Isaac Mion
June 28, 2010

After they cut the hood to fit the blower, Hank decided he wanted the hood to open from the rear. He originally tried to install a pair of '57 Ford hinges, but they kept hitting the grille. After about five different sources (the majority of which were Hank's drinking buddies), he decided to try late-model Buick hinges. After a few more small modifications in this area, everything fell into place and Hank still uses the original hood latch with a small lever under the hood for opening-a minor detail that soothes Hank's psyche when he gazes upon his T-bird with a hood opening like no other.

With the power safely under the hood it had to be put to the ground in similar fashion. This blown 502 would break a stock T-bird trans when the power is put to the ground, so a Ford C6 transmission was built to get the power to the 9-inch Ford rearend with 3.70 gears wrapped around the differential. Once through the trans, the fat Mickey Thompsons out back have plenty of girth to hook up all that power to the tarmac. The resulting squat is handled by leaf springs combined with AirRide Technologies Shockwave air shocks.

With the business side handled, Hank turned his attention to the interior, which was handled by Darrel's Upholstery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Bucket seats reupholstered in gray and red leather, fresh black carpeting, and new chrome bits. Of course, there's a fair bit of white and blue on the interior as well in the form of American flags on the seat backs. Henry Binder is nothing if not a red-blooded American with a car replete with various pieces of iconic Americana to match. But this one is the only one that truly leaves you Thunderstruck.

The Details
Henry "Hank" Binder's '61 Ford Thunderbird

Engine

  • 460ci big-block stroker (502ci displacement)
  • 4.392-inch bore (0.030-inch over)
  • 4.140-inch stroke
  • Electronic ignition
  • Dyers blower
  • Two Holley 750 cfm carbs

Transmission

  • C6 three-speed automatic

Rearend

  • 9-inch housing
  • Strange S/S 31-spline axles
  • 3.70 gears

Exhaust

  • Custom-built long-tube headers
  • 3-inch dual exhaust
  • Thrush mufflers

Suspension

  • Front: Coil springs with airbags
  • Rear: Leaf springs with AirRide Shockwave air shocks

Brakes

  • Front: Granada disc, 11-inch rotor, single-piston caliper
  • Rear: Factory drum

Wheels

  • Front: Centerline Convo Pro, 15x8
  • Rear: Centerline Convo Pro, 15x12

Tires

  • Front: BFGoodrich Radial T/A, P245/60R15
  • Rear: Mickey Thompson Sportsman Pro, 29X15.50-15LT

Interior

  • Restored in red and gray leather by Darrel's Upholstery, bucket seats

Exterior

  • Mitsubishi red basecoat/clearcoat, flared rear fenders, hood modified to open forward (rear latching)