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Old 01-21-2013, 04:17 PM
2Stangs 2Stangs is offline
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Default My 1975 Thunderbird build

Cliff Notes version, I'm a Craigslist junky and tend to bring home oddball stuff because I think it's cool. I'm also kinda' weird and think that the huge boats of the 70's are just neat. Both combined one day a few months back when I saw an ad for a '75 T-Bird that wouldn't start for $900. I figured what the heck and drove out to look at it. She's in really good condition, straight, no rust, paint is ok, but the interior is in really good shape with only minor wear to the driver's leather seat. All other leather is still nice and soft. Dash is uncut and no cracks to boot.

After talking with the lady that owned it and she decided I wasn't going to scrap it, she dropped the price down to $500 and I towed it home the next morning.

The first thing I did after charging the battery and trying to start it, only to be rewarded by a metallic 'clank' sound was to put a breaker bar on the crank and tried turning it forward, which it wouldn't move at all, and a quick bump backwards rewarded me with something big and metal falling out of the block and into the oil pan, lol. Not exactly what I wanted to have happen, but at least let me know where I stood with it.

So now while I finish some other projects and it's sitting under cover I've been trying to collect parts for it. The plan is to get rid of all the emissions crap under hood and really clean up the engine compartment, build a fun street motor and try to keep the car as stock appearing as possible.

So far I found a '69 460 motor that needs rebuilt, but bought the whole thing for $150, and really I wanted the heads off it so I can get a bump in compression and better flowing head on the cheap. Will probably do some porting on them and have the local machine shop install bigger valves when they rebuild them. The goal is to build a really fun, torquey motor that will move this land yacht around with something resembling performance, since I refuse to drive anything that can be outrun by a Honduh. Then it's going to go to the local car shows every week where it will take up 1.5 parking spots and remind folks that not too long ago people drove cars like these, that will instantly anger any Prius driver, while making the owner of the local gas stations smile.

So I guess the motor will look something like this:

-'75 block, bored over whatever they need to, hopefully not more than .030"
-depending on how bad the rotating assembly is, I may end up with a Scat stroker kit
-C9 heads, ported with bigger valves
-Performer intake, because nothing else will fit under the hood
-smallish carb to keep in line with great low end torque
-would love to do headers but I'm not sure it's possible due to how close the shock towers are to the exhaust manifolds. Have been told that the Gran Torino headers will fit, so I may buy a pair and see.

Will post up pics tonight when I get home.
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:55 PM
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Good writeup

I have known a few people over the years that feel exactly the same about the old land yachts (especially the Lincoln Continentals) In fact, my 75 460 that resides in my 67 Mustang is out of a Lincoln. It was too bad that the Lincoln couldn't be saved though.

Your Bird should be a big, fun project for you, especially when they are already in good condition to begin with.

A stroker kit would be high on my list, if i where building one. Something around 514 or so CID.

The mad porter will definitely have some tips on the engine parameters that you should consider.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:07 PM
2Stangs 2Stangs is offline
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I've been following his build in the 12.99 LTD thread, looking forward to all the input I can get.

Hoping this will be a fun build. If nothing else it will be rather unique, you don't see too many 'big birds' out there any more. In fact this is the first one I've ever seen in the Phoenix area, lol. It really is in good condition save the seized motor, and definitely one worth saving from the scrap yard.

I've got some time yet before I start this build for real. I've got an '84 K10 pickup that I've gotta rebuild the engine in first, and this is all while putting time in on my little 5.0L hatchback that is slowly being resto-modded, with a '79 Fairmont Futura coupe waiting on the back burner for me to do something with it too.

Too many projects, not enough money.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:23 AM
TommyK TommyK is offline
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I love those old boats too. Post some pics when you get a chance.

Also, Performer intake+stroker= NFG!

A Torker II will perform much better and maintain the hood clearance.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyK View Post
I love those old boats too. Post some pics when you get a chance.

Also, Performer intake+stroker= NFG!

A Torker II will perform much better and maintain the hood clearance.
Cool Build!!

X2. I agree. Go for a stroker build and put a Torker 2 on it since hood clearance is an issue. Then go for a not so "smallish" carb on it!! I mean if you are going to do it... You might was well do it right and pump out an easy 550 HP or so!!

Put some pictures up when you can. I'd love to see it.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:35 AM
2Stangs 2Stangs is offline
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Thanks for the input, definitely something to think about. I thought the Torker II was aimed at more mid range/higher rpm power? Will the C9 heads be able to keep up at higher RPMs, even with porting? If money weren't an object I'd slap some aftermarket aluminum heads on and be done, but unfortunately that's just not in the cards right now.

Here's some bad cell phone pics I snapped yesterday when I got home from work. The car's really dirty, should pull it out and wash/wax it this weekend, trying to keep the paint and vinyl top in good shape while it sits. Amazing the top is in really good shape, nice and soft, no rips, etc.

You can see the interior's in really good shape too. This car was way too nice to let go to the crusher, it's a real survivor. Even the engine bay is like a time capsule.

The goal is going to be keep the body and interior as stockish as possible, but I'm going to really clean up the engine bay, ditch all the emissions stuff (and tuck it away in boxes just in case) and just make it look nice. Hoping to squeeze some decent streetable power out of it, don't want to make a track car, just something that can do burnouts leaving the local car show.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg TBird1.jpg (85.0 KB, 77 views)
File Type: jpg TBird2.jpg (96.2 KB, 71 views)
File Type: jpg TBird3.jpg (74.9 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg TBird4.jpg (44.5 KB, 65 views)
File Type: jpg TBird5.jpg (54.3 KB, 63 views)
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Stangs View Post
Thanks for the input, definitely something to think about. I thought the Torker II was aimed at more mid range/higher rpm power? Will the C9 heads be able to keep up at higher RPMs, even with porting? If money weren't an object I'd slap some aftermarket aluminum heads on and be done, but unfortunately that's just not in the cards right now.

Here's some bad cell phone pics I snapped yesterday when I got home from work. The car's really dirty, should pull it out and wash/wax it this weekend, trying to keep the paint and vinyl top in good shape while it sits. Amazing the top is in really good shape, nice and soft, no rips, etc.

You can see the interior's in really good shape too. This car was way too nice to let go to the crusher, it's a real survivor. Even the engine bay is like a time capsule.

The goal is going to be keep the body and interior as stockish as possible, but I'm going to really clean up the engine bay, ditch all the emissions stuff (and tuck it away in boxes just in case) and just make it look nice. Hoping to squeeze some decent streetable power out of it, don't want to make a track car, just something that can do burnouts leaving the local car show.
Those C9 heads with a little porting will do just fine with that Torker 2. Maybe get the compression up to about 10:1 and stick a decent cam in there with about a 2800 to 3000 RPM stall converter and you will scare the weeee out of the poor little Hondas!!

Check out the below link. It is an excellent starting point if you are going to build a motor and trying to decide what to build.

http://www.460ford.com/forum/showthread.php?t=119213
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:31 PM
2Stangs 2Stangs is offline
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Thanks for the link, going through it now. My biggest bottleneck is going to be exhaust. There just isn't much room between the motor and shock towers in this car, and without headers I'm going to be really limited in how much power I can make. I'm really hoping someone here has tried putting headers on something from this platform before and can comment on what works and what doesn't, especially before I go and drop the coin on those Gran Torino headers (frickin' $500!!! )

What about later model truck headers, even shorty headers. Are they tight enough to the block that they might clear the chasis on this thing?
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:06 PM
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I'm pretty sure the Torino headers will fit. If not, you can always build your own. Carl (CarsbyCarl) sells build your owns for pretty reasonable. Check out the Vendors section in the stuff for sale. Car looks like a great starting point!
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Old 01-22-2013, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Stangs View Post
Thanks for the link, going through it now. My biggest bottleneck is going to be exhaust. There just isn't much room between the motor and shock towers in this car, and without headers I'm going to be really limited in how much power I can make. I'm really hoping someone here has tried putting headers on something from this platform before and can comment on what works and what doesn't, especially before I go and drop the coin on those Gran Torino headers (frickin' $500!!! )

What about later model truck headers, even shorty headers. Are they tight enough to the block that they might clear the chasis on this thing?
You are preaching to the choir on that one. I have a $875 dollar set of headers on my hot rod. Way to much $$ for what they are.

If I were you I'd post a question about the headers in the general tech section. State your year, make and model and see what they kick back at you. I guarantee that somebody here has been there and done that already.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:43 PM
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peganit peganit is offline
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99% sure that the same vintage Torino headers will work, like 72 mach1 said.

They are the same chassis.

Still not cheap; http://www.summitracing.com/parts/ho...el/gran-torino
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:31 PM
2Stangs 2Stangs is offline
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Yeah, that's them, 6126s. It looks like a couple folks here with lincoln mark ivs are using them with minor modification, and the tbird is the same car so i'm assuming they'll work.

Now just need to come up with enough funds to buy some aluminum heads or have someone who knows what they're doing port my c9s. A 500hp big bird would be pretty funny.

Of course then i'll have to fab up a whole new rear suspension for it, try to adjust the instant center to get just a little bit of traction out of this land yacht.
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Old 01-23-2013, 02:26 AM
Rollman Rollman is offline
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I just got done rebuilding a 460 in a 1976 Continental Coupe (not a Mark), so here are a few things for you to chew on.

I don't know how experienced you are at building cars, but from my personal experience (stupid mistakes), don't buy anything until you have your complete build carburetor-to-oilpan thought out. It will potentially save you a bunch of money. Opening up your engine and determining if you will reuse the short block or go with a stroker is obviously the first priority, and will affect head, intake, and cam choice.

I personally didn't want headers on my Lincoln due to clearance issues and if/when they leak you might have to raise the engine to change them, and most of the headers that looked like they would fit were of thin 18 gauge metal (junk imo). This led me to put on a pair of Police Interceptor exhaust manifolds, and manifolds would probably effect power in the 500 hp range, so that ruled out a stroker for me. Higher horsepower higher maintenance headers or lower horsepower low maintenace manifolds, to each his own. I just wanted a decently powerful big car, 572 cubic inches was not my main priority.

I did a full rebuild--30 over 15cc KB pistons, regular performer intake (for a heavy car you need all the torque you can get), mad porter's budget ported d3's, custom street rod cam from Randy Malik. By the time you have a machine shop completely go through a pair of heads--new valves, seats maybe, springs, etc I think you will have a hard time beating Mad porter heads for the price if you are going the iron route. Also take into account the quality of portwork. Does the guy at the machine shop know BBF heads specifically, or is he just a Chevy guy with a grinder? There is grinding, and then there is porting.

A standard warmed over rebuild like I did will make the car noticeably faster and more fun. I am definitely satisfied with it, just don't expect too much performance out of a 5000 poundish car. Laws of physics do apply here. The open 2.76 rear end in my car sucks. Gearing is probably an essential detail in a tank car build, I am thinking 3.25 or 3.50 so it will still be road trip worthy.

If you want your car to have major *** behind it, definitely go the stroker route. Not much more money than a standard rebuild with significant power gains. CarsbyCarl has very competitive rates on shortblocks compared to what a local machine shop would charge, so take a look there or with other vendors if going that route. Stroker would allow you to go to a Torquer 2, but I wouldn't advise going to it on a 460 in a Thunderbird, you will lose too much low end.

Another suggestion--throw out all horsepower numbers when dealing with a heavy car. A 600 hp engine built for a 2800lb coupe will suck in a 5000lb Tbird. Low end torque is where it is at, and this requires a smaller cam, which will reduce high rpm horsepower. Just a trade that has to be made. How often do you really hit 6000 rpm on the street? For that reason, 6k horsepower numbers don't impress me. Torque from idle to 3k or 4k is where its at.

In the end, it all comes down to your budget. Parts add up very quickly. I think you have three options:
1. Do a very standard warming over of your current bottom end. Take off egr crap if it has it, timing chain upgrade, carb, dual exhaust, rod and main bearing change if worn much.

2. Redo the 460 something like I did, decent heads and intake. Makes a fun car.

3. Stroker kit with aluminum heads, torquer intake, headers etc. Will need fat tires and suspension upgrades to have any chance of putting some of this power to the ground instead of up in smoke.

One big thing to think about. Do you put some decent money into it now in kind of a half *** job and then later decide to go the stroker route? That would be throwing money in two different directions. Alway important to consider this before you start throwing good money down.

Just from my personal experience. Hope you have fun and keep us updated.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:07 AM
DanE DanE is offline
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Ford Powertrain Applications has headers for your 75 Thunderbird. They are quality headers. fordpowertrain.com
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:20 AM
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If it were me I would keep the 69 460 bottom end and freshen it up, zero deck it, get SCJ valve notches in the pistons and then buy a set of SCJ heads and appropriate hedders and get a custom ground cam to you application. You will easily spend $5000 to get it to where you want. Unless you take the time to rework you C9 heads then you can save prob $1000, but it will still cost you $3500 to $4000.

D
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