Pick of the Day: 1967 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird embodies the look of mid-century Jet Age design
The Ford Thunderbird embodies the look of mid-century Jet Age design

The Ford Thunderbird has gone through many iterations during its design and market focus. The original two-seater ’55-’57 cars were very much personal-luxury GTs, and the second and third generations were more family-car oriented, flashy yet able to carry four people.

While I am recently converted fan of the first-generation T’birds, I have never been fond of the so-called square birds or the bullet birds that came after. Strangely, the Thunderbirds that I like the best are the Jet Age-inspired fifth generation Thunderbirds that came after. Continue reading

Countdown to Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2016: 1955 Ford Thunderbird custom convertible

1955 Ford Thunderbird custom convertible | Barrett-Jackson photos

Editor’s note: This is the 1st in a 30-day series featuring cars from the Tammy Allen Collection to be sold October 13-15 at Barrett-Jacksons 2016 Las Vegas Auction. 

After a visit to Europe in the early 1950s, Henry Ford II decided he wanted to build a two-seat, convertible sports car for the American public. At the time, he had begun to hear rumors that Chevrolet had the same idea and had already begun working on a concept that was made of a new lightweight material.

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Pick of the Day: 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster

The Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster was turned into a two seater via a fiberglass tonneau.
The Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster was turned into a two seater via a fiberglass tonneau.

After Ford reinvented the Thunderbird as a four-seat luxury car for 1958, some still pined for the trim, exclusive, two-seat sports car that Thunderbird was when introduced in 1955. Four years later and voilà! The Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster was created by installing a massive, sculpted tonneau made of fiberglass to cover the rear seats and effectively turn the Thunderbird back into a two seater. Kind of, anyway.

The Pick of the Day, a 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster, was to some enthusiasts a gorgeously streamlined expression of graceful extravagance. To others, the Roadster looked just plain whacky. Continue reading

Mecum reports righteous sale in Southern California

57 tbird

Once again, a modern Ford GT sports coupe led the bidding at a Mecum auction, this time a red-and-white 2005 example that hammered for $270,000 at the Anaheim, California, sale. Mecum achieved total sales from its fourth annual Southern California auction of $13,853,225 as 416 cars went to new owners.

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’59 Cadillac, ’62 Tbird to cross block at 29th McCormick sale

1959 pink Cadillac is a Series 62 convertible

Crossing the block at the 29th McCormick Palm Springs Collector Car Auction, scheduled for November 20-22, are a pink 1959 Cadillac, a 1962 Ford Thunderbird and nearly 600 other cars ranging from Ferraris to hot rods, from muscle cars to antiques.

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E-Code Thunderbird among online auction cars

1957 E-Code Ford Thunderbird available on online auction site | Invaluable photos
1957 E-Code Ford Thunderbird available on online auction site | Invaluable photos

Five cars, including a 1957 E-Code Ford Thunderbird and a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS convertible, are part of an Antiques, Cars, Tiffany’s auction being conducted Sunday by Constantine & Pletcher through Invaluable.

Constantine & Pletcher is a Pittsburgh-based auction house specializing in estate sales. Formerly known as Artfact, Invaluable, founded in Boston in 1989, claims to be “the world’s largest online auction marketplace for fine and decorative arts, antiques, collectibles and estate sales.” Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1955 Ford Thunderbird

The 1955 Thunderbird shows ultra-low mileage on its odometer, the seller says
The 1955 Thunderbird shows ultra-low mileage on its odometer, the seller says

This is the 60th anniversary year for the fabulous 1955 Ford Thunderbird, built to compete against Chevrolet Corvette and the onslaught of popular sports cars coming from England and Italy.

This was when Ford was just coming out from behind its boxy, conservative post-war look with an array of stylishly modern automobiles. But none showed more sparkly pizzazz than the daring new two-seater Thunderbird. Continue reading

Pick of the Week: 1960 Ford Thunderbird custom coupe

The custom Thunderbird takes its styling cues from a well-known 1960 custom car
The custom Thunderbird takes its styling cues from a well-known 1960 custom car

“If there was one car crying out for a custom makeover, it’s the Ford Thunderbird of 1958-1961.”

So begins the seller’s lengthy and colorful description of the clean, customized 1960 Ford Thunderbird that serves as our Pick of the Week. Located in Fort Worth, Texas, this ‘Bird is basically stock, but with paint and trim embellishments that draw from a famous custom car built in period.

The workmanship looks clean and impressive
The workmanship looks clean and impressive

With an asking price of $24,995, the coupe seems like a fair deal for a cool classic car with plenty of eyeball that had to cost so much more to create.

The description of the Thunderbird is extensive, so I’ll just let the seller tell the tale with excerpts from the ClassicCars.com advertisement:

“With its many complex shapes and curves, this 1960 Thunderbird was the perfect canvas for a makeover designed to emulate the Larry Watson custom T-Bird that was Hot Rod Magazine’s Car of the Year in 1960. For fans of the old-school customs, this one definitely delivers…”

“Obviously there was a plan here, and with the idea that they were going to create this awesome tribute, there was just no way they could do anything but make it as perfect as possible. As a result, the bodywork has crisp, sharp reflections, the paint is miles deep, and the sharp masking work for the silver accents is so crisp that it almost looks like a separate piece of trim…”

The car is strong and roadworthy, the seller says
The car is strong and roadworthy, the seller says

“The two-tone blue interior is fairly stock and beautifully executed, with stylish bucket seats and button-tufted upholstery that’s the epitome of ’60s cool…”

“Ford’s sturdy and torquey 352-cubic inch V8 makes this big Bird an effortless cruiser and doesn’t need extensive modifications to be entertaining to drive. Tilt the hood forward and you’ll find a rather neatly detailed engine bay with an original air cleaner (and) chrome valve covers…”

“The soft, smooth ride is something we’ll never experience again and the custom dual-exhaust system has a wicked cackle that’s totally in tune with the custom vibe, although the lakes pipes are purely for show…”

“A very cool custom that delivers on the old-school look that’s suddenly very much back in fashion. And underneath, you get a very clean, roadworthy Thunderbird as a bonus…”

My Classic Car: Rod’s 1965 Ford Thunderbird

Photo taken the day Ernie handed the keys to Rod | Rod Dahlgren archives
Photo taken the day Ernie handed the keys to Rod | Rod Dahlgren archives

The Story of this 1965 Thunderbird, as told by the original owner, Ernie Farrow:

After operating a 20-acre fruit ranch on Partrick Road in Napa, California, for many years, where we also raised and sold great dane show dogs, we decided to sell the ranch and move into town. We had a new home built on a hilltop in the Browns Valley area. As it neared completion, we realized that we would be unable to fence the sloping hillside lot to contain our four great dane show dogs.

After much discussion with my wife, she agreed to give up the four dogs in exchange for a new Lincoln Continental. We visited the local Lincoln – Thunderbird dealership and she fell in love with this “Dusty Rose” machine with black leather interior. It fit her perfectly and became her car for one dollar a pound (we paid $4,000 for this 4,000-pound T-Bird)

It has always been garaged, never smoked in! Few passengers have ever sat in the back seat. It has been driven an average of 800 miles per year for the past 28 years.

My wife had no idea the Thunderbird was made by Ford. Over the first few months of ownership, we received small gifts in the mail from Ford. One day, my wife noticed at the bottom of one of the letter, “Product of Ford Motor Company” and she asked why that was on the letter. I told her who made the car and she was shocked. I told her Ford also made the Lincolns we had owned before buying her Thunderbird. One of the gifts was a 1/24th scale model of the Thunderbird with an A/M radio inside. I carefully put all these items away for the future.

We traveled extensively in the ‘70 and ’80s in our motorhome and the T-Bird was at home in the garage and up on jack stands.

In April of 2007, I decided the Thunderbird needed to be protected and not used as a regular daily car. I placed the car in the care of Rod Dahlgren, who I trust will care for it for years to come.

— Rod Dahlgren, Napa CA

My Classic Car: Keith’s 1968 Ford Thunderbird

The next owner seemed quite happy with changes made to this '68 Thunderbird | Keith Wahl photos
The next owner seemed quite happy with changes made to this ’68 Thunderbird | Keith Wahl photos

We call her “Thelma, the Bad Bird.”

Initially a docile 42,000-mile, one-owner car purchased in 1998, this original 1968 Magnolia Yellow Ford Thunderbird 429 landau coupe underwent a transformation to become a “ Bad Bird.” I put on a little more than 18,000 miles in 16 years that I owned the car.

Modifications included Pertronix ignition, custom exhaust , black-out powder-coated grille, two-tone paint and pinstriping. A Thunderbird theme — including a tribute to our troops with the American Eagle on the back window — and a real Eskimo thunderbird on the trunk with functioning Unity brand spotlights, make it unique.

That's an American eagle in the rear window
That’s an American eagle in the rear window

All of these “touches” contribute to an individual but stylized look. With American Racing wheels and dual exhausts behind the rear wheels, the appearance was anything but docile.

When I originally posted the car for sale and made reference to the car on the cover of Hemmings Great American Cars of the ‘60s 2001 Calendar, I received nothing but “ridicule” for desecrating the classic look (some thought the original landau bars were “add ons!”). This was in distinct contrast to show awards and numerous “thumbs up” I received while I owned the vehicle.

However, that commentary did not stop admirers from Norway — and one from Pennsylvania who spotted the car on eBay – wanting to purchase it. Shipping and import duties made it difficult for that Scandinavian buyer. A former 1968 Thunderbird owner from Pennsylvania had the interest and trust in the 60,000-mile car to purchase a one-way airplane ticket with the expectation of driving it home after checking it out.

Following his own test drive, he asked me to drive him so he could be a passenger and check out the ride. We did a little test run on a straight road. With my hands off the wheel — to validate the front end alignment – the car ran laser straight. He was comfortable that the car would make it home.

The hood art
The hood art

But the driving proof was confirmed when I asked him if he “felt that?” Felt what, he said. Felt that we were just passing 105 mph with no shakes, rattles or rolls. Ice-cold air, electric windows and sheepskin seat covers made this “Bad Bird” the ultimate “rolling living room.”

He sent a photo after his 3,147-mile trip home. The only thing he needed was fuel. He achieved a little more than 15 mpg, which is not bad for a 429 old school V8.

To all the naysayers of my changes in the original appearance – you missed what was most important and that is the appreciation of a classic style — a matter of individual, personal taste.

To those who enjoy the freedom of the open road and a “good old car” with everything working, I say “oorah!”

— Keith Wahl, La Jolla CA