Clipped Wings: 1966 Ford Thunderbird Shorty

We’ve seen quite a few shorty vehicles fly through here the last few years but this 1966 Ford Thunderbird shorty is.. different. This little bundle of fun is listed on eBay with bids of just over $500 so far but the reserve isn’t met. It’s located in Walton, Oregon. Thanks to Nick T for this find!

This is one unique custom. The 1966 Thunderbird was the last year of the fourth-generation cars and as you’ll see in the photos, this seller is a big fan as there are several T-Birds scattered around the yard. In case you’re wondering, this is what the car looked like before it’s reduction surgery.

The seller says that this “is what could have been if T-bird still competed with Corvette in 1966. It now only has two seats.” They sort of have a point, although the Corvette was never officially a four-seater (insert several angry comments about factory four-seat Corvettes here). The previous generation Thunderbird had a removable tonneau cover that turned a four-seat car into what looked like a two-seater, and this generation of Thunderbirds had that, too, at least initially. And, of course there were the 1955-1957 true two-seat T-Birds.

The seller has quite a detailed description as to what has been done on (to?) this car and what needs to be done before it’s ready for the show circuit (I added that last part). The interior, as you expected, is a work in progress.

The seller says that the “390 engine runs without any smoke” and that the “C6 automatic shifts into forward and reverse.” But, it needs brakes, work on the fuel system, side windows, and the list goes on and on. What a cool project, though. Have any of you made a shorty out of a regular-sized car or truck? If so, what was it and do you have a photo to share?

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    Send that ugly bast ardised Thunderbird to the crusher and lock up the creator ☹️😡

    To the owner….. you created your mess now drive and own it!

    • Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

      Your looking at the car in the rough if this were finished it would be the car Ford should have made. The portions are good it looks like it’s got good bones I think that this would be a good project to take over. The right customizer would be able to clean this up and make a cool car. I see similar lines to the 64 mustang coupe. I don’t get why so many guys jump all over these customs I would hazard to guess that most of these naysayers lack the skills to get a car even to this point. Now granted there have been many attempts seen on here where proportions were wrong, but this isn’t one of them. At least this guy was out in the garage making the attempt. Finally if you look closely all the cuts were well planned out and exicuted. Do You guys not have a minds eye ( a vision of an end result ) lighten up.

      Like 4
      • DrinkinGasoline

        FoMoCo had the foresight not to make it, with good reason, it’s homely.

      • Mark

        I have a minds eye….the vision is of a normal Bird sitting in a traffic jam behind a semi….with the end result being the aftermath of it getting rear-ended and shoved up under the trailer.

      • Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

        The original goal of the T bird was to compete against the Corvette this builder was trying to create what could have been, not the over weight boat that Ford turned it into, also available in four door boat. I feel that most cars from the past could use some changes isn’t that what customizing is all about? As for road worthiness it’s still wider and longer than vehicles like the cj, yj, tj jeeps as well as no worse than the 64,65,66,67 mustang which were designed by so called professional engineers. So what’s the big hate on for someone else’s attempt. Look at the cuts there made in locations to minimize warpage when rewelded and there welds look pretty good. As for the guy who commented done by a drunken guy with a torch, first doing this much cutting on a car with a torch would likely have set it on fire and secondly would have distorted the crap out of all these panels. Yes this car needs more work the roof line could use some tweaking and a working trunk lid would be nice but this car isn’t finished and it not to late to make those changes.JMO.

      • grant

        I am quite certain I have the skills to screw up a car at least this badly, if not worse.

      • tphillips

        I don’t feel so alone now because when I look at it, I see a car that was actually very well executed.

        I may have gone for a different roof line but there really is nothing wrong with the work that was done here. I bet if put back in the right hands of a team with the next level of skills, …. this could be a really wonderful vehicle. I see a car that is ready for the next step and is not that far from being a show piece.

        Like 1
    • Brakeservo

      I think it’s pretty and interesting. Too bad there aren’t more out there!

  2. dave

    Holey Kow.

  3. darrun

    I rarely like cars that have been shortened, but this one…I like. I would probably make it topless.Certainly would stand out once done. It’s one of those love it hate it type cars. Purist will certainly hate it.

  4. OA5599

    Looks like the work of a drunk uncle with power tools.

  5. SAM61

    When you have a lemon make lemonade.

    I like funky and can see the “end game”.

    Step 1: start drinking
    Step 2: find an extra $30 large

    Then…
    Take 3″ out of the back of the roof to fix the profile. Lower rear. Add the fender skirts. Create a functioning trunk. Etc

    Think Buick Reatta hardtp or vert.

  6. Dan in Texas

    This is pretty cool, and I would be very pleased if I had the skills to pull this off.

    Like 1
  7. jdjonesdr

    Drop the rear a little bit and make it a removable hardtop and I’ll buy it

    BTW… take a look at the sellers feedback. Now we know what he did with the leftovers.. lol

  8. grant

    Meth: Not even once.

  9. Metoo

    I could understand, some times, making a four door into a shorty, but this is proof positive one should never do it to a two door. Saying it’s butt ugly is a understatement.

  10. Ken

    Fun idea.

    Poorly executed.

  11. David Zornig

    That one instance when Lost Title might be better than Salvage Title.
    Because there would be some hope that it could get a replacement and become registered.
    For that amount of effort I’d have gone the convertible route too.
    But it likely needed all the extra stability it could get…

  12. Fred w.

    If you think it looks bad, try driving it….

  13. Bill

    I had a 66 tbird and hated it. Thought the rear end was the ugliest thing ever. I like one but i dont like the roof. Make it a convertible and it would look good. Kinda like the Chrysler crossfire

  14. Patrick S newport pagnell Staff

    Finish it off with a blown 427 SOHC,wheelie bars and chute.

    Like 1
  15. Jose Delgadillo

    Looks like somebody got a welder last Christmas! I like it. Especially how he cut down the very wide C pillars of the roof The panels seem to line up pretty well and I think the proportions are pretty good. The big question is the structural integrity. It”s a unibody car so I hope that there was some type of framework to bridge the two pieces. The roof can help a lot. The challenge would be to actually “finish” this thing. Probably the best thing to do, is just do some interior and body finishing. Then just tow it to car shows and display it as a “design exercise”. GMs famous Motorama cars were generally non drivers also. Even then it probably wouldn’t see that many less miles than some guys Trailer Queens!

  16. Rosko

    I like it. More interesting than a Miata or Fiero in my book

  17. RH FACTOR

    Need to alter that B pillar drastically to a swept back design to blend in better. I applaud the creativeness
    s of the seller!

    • hank rice

      …if the top of the side window line were changed, it would change the entire appearance, then lower the roof in the back ever so slightly…a nice start that ran out of detail…I like the idea…there are plenty of old birds around so who really cares if somebody wants to be creative with one…eh?…

  18. Mark Hoffman

    This is the result of someone with a cutting torch and welder, a nice car and getting all pilled up.

  19. Lawyer George

    And sometimes I think I wasted my life! The roof is totally at odds with the rest of the car–which seems almost silly to say, since the car is at odds with everything. The top should lose the forward rake. Were it flat/horizontal it soul look “better.”

    I see a lot of cars on here that I like but they are always too far distant to go look. This rig is in Walton a small berg logging town on the road to the beach -about 18 miles from my house. I could go look at it if someone wants me to. I figure if it makes me green at the gills I can always turn right when I get back to the hwy and proceed the other 42 miles to Florence on the shore of the Pacific and go soak my head in the ocean to erase the memory.

    Like 1
  20. Frank

    I’m generally in favor of people making bad car project decisions and going for it against the odds. I can’t do it in this case.

  21. Whippeteer

    “- Needs welding, grinding, body and paint” Ya think? No rear suspension or brakes…

  22. Howie Berkowitz

    Look, he turned a nice American car into one of the worse British cars ever made a TR7!!! A wedge by any other name….

    Like 1
    • GearHead Engineering

      TR7 was my first thought when I saw the opening photo!

      Like 1
  23. healeydays

    If this was done and was at a car show, I would stop and admire it. I will guarantee that at one time, Ford actually built a prototype one of these that never saw the light of day as an exercise to see if it as viable. Thankfully the Mustang came out instead…

    • Mark

      Basic shape was on the car show circuit…..Bill Cushenberry created the Car Craft Dream Car in 63′ out of a Corvair and Pontiac…..did have a Ford engine though. Was the basis for the Cheetah/Python, part of the original 16 Hot Wheels.

      Like 1
  24. Todd Fitch Todd Fitch Staff

    Crazy. Nice one, Scotty. I brought a rusty ’66 T-bird back from the dead for my Dad some years ago. Same interior color as this one. Never thought about chopping it up, but there are more of these around than people who want them so I’m not against the metalwork. My buddy John and I fabbed brake and fuel lines, replaced the Master Cylinder and carb, flushed the gas tank, tune-up parts, etc. and it came to life with a roar. The first thing I did after making sure no fluids were hemorrhaging was roast the snow tires in my driveway. This one would be pretty snappy after the weight reduction. I say let ‘er rip.

    Like 1
  25. CanuckCarGuy

    I was looking for the photo with a dozen clowns falling out of the car.

  26. Beatnik Bedouin

    There was a reason why Ford dropped the two-seat T-Bird in 1958 – the fact is that the first of the Squarebirds sold more in one year than all three years of two-seater production, combined.

    I’m unaware that Ford ever but clays of this generation T-Bird as a two-seater, but have seen images of the contemporary Mustang (dated June ’64), as a possible model for the range.

    I’ve attached a photo of a clay for the proposed ’58 two-seater ‘Bird, which was a facelift of the ’57. My understanding is that Ford Division’s chief, felt that it would take away the impact of the new four-seat model. IMHO, I think he made the right call, as the Squarebird was one of the only marques that increased sales (not hard) during a recession.

  27. DrinkinGasoline

    I’ll never understand the reasoning behind an abortion such as this unless the original was a cut up mess to begin with.

    • Whippeteer

      On the ad he has a picture of the starting point. It looks like it was a nice, straight, rust free car. Still missing the bumper and grill.

  28. glen

    Why didn’t he just buy a Mustang?

  29. Mike B

    Short sighted

  30. JW

    Put a monster torque motor in it and run it at the Wheel Standing Nationals at Byron Raceway, I’m sure you could give Brian in his Orange Gremlin a run for the top prize.

    Like 1
  31. Adam Clarke Adam T45 Staff

    I can pretty much guarantee that if you finished this off (as in completed the build, not finished it by dropping it in a crusher) it would be potentially one of the scariest cars that you could drive on a piece of winding road. With that great lump of cast iron between the front wheels and a really short wheel-base, chances are at some stage you’d be seeing where you came from in a real hurry.

    On the other hand, maybe this would be an amazing basis for a car for someone who was into drifting. It would certainly be different to everything else out there!

  32. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    You state in the write up that the bids are over $500. Tight now, the high bid is $435.

    So, this is the first EBay auction I’ve ever seen where the high bid has actually gone down.

    Well deserved, IMO.

  33. James

    Way too much time as well as tools on ones hands..

  34. Bill McCoskey

    I have a theory as to the reason he stopped working on it when he did: The auction says it needs door glass. With the windshield raked back more than when stock, and without the vent window assemblies, the door glass needs to be made from scratch. Not an easy or cheap challenge when it’s tempered glass and has a 3-D curved surface. To create a curved tempered glass panel requires a very expensive polished steel surface for the flat glass to rest upon, then they heat it up until the glass begins to melt, and it takes on the curvature of the steel panel. Very difficult process when it’s only for a couple of pieces, plenty of attempts before you get one that is correct. And don’t forget, it takes a left AND right steel mold to produce this pair of window glass panes.

    The last time I looked at having a steel stamping press mold done, in that size, [with perfection being required due to it being glass], the cost was about $8,000.

    Plexiglass [lucite or Lexan] could be tried, however it too has to be heated and curved to match the new pillar and roof framework. Plus the first time someone slammed the door, the plexiglass will probably fracture.

    New owner will probably end up driving it without windows, or perhaps have a set of side curtains created!

    As for the roof panel, smooth out the welds & waves, then install a padded vinyl top. This car was a Landau model, and came standard with a padded vinyl top.

  35. Moparmann Member

    Auction ended, $530, reserve not met…………….

  36. Madmatt

    I like it,but would have preferred to see a basket case car chopped up, the one they used looked pretty good..🤔 to me..? My favorite thing😍 on these TBirds….is now missing…the wrap around rear seat…!I can see it done,and it could be very cool though…😎

  37. Madmatt

    I like it,but would have preferred to see a basket case car chopped up, the one they used looked pretty good..🤔 to me..? My favorite thing😍 on these TBirds….is now missing…the wrap around rear seat…!I can see it done,and it could be very cool though…😎.,

  38. Ray May

    Sorry, the idea might have been good but I seem to see another sad attempt at a shorty car with some major design concerns like the top angle and the ability for functional door glass. Some of these T-Birds do have nice lines that perhaps could have made this shorty project into a Ranchero type conversion instead.

  39. Wayne

    Ray May,
    I like your ‘Bird picture. I am a “different” p-u aficionado. I have to be as I am a Ford Durango owner.

  40. carsofchaos

    I still don’t get the “shorty” thing, I guess I never will.
    It looks like in the background of one photo there is a ’58 Packard? Hope he’s not allowed to let loose on that one, too.

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