December 2021


Awareness of Today's Auto Service
As a member of HVTC for many years, I have recently heard price gouging and poor workmanship performed on a few of our members beloved cars.  I grew up in the town of Avilla, IN from the early 60's to early 80's .  At that time there were four gas stations, where one could obtain maintenance such as oil changes and lubrication to a full over haul on any car.  I grew up during the muscle car era where my gearhead neighbor had a 55 Chevy with a tilt front end, a 62 and 70 LT1 Corvette and many others.  There were GM, Mopars, Fords, and other muscle cars roaming the streets in the late 60's to early 70's.  My dad always drove Chevrolets and Oldsmobiles, back then you use to get a full tune up, lube, and oil change for less than $40.00.  The tune-up would last one year or 12,000 miles.  Forty dollars in the 60's and 70's adjusted for inflation does not equate to the exorbitant and ridiculous charges dealerships and some crooked independent shops charge.  Granted, cars are more complicated and technologically advanced.  Does this translate into hundreds to thousands of dollars in auto service and repair.  A long time ago, car companies made shade tree mechanics extinct.  They want you to come to their dealerships.  Even independent shops are facing the threat of data not being available in the future.  No independent shop can work on a Telsa, they will not release the data.  Therefore, you must use their service department and resources, and their high cost.  One way to avoid these headaches altogether is to buy automobiles that Consumer Reports recommend.  I also watch Scotty Kilmer and the Car Wizard on the You tube channel. They are not paid sponsors, but are mechanics who tell the truth about dealerships and what cars to buy and not to buy.  I once won a free alignment at a well known business.  I took my vehicle in and they wanted to replace some worn parts at a high figure.  I took my vehicle to my shop and fixed the issues and then took it back for an alignment.  I watched him align it asked if he checked the castor and camber, since I replaced the ball joints.  He said he did, and I went up front to get my receipt.  I asked the cashier about castor and camber and she said that they only adjust it if necessary.  I have been to this shop before with the same issue.  I took my vehicle to my mechanic, and he said the castor and camber were off.  That was the last time that I set foot inside that shop.  Club member, Bud Gibson, experienced poor machine work on a Ford 302 in a Torino. It overheated and he had to pull the engine, he found scuffed main bearings with less than one hundred miles.  I recommended a small shop in Michigan to rebuild his engine.  He also had his transmission rebuilt at another small shop.  He had success with these shops. When one needs work on our vintage cars, please ask other club members for their recommendations.  Retro-bird owners, I feel for you.  Ford does not support this car with the parts inventory or will not work on these cards, a sad situation.  Ask our club members about this dilemma.  Next topic the 72- 76 big thunderbirds.   
                                                                                                                                        Respectfully submitted,
                                                                                                                                        Larry Sneary
                                                                                                                                        Tech Advisor


Car News

First Generation 1955-1957

The Ford Thunderbird was introduced in February 1953 as a response to Chevrolet's new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before.

Second Generation 1958-1960

Although the 1955–57 Thunderbird was a success, Ford executives—particularly Robert McNamara—were concerned that the car's position as a two-seater limited its sales potential. As a result, the car was redesigned as a four-seater for 1958.

Third Generation 1961-1963

The Thunderbird was redesigned for 1961 with styling that gave the car a unique bullet-like body side appearance.

Fourth Generation 1964-1966

For 1964 the Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off appearance, which was mostly evident when viewing the car from the side or rear.

Fifth Generation 1967-1971

1In 1967, a larger Thunderbird with luxury appointments more in line with a Lincoln was built. 

Sixth Generation 1972-1976

The sixth generation of the Thunderbird debuted in the fall of 1971 as a 1972 model.  It was the largest Thunderbird ever produced.

Seventh Generation 1977-1979

For the 1977 model year, the Thunderbird was shifted to the smaller chassis, but it still looked large.

Eighth Generation 1980-1982

Reflecting a further industry-wide adoption of smaller vehicle designs in the interest of improved fuel efficiency and emissions compliance, the Thunderbird was redesigned for 1980.

Ninth Generation 1983-1988

In response to the lackluster reception of the eighth-generation 1980–1982 Thunderbird, Ford executed a significant redesign for 1983.

Keep track of our most recent activity in fashion industry.

Tenth Generation 1989-1997

On December 26, 1988, a completely redesigned Thunderbird was introduced as a 1989 model along with the similar Mercury Cougar.

Eleventh Generation 2002-2005

After a five year hiatus, Ford introduced the 2002 Thunderbird. Returning to the original formula for the Thunderbird, the latest version had a two-passenger convertible/removable hardtop configuration like the first-generation Thunderbird and styling strongly recalling the original.

Car Care Tips

Things to know to care for your car.

Little Bit of This and That

Odds & Ends

April 2021

Searching for Classic Car Mechanics


Many members have approached me asking who works and maintains my classic cars. Almost every case, I maintain and repair my own cars. My grandfather, who was a mechanic, mentored me as a teenager on setting points, timing, and spark plug gaps. Brakes, water pumps, and other facets of auto repair and maintaince were learned from the school of hard knocks. Enough of my background.


Members of our club should look to fellow members to ask questions and advice. I have answered many questions concerning problems and maintenance on our classic cars. On occasion, I have worked on members cars on a limited basis because of time constraints.


When looking for a mechanic to work on your classic car, one must remember nearly all mechanics were not born when your car was manufactured. Many don’t know of the primitive systems of our cars. Many shops are not geared to working on older cars, and don’t want their lifts and shop space occupied while waiting on parts, which can be a hassle and time consuming for classic T-birds and other makes of cars. In having my engine rebuilt in my 58 T-bird, and my transmission rebuilt in my 64 T-bird, I experienced shoddy workmanship and many items I had to adjust and fix when my cars were returned. I now have a shop with a lift and have removed my own engines and transmissions and taken them to trusted shops for rebuilding.


I have spoken to members who have experienced arrogance and long wait times to have their cars worked on. In the future, we will have to rely on word of mouth to find mechanics to work on our vintage cars. I know of an old time mechanic that is good at rebuilding Old Holley tea pot carburetors and all ford carburetors. He lives north of Kendallville, IN. For engine, transmission, and rear end rebuilding, I remove these items and have them rebuilt by reputable small shops. Half of all costs of rebuilding these items is removal and replacement.


Soon we will be driving our T-birds. Before waking our cars up, check all fluids, tires, exhaust systems, and all belts and hoses. These are chores that everyone can do. Happy Motoring!


Respectively Submitted,

Larry L. Sneary

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