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barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/15/19 10:07 a.m.

In reply to solfly :

See the source image

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/15/19 10:28 a.m.

Forgive my lack of photoshop skills. But I did just create a visual to help. 

This is a printout front page 3 of this thread. This is the car as it was  in 1979:

This is what I did with scissors and what our plan is to create:

Apparently it’s just an overgrown pinto. 

Crackers
Crackers Dork
5/15/19 12:06 p.m.

Chop off the quarter window/rear roof and see if you can fit a recessed S10/Ranger rear window!

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/15/19 12:11 p.m.

In reply to Crackers :

Bro, glass is heavy. It'll have a plastic windshield and if it rains it rains.

Crackers
Crackers Dork
5/15/19 12:24 p.m.

So is that pillar and roof section!

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/15/19 2:09 p.m.

In reply to Crackers :

Thats what my dad keeps saying. Easy to remove it later, less easy to put it back on.

gumby
gumby Reader
5/15/19 5:04 p.m.
solfly said:

could you use a 4 door front door to make up the difference in length?

 

barefootskater said:

In reply to solfly :

In theory,  though the tbird was only ever a 2 door, and I'm too lazy to look up if any other ford offerings used the same hinge points, latch point, and body lines.

I can save you some leg work. Check out the 77-79 LTD II and Ranchero. LTD II was 4door and I think the Ranchero doors may have been an in between length. Both are Panther chassis and at least the front sheet metal interchanges.

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/15/19 5:37 p.m.

Almost forgot. Pictures are good, but I remembered to get video of the start of the frame chop:

 

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/25/19 10:51 p.m.

305’s are good for nothing. Unless you have a junk one that is just a bare block to use for mock-up because it is way lighter than a fully assembled sbc. 

Initial measurements done, donor axle stripped down, and more weight removal. Spent the morning helping FIL pour a retaining wall so time was short. 

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/27/19 7:08 p.m.

Well the drivetrain is nearly home. 

We’ve decided not to solid mount the engine, so tomorrow morning I’ll grab some bushings and the tubing we’ll use for motor and trans mounts. I took the week mostly off to get the engine mounted and hopefully start butchering the body before it gets too hot out. More pictures:

And because I had the stuff close by and we were curious how tall everything will turn out:

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/27/19 9:06 p.m.

And my favorite shot:

Does that qualify as mid-engine? wink

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
5/29/19 6:29 p.m.

Power train is mounted. Jack stands removed and engine hoist wheeled out. Big victory today. 

Sorry about the last picture, but it’s my favorite. Level. Winning. Next up is some serious thunderbird butchery. I think

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
6/8/19 11:59 p.m.

Reinforced the mounts:

Reinforced the somewhat flexy crossmember I made with a section of bed frame from the scrap pile:

Removed the scabby old cast intake from the 400 and installed the nice craigslist one I picked up. Also mocked up one of the headers because shiny:

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
6/10/19 8:22 p.m.

Headers fit. 

Though just barely on the drivers side. Also I finished gussetting the trans crossmember and painted it gold because when given the option, one should always use gold spray paint. The 400 is home and the mounts seem really solid. Started routing exhaust but stopped because we had a discussion of what to do with the floor we need to shorten and decided we need to do that first. Plans changed slightly with regard to our order of operations. But that’s ok because we have the machine that allows us do do pretty much whatever:

Up next: sawzall. Party on. 

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
6/10/19 8:27 p.m.

Wait - I came here for the c4! goddammit. 

slowbird
slowbird New Reader
6/10/19 10:26 p.m.

I came here for the MX-6 and stayed for the Zephyr, then stayed for the Thunderbird, and now I'm leaving because I'm a stuffy T-Bird purist. cheeky

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
6/22/19 1:55 p.m.

Thunderbird fanatics avert your eyes:

And the scary cut:

Never did that before; stand on a car whilst cutting it in half. Then put the back end back in place:

Then we had a discussion about fitment and tunnels and seating. How much of the floor to keep. Turns out the correct answer is none of it. As demonstrated here by some guy with a saw:

Then cut the jams to match what we took out of the frame:

So far so good. Does it fit? I suppose it does. 

Just needs a little massaging. And for fun, a roof and front fender:

And for giggles. The trans dipstick from the van:

Daylan C
Daylan C UberDork
6/22/19 3:28 p.m.

I turn away for just a little bit and you turn up the weird. Good job.

slowbird
slowbird New Reader
6/22/19 3:34 p.m.

That looks better than it has any right to. Nice work.

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
6/22/19 3:38 p.m.

More shots of the thing. 

Front fenders need the sawzall treatment. Distributor needs more clearance. Needs a floor. Seats. About a million hours of prep and welding. Windshield. The headers might not work. Block huggers would have been better. Maybe I can find a soul willing to trade. 

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
8/3/19 3:54 p.m.

Progress! Some grinding, sanding, cleaning, lifting, welding, hammering, and sweating later...

And the back half of the car is permanently attached to the frame. 

Part of the idea here is stiffness, this is a racecar. Also add in less fasteners, lower center of gravity and hardcoreness and things start to make a little more sense. Some of it is ugly and difficult to get to but it’s good and stuck now.

 

One reason we landed on the thunderbird for this project is the sweet multi-link 9” rear. Complete with sway bar:

Needs shorter springs still. 

Dad has little respect for safety gear:

Gave the distributor a little more breathing room:

and still stoked on engine placement

Calling it a day. It’s too hot. Next up: floor fabrication! 

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
8/3/19 4:00 p.m.

Ive seen old wheelbarrow used to make a recessed firewall. May be worth looking into here!

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
8/3/19 4:18 p.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael :

if I can find a free one that may not be a bad idea. The current plan involves an old 55 gallon drum but it’s far from ideal. 

 

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
8/17/19 1:43 p.m.

Turned the body-on-frame thunderbird into a unibody. 

Floor. We cut it out. Thinking as we go (and plans change frequently) has led us to the belief that the factory floor with its bracing and shape has got to be strong. So we’re going to use as much of it as possible:

Still needs clearance. BFH will be employed heavily. I split the top of the trans tunnel so the plan is to fold the sides back until it fits. Too hot, hungry. More in a couple weeks. 

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
8/17/19 1:53 p.m.

Also scored some better headers from AngryCorvair. The fit is much better and I only had to shave the motor mount a little. 

Now I have room for the loud pedal. 

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