Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Baby Bird Parts

Feature Article from Hemmings Motor News

January, 2012 - Jim O'Clair

It has been about four years since we last looked at some of the invaluable Thunderbird resources listed inHemmings Motor News. Several new suppliers have been added since 2007 and several others have changed their contact information or added new products since then, so we will be updating this information over the next two issues. Although a majority of these vendors are listed in the "Thunderbird Parts For Sale" section of the magazine, you will find many others listed in other sections, including "Ford Parts For Sale," "Lincoln Parts For Sale," "Services Offered," "Books and Literature" and "Fomoco Parts."
You will find many of the suppliers like to focus on a single generation of Thunderbird, while others stock parts for Fords in general or Thunderbirds of all years. Each is available to assist you with your difficult parts or repair questions to help you complete your T-Bird restoration or repair.
PRESTIGE THUNDERBIRD specializes in 1955-'57 "Little Birds." Both new and used parts are offered as well as a power steering repair service. New aluminum radiators have recently been added to their line of new parts, and complete cars are available on occasion. Prestige can also perform interior and paint, convertible and hardtop restorations.
Little Birds are also the favorites of CLASSIC AUTO SUPPLY COMPANY. They have been supplying parts and completing restorations on 1955-'57 Thunderbirds for over 40 years. They have an extensive catalog of new replacement parts for these years and have recently added LED taillamps; smaller steering wheels and a modified high-volume water pump for T-Birds using all stainless steel components. CASCO's website lists monthly specials on many items.
MAC'S AUTO PARTS has been supplying new aftermarket parts for most Ford models since 1978. They offer an extensive catalog of restoration and repair parts for 1955-'66 Thunderbirds, which can be ordered free of charge at their website. An online version of the Thunderbird parts book and their many other catalogs can also be viewed at the site. Items for Thunderbirds include power window switches, starters, repair manuals (also in CD-ROM for your computer) and door lock cylinders.
BIRD NEST specializes in replacement parts for 1958-'66 T-Birds. They have a free online catalog of many new parts available including new convertible top latches and headlamp bezels. Over 3,000 different items are listed. Quality used parts are also offered for these early Birds.
CLASSIQUE CARS supplies both Lincoln and Thunderbird enthusiasts with electrical, mechanical, exterior trim and body parts for 1958-'99 model years. They have a large inventory of hard-to-find NOS items in inventory and can supply you with many of the correct electrical switches and relays for Thunderbird convertible tops and sequential turn signals. Classique stocks new reproduction items and good used parts for 1958-'99 Lincolns and T-Birds as well, and they offer an appraisal service for your completed restoration project or purchase you are considering.
One of the largest inventories of Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and Thunderbird NOS parts anywhere in the U.S. is on hand and available for easy shipping at GREEN SALES COMPANY. Their full inventory of original Ford body, mechanical and electrical items is easily accessible by Ford part number on their website. If you are looking for Ford original equipment sheetmetal, Green Sales currently stocks over 1,000 Fomoco original and quality used fenders and quarter panels. Recent acquisitions of obsolete inventory from other suppliers retiring from the business have boosted their inventories even further.
THUNDERBIRD HEADQUARTERS has free catalogs available for 1955-'66 T-Birds and has many new items available in their fully stocked warehouse. Brand new FE engine exhaust manifolds are just one of the new items recently added to their selection. New reproduction trim pieces include back-up and parking lamp housings for early Sixties Thunderbirds and chrome hood scoop inserts.
Late Fifties and early Sixties Thunderbird parts can also be found at OBSOLETE & CLASSIC AUTO PARTS. Their 171-page comprehensive catalog is available on request or viewable at their website. Complete listings for engine, transmission, differential and electrical repair are included for pre-1966 Thunderbirds, and the catalog lists upholstery, glass, body parts and accessories. Obsolete and Classic Auto has nine different Ford catalogs to offer that cover replacement parts for Model T, A, Falcon, Mustang, truck and full-size Fords as well.
TEE-BIRD PRODUCTS specializes in late Fifties Ford restoration parts and accessories, including 1955-'57 Thunderbird. Continental kits, wheel covers, weatherstripping, wiring harnesses, interior and mechanical repair items for early Thunderbirds as well as 1954-'56 Fords are listed in their 179-page catalog and they also have many 1957-'59 Ford items available on request. Tee-Bird has Peugeot 505 and 405 parts and Citro├źn CX parts available too, through some twist of fate. You can request a catalog or view it online at their website.
New, used and NOS Thunderbird parts for the early 1955-'57 Birds are offered by THUNDERBIRDS USA. Reproduction gas tanks and door pillars are just a few of the new items contained in their free catalog. Thunderbirds USA is also developing a new website that will soon offer some of their items online. Quality Thunderbird restorations are also performed on premises at their Alabama facility.
HILL'S THUNDERBIRD CENTER offers an early Thunderbird restoration service, with 25 years of experience, in addition to quality new and used parts, plus rare accessories for pre-1957 Thunderbirds. Their experienced staff can assist you with qualified technical support on your restoration project and Hill's parts department is open Saturday mornings too. If you are shopping around for one of these vintage cars, Hill's has several 1955-'57 Thunderbirds available for purchase; both completed restorations and project cars are listed in their current inventory.
Pre-1966 Thunderbird parts and accessories are also available from LARRY'S THUNDERBIRD AND MUSTANG PARTS. Larry's offers two free catalogs of new replacement parts for 1955-'57 Birds and 1958-'66 models including front disc brake changeover kits, owner's manuals, wiring diagrams, door panels and headliners. Larry's has been helping enthusiasts with classic Thunderbird supplies for over 40 years and recently has added a catalog of replacement parts for 1954-'57 full-size Fords in addition to their Thunderbird and classic Mustang parts offerings.
KANTER AUTO PARTSS is a great resource for 1955 to 1990s Thunderbird parts. Kanter sells complete engine and brake overhaul kits as well as replacement suspension, steering, drivetrain parts and accessories. Many accessory items for other Ford models and non-Ford American makes are also listed in their extensive catalog.
THE THUNDERBIRD CONNECTION is a good source for reproduction and NOS Thunderbird parts. Thunderbird Connection has chrome exterior trim pieces listed as well as window motors, air conditioning and heater parts. Steering, suspension, electrical harnesses, relays and service manuals are a few of the items they offer in their free catalog, which can also be viewed online. Their used parts are stored in the rust-free Arizona desert until they find a new home, and this means their used sheetmetal is in excellent condition.
Andy Lovelace at THUNDERBIRDS EAST specializes in quality new and used parts for 1955-'57 Thunderbirds. He also buys and sells Thunderbirds of this era and is interested in purchasing 1955-'57 parts cars or restoration projects. Their parts inventory includes new, NOS, reconditioned, rebuilt and good used parts such as brake, engine, interior and exterior parts as well as transmissions. They can ship daily to anywhere in the world.
BOB's THUNDERBIRDS has many used engines and transmissions for first-generation Birds as well as soft tops, hardtops and all window glass. Complete interior kits for 1955-'57 cars are offered as well as many NOS and new reproduction parts. Bob's is currently having a large inventory reduction sale that can save you money on many of the items he has on hand.
An extensive online catalog of replacement parts for 1955-'57 Thunderbirds is available from NATIONAL PARTS DEPOT. Their 120-page catalog includes many mechanical, exterior and interior parts. With four fully stocked warehouses located throughout the U.S., NPD can ship quickly, usually in less than three days, and inexpensively. Their customer service department is open 24 hours a day, and you can order online at their website as well. A digital copy of the 1955-'57 Thunderbird catalog is offered at the website. Fenders, lights, bumpers, engine parts, cooling system parts and door panels are just a few of the thousands of items they offer. Ten additional catalogs for Chevrolet, Pontiac and Ford muscle cars and Ford truck parts are also available.
COKER TIRE sells reproduction 52-spoke wire wheels for classic Thunderbirds. Hubcaps are offered as well, and Coker offers free mounting and balancing on all purchases of both vintage bias-ply or radial tires and any of their selection of custom wheels.
Replacement stainless steel and coated alloy steel fuel tanks for 1955 and '56 Thunderbirds can be purchased from TANKS INC. These tanks are exact reproductions manufactured in 16-gauge 304 stainless or steel alloys that are dipped after the building process to prevent rust caused by driving in the rain or long-term storage in less than ideal conditions. Fuel tank sending units and stainless tank straps are also offered.
CONCOURS PARTS AND ACCESSORIES has two free catalogs available full of new replacement and reproduction Thunderbird parts. They offer a catalog for 1955-'57 Little Birds as well as one for all T-Birds from 1958-'66. Aluminum dash trim, antennas, leaf springs and other suspension parts are listed in their catalogs of mechanical and accessory items. Six other Ford and Mercury parts catalogs are available for 1949-'72 models, including Torinos, trucks, full-size cars, Galaxies and Fairlanes.
Next month, we will feature some additional Thunderbird suppliers that offer replacement parts, accessories and used items for classic and newer Thunderbirds. If you need further assistance, feel free to contact our parts locator service to track down any parts you need for your vintage or classic vehicle. A mail-in submission form is included in each Hemmings Motor News issue.

Bird Nest 
Bob's T-Birds
Classic Auto Supply Company
Classique Cars
Coker Tire
Concours Parts
Green Sales Company
Hill's Thunderbird Center
Kanter Auto Products
Larry's Thunderbird and Mustang Parts
Mac's Auto Parts
National Parts Depot
Obsolete and Classic Auto Parts
Prestige Thunderbird
Tanks Inc.
Tee-Bird Products
Thunderbird Connection
Thunderbirds East
Thunderbird Headquarters
Thunderbirds USA

57 Specs

1957 Ford Thunderbird
Complete Specifications

Some major styling changes took place on the 1957 Ford Thunderbird from previous years. Inside, the instrument panel was redesigned with clustered dials plus new designs to the all-vinyl upholstery and trim combinations. Outside the spare tire went back into the trunk, which didn't occupy too much room in the 5 feet by 5-1/2 feet space. The standard top for the '57 Thunderbird, made of glass-fiber, was removable and had stylish port windows (also available without port windows). A manually operated soft top was also an option but at an extra cost. Tops were available in black, blue, tan or white and comfort-sealed against the weather. The rear boasted rear fins which were growing in populartity by automakers.
The Thunderbird's optional engine choice for 1957 contained 312 cu. in with 285 hp while the standard engine has 212 hp. Also available was 3 choices of transmission including a new 3-speed manual.

1957 Ford Thunderbird Production and Specifications

Model NumberBody/Style NumberBody Type & SeatingFactory PriceShipping WeightTotal Production
C7/D7/E7402 dr Convertible - 2P$3,4083,134 lbs21,380

Chassis Data

ModelWheelbaseOverall LengthOverall HeightFront TreadRear TreadTires
Thunderbird102 in181.4 in51.6 in56 in56 in7.50 x 14 four-ply tubeless

Vin Number Decoding - 1957 Ford Thunderbird

Location: Installed on the dash panel in the engine compartment.

First Symbol - Engine
D= V8 OHV 312 cu. in.= V8 OHV 312 cu. in. Supercharged
Second Symbol - Model Year
7 = 19576 = 1956
Third - Assembly Plant
A = Atlanta, GA.M = Memphis, TN.
C = Chester, PA.N = Norfolk, VA.
D = Dallas, TX.P = Twin Cities, WI.
E = Mahwah, NJ.R = San Jose, CA.
F = Dearborn, MI.S = Pilot Plant
G = Chicago, IL.T = Metuchen, NJ.
H = Lorain, OH.U = Louisville, KY.
J = Los Angeles, CA.W = Wayne, MI.
K = Kansas City, MO.Y = Wixom, MI.
L = Long Beach, CA.Z = St. Louis, MO.
Fourth Symbol - Body Style
H = Thunderbird
Last Six Symbols - Production Sequence
Starting at 100001

Body Type Code
40 = Thunderbird
Body Color Code
A = Raven BlackN = Gunmetal Gray / Seaspray Green
E = Colonial WhiteQ = Thundrbird Bronze
F = Starmist BlueR = Torch Red
G = Sun GoldV = Flame Red
H = Gunmetal GrayX = Dusk Rose
J = Willow GreenY = Inca Gold
L = Azure BlueZ = Coral Sand
Trim Code
XA = Raven Black & Colonial White VinylXK = Colonial White Vinyl
XH = Flame Red VinylXL = Dresden (med. Blue) & Starmist (lt. Blue) vinyl
XJ = Bronze (Copper) VinylXM = Cumberland (med. green) & Willow (lt. green) vinyl
Date Code (example - 17 K - 17 = day of month; K = month
A or N = JanuaryG or U = July
B or P = FebruaryH or V = August
C or Q = MarchJ or W = September
D or R = AprilK or X = October
E or S = MayL or Y = November
F or T = JuneM or Z = December
Transmission Codes
CodeTransmission Type
13-Speed Manual Shift
3Fordomatic 2-speed
Rear Axle Code

Monday, April 23, 2012

Classic Colors

You've chosen the year 1957. Good.
Now you have to make another choice. You have to pick a classic color for your beautiful Thunderbird. 1957 had the most color choices around.

Flame Red (V)
Raven Black (A)
Colonial White (E)

Starmist Blue (F)
Willow Green (J)
Gunmetal Gray Iridescent (N)
Inca Gold (Y)
Coral Sand (Z)
Thunderbird Bronze Iridescent (Q)
Dusk Rose (X)
Gunmetal Gray Iridescent (H)
Sun Gold (G)
Torch Red (R)
Azure Blue (L)
Seaspray Green (N)

Interior Colors

Raven Black  / Colonial White (XA)

Flame Red (XH)

Thunderbird Bronze (XJ)

Colonial White (XK)

Cumberland Green/ Willow Green (XM)

Dresden Blue / Starmist Blue (XL)

The Early Bird Choice

A choice has to be made when you join the "Early Birds". That choice is which year do I buy? Well I sifted through the 3 years. 1955, 1956, & 1957. Its a tough choice between the first of it's kind "1955". The 1956, with it's new features. The added port hole windows & it's new Spare tire sitting on the back end. And the 57, sleek changes to the tail fin design, front & Back Bumper design made so that the exhaust comes right out of the bumper itself.
I had to go with the 1957 Ford Thunderbird. It's design is like nothing I have ever seen in a car. Every Inch was planned carefully and the new features were fabulous changes to it's predecessors. My favorite parts of a thunderbird are its tail fins. Almost as if it is a living thing coming to life. Its slick lines and large trunk space along with it's rumbling exhaust ports. The rear brake lights add such character and style. They just make you want to follow it around the city.
The 1957 Thunderbird introduced the 312 cu in (5.1 L) V8 which became the Thunderbird's standard engine, and now produced 245 horsepower (183 kW). If you want a fast car that looks good, This is it. I also picked a 1957 For Thunderbird because it's a great car to start with when getting into classic cars. Its small, fast, and very classy.

All three of the Baby Birds are fantastic machines, and are a work of art on the roads. This blog is for all current and future owners of the "Baby Bird" Ford Thunderbirds. Thunderblog will host many helpful links for owners. Including Club Sites, History links, Other owner blogs, restoration information, buyer guides, Local Events, and most of all will host my Thunderbird adventures. I will be diving into this new hobby in locating & Purchasing a new 57 Thunderbird. This blog will hold every event and highlights of my 57 Thunderbird. I hope you enjoy the blog.