409 powered 55 T-Bird repaired & UPDATED

Discussion in 'Builds & Projects' started by Clyde Waldo, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Clyde Waldo
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    Clyde Waldo Active Member Supporting Member 5

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    T-Bird REPAIRED:

    Most of you know that my car was rear ended by a Huge Frito-Lay delivery truck while Ellen & I were attending Thompson 2012. Car totaled and both of us hurt. Retained owenership & got less insurance money. (Hagerty was very good.) Pulled the 409 and 700R4 and sent the car to Hill's Thunderbird in Racine, Ohio.

    Car came back looking great - I mean GREAT!!!

    T-Bird UPDATED:

    This is the best of all: I am one of the extremely fortunate people that Ronnie has built an engine for so now the 409 truck engine that I have been running for the last three years is retired for now. A couple of months ago (seems like much longer) I took the new 409, 700R4 transmission, and everything removed before the car went to Ohio for repair, to the Speed Shop for reassembly into the repaired car. Last Friday the Speed Shop owner called and said car would be ready for pickup Saturday (yesterday). I called Ronnie and told him the good news and I don't know which one of us was the most excited.

    Yesterday (Saturday) Ellen and I drove the hour and a half drive to the Speed Shop in south St Louis. When we arrived the owner's wife was washing the car before they turned it over to us (they do that for all their completed cars). The owner Dwayne wanted to move the car in to be out of the sun and didn't tell us his son and our grandson had removed to header caps to hear the Ronnie Russell stroker 409 engine run. That engine fired right up and Ellen must have jumped a mile high (conservaitve estimate). The engine sounded really healthy - I mean HEALTHY.

    After the header caps were installed and I paid the bill, I started on the drive home with Ellen following in case of trouble. There are many unique electrical things that I made back when I installed the first 409 in 1968; convert 6 volt positive ground to 12 volt negative ground, altenator with external voltage regulator to replace the generator, oil and amp gauges,etc. I was so anxious to get the car back I told them just get the car running and I would fix these unique things when I got the car home.

    The ride home was a thrill - I mean a THRILL. People were giving thumbs up, honking horn, etc. Once I got on highway 40 and headed west I tried to adhere to my intention to break in Ronnie's engine gently. I did pretty good for a while till a semi in front of me would slow down then speed up, repeat repeat. Finally I had had enough and when traffic cleared pulled into the passing lane and let 'er go. Those two carbs were making some awesome sounds. I got pushed back into the seat like never before. Later Ellen told me the way you passed that truck was unbelieveable.

    The car was running so well that I decided not to go straight home but to go to a little car show in a small town north of where we live. There were about 28 to 30 cars and some motorcycles and I had some fun and the car and the 409 engine attracted lots of attention. The only thing even close to a problem was a person at the show pointed out the heater hose was too close to the header pipe. For a temporary fix I rapped some aluminum foil around the heater hose. Also the fan belt was hitting the radiator hose - must have happened when I passed that semi.

    I called Ronnie later when I got home and told him that I got home and the fun that I had and thanked him over and over. What a wonderful friend.

    This is getting kind of long winded - maybe more later. Do I need to say I am sooooo happy? IMG_0327 (Small).JPG IMG_0330 (Small).JPG
    W Head likes this.
  2. oldskydog
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    oldskydog Well-Known Member Supporting Member 6

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    Great car and great story Clyde. I'll have to admit, I'm not a FURD fan, but I always made an exception for those early birds......especially with the RIGHT engine.:dance
  3. jim_ss409
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    jim_ss409 Well-Known Member Supporting Member 4

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    The car looks great! :clap That new engine must push that car great too.
    I know this whole accident has been a bit of an ordeal but you know what they say,,, All's well that ends well! :beer

    If you get a chance, give us a few details on that new engine. :deal
  4. BSL409
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    BSL409 Well-Known Member Supporting Member 6

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    Congrats,:beer Looks Great:clap
  5. 1958 delivery
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    1958 delivery Well-Known Member Supporting Member 1

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    The whole story/experience is awesome. It sounds as though you are as happy as a school kid which is the best part of the whole story.:dance
  6. 61BUBBLE348
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    61BUBBLE348 Active Member Supporting Member 4

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  7. Nuts
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    Nuts Well-Known Member Supporting Member 8

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    What an exciting day it must have been.... Can't tell you how excited Linda and I are for you and Ellen ! Going to be looking forward to seeing you and the car, where ever we end up next year. :cool:

    Bill
  8. BRYAN FUGATE
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    BRYAN FUGATE Active Member Supporting Member 3

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    Looking great clyde now go stomp on some fords lol!
  9. Ronnie Russell
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    Ronnie Russell Well-Known Member Supporting Member 2

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    Jim, 068 block , decks cleaned .010 and the vin and QB script on the pad were saved . +.030, 11 to 1 Ross pistons, Scat 6.385 rods, Eagle 4" crank. Isky solid roller (.640) Isky EZ Roll lifters. 690 heads were massaged by Clyde, then new valves, springs, etc. Edelbrock intake and Edelbrock 600cfm carbs.
    1961BelAir427 likes this.
  10. DonSSDD
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    DonSSDD Well-Known Member Supporting Member 1

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    Clyde, congratulations and a great story too. You'll soon be buying new rear tires on a regular basis.

    Shipping weight of a Tbird, looked it up, 3088 lbs.

    Don
  11. Dick MacKenzie
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    Dick MacKenzie Well-Known Member Supporting Member 9

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    Congrats Clyde! I know it's been a long road but the bird is better then ever! :clap
  12. Clyde Waldo
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    Clyde Waldo Active Member Supporting Member 5

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    Just got home - took the T-Bird to town to show one of the local car body shop owners the repaired car. I am confident he could have done the job well but he said he couldn't get repair parts. He looked the car over and was very favorabily impressed - said gaps around doors, hood, and trunk were great and he liked the paint work. I was happy to hear that.

    Don, the last time (ages ago) that I had the car weighed the cars weight was around 3700 pounds. That was when it had the 409 with a torquefite transmission. The 700R4 probably weighs more. Car is mostly metal with lots of lead in the seams.

    Thanks for the comments guys!
  13. Tom Kochtanek
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    Tom Kochtanek Well-Known Member Supporting Member 5

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    Clyde:

    Congrats to both of you for your perseverance and patience in getting your baby refurbished. Not only does she look good, but that new Ronnie Russel powerplant is a real upgrade over your previous stocker build.
    Hey, we should think about a caravan up to Iowa in mid August and show your new ride to the guys attending the Tri State event. That is if you didn't mind being chased by a 1962 409 car :).

    All the best!
    TomK
  14. jim_ss409
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    jim_ss409 Well-Known Member Supporting Member 4

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    LOTS of power there! :beer Even at 3,700 lbs that thing would be a rocket! :beer
    The Beach Boys wrote TWO songs about Clyde's car,,, "409" and "Fun Fun Fun" ('til her daddy takes the T Bird away) :cheers
  15. boxerdog
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    boxerdog Well-Known Member Supporting Member 2

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    Glad to see it all turned out well in the end...and it sounds like the beast is a LOT better than it was before. I bet Ronnie was chuckling when he gave you the break-in instructions, knowing that it probably wasn't going to happen!!!
  16. Don Jacks
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    Don Jacks   Supporting Member 1

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    :laughYeah,I can just hear Ronnie's "break-in" instructions now.Hang foot in it,and hang on!:deal
  17. k9hotrodder409
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    k9hotrodder409 Well-Known Member Supporting Member 10

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    Congrats Clyde !!:clap Giny & I are so happy that car got repaired to your satisfaction. We were at Thompson and saw the damage. The car looks great !!:love
    :crazy:dance:cheers
  18. Last 60
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    Last 60 Well-Known Member Supporting Member 1

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    Clyde, GOOD, GOOD, GOOD for you and Ellen. I have been wondering when it was all going to come together.
    The "Bird looks, and I'm sure runs much better than when you left Thompson. Again, GOOD for you!!!! :clap:clap:clap

    Lonnie
  19. chevymusclecars
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    chevymusclecars Well-Known Member Supporting Member 5

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    Clyde

    Happy to hear the car is back and I'm sure the engine by Ronnie ads to the excitement. Drive it and be happy!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bill
  20. region rat
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    region rat   Supporting Member 1

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    Great news, Clyde. Glad to see it got done. It looks really good. I bet you don't lose the smile on your face for months.