Our Fleet: Ford Thunderbird

Our Fleet: Ford Thunderbird

PROGRESS is made in small steps sometimes. The progress I’ve made in the past month has had very similar results to last time, but in reality I’m far further along with my project car. I’m actually quite good at deciphering product codes and working out what I need, and that was my assumption with a popular brand like Ford.

There were more than 69,000 Thunderbirds made in 1966, and I thought parts shared across Ford’s product architecture of the time would make things easier.

Instead, I was faced with reels of potential parts that claimed to fit my motor, but all of them looked slightly different. I ordered a two-barrel carburettor rebuild kit, only to be told by someone I had the uprated four-barrel, but then when I tried to fit it I soon realised it was the two.

I also ordered a fuel pump, but when I removed the existing – and very broken – one from the car, they were very different. The new addition had an extra chamber for fuel – fortunately, though, it actually made the car run better and fitted within the space available.

The joys of having a huge engine bay!

So this time, with the bonnet down and no need for added intervention, I was able to drive my car with full visibility ahead for the short distance that I tried it in our works parking lot.

It’s still lacking brakes though, meaning there was still the added fun of rolling to a stop before wincing as I put it in park.

Another important upgrade was the move away from a Buxton bottle to a glacéau smartwater one as a temporary fuel tank.
With thicker plastic and an extra 100ml capacity, it’s one I’d advise for anyone looking to run a 390cu V8 on less than a litre of petrol.

I promise my next project is to get those brakes sorted and then I’ll start the laborious and expensive task of getting the boot welded.

That will involve removing the fuel tank, so it’ll give me a great opportunity to clean it out – but I’ll be adding a fuel filter too! As I say, baby steps, but it does feel like I’m much closer to getting this car on the road.

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