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Fixing original plastic underbody grill on a Denver 1978 Ford Thunderbird

Hi there. This is Saul Reisman again, here at Saul’s Automotive serving Denver. Today we’re going to show you a little bit about some of the oddball parts that you never really get to see. One of the joys for us of working on classic and collector vehicles is seeing how meticulous the owners are in keeping care of their vehicle.

Now, every one of us in Denver Colorado has driven a sedan, parked at 7/11 and backed up and heard that plastic scraping sound of their front bumper dragging over the park stop. We’ve all done it. Don’t lie to me. You’re laughing at the camera right now.

When that happens, the little piece of plastic under the car gets snapped off. It’s typically on a cold, snowy day. It breaks off and nobody ever bothers to do anything about it. Those little pieces are very, very rare on older cars because they weren’t manufactured a lot and they got damaged often, so owners down the road would often be at a junkyard, looking to take those parts to replace them on their own.

One that we’re gonna show you on this 1978 Ford Thunderbird is this original plastic underbody grill. Well, the vehicle was equipped with a large, steel chrome grill as was customary of the times. This component was added later in the production of the vehicle. The vehicle in this form was made from 1971 to 1978 and only in 1978 was this piece of trim added, as the U.S. government had changed regulations about bumper heights to the ground, and knew in production from Ford that this car would be seeing vehicles lower than it on the road. So, they added this little piece of plastic underneath to complement the grill above. While to us this may seem like just a trim or just a cosmetic piece, this little piece of plastic might be the rarest component on this car.

If you have an old car, classic, collector or even something newer that’s just an oddball out of the ordinary and you’ve got a really cool piece of trim or a really cool accessory from the vehicle that you know is special and rare to your vehicle, show it to us. We would love to see it. Feel free to post it up here and we’ll let you know if we can put it in our museum-quality catalog with all the others, as we personally take a lot of pride in these oddball parts.

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About the Author

Picture of Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman

Saul Reisman has been helping the residents of the Centennial State with their automotive needs for over ten years now. He finished his Associate Degree in Physics at the Community College of Denver. Saul is an active member of the Specialty Equipment Market Association and a board member of the Young Executives Network. He undergoes constant educational training through GMC, MOPAR, Ford, Snap-On, Borg-Warner, and Ozark Automotive, with an emphasis on diagnosis, repair, and improvement.

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