Isaac Mion
November 12, 2010

With the chassis sorted, Hudson and crew got cracking on the body. They replaced the rocker panels, the rear quarter-panels, and various other areas that had shown themselves after the media blasting.

"When we got it back from media blasting it was whacked," said Hudson. "The nose was full of Bondo."

Finally, before putting the body back on, they tubbed the rear in preparation for the massive 18x12-inch rear Weld wheels wrapped in P335/30ZR18 Michelin Pilots. The front wheels, at 17x7 with P215/40ZR18's, would require no such adaptive measure.

As a final touch, they shaved the emblems-they did keep the one in back, but customized it to say Dave's Thunderbird, a personal touch that could only be appreciated by Dave and the 10 million others with the same name.

With PPG's Red Spice paint, capped bumpers, and the custom tube grille, Daves aren't the only ones appreciating this stunning blast from the past as it motors down the road; the sonorous roar from the custom ceramic-coated exhaust pipes expelling the nasty gasses from the 514ci Ford Racing engine.

The specs on this engine are off the charts, and it pretty much speaks for itself when it gets on the dyno and returns figures like 625 hp and 600 lb-ft of torque. Various chrome ancillaries, like the March pulley system, allow the engine to look the part as well. Running the wires back under the distributor doesn't hurt the aesthetics of the bay either.

Minor changes to the interior vastly improve its appearance. One example would be the eradication of some of the padding on the dash. With the slimmed down dash, Sewfine custom red leather interior, and Dakota digital instrumentation, the open-air cockpit is almost as Flash Gordon as the intake. More stealth than wealth are the subs and amps-both are hidden under the rear fenders to retain a classic feel (and more room) when sneaking people into the drive-in movie theater.

All this flash would be nothing if the T-bird's cabin and body didn't have a set of legs to ride on. These are provided by adjustable Carrera coilovers front and rear.

Like all decent motorcars that need to come to a halt, so do the articles about them. While, the former is done with Wilwood four-pot calipers and 13-inch rotors, the latter is usually done with a closing paragraph such as this:

Thrown together through a love for racing and wrenching, car owner Dave Liniger, shop owner John Metcalf, and head fabricator/mechanic Mike Hudson have teamed up with the rest of the crew at C4 to create a Thunderbird that truly transcends the ages, bringing the salacious lines of the '57 T-bird back to the forefront of our consciousness with the unbridled ecstasy of a modern chassis, power, and underpinnings.

"Dave said he wanted a car with big wheels, a big motor, and a loud stereo," said Hudson. Looks like that's exactly what he got. Hopefully, he feels "at home" with his new hot rod.

The Details
Dave Liniger's '57 Ford Thunderbird


  • 514ci crate engine from Ford Racing Performance Parts
  • 10.25:1 compression ratio 4.30-inch stroke
  • 4.39-inch bore
  • Eagle H-beam connecting rods Forged aluminum pistons
  • Ford Racing aluminum intake manifold
  • FRPP Aluminum Super Cobra Jet heads, 2.20-inch intake/1.76-inch exhaust valves
  • FRPP solid roller camshaft, 0.640-inch lift, 254/258 degrees duration at 0.050
  • Billet aluminum accessories
  • March serpentine drive system
  • Holley Dominator 1,050-cfm carburetor
  • Custom air filter by C4 Hot Rods


  • Built C6 Automatic, Lokar shifter
  • 2,800-rpm-stall converter


  • Art Morrison 9-inch, narrowed, Mark Williams nodular Motorsport limited slip differential and axles, 3.55 gears


  • Sanderson 1 7/8-inch headers, 2 1/2-inch ceramic-coated custom exhaust, Flowmaster mufflers


    Front: Fatman Fabrication power rack-and-pinion front clip, Carrera coilover springs
  • Rear: Art Morrison four-link rear clip, Carrera coilover springs


  • Front: Wilwood 13-inch rotors, Dynalite four-piston calipers
  • Rear: Wilwood 13-inch rotors, Dynalite four-piston calipers


  • Front: Weld Rodlight XP wheels, 17x7
  • Rear: Weld Rodlight XP wheels, 18x12


  • Front: Michelin Pilot, P215/40ZR17
  • Rear: Michelin Pilot, P335/30ZR18


  • ididit steering column, Vintage Air heating and air conditioning system, Dakota digital instrumentation, custom stereo with amplifiers and CD changer, custom leather interior


  • Smoothed all steel body, shaved emblems, PPG Red Spice base/clear, custom aluminum tube grille