Modified Mustangs & FordsFeatured Vehicles
1957 Ford Thunderbird - Thunderstruck Bird Of Prey
With 514 Cubic Inches And 12-Inch Rear Tires, This Bird's Talon Grip Is As Determined As It's Beak's Bite
As you can imagine, this '57 T-bird looked nothing like the pictures you see before you when the owner found it.
"I found it in a friend's garage in Colorado with no running gear," said owner Dave Liniger. "The body looked to be in good condition until it was media blasted."
Finding a car with no running gear might normally be a problem, but Liniger planned to replace those parts anyway, so in a way, it was a perfect find. Well, almost perfect. A lot of the body's sheetmetal had to be replaced due to rust and other previous damage.
While Liniger didn't mention his position as owner of Remax, one of the country's largest real estate companies, word sort of got around to us as this story was being written. Not only is Liniger modest about his success, but he can pretty much do whatever he wants when it comes to restoring his cars.
"I always wanted to build a sports car with a lot of power that handled like a new car," said Liniger. Don't we all?
With the restomod revolution in full swing, no longer does the lover of classic shapes have to put up with the quirks and idiosyncrasies of a 50-to-60-year-old car. Problems such as leaking ragtops, cruise ship handling, anemic power, and utterly useless climate control. Nowadays, thanks to companies like Vintage Air, classic enthusiasts can cruise in comfort at any temperature. And Dave Liniger is doing just that with the named company providing the refreshingly cool air.
Of course for the meat and potatoes of this restomod's upgrades, he decided to take the T-bird to a local company called C4 Hot Rods. C4 has been building some of Colorado's finest hot rods officially for about nine years now. Its reputation for high-quality hot rods and cool car shows is known throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
"We all come from a racing background," said owner John Metcalf. Mike Hudson, C4's main fabricator/mechanic worked as chief mechanic for Metcalf before coming to work with him at C4. Hudson is the one responsible for that Flash Gordon-like air intake lurking under the hood.
"That thing has 13 pieces of steel in it," he told us. "The Holley Dominator carb is like a toilet bowl so when it came time to get the air filter to fit, there was no option but to custom build one." When we asked Hudson which race team he and Metcalf worked for the answer was plain and simple: "Remax." It turns out that back in the day, Liniger got a taste of racing at a local track. At the time, Metcalf was running a struggling racing operation out of a one-car garage. Liniger asked him if he wanted some support and Metcalf, well, needless to say he felt right at home with Remax as a sponsor. After Metcalf got out of the race game, he started C4. But it wasn't his first foray into the custom car club.
"I'd built about a hot rod a year for most of my life before that," he said. We assume that he meant his formative years, but who knows, he could have been wrenching in the womb for all we know.
When C4 took delivery of the car, the first thing it did was take the body off of the frame.
"We essentially installed the motor, then built the car around it," said Hudson. "Then we welded the chassis and figured out the hood height." They used the center section of the frame and attached a Fat Man Fabrication power rack-and-pinion front clip. The rear needed a subframe as well, so to bring up the rear, they used an Art Morrison four-link rear clip.
Hudson then cut out the transmission support to ready for the installation of the built C6 automatic transmission with a 2,800-rpm-stall convertor and a custom mount. "If we didn't cut that piece out, you'd have to get to the tranny by taking the whole body off and disassembling the whole car," said Hudson. "On top of that, I had to replace the floor from the firewall to the back bumper."