Mark Houlahan
Tech Editor, Mustang Monthly
November 1, 2009
Photos By: Paul Rosner

Modified Mustangs & Fords Editor's Choice
John LAMB'S '56 Thunderbird
John Lamb's story might sound familiar to many of us. As a youth in 1956 he had a paper route and he'd pedal past one of his customers every morning who had a brand-new '56 T-Bird in the driveway. He thought to himself "I'll own one of those someday." Unfortunately that day didn't come until 1995 and even then the '56 he purchased was far from looking like new. No, the little 'Bird had been hit hard in the front, destroying the sheetmetal and frame horns and the previous owner had even started parting the car out, already selling off the drivetrain. John's labor of love didn't really start until 2000, when he unfortunately was going through a rather tough divorce. The next four years working on the T-Bird with his son, Jeff, were, in some ways, therapy for him. Again, something I think we can all relate to in one form or another.

John and his son spent quality time in the garage putting the 'Bird back together with such niceties as a Fatman Fabrication front frame clip with Mustang II suspension and Air Ride. Out back a 3.50-geared 9-inch in a four-link setup, also on Air Ride, was used for great cruising, and to give the T-Bird's ride height an instant change of stance when John felt like it. It's not all looks for this 'Bird either, as Jeff built his dad a nice small-block from a '94 5.0L roller block and topped it with a Kenne Bell Flowzilla blower, SCT 90mm mass-air meter, Brodix aluminum heads, and 42-lb/hr Ford Racing injectors for a dyno-tested 412 hp at 5,800 rpm. Master Power four-wheel disc brakes slow the 'Bird's flight down safely. The exterior features custom hood louvers, Titanium PPG base/clear applied by XCaliber Auto Restorations and polished Torque Thrust IIs.

While John's T-Bird has "show car" written all over it, don't for a second think this 'Bird is babied. John drive's the car as much as he can, often deep into the fall months with the added hardtop, and his daughter Jeriann has been known to borrow dad's toy to pickup his grandson at school on special occasions. He tells us he's about to start working on a '61 Unibody Ford pickup and has plans for a modular V-10 with twin turbos, again with the help of his son Jeff. We can't wait to see that one, and just like John's T-Bird, which took a First Place in the Thunderbird class at Joliet (besides our Editor's Choice), we're sure the Unibody will be an award winning ride as well.