What's On Your Lift? - October/November - 2021

1957 Ford E-Bird

One of the coolest things about working in a transmission shop is that you’ll get to see, and hopefully, work on some pretty iconic rides from time to time. Such was the case recently for Donny Caccamise and his crew at DMC Transmissions in Ventura, California.

Donny called our GEARS offices to share his exciting news of working on a 1957 E-Bird in mint condition!

WHAT’S AN E-BIRD?

Glad you asked! 1957 was the last year Ford produced the two-seat Thunderbird. 1958 through 1960 saw a completely redesigned model. It was what enthusiasts refer to as the “box-bird” era. Among other radical changes, Ford’s T-Bird became a four-seater. Also unique in 1957 was the limited production of Dual-Quad Holly carbs on top of the 312 CID, 5.1 liter, V-8. If the car had that optional package (not many did), the VIN number began with the letter E – hence the E-Bird moniker.

Not only was the car that showed up at Donny’s shop a rare E-Bird, but it was also in mint condition! As one would imagine, the car’s owner, Cheryl Morton, has a room filled with trophies and awards garnered over the last 20 years – including the prestigious Gold Medal Award at the Classic Thunderbird International Show in Dearborn, Michigan.

Donny is no stranger to the classic automotive genre either, and he knows a rare find when he sees it. For years, Donny hosted Horsepower for an Hour, an internationally syndicated radio show dedicated to all-things horsepower with an emphasis on the classics. According to Donny, “I’m continually blown away by this car. I’ve never run across this engine iteration with all the research I’ve done over the years, working with Fabulous Fords Forever (located in Orange County, California). In fact, of all the shows that my co-host, Spence, and I did over the years, I never saw an E-Bird at any event – including the largest annual Ford gathering in the country. Weird!”

For the Old-Dogs, you’ll remember the cast-iron Cruise-O-Matics that came in the 1957 T-Birds and the challenge of the R&R. Most of the time, it required removing the engine and transmission together due to the confining space and the infamous “X” frame of the body. DMC tech, Juan Mendoza, accepted the challenge of keeping the 312 V8 with its dual-quads in place and removing the transmission in sections. And that’s what he did! Once rebuilt, Juan installed the unit the same way it came out. Well done, Juan! Some of you know, that’s not an easy feat.

Thanks to Donny and the DMC crew for sharing their E-Bird experience and pictures for our readers to enjoy. It’s always fun to see what’s weird and unique on the lifts from our readers.

What about you? Do you have something interesting or unique on your lift this week? Take a few photos and send them to GEARS to share with the industry! Include What’s on Your Lift in the subject line and email them to rbland@atra.com.