1955 Ford Thunderbird – A SOHC-Powered Stunner
We all know that building a classic car is a long and laborious process – Don’s 1955 Ford Thunderbird is a testament to that. Don’s theory is one we’re on board with and that is…”If you’re going to do it, do it right!”
This car started as a total project and was torn down to bare metal. With panels replaced and repaired, Don and his friends went to work figuring out how to stuff a Ford 427 SOHC motor into the front of the car.
There’s no replacement for the hard work that goes into restoring a classic, and the memories made during the journey are just as rewarding as the end result. We’re glad that Don skipped out on the pickup, because the end result of this build is a 1955 Ford Thunderbird like no other.
His attention to detail is apparent the whole car over but seems to culminate in the engine bay which is tucked and shaved, forcing all of your attention to that big Ford cammer. The Hillborn independent throttle bodies feature a tidy Holley EFI setup, making the already impressive motor that much better. Complete with the proper old-school SOHC valve covers, the 427 is mean and clean. Making 750hp at 6500rpm, it’s no slouch either.
You can imagine the sound it makes through stainless headers and Flowmaster mufflers as the power is sent to the rear of the car through a C4 with overdrive. From here the power makes it to 3.50:1 gears that make for quick launches but still allow the Thunderbird to be a fantastic cruiser. Helping in the launch department are hefty 15×12 inch wheels out back, with a six inch wide pair of wheels up front.
An Art Morrison frame with Mustang II bits up front help tighten up the T-bird with Wilwoods on all four corners to bring things to a stop. It’s a well-balanced build with loads of performance parts and personal touches all around.
Inside the car Don’s redesigned everything ever so slightly. The console’s been redone but still follows the factory flow. The black inlay has a similar texture to the ’55 factory finish if you look at the right angle, but it certainly looks a lot nicer than any car ever has off the showroom floor.
You’ll notice the vent on the dash has been filled and the seats and carpet are just as clean as the rest of the car. Thanks to Don’s friends over at FineLine Auto Interiors in Manteca, California, the interior is complete and cohesive, with everything dressed up to the nines.
Back outside you’ll notice nice touches like the molded headlights and taillights which really clean up the look of this ’55. Steve Adler at Adler’s Autobody & Paint right down the road in Lodi, California prepped and painted the red ‘bird.
Don has built this T-bird with no holds barred and down to the last nut and bolt it’s clear he’s a perfectionist. Having bought it first, Don’s favorite part about the car is still that glorious 427 Cammer motor. It’s a Ford that’s as fast as it is cool, and Don says all that’s left is to keep cruisin’.