1963 Thunderbird Convertible Restomod Project

This area is for posting questions/information concerning 1961-63 year Thunderbirds NO FOR SALE POSTINGS

Moderator: Wklink

1963 Thunderbird Convertible Restomod Project

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:12 pm

Thought I'd start a thread for my 1963 Thunderbird convertible restomod project. This is what we?re starting with, a solid 1963 Ford Thunderbird convertible:

Image

My mom had a maroon one with white interior when I was a kid.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:14 pm

Here?s how it looks at the moment:

Image

It's all modern running gear underneath. A 1998 Lincoln Mk VIII was used as the donor. Both the Thunderbird and the Mk VIII are unibody cars and happen to share the same 113 inch wheelbase. The front inner fenders of the Tbird were cut out and replaced with those from the Lincoln. That allowed the engine, front suspension and rack and pinion steering from the Lincoln to bolt in. A cross-member was fabricated for the automatic overdrive transmission and adapters made to mount the Mark's independent rear suspension. Since the wheelbase is the same, the Mark's aluminum driveshaft fits without modification. The air ride has been plumbed up front. Coil springs are currently fitted in the rear but that's just temporary and it will get air bags at the back.
Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:21 pm

When it?s done, I hope it looks more like this 1962 Thunderbird Roadster:

Image

I like the smooth doors and fenders of the 1962 model better than the crease lined 1963 version. I?m told the ?62 fenders and doors are a direct replacement so I plan to search for a set from a ?62 and sell my rust free ?63 bits. I?ve got the fiberglass tonneau cover but will be using different wheels. The Lincoln Mk VIII I?m using as a donor has a different bolt pattern and I?ll likely use 16? diameter wheels.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:24 pm

The ?63 has a black interior. Hopefully, it will look as good as this one when I?m finished:

Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:27 pm

Here it with the bumpers and drive train removed:

Image


I?ve got a new front bumper and rear bumper ends but the center section of the rear bumper is rough. I need to see if those have been reproduced.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:31 pm

The inner front fenders of the Mk VIII were cut out and the front suspension cradle removed. After the trial fitting is finished and the shell is off being painted, I?ll install new bushings and any other suspensions and brake parts as needed, then paint the front suspension bits.

Image

The inner fenders, front suspension and engine were mocked up in a coupe to make sure it would all fit before cutting the convertible:

Image
Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:33 pm

Here?s a shot showing the Mk VIII inner fenders being grafted into the Tbird:


Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:36 pm

Parts to mount the transmission and Mk VIII independent rear suspension were fabricated:

Image

Brackets were also welded to IRS cradle.

Image

Like the front suspension, the rear will get new bushings and paint and detailing prior to final assembly. I?ll likely install a limited slip unit and shorter gearing, too.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:39 pm

Here?s a shot showing the independent rear suspension mounting brackets installed in the Tbird unibody:

Image

It's fitted with all thread temporarily but suspension bolts of the proper lengths will be substituted. A close up of the rear suspension brackets bolted in the Tbird unibody:

Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:44 pm

Once the major fabrication was complete, the shell (with doors, hood, decklid and fenders) were sent to the soda blaster and stripped to a bare frame. Here?s a shot of the shell prior to soda blasting:

Image

And another of it being blasted:

Image

Back from the blaster, the body was primed:

Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:50 pm

Here?s the stock engine and transmission from the 1998 Mk VIII:

Image

The 1993 to 1998 Mk VIII engines had split port cylinder heads with two intake ports per cylinder and variable runner length intake manifolds with intake manifold runner controls (IMRC) that switched between the short and long runners. Starting in 1999, the 4.6L DOHC engines got new cylinder heads featuring tumble-style intake ports (one intake port feeding a pair of intake valves) and fixed runner-length intake manifolds. The original plan was to install an intake from a 1996 to 1998 Mustang Cobra, along with long tube headers and call it good. However, I found some better bits and will be cracking open the engine:

Image

Go fast bits include a ported 2001 Cobra Mustang intake manifold (cut apart, ported and welded back together), a Mach 1 lid (maybe a little lower than the Cobra lid?), BBK dual 62mm throttle body, a pair of low mileage 2004 Cobra cylinder heads (better flowing ports) and matching JBA stainless steel shorty headers. I may sell the headers and use the Kooks long tube stainless headers for the Mk VIII which I'm hoping will fit since I'm using the Mk VIII inner fenders and motor mounts. Not shown are a set of Ford Racing FR500 camshafts. Another shot of the parts, this time with the lid off the intake showing the long runners:

Image
Last edited by Daniel Jones on Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:53 pm

Side shot of trial fitting the drive train:
Image

And another:
Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 5:55 pm

Here?s a shot of the Mk VIII inner fenders grafted into the Tbird with the stock Mk VIII engine installed:
Image

And another:
Image

It's scruffy now but will cleaned up later.
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:04 pm

A shot showing the firewall modifications:
Image

The heater core assembly is from a 2003 Mustang.
Image
Image

The hydroboost MC set up from a 1994-1995 Cobra Mustang. Also visible is some of the air-ride plumbing:
Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Postby Daniel Jones » Tue Jan 01, 2013 6:05 pm

Radiator, shroud and electric fan are from Mk VIII
Image

The Mk VIII also donated the air conditioning condensor and the power steering cooler:
Image
Daniel Jones
 
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:53 pm
Location: St. Louis, Missouri USA

Next

Return to 1961-1963 Modified/Custom Thunderbirds

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests