use all your power these days in on an expressway on-ramp. Still, that can be fun.
But now we're talking even more money, possibly another ten grand. Now this project is starting to look like buying a new car. Of course, new cars don't look as cool as those Space Cars from the 50's. If you don't agree, that's okay, you're wrong and I can live with that.
|1961 Ford Thunderbird dashboard|
It might be best to simply do a brand new dash. I am sure there are talented designers out there who could come up with something really spacey. I could do the mechanical/functional part, but making it look integrated and cool, hmmm, I dunno. I would need some inspiration I think.