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New member from Ottawa Canada

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New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Wed Dec 17, 2014 1:18 am

Short background:  USA expat Interior Design Professor living in Ottawa Ontario since 2003.  Raised as an Air Force officers brat, a car nut since I was age four when I pushed Dad into buying both a color matching 1955 Olds '98' Holiday 2-door hardtop for him and a Starfire conv. for Mom.  Later pushed Dad into buying a new 1960 T-Bird conv., then a new 1963 T-Bird hardtop.  1966, Dad made the mistake again to take me car shopping as he wanted to buy a second car, new 1966 Mustang.  You guessed it, we drove off the lot with a new 1966 Town Landau.  A T-Bird nut since I was a child.  Both the 1963 and 1966 Birds are what I drove in high school and familiar with both autos when they were new.  My 16th Birthday in 1967, I was given the 1963 Bird.  First year at University in early 1969, Dad borrowed my 1963, wreaked it, then gave me his 1966 Bird.  Months later he borrowed my 1966, wreaked it, gave me a blank check and told me to go see his friend at a Chevy dealer, "do not go crazy meaning Camaro", so bought a fully optioned 1970 Nova SS.  He thought I was being practical until he received the insurance bill.  FYI my daily driver is a current 5th generation Camaro which I special ordered to get it my way.

Last summer my brother in Charlotte NC sent me a link for a 1966 T-Bird convertible (older brother also a car nut and past auto designer).  Price way too high, so I low-balled, rejected, thought that was the end of the story.  Oct., consignment dealership contacted me, sale fell through, was I still interested.  In 24 hours we agreed on a price.  Still high, but now within $2,000 of my first offered price, but for some reason thought this auto was meant to be mine.  We split the difference.

Late Nov. my yellow Bird delivered to me in Ottawa.  Shipping from Charlotte NC to Ottawa, plus Canada taxes extreme but I was already hooked.  Sad but true I only drove the yellow Bird into my underground parking garage, then out of the garage again a week later to load it onto a flatbed to go to a restoration garage for tweaks (!).  Obviously can not drive it until next Spring (winter in Canada). Minor tweaks going to be expensive, auto had major work done in 2003, has sat for years as a trailer queen.  Hopefully next Spring I will have a good driver for the summer months.

Joined VTCI and the Southern Ontario T-Bird Club.  In the past found auto forums extremely helpful.  I am not a gear head but auto forums have offered much helpful info over the years with other autos I owned.  Even though I am old enough to have experienced both the 1963 and 1966 T-Bird's when they were factory new, I have much to learn about my 48 year old yellow Bird.

Here is a link to my yellow Bird pics in the Charlotte showroom (click on link to see all picture's).

http://public.fotki.com/abaucom21/my-1966-thunderbird/

abaucom

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Join date : 2014-12-16
Age : 66
Location : Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by MMIII on Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:01 pm

Welcome, just love the car and the colour.
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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by jptbird on Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:02 pm

Welcome aboard 'abaucom'.
Thank you for your introduction and link to photos of your beautiful Flair Bird.
Sounds like you have a lived a happy and car filled life with a generous dad.
Plenty of Flair Bird owners on this forum who will be able to share first hand experiences of maintaining, restoring and enjoying these beautiful Big Birds.

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Sun Dec 21, 2014 5:20 am

T-Bird addicted and going to need help and support.  I have run out of middle age crisis issues and excuses to justify my behavior.

Bought this 1966 which was in very good condition and with documents & previous ownership history since new.  Also I think I remember what it was like driving the family new 1966.  Key word is think I remember.

I had it shipped to Canada, not for the faint of heart if taxes and transport fees scare you.  Then had it picked up by a restoration garage to get some things 'tweaked' before I start driving it next spring.  Tweaks turning into major $$$.  It was delivered as solid driver restored in 2003,, just can not stop myself adding "tweaks" to the restoration garage bill.

Bottom line, this is a dream car of mine, so why not blow the budget and get it finished my way so I can start to enjoy it next Spring.  I am only sad that I will only be able to drive it about 5 months a year because I live in cold dark winter Ottawa.

Update:  Suspension inspected and looks to be excellent but ride height stance needed some adjustment.  Garage has recently slightly lowered front (love it) and will slightly raise rear next month.  Replacing left front door interior panel, new panel to be received in a few days.  Replacing conv. top with best quality as current top not 100% water proof.  Top replacement scheduled in Jan.  Then there will be a factory engine tune and replacement of exhaust system because I want it factory silent. Other minor tweaks but will not bore you.

Car was delivered as a solid 2- driver,  hopefully can get it to a solid 2 or 2+ during winter months.  Not looking to win awards, just want a reliable summer driver.

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:29 am

Why is a US citizen living in Canada following and posting on an Australian T-Bird website. Because our love of T-Birds is international.

My older brother was an automotive designer and relocated from the States to Australia back in the 1970s to design for Ford Australia. His advanced styling exercises influenced Ford automotive designs in Australia for close to a decade. Stuff my brother designed in the 1970s look similar to auto designs we are seeing in 2015. My brother loved living in Australia for 13 years, and sometimes still refers to me as Mate when we talk on the phone. So basically I have been following auto design in Australia since the 1970s. Short story, brother became bored modifying US Ford products for the Austrailan market so he started modifying and racing autos. Successful racing, got bored, opened an advertising business...successful...injured in an auto race...while healing developed software to predict stock market. Microsoft brought him back to the US.

Update on my 1966 convertible (understand my 1966 had extensive work done in 2003, so it was delivered last Nov. as a solid driver): Restoration garage has lowered front close to factory spec (happy with result). Consulting with restoration garage we decided rear to be slightly raised only after exhaust system changed and only adjusted with top down adding weight to the rear. Both front interior door panels replaced even though only one had a vinyl crack...what a production to replace lower door panel carpet and to keep or not keep period correct door mounted speaker grills. Nearly new exhaust system replaced closer to factory stock as I wanted less V8 rumble. Last week new convertible top was to be replaced with new seals etc. I stressed factory correct, no wrinkles, I am a pain in the ass so perhaps that is why I have not received an update this week. Been a week since garage called me to had another $1,000 to my credit card. Minor adjustments to interior panel fit completed. Also changed drivers seat from manual to power and that was not cut and dry. As luck would have it, a member of the Southern Ontario T-Bird Club has a 1966 T-Bird convertible, he restores parts, supplied all the power seat stuff plus insider info as to how to correctly install.

This is the update. Of course there a few other minor issues I want the garage to address before my 1966 is delivered back to me. Please understand I am not mechanically inclined, I have to refer to the owners manual to pump up the tires. I follow multiple T-Bird sites and follow technical help. I am a high-rise urban dweller with underground parking so difficult for me to even hand wash my autos so that is why I pay a detailing service to clean and detail my autos yearly.

My Bird is at a restoration garage now because I can not tweak it myself so it will be ready to drive in the Spring. Currently here in Ottawa daily sub-zero temps. So cold even in the underground parking temps below freezing and building staff using mini-flame throwers to de-ice the sprinkler system so the pipes do not freeze up and burst.

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by jptbird on Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:14 am

Thanks for the update on your 66.
Sadly, those of us that can't do - must pay to play. Smile

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by rhinosoft on Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:49 am

thanks for the details, always interesting to read 'behind the scenes'.

Graeme

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Sat Mar 28, 2015 8:45 am

Three more weeks and counting. MY 1966 was ready mid Feb. from the restoration shop , but due to winter weather hopefully will get it mid April.

I have been a pain...ten emails just to decide on the battery replacement, took three days to replace the conv. top to Concours standards and my standards.

Three more weeks and hopefully I can drive my 1966 Bird. When I was age 9, talked Dad into buying a new 1960 T-Bird conv. When I was age 12 talked Dad into buying a new 1963 Bird hardtop. At age 15 Dad took me auto shopping and he thought he was going to buy a 1966 Mustang. He bought a 1966 Bird Town Landau with a little input from me.

Years ago I had some wonderful new convertibles (1974 Buick and 1976 Eldorado) and as a young child riding in my parents 1955 Olds Starfire conv. and a pink 1957 Bird. My bucket list was having one more convertible and the 1966 Bird is what I want. Looking forward to summer drives, top down, stars above.

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Thu Apr 16, 2015 4:48 am

April 15th, picked up the Bird at the restoration garage today and finally got to drive it for the first time away from a parking lot. Wow, last time I drove a 1966 Bird was 1970. Drove it at about 65 mph for about 40 mins with no strain and added new gas. Took me a little while to get use to the soft steering but getting better at it. Everything seems to work fine except for horn and power antenna but another antenna motor is being ordered (I have to help with the search on a rebuilt motor). Bit of wind noise but top is new and stretched tight, seals replaced, so suspect once it heats up and used during the summer it will settle in a bit. But what the heck, its a convertible and don't intend to drive in the rain. Did not put the top down as it is still a little chilly outside. Will drive it around town again tomorrow, top down regardless of wind chill (rain forecast for most of next week which is good to wash salt dust from the streets). Bit of high speed vibration from the front, perhaps because old bias ply tires have flat spots from sitting for so long.

Stopped by the shop that has been servicing my autos for ten years. Will have them replace all the fluids soon as we get a few days without Spring rains. Funny, when I drove up, most all the service people came out to look at it and joked about who was going to work on it first. One of the older mechanics joked he can tune this car without a computer and the younger guys can watch and learn. It is going to need a tune-up because it has been driven so little in the last 12 years, less than 1,000 miles since 2003 when engine and tranny rebuilt and most likely less than 100 miles in the last two years. Another reason to drive it more tomorrow at speed with new gas.

Going to put on my darkest sunglasses tomorrow and wear one of my new T-Bird hats. Seriously this car got much attention today with people slowing down to pass when I was doing 65, just slow enough for them to take pictures and give a thumbs up. Most memorable: stopped a stop light and an attractive middle age women driving a new S-Class pulled up beside me. Indicated I should roll down the window (yes power windows work & concerned if the car smoking, leaking fluid, or a tire going flat?). She then blew me a kiss. I was so dumbstruck I sort of gave a 'queens' waive and smiled. I am an older guy and did not think a thumbs up would be appropriate (LOL).

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by snowcone on Thu Apr 16, 2015 2:13 pm

Great that she is finally on the road.
I would suggest you get rid of the old tyres before you do too many more high speed runs.
Mine had near new tread on them but when I had a close look there were lots of cracks in the side walls where it had been sitting for ages so I gave them the flick.
Not worth having a high speed blow out to save a couple of hundred bucks

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Tue May 19, 2015 4:26 am

After a few days of driving the 1966 conv., still some issues that I paid to get corrected at a restoration garage during winter months.  Pissed I spent much and some issues remain.
After only a few weeks went to another garage for a full evaluation.  1-1/2 hours and two test drives, shocked that front bushings were total crap and that was first item I paid the other shop to correct.  No point in going into details now, but screwed about  $2,500 in bad work that now has to be corrected.  First shop a highly respected restoration garage but work was seriously substandard and now I have to pay more at another shop to fix stuff.

New shop also has an excellent reputation.  Shop changed out the exhaust system on my 2011 Camaro last year and happy with the result.  Shop specializes in old cars and performance upgrades.  Currently they have a range of autos in their shop from a 1938 Cadillac ($200,000 restoration), to a 1960s Mustang Mach ($100,000 restoration).

Last weekend the shop had their annual car show and open house.  More than 200 cars on display and thousands of car nuts in attendance.  Dropped by because of a few of my friends brought their autos to display including one friend with a beautiful white with new white leather interior 1964 Bird hardtop with a modified engine hitting 350 HP.

I dropped off my 1966 conv. last Friday to get some issues corrected.  Surprised to see my Bird convertible, displayed in the shop behind ropes like it was in a museum.  Looked damn good and they cleaned the body of any dust or grim so it would look good in their shop during the open house.  However, notice the left rear window stuck in the up position. Just one of the issues this garage will repair and resolve in the next few weeks (LOL).  Thrilled this garage decided they wanted my yellow Bird to be showcased in their garage during the open house. Note the auto in the service bay to the left.  It is a $150,000 Mopar low mileage number matching Hemi

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by abaucom on Tue May 19, 2015 4:50 am

Snowcone...agree with you on the tires.  Current shop advised me not to replace the existing red band whitewall bias ply tires until they complete tweaking suspension.  They inspected the current bias ply tires, determined they are in excellent condition.  Only after their suspension tweaks should I consider replacing tires.

Yes, ride & handling would be improved with radial tires.  My 1966 came from factory with the optional bias ply red band whitewall tires.  Today, a TBird friend sent me a link to Diamond Back Tires, they have a radial tire, red band whitewall that in appearance will match factory stock 1965-66 TBirds.

As suggested by the garage, will wait until they get suspension back to factory specs.  Then I will decide if I will pay for radial tire replacements.

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Re: New member from Ottawa Canada

Post by snowcone on Tue May 19, 2015 9:40 am

Seems crazy that the previous garage lowered the front but didn't address the control arm bushes when the springs were out.
Even if they had compressed the springs and maybe cut off a coil with the springs in situ, I think you have to remove the top control arm to get a disc grinder in there anyway.
This is the way I am going to do mine very soon.

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