Old Cars Q&A: 2020 no. 4

Ben Williams September 7, 2020 5 No Comments


Q. As a multi-decade contributor to Old Cars and as an individual who’s mostly involved with the classic-vintage Thunderbird network for a writer, editor, president, judge and present Technical Director for its Vintage Thunderbird Club International (VTCI), I watched Mr. Helphenstien’s query (Q&A Mar. 26) about the metal clip around the cowls of 1950s T-birds and instantly knew what he had been asking about. This is a bonding clip which enabled the hood to be grounded into your body when closed. Variations of the clip were utilized through the 1960therefore, but in most cases, the clip had a few points on its ending that let it dig in the paint and make contact with bare alloy. A portion of the reason behind the clip was to get static suppression. 

For the document, Ford utilized not just a bonding clip between the hood and cowl, in addition, it employed for a while at the early 1960therefore a metal alloy spring-like washer/clip on front spindles which has been anchored by the big hex nut and toaster washer which kept front wheel bearings and, subsequently, front brake drum/hub assembly set up. Fingers of the device contacted the interior of the hub’s dust cap, allowing the rotation cap to come in contact with the static clip and then move the static electric charge created by the rotating hub/drum meeting into the car’s construction. Most of them were lost while the front wheel bearings were removed and repacked.
— Alan H. Tast, Olathe, Kan. ,

Q.In that the Mar. 26 Q&A, Paul Helphenstine asked concerning the copper-looking metallic strap attached into the cowl and rubbing the hood lip on 1955 into’58 Thunderbirds. My’66 also contains that. It is curved to provide a spring effect using demanding cuts on the borders, in order to rub the under-hood lip. It is my perception it is to produce a floor in the body to hood. I never heard that the reason to floor the hood, however, I’d guess it’s to do with static electricity. I’ve discovered that the T-Birds had a whole lot of strange little matters like this. 

— Charles Poole, Hampstead, Md.

Q. In your March 26th difficulty you had been asked what the alloy (aluminum ) clip onto the cap of the cowl of this T-birds is really for. I think he’s referring to this radio interference suppression clip. I’ve got them on my 2 1970 Mustangs along with also my’72 Ranchero. I drove a buddy mad at a series when he had been waiting to be judged. I told him there was something wrong with his pristine Boss 302. He could not think anything was wrong until I showed him that his suppression clip was set up backward. It really scratches the bottom of the hood and also remains connected once the hood is closed. Actually, I never attempted the radio . 

— Jim Bowers, Allentown, N.J.


A.Thanks, Alan, Charles and Jim. Jim Llewellyn also emailed from Charlotte, Tenn. I was convinced the T-bird community could understand. 

As for its “static electricity,” I believe the two Jims are about radio interference, because when automobile radios were AM-only, it turned into a major thing. Spark impulses in the distributor and spark plug wires caused loud popping noises in the radio. If I am not confused, early Corvettes had metal shields on the distributor and plug in wires, as the washing machine supplied no attenuation for spark disturbance. When installing an aftermarket radio, there were human resistors to put on the trigger sticks to smooth out the voltage rhythms and lessen the disturbance. However, from the 1950therefore I believe resistance spark plug wires were trivial, doing the identical function as individual resistors and largely eliminating the problem. It became less significant with FM car radios, for technical reasons I will explain more completely if anyone’s curious.

Q.[Regarding Ron Caputo’s hunt for the ID plate on his 1949 Ford (Q&A Mar. 26)], Ford hid the ID plate on the’49 automobiles ) It’s about the firewall at the cubbyhole under the passenger-side fender, beside the fresh-air port. 

— Daniel Clark, via email

A.Thanks for this. As I recall, on 1950 and’51 Fords they are easier to locate.

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