Archive for the ‘Mechanical Stuff’ Category


The “Battlebird”

1957 Ford Tbird Battlebird

Coming up at RM Auctions on Thursday 12th August is the last remaining ‘Battlebird’.

The Battlebirds were experimental, highly-modified, 1957 Thunderbirds, which made extensive use of weight-saving aluminium to replace many steel body panels. They were specially constructed to race the famed ‘flying mile’ speed runs at Daytona Beach in 1957.
2 Battlebirds were constructed for these show races, after which they were sold off by the Ford Motor Company.

This car, No. 98, originally ran a fuel-injected, McCullough supercharged 312 engine, and ran second to a Ferrari. It was restored painstakingly by Gil Baumgartner in the early 2000s. Check out Gil’s restoration here.

No. 99, powered by a 368 Lincoln engine, was later destroyed.

So if you want to lay some rubber down your street, here’s your chance to place a bid.

NEWS JUST IN: The Battlebird sold for US$280,000. (No, my wife didn’t buy it for my birthday.)

Picture from RM Auctions site.


Hassles of the Hardtop Roof

Replacing the hardtop roof
Hardtop removal the easy way

Compare the above 2 images. What’s wrong with the second picture?

Anyone out there with a TBird with a removable hardtop will be able to relate to the misleading advertising (or creative licence) of the illustration above.

See the ease with which these 2 be-suited gents can remove the roof, smilingly? As Tracy will attest, the fibreglass shell roof is no featherweight. And after tears were shed (OK, that was me), we decided to agree to leave it to the wonders of engineering to remove and replace the roof.

So I ordered the original Spare Part roof pulley to do the work. In due course, the pulley arrived from Larry’s Tbirds in U.S. After further due course, and due indolence, it was attached to the garage roof.

Problem is, my garage doesn’t exactly feature Cathedral ceilings. So the process of removal involves: removing car cover, reversing the car with pinpoint accuracy, detaching the aerial, attaching the pulley straps, winching the roof, driving the car forward, replacing the aerial, and eventually driving to destination.

To replace the roof, perform the above in reverse order. Or consider the guidance of the ad: “the hardtop can be leaned against the garage door for months!”. Unless you need to use the garage door on a daily basis… in which case whingeing and winching go hand-in-hand.