Team Police Brutality T-Bird Hits Craigslist, Dubious Value Propositions Ensue

1963 T-bird lemons racer 1963 T-bird lemons racer

The ’63 Ford Thunderbird wasn’t exactly known for its deftness as a sporting car. Boulevardier is the best term we’ve heard for it. Of course, some number of decades in a shed (that then collapsed) can change a car’s character. In the case of this T-Bird, it’s become a track monster with a reputation for consuming its own drivetrain parts.

1963 T-bird lemons racer The car’s currently without an engine or transmission (but does sport a limited slip 9″ rearend), but the engine bay’s previously been occupied by the original 390, a BMW V12 and most recently a turbodiesel straight six. In case you hadn’t picked up on it, the dudes who run Team Police Brutality are mechanically adventurous fellows.
Selling a LeMons car is always tricky. Per LeMons rules, safety gear like a cage, seat, or harness don’t count for your $500 total, but you’ve obviously got to pay for them if they’re already there. They’re asking $950 for the complete car (without the cage, it’s likely to go all taco-shaped), which is about the price of  a cage and seat if you were starting from scratch. This car’s a judges favorite (mostly due to its overwhelming craptasticness), so provided you don’t drop in an all aluminum Ford Motorsports 427, you’re likely to have an easier time in BS inspection than on the track itself.
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16 responses to “Team Police Brutality T-Bird Hits Craigslist, Dubious Value Propositions Ensue”

  1. dwegmull Avatar

    So the real question here is: what should be its next power plant?
    1) MB 5 cylinder diesel?
    2) Complete Toronado power train to make it really wrong wheel drive?
    3) Would some old fashion strait 8 fit?
    4) Would a turbo charged Volvo 4 cylinder manage to move that beast?

    1. dwegmull Avatar

      Next time I use the italic, I will close it. I plomise.

    2. Tanshanomi Avatar

      I love the idea of putting an MB5 cylinder in it. But you'd need lots of 'em…and it's not a diesel, silly.
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    3. P161911 Avatar

      Use the Toranado power train, but put it in the trunk. May figure out a way to do 4 wheel steering for a Dangerous Technology award. Make it a 3.8L carbed turbo Toranado for Index of Effeluency award. You might be able to sweep all the awards but the overall win.

      1. P161911 Avatar

        That should be a 3.8L turbo Riviera, not Toronodo.

      2. OA5599 Avatar

        You mean an Eldorado 8-6-4, right?

        1. P161911 Avatar

          Too easy to deactivate the the cylinder deactivation, besides in race conditions it would operate in the 8 cylinder (the best) mode anyways. A 3.8 turbo would be heavy into the boost most of the time, with no intercoolers.

  2. Adem Avatar

    That car is just begging for a junkyard-turbocharged leaning tower of power

  3. BGW Avatar

    It's just over an hour from me, so naturally I've just spent the last 40 minutes browsing Craigslist to see what cheap, non-obvious engine/tranny choices I could source locally should I suffer serious blunt-force head trauma in the near future and decide to purchase this heap.
    I'm leaning towards the TWO complete E36 drivetrains for $200 total. I can't see anything that could possibly go wrong with that.

    1. lilwillie Avatar

      Nope , not a damn thing. Go for it!

    2. dr zero Avatar
      dr zero

      Would that be one in the front driving the front driving the rear wheels, and the other engine in the back driving the front wheels? That would be incredibly insane, but awesome.

      1. BGW Avatar

        Hmmm…I hadn't considered that. My thought was that I'd have spares for when the head gasket blows while still on the engine lift, but I like this idea too…

  4. name_too_long Avatar

    They've done V8, V12, and I6. This narrows down your engine search options immensely as you can eliminate those configurations from your search. Similarly you can get rid of the V6 an I4 because, well, they're just too damn common. This leaves you with V10, 5 cylinder, Boxer, or rotary power. V10s tend to be either prohibitively expensive, annoyingly reliable, or both. Rotary would certainly make for an interesting drive given their reputation for massive low end torque. I'm thinking the biggest challenge with a boxer would be getting it to fit and then there's that accursed reliability. This leaves five pot mills, the obvious choices would either be a petrol powered Swede or a greasy German, there is a third option though, Volkswagen's V5 VR5. A V block engine with an odd number of cylinders hodge-podged to a foreign transmission, powering wheels it was never meant to know, being run in an endurance race… what could possibly go wrong?

    1. sixtyover Avatar

      Woe there hang on, I'm sure you could source a ford v10 out of an excursion or gasoline f250 for chicken scratch considering how horribley thirsty they are and utterly useless compared to the diesels. Interesting cheap and in the family, not to mention fairly durable.

  5. joshuman Avatar

    What this car needs is a 12.1L Volvo truck engine. Sure, its engine bay has already seen an I6 but that was much, much smaller. The hard part is going to be "finding" one in the back shed. Maybe UDman has access to one cheaper than this

  6. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    Having seen it up close and on the track, I'd say it's worth every penny and not a dollar more.