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Restoration Advice



  • burdawgburdawg Posts: 1,524
    Buicks of that era used a torque tube driveshaft which is a fixed tube running from the back of the transmission (via a moveable joint or "torque ball) to the differential with a solid propellor shaft inside of it. While I've seen different engine /trans combos in some, mostly Chevy 350/400 turbo, the rear end also needs to be changed out for the tube driveshaft. Many find it's easier to put the original body on a different frame alltogether.
  • tbird8tbird8 Posts: 5
    I am looking to buy a 1966 thunderbird, would like a rag top, but will end up most likely with a landau. My question is, if i can not find color and options i would like to have, would it harm the resale value down the road if were to change the exterior color or interior as long as my choice was offered by ford on that car in that year? And what about adding options that the car dose not have,but were offered?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I don't think it would hurt value unless you were planning to have the car compete in serious car show judging--sometimes winning awards adds to value but you'll probably never win with a color change.

    The color change might turn off the occasional purist but these people never buy anything anyway. :shades:

    As an appraiser, I don't deduct value on a later T-Bird for a color change, as long as it is a bare metal respray. If you have a blue car with a red interior trunk lid and door jambs, well then, another story....

    On a '57 Bird with an E code, yeah, I might deduct value, as these are far more rare and valuable cars.

    And if you can add factory AC, all the better for value.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 7,762
    Also, just make sure you've priced out what a color change will cost before you buy - done right, it is VERY expensive.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    Probably $7500 for a high quality bare metal respray---$7500 and UP I mean.

    that means glass out, trim off, upholstery out, and maybe engine out--can't recall if that year's engine bay is black or color co-ordinated.

    Might be worth doing if you found a really nice car with a ruined paint job or something that say got rear-ended and that you could buy dirt cheap.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    What would a '66 Thunderbird Landau with a new $7,500 paint job be worth? Intuitively, I don't think it would be worth spending that kind of money on a '66 Bird, unless, maybe, if it were a convertible. Maybe. I say this only because the supply of this type of car will continue to shrink, and in, say, 20 years it'll be rare. By then, the collector market will be even more globalized, which should further increase demand. Also by then, all this stimulus money will likely have reduced the value of our currency, which would further support prices in nominal terms. That said, though, the future value issue should be a distant second consideration to how desirable this car is right now to a particular person.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I'd say it could be worth high teens in today's rather slumping market. A knock-out landau might break $20K but it would have to be quite a car top bottom under, over, inside, in all ways.

    A clean driver '66 Bird coupe with a decent "street level" paint job is worth about $10K.

    Any '66 Bird needing work dives in value considerably because these are expensive cars to restore.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    If we take a figure of $15,000 for a reasonably good but less than great one, I guess I'd be hesitant to spend $7,500 on a paint job. I'd only do it if I absolutely loved the car. I think the '66 Thunderbird is nice to look at, but it's not worth in the high teens to me. Although I like the styling, the main deficiencies for me are excessive weight, a suspension that's too soft and steering that's too light. These drawbacks don't matter all that much if you drive the car only occasionally, but I would never buy a car for just occasional use. Some people do, though.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    Most of the owner's of really nice JetBirds that I've appraised have owned them a long long time.

    A $15K coupe would have to be pretty close to "great" in condition. Most of the ones I see have nice paint, pretty clean interiors, clean but less than spiffy engine bays and old unpainted/undetailed/unrebuilt undercarriages. That's a #3 car and not a $15,000 one.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    Unless a person is REALLY attracted to these cars, I have to say that there are better choices, I happen to love the 1965-1966 T Birds especially the non landau models but I am well aware of their weaknesses too.

    They handle like an overloaded cruise ship. They are hard on suspension parts and tires, they wallow around corners and they have boatloads of electrical and vacuum leak problems.

    If I were tempted to buy one (and I could be), I would pick one that is already done. I would never change the color of a car and, no, I'm not a "purist", I just don't like the results unless HUGE money is spent and 7500.00 plus is way to much for a T-Bird that will never be worth big bucks.

    But, that's me.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    I agree with what you said.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Purists buy what they want & usually have the means to support their choices.

    The restorer is honor bound to be dictated by the I D tag, buck tag, & any other factory labels on the car. To do otherwise is similar to not getting an A+ on the test.

    After factory "add ons" lead to missrepresentations, for example, today there are more 65 & 66 Mustang GT's than the factories built.

    Be correct and be cautious when restoring anything. ;)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    it's your car, you can do what you want with it (and you take the consequences if there are any). Some factory colors are just ugly and i think warrant a change, and some factory colors are so commonplace that people rather enjoy seeing something different.

    As for originality, you'd be crazy for instance to keep the turboglide transmission in a '59 Impala or bias ply tires on an old T-Bird.

    What you don't want to do is start chopping into a car or welding on it. These I would agree are no-nos unless you are going full-bore custom.

    But in my book, anything "reversible" is fair game on an old car.

    And let's face it---many old cars are not historical monuments, they are just old cars. Some history is not important enough to preserve with intense accuracy. That's what "survivors" are for.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    My verbiage earlier pertains to restoring a classic that would qualify for insurance with Hagerty.

    Old plain cars are not included in my post as they are in yours so there is validity in what you say when it comes to the non classic clunker. With them, do anything you want.

    The 57 Bel Air is more of a classic than the 59 Impala so I would go original on the BA. The 58 Impala is more of a rare classic than the 59 so keeping it stock would increase its value as well.

    I question the value of adding an after market continental kit to anything.
  • tbird8tbird8 Posts: 5
    First thanks for everyone's advise. I intend to use this tbird as a weekend car and a vacation car, quick run to vegas or such. I drive a small Nissan for everyday and its just not roomie for a six hour drive. Is the 428 motor worth paying extra for? I realize it will need a rebuild and hardened valves and the trans gone through. I was told that a Edelbrock manifold, carb. and mild cam will give it a kick and still run smooth. What do you think of the 1967 to 1969 birds, I like them but was told they would never be worth much. I'm not a rich person and would like to lose as little as little as possible. Sounds like I better find a tbird that's close to what I want in color and options, a 7500.00 paint job is out of the question right now, I just want a really nice and dependable cruiser that can move out when given the spurs.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    The Turboglide (1957-1961) just may have been the worst automatic transmission ever made. Most were converted to Powergldes when they failed as they always did!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    The 428 is an engine to stay away from. Not as durable as the 390's and nasty to work on under that crowded hood.

    Unless you really know what you are doing, I would proceed with great caution. These cars can be a nightmare and the 67-69's ae no better.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I wouldn't pay extra for the 428, no, but I would pay extra for factory AC.

    Yes you are correct, the 67-69 Birds will never be worth very much.

    RE: Hagerty --- Hagerty will insure ANYTHING that is remotely old, so I think the criteria for whether you "modify or don't modify" an old car has to rest on something else---probably market value is the most sober approach.

    Modify a $15,000 car? Sure, why not. After 45-50 years if it's only worth $15,000 nearly restored, you are not sitting on a gold mine there.

    Modify a $50,000 car? Probably not a smart idea, but people do it all the time, and if the mods are tasteful and reversible, the marketplace doesn't seem to mind too much. Just don't mess with vin and data tags, don't cut the car, and don't throw away what you took off.

    The idea of "purist" coupled with mass production American cars made in the 100s of thousands makes me chuckle a bit. There comes a point where a heated debate on the fender bolt markings and lengths on a Model A Ford becomes Theater of the Absurd.

    I can see big changes in people's attitudes about restoration. It seems we went from the "careless restoration" period of the 60s and 70s, to the fanatical authenticity and pampering of the 90s to the "get it in and drive it" attitude of 2009.

    A balanced middle ground if you will.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    There comes a point where a heated debate on the fender bolt markings and lengths on a Model A Ford becomes Theater of the Absurd.

    Saturday, July 18, Bellevue College, Bellevue, WA is when judged Mustangs undergo a very meticulus and exacting discernment of authenticity.

    Your attending the judging process would be educational, informative, & inspiring.

    Hose clamps, bumper bolts, & fender bolts are just a few items that can cost points. Striving for perfection is to be admired. :)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I heard a story once about how a woman took her Mustang in to get new tires, and then had a fit because when they gave the car back to her, the little ponies on the hubcaps weren't lined up! :P
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I used to judge actually. As you can tell, I didn't much care for it.

    When you have a LOT of a certain car still around, like a Mustang, and when you have a LOT of people restoring them, the competition is fierce and so the focus becomes more and more intense, and revolves around those little details.

    But all that can blow up in your face. I've seen judges take points off on a car I know for certain was never touched. The problem of course, is that the factory didn't always do things one particular way, so questions always remain.

    Striving for perfection can be admirable, and it can become a parody of itself. It depends.

    In my humble opinion, finding the correct air cleaner on a rare shaker hood or rare intake manifold is indeed striving for perfection and should be rewarded. Insisting on the correct markings on a fender bolt from a car slammed together on an assembly line in Detroit in numbers bordering 1/2 million,---this to me is a waste of good people's good time.

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    Did you judge Mustangs, if so which generation? Still have your active card?

    They are not easy to attain these days.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    No I did more like charity events, 50s cars and British cars. I really don't have any interest in Mustangs per se. In the charity events you can ask for certain marques or eras but sometimes they stick you with cars that you aren't much interested in. I really wouldn't feel qualified to judge but a few types of cars. I'd be good on MGs and Porsches I think and Packards. I was asked to judge at the recent Marin-Sonoma Classics show but declined and went into the Car Corral instead, where cars were for display only. I like talking to owners, especially those that have done modifications such as Pro Tourers or Retro-Rods. Their ingenuity is quite amazing sometimes.

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  • tbird8tbird8 Posts: 5
    Are the 390 and 428 the same motor? Excuse the stupidity here but I've always thought the 428 was a 390 with different heads. Shows what I know. Oh what about the 1963 birds? any better? Or same problems?">
  • fintailfintail Posts: 41,900
    Maybe this year I will attend that and not stumble into some back entrance where a guy tries to charge me $20 admission...

    Personally, I value preserved unrestored cars more than overblown restorations.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    The 390 and 428 are from the same engine family, the "FE" engine, which started in 1958 as the 332 and 352 in Fords and the 361 in Edsels. The 428 had a larger bore than the 390, and probably took the block to its limits, with either too thin of a cylinder wall, too narrow of a water jacket, etc.

    The 428 was as big as they were able to take that engine block, so it was replaced around 1968. A new big-block came out, initially displacing 429 CID, but in the 70's it bumped up to 460.

    I know a guy who has one of those "7-Litre" Galaxies, which was the 428. He blew it up somehow, but I forget exactly what happened. Either threw a rod, spun a bearing, or whatever, but it pretty much destroyed the engine.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,579
    I think those engines are kinda dogs, aren't they?

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    The only reason they were dogs is due to the restrictive emission accessories imposed on them. For instance, it made a big difference when I removed the 20 Second Delay valve between the carb port and the vacuum advance. Turning the air cleaner cover upside down helped it breath as well. The first item I ever removed was the Thermactor - what a POS that was. ;)
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    No, they are not the same motor. The 428's have a bigger bore among other things.

    I'm not trying to scare you away. As I said, I actually like these cars but unless you have a lot of knowledge or someone who will actually work on one, they can be a nightmare.

    And, they handle horribly.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    They have those back enterances pretty well covered but you may get lucky. Since it's on a Saturday, I'll be working and I'll miss this one.

    Yes, the over restored cars don't do much for me. In a lot (most) of cases, they weren't that nice when they left the factory.

    I like the survivor cars myself that the owners can actually drive.
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