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New to the Club and T-Birds in General- Picked up a ‘77

Discussion in '1967 - 1988 Ford Thunderbird' started by CaptainSmooth, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Hello! Thank you all for welcoming me into your community, and I look forward to gaining many a new friendship and lots of new knowledge in my correspondence here.

    During a temporary living situation in CO, I came across a great pseudo-barn find upon the passing of an elderly woman, who’s son was interested in trading her vehicles off for musical equipment and jewelry. For about $1,500 value worth of stuff, I chose to trade for this great vintage Thunderbird, being that it was the best running of the lot. Having only ever owned a ‘63 F100, this is my first real foray into Ford cars, as I’m more of a GM guy. So far I’m loving it. I don’t really know much about these vehicles, so I came here in hope of learning, and really finding out more about the gem I have.

    From what research I’ve done, I believe the color is Champagne Metallic, with the Saddle all-vinyl interior. With only 42,000 original miles, the car is in perfect running condition. No issues or problems that I’ve been able to find driving it around for a few months. No leaks, etc. I put brand new whitewall tires and a battery in it, and it’s driving like a dream. As it sat in the arid barn, it is definitely in need of new paint, and I hope to get to that soon. The leather top is in perfect shape with no cracks. The interior looks great, only the driver’s seat is really torn. Manual windows, AM only Radio- I don’t see a lot of extra features, so I’m guessing this is a base model of some sort... Although the engine is the 351m. It does have Heating/AC and the rear window defroster.

    The wheels are alloy, but I’m not sure which they are. I don’t think they are the “turbine spoke” wheels that are so desireable on these cars, but they’re not hubcapped on a standard alloy, like most of these I’ve seen. WOuld be interested in finding a set of the turbine spoke wheels if there are any out there. The driver’s side arm rest panel has cracked into pieces and fallen off, so that’d be a nice part to find if out there. I’d also be interested in finding the brown side molding for the vehicle, as I think that looks very sharp. The passenger side tail light also has a cracked T-Bird emblem, and the only replacement taillights I’ve found online are very expensive, so finding just the emblem would be nice. One of the meters has a light for “Hi-Beams,” but I’ve yet to figure out how to activate them if they exist on my car. Also, I have a red “Brake” light, which I assume has to do with the E-Brake, but the light stays on at all times.

    I’ve attached some photos for your viewing pleasure. Anyhow, I look forward to meeting you all, and getting to know more about these vehicles and what they can do! Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

    tbirdjims and Thunderbird75 like this.
  2. EDIT: Ok guys, I’m fairly young, soon to be 30, so my father had to school me about where the Hi-Beam foot button was! Can’t believe I didn’t think to ask him before, haha. A bit embarrassed by that one, but hey, learn something new every day.
     
  3. Great Find! I'd say you made out well. Especially considering that you can just jump in it and drive it. It's definitely worth restoring. These older cars were well-built and they are only going to increase in value as time goes on. Just a new coat of paint on that baby will increase its value tremendously. So definitely go for that. Are you going to paint it yourself, or have done?
     
  4. I’ll have it done. I’m in no way qualified to do it any justice. I’m thinking a color close to the original, but I might go two-tone and have the bottom darker to match the top. I’m definuteky going to keep it as original as possible. So far, I’m really loving it. I’m fact, I’ve been driving it around all day. We’re making a cross country move from Denver to Atlanta, and I think I’m going to trailer my Jetta and drive this!
     
  5. If you haven't already done it, I would suggest replacing all water hoses including upper and lower radiator hoses and the hoses going to the heater core. And all the belts. The reason I suggest this is because these are relatively cheap to replace and well worth the insurance they offer. Especially if you're going to be towing a trailer with this. Having a belt or hose fail on the road and causing the engine to overheat is the last thing you want to have happen. So for the inexpensive cost of doing this preventative maintenance it could turn out to be well worth it in the long haul.

    Also you might be able to fix the brake light by just having the brakes bled. It's possible if that brake light is on that you might be having uneven braking due to air in the line.

    I'm just making these suggestions in the hope of possibly saving you major headaches later. I do all my own work, so for me replacing hoses, belts, and brake line bleeding are next to nothing. If you have these things done it will be a bit more costly, but still it shouldn't be too bad. Far better than braking down on the road with an overheated engine.
     
  6. The other thing I would personally do if it was my car is replace all the brake line tubing. Again, for me, this would only be the cost of the tubing, since I do all my own work and can cut and install fittings on the line easily. To have someone replace all the brake line tubing might be fairly expensive depending on who you get to do it.

    As an alternative to just replacing all the tubing at least put it up on a rack and inspect the tubing as best you can and just replace any places where it looks questionable. Take special care to inspect where the tubing is being held to the frame with a metal clamp. That's typically where they rust out first.

    Again, just friendly suggestions. It's a 1977, so it won't hurt to look at the things that are most likely to fail and fairly inexpensive to replace. Again, replacing brake line tubing now is far better than to suddenly discover you have no brakes out on the road.
     
  7. Thank you for all of the suggestions! My father, brother, and I have fixed up many a car over the years, so I do a pretty good job of checking the essentials. The first thing I did upon receiving the car was new battery, tires, hoses, and belts. It had been sitting so most everything had done dry rot. It was actually fairly inexpensive to do, with the resources I have at hand, and it was overall just a smart move. The brakes and lines were all in really (surprisingly) good shape, so I’ve left them as is for the time being. The drive home is all wide open I-40, so they should be fine. As far as the tail light- it works perfectly! What I was saying it s that the chrome emblem on the light had broken, so I’m looking to get a new tail light lens, as finding just the emblem has been impossible.

    Found a few of the trim pieces I’m missing at a scrap in CA. Paint is the real next step. Just for my own sake, I’ll probably throw a Retro Sound in it, as the AM only base radio will only get this professional musician so far.

    Again, thanks for the suggestions, and I look forward to gaining a lot more advice and knowledge from guys like you who’ve been inside and out of these cars. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more questions as I grow with this lady.
     
  8. Oh! And no, this won’t be towing anything. We’ve got a 26ft Budget with my Jetta on a trailer behind it. My father will drive that, my wife in her car behind, and myself in Brown Thunder cruising behind to bring up the rear.
     
  9. Good. You're way ahead of me. :)

    Sounds like you're in great shape then. Enjoy the drive.
     
  10. I’ll post plenty of updates and pictures!
     
  11. This is way off topic. But you mentioned being a professional musician. So you've sparked my curiosity as to what instrument you might play or if you are a vocalist? Also curious about the genre. You don't need to answer on this forum since this is so far off topic. But I thought I'd ask. I'm a totally amateur musician myself. I've not only never played in a public venue, but I have extremely limited experience even playing with other musicians. And even those were amateur musicians like myself. I wouldn't dare say that I actually "play" any specific instrument. But I do make noise on guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, sax, and keyboard. Oh yeah, I'll even make lyrical noise into a microphone with my voice too.

    I actually own all of the above instruments (low quality pieces to be sure), and I have a home recording studio (also very low quality mixers, etc.). Today I'm working on trying to lay down a drum track for a song I wrote. But even I am all too aware that my drumming sounds more like someone just tossed a couple trash cans down a flight of stairs. It's hard for me to even imagine that they are actually supposed to have something to do with this song I wrote. :D

    In fact, let me put it this way. I've typed the drum score as I play it into my sheet music program, and it actually sounds pretty darn good as a computer-generated drum track. Unfortunately far better than I'm currently doing live.

    But still, I'm having lots of fun being a musician wannabe.
     
  12. You got yourself a great car. Do not drive it if you are not well rested; you will fall asleep in it. The ride is second to none.
     
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