Silver Spring, Maryland
'60 Ford Thunderbird
As with true traditional customs from the '50s and '60s, the engine is the mildest part of the ride. In this case, the stock 352 was modified with an Edelbrock intake and single 4-bbl carburetor. The factory air cleaner was made over with a two-tone paint job, and Moon valve covers and breathers dress up the heads. Tony's Muffler (Glen Burnie, Maryland) provided the exhaust system, which includes coated header pipes, and Cherry Bomb mufflers. Carl Schinner (Highland, Maryland) assembled the C6 transmission.
Richard kept the car rolling on the original 'rails, suspended by coil springs and gas shocks. He dropped the body just enough by cutting a couple of coils up front and a pair of 3-inch lowering blocks in the rear. The stock drum brakes and steering box were also retained to keep things simple. Brandon Glymph, Len Smith, Ed Harper, and Butch Martin pitched in on chassis work.
Wheels & Tires
Reading Custom Cars Annual in his youth paid off when it was time to select the right wheel and tire combination. The rims are 14x6 repro Thunderbird wires from Wheel Vintiques with Diamond Back Classic whitewall radials to complete the look.
Body & Paint
Without Len Smith's and Ed Harper's sheetmetal work, Richard's paint wouldn't look nearly as good. All body flaws were remedied, all emblems and handles were shaved, and the hood front corners were radiused. Two inches were added to the opened-up scoop, filled with a floating bar. The '58 Thunderbird mesh grille was treated to 27 bullets, matching a pair of larger bullets in the rear bumpers. Chrome mesh backing was added to the '59 Pontiac Bonneville taillights. The spots are genuine Appletons, transplanted from Richard's '54 Chevy hardtop. When it was time for paint, there was only one way to go: the way pointed by Watson in the '50s. Richard used pearl white paint for a base coat, and shot the panels with PPG Prowler orange. Richard and Brandon are responsible for the graphics. Watson invented the use of chrome tape for graphics, and it was applied here for that very reason.
The interior works hard to not out-shout the exterior, although it's hard to beat stock seats still wearing the original black leather, matched by the custom dash pad and loop pile carpet from Doug's Upholstery. The gauges were rebuilt at Classic Instruments, and the stereo system is from Custom Auto Sound.