The restoration of a 1957 Factory Supercharged Thunderbird                                                   By Tom Maruska



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Thunderbirds and Corvettes have always been fierce competitors since the Thunderbirds introduction as a two seater in 1955.
Thunderbird had a V8 and side windows compared to Corvettes 6 Cylinder and side curtains and out sold Corvettes about three to one.

                      In 1957 Ford decided to add some 'thunder' to its Thunderbird in order to continue to out pace its number one rival, the Corvette.


   I've recently embarked on my project for this winter. 
It is the restoration of what's always been considered the Holy Grail of Thunderbirds,
a 1957 Factory Supercharged Thunderbird
affectionately known as an "F" Bird
 for the "F" in its vehicle identification number which designates
 its high performance supercharged 312 CID engine.

It was another exciting find shortly after I bought the Italien. 
I purchased it in March of 2006 and drove to Anandale Virginia to pick it up. 
It was last liscensed in 1973 and was pretty much disassembled when I found it. 
The former owner was going to restore it but unfortunately became ill and passed away. 
Is it just me or does that happen a lot to old car collectors? 
You may recall that the former owner of the Italien sold it because he became terminally ill.
Since I've purchased two cars under this condition I sure hope it's not an omen of some sort.










Anyway, the '57 has been waiting around the back room of the shop
since arriving while I finished the restoration of the '62 "M" code Sport Roadster that winter ('05/'06)
and  the ITALIEN last winter ('06/'07) and now will get its turn on the rotisserie. (no pun intended)

I just rolled it into the shop a couple weeks ago and had to remodel my rotisserie
to accommodate the smaller more frail body. 
The first three years of Thunderbirds, 1955-1957,
all had frames and in 1958 Ford went to unit body construction on Thunderbirds
and my rotisserie was built for the uni-body models.
 I also upgraded and added casters to the rotisserie so I can easily move it around the shop.

Here's a picture separating the body from the frame



Now that I have the car nearly completely disassembled and the body balanced nicely on the rotisserie
 I've just begun the daunting task of hand scraping all of the under coating,
sound deadening and seam sealer material from the body.
 Unfortunately for me this car was completely under coated after market.
 They also removed the trunk interior and sprayed the tarry under coating material
on the entire inside trunk surfaces and then laid the interior kit back in the wet under coating.









                                                                  
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