New beak for the Thunderbird.

Posted: February 7, 2014 in Squarebird, Thunderbird
Tags: , , , ,

One of my friends from the HAMB did a photoshop image of my T’bird a couple weeks ago, with the bumper fitted flush to the body, gapped like a door or deck lid. This, you may recall from an earlier post here, but if not, it got rid of ugly, 3/4″ gap the factory thought was acceptable between body and bumper. I’d trimmed the bumper in an attempt to make it fit better, but it was still wrong.

After, courtesy of James D.'s photoshop skill.

After, courtesy of James D.’s photoshop skill.

A false start yesterday towards accomplishing this feat of metal magic left me with no cut-off wheels, no shielding gas for the MIG welder, and no 02 in my torch set. That left me with plenty of time to plow the drive, my folk’s drive, and gas up the GMC, but I got nothing done on the ‘Bird other than set on a stool and stare at it, trying to figure out how to do what had seemed so easy in photoshop.

Today, I made progress. A trip to Tractor Supply re-stocked my gas and hardware, and I got busy cutting up the bumper.

I cut the top lip off, all the way along. The bumper was then hung on the car, leveled and centered. I decided the bumper needed to tilt forward a bit more than stock, to better match the new headlight eyebrows, so I simply let it fall forward and down about an inch on the mounts. They have slotted holes for adjustment, so this part was easy.

Bumper mounted, sans top lip.

Bumper mounted, sans top lip.

I cut some reliefs in the corners, and at the rear, so as to allow me to bend the metal to fit the body, and to follow the line of the wheel opening. Which it didn’t before. Then, I cut the top lip, now a separate piece, into six sections. Each end, the transition curve from end to the center, and two center sections. I started tacking the lip onto the bumper, with spacers of the same gauge steel, back onto the bumper. The gap ranged from half an inch at the rear of each bumper end, to an inch and an eighth at the center, the result of tilting the bumper down and forward.

A little gap to fill.

A little gap to fill.

Fitting the bumper back together.

Fitting the bumper back together.

Gap filled.

Gap filled.

When the pieces were all fitted and tacked in, I ground the welds down the right side, to see how it’d look, and compare it to the artwork that inspired all this work. I think the end result is great, again subtle, but very different from how it came from Ford in 1959. A few hours welding up the seams, then a few more grinding disks to cut the weld beads down, and little skim of filler should have it looking like it should have to begin with.

What do you think?

Looks like an Angry Bird.

Looks like an Angry Bird.

This fits MUCH better.

This fits MUCH better.

The bumper now completes the wheel opening, flush fitting.

The bumper now completes the wheel opening, flush fitting.

Looks like James's rendering now!

Looks like James’s rendering now!

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Keith Vander Pol says:

    Nice touch! Everything flows together well on the front end now.

  2. I do like the front of this I must say. Good work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s