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DIY Network's 'Classic Car Restoration'
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 series.

   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 do-it-yourselfer.  Through 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:

Data Plate Info
Body: 76B   Color: M   Trim: 56   
Date: 16B (2/16/62)  Axle: 1   Trans: 4
VIN: 2Y89Z145050

Exterior: Corinthian White   
Interior: Black Vinyl

Standard Features:
    390 V8 4bbl, Automatic Transmission, 
    Power Brakes, Steering, AM Radio

Optional Features:
     A/C, Power Seat & Power Windows

The 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


During my visit, segments from
three episodes were taped:

Episode 301:
Thunderbird History & Restoration Overview
         For 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.

Episode 302:
Long Term Storage Issues
         Steve & 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.

Episode 303:
Chassis Work
           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’.  :-)

 A 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 1938 Packard.

Thanks
    I’d 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 the show. 
   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'.

 

 

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