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General Information

Year
1978
Make
Ford
Model
Thunderbird - Diamond Jubilee special edition
Color
worn out blue with blue interior
History
I should call her 'The Two Step Car' because it's been two steps forward and one step back ever since we got her.

While I was a member of the local Thunderbird club I was at a meeting and had a conversation with an older gentleman about his '77, my piece of project '77, and my '79 T-Camper. At one point I said something about eventually getting a project car for my son who was about 12 at the time. He said that if I thought I'd be interested he had a '78 Diamond Jubilee. I told him I was already project poor at the time and couldn't afford anything else. He said if I was interested he'd just give it to me because the city was on him for having too much stuff in his yard. We went and looked at it and of course my son fell in love with her right off. He said, "Here's the catch," I thought, 'There's always a catch...' and he continued "IF you take this one you have to take the parts car that's just like it out of the backyard. "Twist My Arm! We can do that."

Both had to be towed out here to the 'Poor Farm' as Dad always called it. We had to take it really easy on the corners with Blue Bird as the tilt steering lock was broken so the wheel would flop up and down. The parts car had to be towed home with a tow-bar as its steering column was already in the back seat of Blue Bird.

It wasn't long before the fun began. I pulled the steering column and while doing so found the power steering gear box was leaking like a sieve. We pulled it and made several trips to town trying to get the right one as it was slightly different from the one on the '77 I was driving at the time. (which I had replaced shortly after getting it) As I was fighting to get the pitman arm loose from the center link I discovered a Lot of slop in the tie rod ends and idler arm so those got replaced as well. I also replaced the steering coupler while I was at it because it was sloppy, besides, this makes stabbing that gear box a little easier.

After that she sat for quite a while waiting for funds to be available. When I'd scrimped and saved enough we bought an engine from Air Capital Salvage in Wichita. We cleaned it up a bit but didn't do anything to it because the salvage yard owner and assured me 'This is a Really strong engine. You'll want it. Guy built it up but rolled the truck due to a suspension failure.' I cleaned all the brackets we had and painted them up as well as cleaned and painted his engine compartment and manifolds/exhaust. It was all rattle can but it looked nice.

Unfortunately, although I was very familiar with swapping engines and transmissions on my birds by then and had it all hooked up it would Not start. I called the salvage and questioned him, "Not sure what's going on with the car but that's a good engine." Ok, I'll keep trying. I checked this and that trying to figure out what the problem was. I'd never seen her run so I questioned electrical problems, fuel delivery, etc. No dice. Called again and got the same basic response.

I kept fighting it until someone told me to check compression. I did and found that I had all but zeros on one side and nothing that was a whole lot better on the other side. I called him again and he said, "Well, I don't know what happened to it but you're out of warranty now." I told him I had repeatedly called him and he said something like, "Well, I don't know Why it wouldn't start before but it doesn't matter now. If it has no compression you probably let rain get in it and now it's froze broke." I told him it was tarped for he few days before it went into the car and then the hood went on. He claimed that rain must have ran down the inner fenders and into the exhaust or something and then said, "Either way you're out of warranty." I do NOT do business with him anymore. After spreading the word I've heard from Many people that he ripped them off as well by claiming they told them the wrong year, or wrong engine, or asked for the wrong part.

That rather took the wind out of our sails for quite a while. Unfortunately I believe my son was showing it to someone after that and did leave the hood open because in his mind the engine wasn't any good anyway and it Did get rained in after that. Of course at the time I didn't have the money to rebuild it or the confidence to do so.

A couple of years later a guy approached me at the Lake Afton car show and told me he had a complete housing and perfect set of chrome bird tail lights that matched my chrome ones I had put on Birdie. (I'd bought just the lenses off of ebay for a little over a hundred bucks if I remember correctly) I told him I was project poor and he said he'd sale them to me for $50. I got his number and eventually got ahold of him and picked them up and swapped them out.

We had picked up a decent set of used tires at one point to use to move her around out here on the 'farm' which looked great and would have worked for getting him on the road until he could get a set but one of the neighbors got ticked off at my son and stabbed them. I couldn't prove it but I know who did it. Karma will take care of it.

Unfortunately my son rather fell out of love with her and wanted to get something else. We made the mistake of buying a *choke* an '85 Chevy S10 4x4 Blazer. Sadly, we probably could have made Blue Bird fairly nice for what we've had to spend for parts on Old Blue A.K.A. The Blue Beast. Now that I think about it The Blue Beast has her beat hands down for the fix it again dance.


So for now Blue Bird also sits out front on blocks. Just another Redneck lawn ornament. It sucks when you're project poor.
1978 Ford Thunderbird - Diamond Jubilee special edition (worn out blue with blue interior)

Modifications

Drivetrain
Under the hood is a gaping hole where an engine should reside. I'm hoping that at some point I can either rebuild my 351m with a recreational cam backed by my fmx transmission, or get another engine to put in it. IF we can ever manage it I'll put on the painted brackets and accessories.
Interior
It's blue velour that's in decent shape. Split bench seats. Power seats, power windows, tilt steering, factory 8 track and CB.
Exterior
Nothing major. I've replaced the rear broken tail light covers that had the painted plastic birds for a nice set of covers with chrome birds. I've also painted the old faded blue trim which made it pop in my opinion. Other than that I managed to mount the tow hitch.
Audio
I reckon that would be the 8 track stereo and the CB.
Suspension
Stock factory but my son would love an air ride suspension if dreams could come true. lol
Wheel and Tire
It has the '78 era slotted mag wheels. The slots are painted that factory blue.

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