DM 57 THUNDERBIRD WHITE WALL FIX by JOHN LUTHI:
I was finally able to score a discontinued DM '57 T-Bird
on eBay, at a price only slighter above the LE retail of $140.00. It was without box and papers, but included the soft top
and fender skirts, and arrived in new condition. My die-cast investing strategy is beginning to feel like my stock market
exploits before I lost most of my money.
I dallied mainly because of the color, and those 4"
gangsta whitewalls put me off a bit also. Ditto for the seemingly undersized wheels. But in person, the Dusty Rose finish
isn't so bad. It's not Mary Kay Pink, but more of a smokey shade with a tinge of violet. Not a color I would have hand selected,
but nothing not to like.
The whitewalls didn't look as bad in person either,
but they still bugged me enough to want to change them to a 1957-correct 2-1/4" width. They are modeled as hard plastic inserts,
and detach from the soft tires with just a little prying (I used a micro chisel tip screw driver), with no need to first remove
the tires or anything else, save for the rear skirts. I decided to work with these inserts, masking off the correct whitewall
width, then painting out the outer portion in matt black. But how to get a sharp, concentric definition - without which you
won't be happy, trust me.
The cutter is then set for a .78" dia. circle, and
the WW insert scored about .05" deep (ten or so circles with the cutter). The score line represents the outside diameter of
the new 2-1/4" WW and will help greatly in giving the sharp definition we are after.
The mask is burnished down with the edge of a round
toothpick, the portion of the insert to be painted is carefully wiped with mild solvent, then matt black Tamiya model aerosol
is applied. Once the paint is set, before removing the mask, another couple of passes with the cutter are made, again to assure
sharpness. Repeat four times (the spare needs the same treatment).