1955 Thunderbird body and cockpit bracing for body off restoration

Hi,
I have a 1955 Bird and want to know if anyone has a diagram and or details on fabricating the cockpit and body bracing of the body so I can lift it off the frame.
Also same for a rotisserie to spin the body.

Thanks, JDJ
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
How soon are you looking for this information? I happen to be getting started on a body-off. I have borrowed a brace from a friend at the Thunderbird club. The brace I have goes from the rear top mounting holes to the front floor / firewall area. When I am ready to install it I can post pictures of the brace and then how it is installed.
I also have talked with Hill's Thunderbird and they told me that they put braces right where the doors go. (at the top from the hinge to the rear or the opening) They said they don't put any other bracing on when they lift the body.
 
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How soon are you looking for this information? I happen to be getting started on a body-off. I have borrowed a brace from a friend at the Thunderbird club. The brace I have goes from the rear top mounting holes to the front floor / firewall area. When I am ready to install it I can post pictures of the brace and then how it is installed.
I also have talked with Hill's Thunderbird and they told me that they put braces right where the doors go. (at the top from the hinge to the rear or the opening) They said they don't put any other bracing on when they lift the body.
 
Hi and thanks for the response,

I have not started with removing body. I’m still working on other preparations and research on having the body and frame media blasted.
I have found a new 292 long block engine and dropped my Fordomatic transmission off today at a reputable shop in southern New Hampshire.
As to the bracing you have I’d sure like to hear and see more about what you have.
I’ve been checking on it and have found a video on you tube “coyo bird “ that shows the bracing and rotisserie. I’m hopefully going to get in touch with the guys that own the shop and get some solid information on the exact location of their bracing and the size of the steel “tubing “ they used.
If you’re in Massachusetts we’re not far apart as I live in southern Maine.
Hopefully we can share information! There is a lot to doing this restoration even if we subcontract many things out.

JDJ
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
I've looked at some pics in articles regarding frame off work done on a few birds. Most often I have seen just a brace across the top of the door (front to rear). There was one article on a web site for the second chance garage. They also made a few updates to the car that they did but there is some useful information in the article. My car is not going to be a 100% restoration as I will be modifying a few things. I already had a 302 automatic 12V conversion in the car. When I started to work on the frame I found it was rotted at the right rear section where it goes up for rear end clearance. I bought a '56 frame that is in really nice shape. I have not yet removed the body from the old frame because I want to replace any rusted out spots to maintain body strength and integrity. Now I have to make the mods & mounts to put the drivetrain into the new (to me) frame. I pulled out the tach & clock from the dash with a plan to install dual gauges so I will eliminate the idiot lights (OIL & GEN), Therefore I have a little fab work to do there.
I'm sure you and I will be having further communications regarding our Thunderbirds!
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
Hi JDJ, My garage is not heated so I only go out there when it's above 50 degrees. Yesterday while I was out there I worked at installing the body lift brace so I could get some pictures for you. This brace that I borrowed has been used to lift the bodies off of at least six Thunderbirds that I know of.
It going to take me a few minutes I have to rework the images to meet site size requirements.
 

fordrodsteven

Well-Known Member
I found this fixture to be heavy to move around (and for one person to install) and difficult to store. The four bolts on the outside of the fixture are for hooking chains to help installation. I personally would make it in three pieces. I would first make the two sides and bolt them in. Then I would make a cross bar to go underneath the side bars and bolt into location for the lift. Everything would have to nice and tight fitting so it wouldn't move. If the location of the cross bar was off I could then make another set of holes and move it to get a good level lift.
 
Hi JDJ, My garage is not heated so I only go out there when it's above 50 degrees. Yesterday while I was out there I worked at installing the body lift brace so I could get some pictures for you. This brace that I borrowed has been used to lift the bodies off of at least six Thunderbirds that I know of.
It going to take me a few minutes I have to rework the images to meet site size requirements.
Thanks for keeping me posted on the bracing. I’ve been busy researching a lot of other items with the upcoming restoration.

I look forward to any photos and bracing details you learn about. I’m with you on wanting warmer weather. It’s challenging to work on the cars when you don’t have a climate controlled environment. I have a nice workplace but I use portable heat.
Send me the photos when you get to that point.
 
The guys told me that if you lift in the center (where I wrapped rope on it) the body will come up level.
View attachment 1294
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The guys told me that if you lift in the center (where I wrapped rope on it) the body will come up level.
View attachment 1294
hi Steven, I just saw the photos. Thanks. I’ll look them over tonight. I also was wondering if you took the windshield and dashboard apart. If so do you have any information on those ?
Thanks, JDJ
 
Hi and thanks for the response,

I have not started with removing body. I’m still working on other preparations and research on having the body and frame media blasted.
I have found a new 292 long block engine and dropped my Fordomatic transmission off today at a reputable shop in southern New Hampshire.
As to the bracing you have I’d sure like to hear and see more about what you have.
I’ve been checking on it and have found a video on you tube “coyo bird “ that shows the bracing and rotisserie. I’m hopefully going to get in touch with the guys that own the shop and get some solid information on the exact location of their bracing and the size of the steel “tubing “ they used.
If you’re in Massachusetts we’re not far apart as I live in southern Maine.
Hopefully we can share information! There is a lot to doing this restoration even if we subcontract many things out.

JDJ

I braced mine from the door latch to the top door hinge with some pipe, plates and and some threaded rod to make it adjustable. Ive picked the body up numerous times (but not by these braces) and all seems fine.I have 2 chain hoists in my garage ~8 ft apart that allows me to lift the body from the front and rear.
In this picture I'm removing the body from the rotisserie and getting ready to install it onto the "Thunderbed"....a cradle that I made to be able to suspend the car to allow full access to the underside so that i could undercoat it. Worked great!
 

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