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1961 Thunderbird - Restoration

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These pages are largely related to our 1961 Ford Thunderbird. The car was purchased in Phoenix, Arizona in 1989. I drove it through to Los Angeles and it was shipped to Wellington, New Zealand

The car was driven for a number of years but the paint was deteriorating badly and some minor rust was showing. I decided to have it repainted along with a little body work. A couple of paint/panel shops gave quotes. Dave Brown from Raceway Panel had a look at it and pointed out signs of badly repaired accident damage. He advised me to strip the paint completely, then get quotes once I could see what I was dealing with. I found a fair bit that needed work as I stripped the body.

The paint was then removed by media blasting. Once it was off, it was obvious that the car had had a major impact along the left rear quarter which had not been repaired properly. The trunk lid had dents which had been 'repaired' by filling with plastic filler. The right front fender had also been badly damaged & plastered with filler. Further checks showed the entire body to be twisted several inches.

On the positive side, there was very little significant rust. The rear cowl panel was rusted out. The battery tray was totally corroded out, along with the panel underneath. The right hand side of the trunk floor was also badly corroded. apparently from an exhaust leak in the past. Otherwise the car is almost totally rust-free.


Thunderbird at Raceway Panel Some pictures of the bodywork at Raceway Panel
Engine Rebuild Pictures of the engine rebuild
Rebuilding back at home Thunderbird back at home
Reassembly startedInstalling front suspension and engine
Thunderbird Useful Info A database of useful information
1961 Thunderbird Styling Pictures Pictures from Ford of some of the designs as the 1961 Thunderbird evolved
Some other cars I've owned A few other car pictures