New old tricks for an old 'Bird

Custom tail feathers for an early T-Bird. A new custom look for a '55-'56 Ford Thunderbird.
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Restoration Series

Back in simpler times, before ’lectronics and the interweb, kids were content with coloring books, while junkyard kids had access to — Hollander interchange manuals! Granted, these cost a little more than coloring books, but they did contain more useful information, as I recall. Of course, like other printed publications we’ve known and loved, Hollander has gone ’lectronic now, too. As the years roll by, however, these older, more-tangible versions are holding their value as coveted collectors’ items.

So, here in this Hollander’s section 9B (the body identification section), what do this Dodge and Thunderbird share in common? Give up?

SOURCE

Hot Rods & Custom Stuff
(800) HOTROD-5
www.hotrodscustomstuff.com 

OC-000000-BIRD-01
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At first it’s odd to think these two could share anything in common at all. For the answer to our question, let’s pay a visit to Hot Rods & Custom Stuff

At first it’s odd to think these two could share anything in common at all. For the answer to our question, let’s pay a visit to Hot Rods & Custom Stuff

Here in the body ‘n’ paint department, this early ’Bird looks like a pretty straightforward restoration job. Bet you can’t tell from here, but it’ll roll out as a mild custom.

Here in the body ‘n’ paint department, this early ’Bird looks like a pretty straightforward restoration job. Bet you can’t tell from here, but it’ll roll out as a mild custom.

You can have a box full o’ blocks and fancy fairing boards, but sometimes a plain old wooden paint stick works best, as HR&CS body man Ricardo demonstrates here. Now what’s that on his lap? It sort of looks like a ’60 Dodge taillamp assembly.

You can have a box full o’ blocks and fancy fairing boards, but sometimes a plain old wooden paint stick works best, as HR&CS body man Ricardo demonstrates here. Now what’s that on his lap? It sort of looks like a ’60 Dodge taillamp assembly.

Back to section 9B, old Hollander interchange manuals don’t show illustrations of the tail ends of cars. Could this be what the Dodge and Thunderbird have in common?

Back to section 9B, old Hollander interchange manuals don’t show illustrations of the tail ends of cars. Could this be what the Dodge and Thunderbird have in common?

If you haven’t seen this custom taillamp treatment before, it’s OK. It’s an old trick from the ’60s. It just wasn’t overdone.

If you haven’t seen this custom taillamp treatment before, it’s OK. It’s an old trick from the ’60s. It just wasn’t overdone.

Again the multi-purpose paint stick comes into play — this time as a contour gauge. The factory fender extensions will be retained, but Ricardo is goin’ for a better-than-factory fit. Notice how the headlamp and taillamp sections now flow with similar lines?

Again the multi-purpose paint stick comes into play — this time as a contour gauge. The factory fender extensions will be retained, but Ricardo is goin’ for a better-than-factory fit. Notice how the headlamp and taillamp sections now flow with similar lines?

Of course there’s more to do, but we get the idea. Ain’t it funny how time goin’ by can make an old idea seem new?

Of course there’s more to do, but we get the idea. Ain’t it funny how time goin’ by can make an old idea seem new?

Those who’re familiar with the earliest of ’Birds would know that the ’55-’56 models had abruptly clipped wings. Unfortunately we’ve missed the part where sheet steel extensions were custom fabricated to fill the factory voids.

Those who’re familiar with the earliest of ’Birds would know that the ’55-’56 models had abruptly clipped wings. Unfortunately we’ve missed the part where sheet steel extensions were custom fabricated to fill the factory voids.

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