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57 Thunderbird chassis

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I agree on using the AMT 56 Thunderbird chassis, though it is a tad bigger, (& as mentioned the 57 might be a tad undersized, AMT had a few kits that way in the so called "Golden Age" of the hobby), & will need some trimming to get it to fit. That's in the plans when I tackle my build of the 57, & I have both kits at the ready for the conversion.

I also agree with Chuck on the shortcomings of the engine in the 56 Thunderbird. If you have an AMT 56 or 57 Ford kit handy, the engines in those kits, albeit from older tooling, offer a better alternative to the 57 or 56 Thunderbird engines. Kit bashing the best parts from the 56/57 Thunderbird engines with the 56 or 57 Ford engines will give you an excellent basis for a nicely built engine.

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be aware that the Thunderbirds used rear sump oil pans when you're converting the "full-size" Y-blocks from the '56-'57 kits. also, the distributor on a Y-block exits the top rear of the block at an angle, not straight up.

YES! EVERY Y-block kit has gotten that wrong. The distributor is angled a few degrees to the passenger's side.

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