Image: Automotive Mileposts Restoration
CLASSIC CAR

 Restoration 

by AUTOMOTIVE MILEPOSTS
1969 Ford Thunderbird Tudor Landau
with rare factory Power Sunroof option
("Before" images—currently under restoration)

1969 Ford Thunderbird Tudor Landau left front quarter view1969 Thunderbird front view. Headlight doors are vacuum operated, and close with the engine running. Due to vacuum leaks, they creep up after engine shut down. NOS vacuum motors and new vacuum hoses will cure that.

The wheel covers on the car at time of purchase were incorrect, as they are the deluxe covers for a 1973-76 Thunderbird.
1969 Thunderbird exterior view of Power Sunroof panel in closed position
The History

This car was built by special order on March 31, 1969. It was scheduled to be built on April 16, 1969, was was actually built a couple of weeks early. The order was placed through the Memphis District and the car was delivered to Resort Motors Ford in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The original owner was B. Walker, and the car was placed into service on May 1, 1969. According to information that came with the car, it received its 6 Month/6,000 Mile service on October 31, 1969 with 4,581 miles showing on the odometer. The following year, on October 29, 1970 the car was brought in for its 12 Month/12,000 Mile service. Repair order number 534 shows the transmission bands were adjusted at that time with 12,414 miles on the car.

The original owner kept the car until May 25, 1984 when it was given to a Nephew. The Nephew didn't appreciate the car and proceeded to dent both rear quarter panels, one from rubbing a building, the other from an impact with a post. At this point, "Daddy took the T-Bird away," and it sat from 1986 until May 26, 1990. At that time it was sold to a collector and moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas on a flatbed truck.

Upon discovering that the power windows and power sunroof didn't work, the new owner took the car to an automotive electrical shop, which wanted a sizeable deposit before agreeing to perform any repairs. The car was put in a building where it sat until Spring 2001, when the owner determined he didn't have time to restore it and decided to sell it. It was moved to a vacant field next to the owner's house at that time. Knowing how rare the car is, the owner was determined it would go to someone that would restore and preserve it. He would not sell it to be parted out.

In October 2001, the car was sold to a collector in Tulsa, Oklahoma and transported by flatbed to begin the restoration process. After precautions were taken to prevent damage to the long-silent engine, the car started on the third crank and ran with the aid of a fuel hose inserted into a nearby gas can. The headlamp doors even closed when the engine started! This Bird wanted to fly again!

The Condition

In spite of the rear quarter body damage, the rest of the body is very straight. Doors, deck lid, front fenders, and hood alignment are good. The frame is in good condition, and there is only one very small spot in the floor pan behind the driver's seat that has rusted through - the area is smaller than a dime, with surrounding areas of the floor pan in excellent condition. No rust in luggage compartment. Rust is typical on the rear edge of the deck lid on these models, and there are signs of minor rust near an area that was dented in an accident. There is some separation of the factory body filler from the metal roof panel on roof quarters, another common malady on this model. The interior is in overall very good condition, with the exception of the front bucket seat cushions, instrument panel pad, carpeting, and the headliner.

Check back for updates on the restoration process, as well as additional photos documenting the restoration.

The Description

Brittany Blue Metallic/White Alligator-Grain Vinyl Roof/White Vinyl Interior with Black Appointments
429 Thunder Jet V-8 (360 Horsepower)
SelectShift Automatic Transmission
Power Steering/Power Front Disc Brakes/Dual Exhaust System
Four Note Horn System (rare)
Front Cornering Lamps
Firestone WSW Red Band Tires (very sharp with the Brittany Blue paint!)
Color-Keyed Simulated Styled Steel Wheel Covers with Chrome Lug Nuts (rare)
Power Sunroof (rare)
Appearance Protection Group
SelectAire Conditioner with Manual Temperature Control
Rear Window Defogger
Tilt-Away Steering Wheel
Power Antenna
AM Radio/StereoSonic Tape System
Remote Deck Lid Release
Power Windows
6-Way Power Driver's Seat
6-Way Power Passenger's Seat (rare-special order only)
Flight Bucket Seats and Console
Convenience Check Panel (includes vacuum door locks)
Rear Lamp Monitor (rare)
Rear Seat Belt Retractors (rare)
SureTrack Anti-Lock Brake System (rare)
Engine Compartment Light (rare)
Tinted Glass
Deluxe Seat Belts and Shoulder Belts
The Restoration

At the owner's request, our first focus is to make the car operable again, so he may drive it safely and dependably on the road. The owner wants to do some of the work himself, and wants to have the opportunity to evaluate the car before disassembly begins. With that in mind, this is what has been completed to date:

  • Fuel tank removed, steam cleaned and reinstalled (it was in excellent condition)
  • Fuel line flushed from engine compartment to fuel tank connection
  • New gas cap installed
  • Brake lines flushed
  • New brake components front and rear (wheel cylinders, flexible hoses, etc.)
  • Rebuilt Autolite 4300 carburetor installed
  • Rebuilt starter installed
  • New starter solenoid installed
  • New brass freeze plugs installed
  • New spark plugs and wires installed
  • New battery installed
  • 5 WSW steel belted radial tires installed
  • New radiator installed
  • Rebuilt steering flexible coupling installed
  • Vacuum system diagnosis
  • Electrical system diagnosis
  • New 1 gauge battery cables installed
  • New power window motors installed
  • Door glass channels rebonded to glass
  • New shock absorbers installed (Monroe Gas Charged with rear coil overs)
  • Rebuilt 55-amp. Alternator and Internal Regulator
The Parts

Before a restoration begins, we identify the parts necessary for completion. We try to use as many parts original to the car as possible. When that option isn't feasible, we begin our search for replacement parts. Most of the parts we need for a particular area will be on hand before that part of the restoration begins.

  • Padded instrument panel (NOS)
  • Power window switches—3 total (NOS)
  • Roof quarter belt moldings
  • Rear tail lamp finish panel, lenses, and all associated trim
  • NOS Front cornering lamp assemblies - both sides
  • Floor console
  • Instrument cluster bezel
  • Windshield washer reservoir and cap (NOS)
  • Front turn indicator housings - complete
  • Rear side marker light housings- complete
  • AM/FM Stereo radio
  • Instrument panel lower radio finish panel (to accommodate AM/FM radio)
  • Power radio antenna kit (NOS)
  • Upper front suspension splash shields (repro)
  • Battery tray and hold down (repro)
  • Trunk drain hoses (repro)
  • New blower motor relay
  • NOS Front cornering lamp assemblies
  • NOS Thunderbird floor mats
  • NOS License plate frame
  • NOS Cayman Grain (Alligator) Vinyl Roof in White
  • NOS Automatic Headlamp Dimmer system
  • NOS Front and rear floor mats (black)
  • NOS Brake light switch
Progress Update

February 5, 2007

- Original engine has been overhauled and runs beautifully.
- C6 transmission has been rebuilt, only needed seals as all other components were good. Replaced torque converter.
- NOS heavy duty springs installed to restore correct ride height.
- OEM exhaust system installed, everything from exhaust manifolds back has been replaced.
- Front bucket seats reupholstered with NOS OEM material.
- Installed new idler arm and other front suspension components as necessary.

January 26, 2003

- The car is now running very well on its own (started on 3rd crank of engine after sitting since 1986!)
- Car always starts after pumping gas pedal once, even after sitting for several weeks without running
- All electrical and vacuum accessories work, although there are issues with a few of them
- Sequential signals work perfectly
- Car has been driven a limited amount, drives very nicely
- Car has been returned to owner for work to continue (owner is familiar with these cars, and has restored several)
- We will be repairing the power sunroof over the next few weeks
- Work continuing, updated photos online shortly
1969 Ford Thunderbird rear view
YOUR RESTORATION CAN BE ONLINE TOO!
The Vintage & Classic Car Restoration by Automotive Mileposts process is unique in that all steps of the restoration are documented with photographs, including before and after images. Our customers can check the current status of their vehicle by checking its page online, and friends and relatives can see the progress as well. A password-protected page is also available for customers preferring privacy. We are perfectionists, and will make sure your restoration is authentic and of show quality. Use the links below for additional information, or to schedule a restoration.

Additional information:

Initial Contact | The Process | Scheduling

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