The Ford Thunderbird is an Iconic car...no collection is complete without at least one. Three men are generally credited with creating the original Thunderbird: Lewis D. Crusoe, a retired GM executive lured out of retirement by Henry Ford II; George Walker, chief stylist and a Ford vice-president; and Frank Hershey, a Ford designer. Crusoe and Walker met in France in October 1951. Walking in the Grand Palais in Paris, Crusoe pointed at a sports car and asked Walker, 'Why can’t we have something like that?'
Walker promptly telephoned Ford's HQ and told designer Frank Hershey about the idea. Hershey took the idea and began working on the vehicle. The concept was for a two-passenger open car, with a target weight of 2525 lb, an Interceptor V8 and a top speed of over 100 mph. Crusoe saw a painted clay model on, which corresponded closely to the final car; he gave the car the go-ahead in September 1953 after comparing it with current European trends. Unlike the Corvette, the Thunderbird was never a full-blown sporting vehicle; Ford's description was personal luxury car, and the company essentially created this market segment. There was some difficulty in naming the car, with suggestions ranging from the exotic to the ridiculous (Hep Cat, Beaver, Detroiter, Runabout, Arcturus, Savile, El Tigre, and Coronado). Crusoe offered a $250 suit to anyone who could come up with a better name. Stylist Alden "Gib" Giberson submitted Thunderbird as part of a list. Giberson got the idea during a lightning storm when he saw an illusion of a bird getting hit by lightning, but this happened because of his view. Giberson never claimed his prize, settling for a $95 suit and an extra pair of trousers from Saks Fifth Avenue. According to Palm Springs Life magazine, the car's final name came not from the Native American symbol as one might expect, but from an ultra-exclusive housing tract in what would later be incorporated as Rancho Mirage, California: Thunderbird Heights.
The car was shown at the Detroit Auto Show in 1954. The first production car came off the line in September, 1954, and went on sale in October as a 1955 model, and sold briskly; 3,500 orders were placed in the first ten days of sale. Ford had only projected building 10,000; eventual 1955 sales were 16,155. Although the original Thunderbird was successful, the corporation's executives -- particularly Robert McNamara -- felt its sales volume was small. Market research suggested that sales were limited by its two-seat configuration, making it unsuitable as an only car for families. The second generation, introduced for the 1958 model year, was designed as a four-seat car. Sales soared up to record-breaking 1960, at 73,051 including 10,516 convertibles.
This amazing Custom has been chopped, shaved, widened and lots more- the body modifications on this car would take a page just to delineate. Everything was done correctly with metal MIG and TIG welded. Stripped to bare metal of course and painted with Orion Silver base, Pagan Gold Mid, and Hok. Clear. Phenominal paint job Featured in House of Colors annual calendar as one of the 6 best paint jobs using their product that year. Featuring a stock engine- rebuilt of course with Ford C6 Automatic, Aluminum Radiator, New Wiring Harness, New U joints, All new brake system with Dual Brake Booster, new NOS front end powder coated, , new shocks, and of course hoses, belts, rebuilt carb, Custom Dual Exhaust-Everything new and rebuilt. Vintage Air, Power Windows, Power Seats, Power Doors and Trunk, killer stereo, Custom White Leather and Gold Interior with custom dash and phone, Quad Guages, Everything is new on this car, and it has traveled only 2900 miles since completion in 2011. It has won many awards as well as being featured in Street Scene, Rod and Kulture 4 page spread. Gene Winfield Award Winner Personally picked by and signed Gene at Syracuse Nationals.
With Coker wide white radials the car actually drives quite well. I was initially afraid of the low clearance, but after putting a few miles on it on Indy's terrible post snowmageddon roads, I think its one of the most drivable Hot Rods I've ever encountered. Oh by the way it's pretty fast as well!
This amazing custom is turnkey! Ready to drive to the next Good Guys or other Hot Rod event and bring home the hardware!