After logging some miles on our 1955 Thunderbird "CoyoTBird", we felt the car was running pretty well, but it suffered from a couple of things that we wanted to fix. First off, the car would backfire on deceleration, which we did not like but also signaled a problem. Secondly, the variable cam timing on the Ford 5.0 Coyote engine felt like it needed calibration. The car accelerated smoothly up to 4000 RPM, then the cam timing changed and it took off like a rocket. We wanted to see if that timing could be adjusted to bring on stronger acceleration at a lower RPM and not feel like such an on-off switch. We enlisted the help of the High Performance Racing program instructor Jason Gann at Ranken Technical College , as they have a chassis dyno and access to the latest SCT Performance tuning software to smooth out our 'Bird.


Polishing parts can be very rewarding if you know how to do it and have the right gear. We picked up an Eastwood buffing motor, stand, and polishing kit to be able to do this kind of work in-house. We learned that there are a variety of different kinds of buffing and polishing wheels, and the various compounds can only be used with one wheel. Here's some tricks to help your polishing projects go smoothly.


We're beginning the bodywork on our 1971 Olds project, and we're trying to save all the original steel if possible. This time, we're patching the lower fenders, as these cars - all GM "A" bodies in general - seem to have rusty holes in their fender bottoms. The design allowed them to hold leaves, pine needles, and dirt at the bottom of the fenders, and this debris eventualy rusted them from the inside out. We obtained some patches from YearOne, and today we're cutting out the old and installing the new. We fabricated new supports to replace the rusty backside braces to keep the rust away for good.


Bare steel bodies are cool to look at, but it's time to start the bodywork phase on the S71 Olds. This time, we sprayed the underside of the car with PPG DCX 1791 etch primer and then DP90 epoxy primer. Our painter Randy uses SATA spray guns and 3M safety masks and gloves with this stuff. DP90 is black and tough, so it will form the base on the bottom of the car body. The next step is to brew up some DP60 - a blue version of the same stuff - to shoot the inside and outside of the body. Then the filler work begins!



Media blasting removes all the old paint and rust, and also most of the original seam sealer. After we picked out the remaining old caulk, Randy masked the bottom of the S71 and brushed in a 3M body seam sealer to reseal the panels.