Twilght Zone Thunderbird Build Project
The TWILIGHT ZONE THUNDERBIRD,
The TWILIGHT ZONE THUNDERBIRD or TZ ‘Bird for short was discovered in a time warp barn, just as it was when it completed it’s last race. Still covered with the road grime and rubber that comes from endurance racing. The oil from the dozens of European cars it drafted and passed still clings to the front bumper. The low windscreen bears the scratches and pits from Lemans, Sebring and Daytona. Worn seat belts lay curled in the seat where many a winning driver worked his magic against seemingly formidable competition, and still came out on top. It’s a time capsule from a time that never was.
This ’Bird which started life as a mundane two door coupe underwent considerable changes to become competitive. It shed it’s roof and the related glass. The chassis was stiffened to handle the strain of high speed cornering with the single roll bar becoming part of the structure. The factory suspension was replaced with adjustable tubular A-arms up front and a four link rear with coil over shocks all around. The fenders were widened, hood modified to become more slippery and the interior was fabricated from aluminum.
Under the hood many a motor may have resided, but the winningest power plant was the light weight small block with it’s screaming high RPM whine exiting through the open side pipes to the thrill of the many fans of this sleek relic from the days of REAL racing.
Now that we have indulged our imagination to bring this ‘Bird in to the light of day, It’s only fitting to make it come to life for REAL!
INTRODUCING , PROJECT TZ ‘BIRD
Over the course of the next few months we will begin construction of a tribute to the car we have imagined above.
It will be constructed using today’s technology and parts so it can be not just a show car, but actually compete in autocross events and see some track time as well. Expect to see a stack injected aluminum 427 cu. in. small block and a modern 6 speed trans, set back to enhance weight distribution and a 9” rear end with all the best upgrades. Suspension will consist of fully adjustable front a-arms and splined sway bar along with a triangulated 4 link in the rear. Adjustable coil over shocks will be on all 4 corners.
The factory unibody chassis will be strengthened using a tubular structure inside the car to make that suspension work properly. All of this will be covered by a custom riveted aluminum interior. To retain the vintage racing look, the original Thunderbird drivers seat will be reused along with period correct seat belts.
The exterior is where we will really show off that vintage vibe. Hallibrand style wheels, fender flares and that very cool side exhaust. And what could be more mid 60’s race car than the single roll bar, raised hood blister, side louvers and the short windscreen. Combine all of that with period correct graphics and a killer low stance and you truly do have a time capsule come to life.
The REALLY COOL part about this car is that it will be no trailer queen. It will be street legal and have interchangeable windshields so we can drive the wheels off of it on a regular basis, not just at the track or autocross. Sure it will see some shows too, but the whole idea here is to have FUN!
The donor car has been purchased and placed in the shop so that work can begin very soon.
Stay tuned for project updates, photos and details as you follow along as we bring a Twilight Zone Fantasy to life.
Special thanks to Brian Stupski of Problem Child Kustom Studio for the concept for this project. As you follow along you will see more of his great art work that will help us stay on track to the finished product. Check out his web site at www.problemchildcustoms.com
The Twilight Zone Thunderbird is being built at Hot Rod Alley in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
While our primary business is restoring and selling vintage gas pumps, jukeboxes,signs and memorabilia, www.hotrodalleygifts.com we occasionally build street rods and customs.
owner Bob Hancock has a widely varied automotive background including
building and driving race cars in Off Road, Pro Rally and Open Wheel
Road Racing, so this project is especially interesting.
have a fully equipped shop and do everything in house with the exception
of upholstery. Design and Fabrication is a specialty so this project
will be right up our "alley".