DIY Network's 'Classic Car
62 T-Bird Sports Roadster
In the summer of 2003 I had
the privilege to participate with the taping of DIY
Network’s third series of their show ‘Classic Car
Restoration’. In the past
they have done other series detailing the restorations of a 1962
Corvette and a 1969 Alfa Romeo.
For their third series, they
made an excellent (IMHO) choice by selecting a 1962 Ford Thunderbird
Sports Roadster as the car they would feature for the show.
In early August 2003 my
father & I traveled 600 miles to Knoxville, TN, towing a trailer
full of used T-Bird parts that would be useful for the production of the
show. We were graciously
hosted by the show’s producer, Melissa Cross and the crew at RIVR
media for a week while they taped three of the eight episodes for the
Upon arriving we were
introduced to Steve Magnante, Keller Wallace, & Kevin Tetz, who each
had principal on-camera duties for the show:
The series’ host is
Steve Magnante, an accomplished writer for Hot Rod magazine and a
featured co-host of Hot Rod magazine’s TV show on Speedvision.
Steve is based in Los Angeles & has extensive experience
with classic & muscle cars of all types.
He is a widely known car enthusiast and truly has gasoline
running through his veins.
Keller Wallace was
selected as the show’s restoration expert.
Keller owns and operates his auto restoration shop in
Knoxville and owns several nice classics.
He had participated in other productions of Classic Car
Restoration and was selected to be the on and off-camera restoration
resource for the car.
Kevin Tetz of
Paintucation.com is a very experienced auto body technician who has
produced a series of auto restoration training tapes for the
his tapes, magazine articles and seminars he has helped hundreds of
restorers learn skills for doing their own body work and paint jobs.
Kevin assisted with prepping the project vehicle for the
start of the series. He also participated in several episodes of the show as
a resource for storage, paint and body work issues.
Of course, the star of the show was the 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports
Roadster Convertible. This
vehicle is an authentic Roadster and is one of the most sought-after
models of this body style, with only 1,427 produced for 1962.
Here are some of the car’s specs:
Body: 76B Color:
M Trim: 56
Date: 16B (2/16/62) Axle:
1 Trans: 4
Interior: Black Vinyl
390 V8 4bbl, Automatic
Power Brakes, Steering, AM Radio
A/C, Power Seat &
pictures that accompany this page show the car in both an unrestored and
restored state. During my
week at the tapings I took a number of pictures of the car and some
candid ‘behind-the-scenes’ shots.
If you look closely at the pictures you'll
see the 62 Corvette from the previous series, and also how the
home/garage is actually a back lot facade. You can view
these pictures here:
Behind the Scenes Pictures
visit, segments from three episodes
Thunderbird History & Restoration Overview
the initial episode Steve introduced himself and the project car, and
explained the history of the Thunderbird that introduced the Thunderbird
marque. He also introduced some basic resources and tools that would
be useful for this particular restoration.
I was asked
to appear as the guest expert for a segment that would help introduce
and analyze the car in question. I
was able to explain how to authenticate & locate the factory numbers
that identify this Thunderbird as a Sports Roadster.
We also discussed where to find the data plate and VIN numbers on
the car, and what unique features were found on the roadster model.
Long Term Storage Issues
& Kevin did some initial shooting for this episode and covered a lot
of great material on how to put a car into storage and prime it after it
has sat for a while. Areas covered included the fuel system,
charging system and protecting the exterior & interior.
Before heading home I participated in one more segment for the third
episode. Steve and I worked
under the car to demonstrate how to remove the leaf springs and replace
the rubber bushings & pads. It was an arduous and educational process to successfully
demonstrate the process while on camera.
You may also notice that it was a very hot, sweaty day to be
taping outside, so a few breaks were required to ‘dehumidify’.
full guide of the series' episodes can be found here:
The series premiers on March 30th, 2004 at 8:30pm, but should be run on
a regular basis on the DIY Network for quite a while.
Their fourth series is in the works and will feature work on a
like to thank Alan Tast of the VTCI
for making himself available for questions during the shooting. Also, the archives and the information from contributors of
Jerry Wotel’s Bulletbird
mailing list was a terrific resource of technical research for
I'd also like to thank Melissa Cross & all of her staff
for giving me the opportunity to participate with this project, and, of
course, my family for their support & help during this 'adventure'.