Jim Smart
September 1, 2007
Photos By: Steve Turner

Terrific cylinder heads aren't worth a flip without an adequate induction system. On top is a polished Edelbrock Performer dual-plane high-rise fitted with "old reliable"-a time-proven 650-cfm Holley four-throat atomizer. We like the stamped-steel custom air cleaner. MSD fires the mixture, and Joseph had the exhaust manifolds ceramic coated for improved heat control and good looks.

Johnny's Transmission in Fort Smith, Arkansas, built a custom C6 transmission that delivers a firm upshift without being too harsh. In back is a {{{Ford}}} 9-inch rearend with 3.70 Strange gears fitted to 31-spline axles. ABS disc brakes provide incredible stopping power in all four corners.

You've got to hand it to Joseph for raw, creative imagination inside, especially when the top comes down. That's custom taupe-leather upholstery over James Carter seating. Down under is Rolls Royce carpeting. A Kenwood sound system rattles the senses. We like those billet street-rod-style door handles. Past meets present with the T-bird tri-pod gauge package and factory steering wheel. Do you remember when Ford put the ignition switch to the left of the driver? Check out those late-model toggle switches for power windows and door locks.

Joseph leaves a lasting impression via the many personal nuances he has cranked into an extraordinary Thunderbird restomod-flying at low altitude yet high on the experience. And that's only part of the lowdown.

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The Details
'58 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Owner: Joseph Hooper, Bowling Green, KY


  • 428ci Cobra Jet V-8
  • 4.160-inch bore, 3.980-inch stroke
  • Nodular-iron "1U" Crankshaft
  • Forged I-beam C6AE 6.488-inch connecting rods with ARP bolts
  • Speed-Pro 0.030-inch forged pistons
  • CNC-ported Edelbrock Performer heads, 2.09/1.66-inch valves
  • Edelbrock Performer intake manifold
  • 650-cfm Holley four-barrel
  • 9.8:1 compression for use with 91-octane unleaded fuel
  • Roller, hydraulic camshaft, 0.510/0.536-inch lift, 292/302-degree advertised duration


  • Custom-built C6 three-speed automatic


  • 9-inch
  • 3.70 gears
  • 31-spline axles


  • D&D Specialty Cars custom stainless
  • 2 1/2-inch exhaust
  • Stainless Specialties mufflers
  • Ceramic-coated factory manifolds

    SuspensionFront: Air Ride Technologies custom built by D&D Specialty Cars
    Rear: Air Ride Technologies custom built by D&D Specialty Cars

    Front: ABS Power Brake 11-inch disc, single-piston caliper
    Rear: ABS Power Brake 10 1/2-inch disc, single-piston caliper

  • Dual-reservoir power-brake master cylinder/booster arrangement

    Front: Boyd Coddington Shadow, 18x7-inch, 4-inch offset
    Rear: Boyd Coddington Shadow, 20x8 1/2-inch, 4-inch offset

    Front: Dunlop SP Sport 9000, P235/40ZR18
    Rear: Dunlop SP Sport 9000, P285/30ZR20

    Taupe leather throughout, upholstered by D&D Specialty Cars in {{{Van}}} Buren, Arkansas; Rolls Royce carpeting; James Carter bucket seats; Kenwood sound system with subwoofer and tweeters; billet door handles; custom console; door panels; and interior trim panels; Vintage Air climate control

    PPG/Ditzler basecoat/clearcoat in Arizona Beige

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