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1964 Front disc brake conversion

Discussion in '1955 - 1966 Classic Ford Thunderbird' started by Grahamp, May 21, 2019.

  1. can someone recommend which kit is the best and easiest to install, price is not important
     
  2. Wasn’t 65 the first year for disc brakes on the tbird? I am wondering if you can’t just swap the spindles from a 65 bird over to yours. After that it’s just about getting the parts for a 65
     
  3. I know of people who have done just that.

    I believe the rear brakes are the same (correct me if I'm wrong), or at least compatible. The master cylinder is different, the steering and front suspension are different, and the wheels themselves are different, so there is a lot of hardware to deal with. But I agree; I think it would be easier to buy replacement pads, calipers, and such for a 65 T-Bird then for a who-knows-what aftermarket brake system.
     
  4. 64ZCODE

    64ZCODE Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    Yes, my understanding is the front disc brake components from a '65 or '66 can be swapped onto the '64. Here is what is needed: lower control arm, spindle, hub, bearings, disc, calipers, dust shield, proportioning valve.
     
  5. I believe I had read somewhere that Ford had originally planned for the disc brakes to be on the Tbird from the start of the 64-66 generation of cars, but just couldn't get it to work so they pushed it back to 65. Do you also know that the 64-66 generation to was also originally designed to be front wheel drive (well first started in 60-63 then they tried again in 64-66)? Crazy right? I guess they tried but couldn't get it to work and then just stuffed a 390 in it. I guess they were wanting to compete with Oldsmobile and the Toronado.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  6. KENN

    KENN BORN TO CRUISE Lifetime Donor

  7. Thank you guys - front wheel drive on a 64-66 Bird, now that would have been unfortunate! I will check out your suggested link on the brakes . Just bought the car and had to track down a rebuilt brake booster, lucky to find one at the BirdsNest but eventually I will install discs upfront
     
  8. I don't know if the front-drive would have been a good or bad thing. But I understand Ford didn't want to try unibody on their own, and had the Budd Company make the bodies for the 1961 Thunderbirds. This continued through 1966. This is the Budd railroad car company, which might help explain why these things are built like a railroad car -- almost 5,000 pounds and so solid that they could beat up everything else in a demolition derby.

    But that also explains why the front wheel wells are so huge you could throw a party back there, but the engine compartment has no room -- barely enough for a 390 big block.

    Another tidbit -- they used a 1963 Thunderbird to film the movie Flubber. Why? Because of the body -- they were able to make it into a four-wheel-drive, so they could put it on a lift and film it with all four wheels turning. They only made one car this way, unlike most movies which utilize a handful of cars. I heard this from the people who built the car -- uh, tooting my own horn, they sent me the radio for conversion.
     
    64ZCODE likes this.
  9. Very interesting historical perspective, adds to my puny knowledge on Birds, being a new owner. My Bird had a rotisserie restoration a few years ago and is a nice show car, rebuilt to factory specs. I also have two GTO’s, one is a 1969 Judge and the other a 1970 Convertible, both are Show Cars. I have always admired the Flair Bird design and took the plunge recently.
     
  10. Did you know that in 1960 the made 3 Thunderbirds completely out of stainless steel? Way before Delorean even though of it! Also all 3 are still around today! One is in a museum in my state or Pennsylvania.
     
    64ZCODE likes this.
  11. Seems to me there was also a 39 Ford, if I'm not mistaken. In both cases these were made at the very end of the model run, because the hard stainless steel tore up the presses. In other words they could only make a couple, then they're done.
     
  12. Allegheny Ludlum is who made those bodies, I thought they did 2 but regardless 2 or 3 isn’t many. I am fairly certain Ford had a few cars made as far back as the 30’s and a couple Lincoln’s also in the 60s. Amazing how much time and thought went into building cars then considering how every car was different than the next model unlike today. I don’t think today’s accounting departments would ever allow such radical experiments
     
  13. Very interesting discussion and input
     
  14. 64ZCODE

    64ZCODE Well-Known Member Gold Donor

    Railroad cars,? I love it! Gary, it might have been you that indicated the federal authorities required redesign of the '64 front end because other cars were being demolished in collisions? Doug
     
  15. Early 55 T-Bird Firewall Number

    The Budd factory stamp is a 4 digit number stamped into the firewall about 6 inches to the left of the data plate. The number was stamped there by The Budd Company, the company which manufactured the 1955-1957 Thunderbird bodies. In most cases there should have been a letter before the number. The letter represented the month and the number represented the body number. The build date on my Thunderbird is December 20, 1954. On the Budd factory stamp the prefix is M, making it the 588 body made in December, 1954. Ford built 1306 Thunderbirds that month. Budd discontinued using body number stamps in April 1955.
    102_6974.JPG
     
  16. The Crawford Auto Museum in Cleveland, Ohio owns the 1960 stainless steel Thunderbird that you are referring to. I volunteer at the Preservation Center of the Crawford Auto Museum where we repair and maintain the cars in their collection. Currently, the 1960 stainless steel Thunderbird is at the Preservation Center where it is being rebuilt.

    doug7740
    1955 Thunderbird Blue
     

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  17. Hey thanks for the heads up!
     
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