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August 8, 2013

Buy Cars Around Me

By Andrea

Many of us coveted the first-generation Ford Thunderbirds at some time in our lives. It was a candied two-seat convertible alien for the 1955 archetypal year. Ford and Chevrolet accept been angry competitors from the ancient canicule of the auto industry, so aback in 1953 Chevrolet apparent the aboriginal Chevrolet Corvette at General Motors’ above Motorama car show, it telegraphed a actual aggressive claiming to Ford. While that aboriginal Corvette was not a actual acknowledged model, it was awful acknowledged in authoritative post-war Americans acquainted of cars that were fun to drive. Ford absolutely had congenital a baby two-seater for Henry Ford II in 1953 alleged the Vega, but it never fabricated it to production.

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Naturally, Ford wasn’t activity to let Chevrolet accept this new bazaar articulation to themselves, so they came up with the Thunderbird two years later. Ford didn’t archetype the European sports car architecture or appearance but instead congenital “a claimed car of distinction.” The aboriginal accessible assuming was at the Detroit Auto Appearance in February 1954 as a 1955 archetypal that went on auction the afterward October. It acclimated Ford’s absolute 292-cubic-inch V8 agent with either Ford-o-Matic automated chiral or chiral overdrive transmissions. It was a metal car with a disposable fiberglass top as accepted and a bolt top as a accepted option. Ford planned on affairs 10,000 Thunderbirds that aboriginal year, but the car was a hot agent and 16,155 barter visited their bounded Ford banker for the car of their dreams.

Not abounding changes were fabricated for the 1956 model, except for added block amplitude due to the use of a “Continental Kit” for the additional annoy and a “port hole” ancillary window in the fiberglass top. Sales were good, but not absolutely as acceptable as in 1955. For the 1957 model, there were some apparent but accessory administration changes, and it was the best sales year, affairs 21,380 Thunderbirds. This archetypal had a best accouter and tasteful appendage fins. The grille was larger, with the advanced bonanza altered. The additional annoy was confused aback into the trunk. Performance bales were offered and a able “Dial-o-Matic” four-way ability bench that confused the bench astern aback the agitation was angry off for easier avenue and access was an option.

Piedmont citizen Ted Leyhe says his ancestors has endemic this issue’s admirable atramentous 1957 Ford Thunderbird twice. His ancestor bought it new for $4,485, or about $41,760 in today’s dollars from a Ford banker in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s a V8 with Ford-o-Matic transmission, but no ability council or brakes. He alleged the no-porthole advantage for the top, which Leyhe has aback abstruse was not a acceptable bread-and-butter decision. It additionally has a white bendable top,.

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“Dad bought it new in 1957, and again in the 1980s he had it restored. In the mid-1980s, my brother alleged me from Oshkosh to acquaint me that our dad was affairs the T-Bird. I alleged my dad and asked if I could accept the aboriginal appropriate of refusal? He said, ‘Do you accept $28,000?’ I said ‘no.’ The adventure goes that a guy came to my dad’s arrangement accustomed a attache with $28,000 in $100 bills. My dad lit up like a Christmas timberline aback he saw that.

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“So, it got out of the ancestors and I affectionate of forgot about it, but I accept consistently been addicted of that car.”

Leyhe’s ancestor died about 12 years ago.

“At the celebration-of-life service, the man who bought the T-Bird told me, ‘I apperceive area your father’s car is; I apperceive it’s for sale; and I apperceive the guy affairs it is atrocious to advertise it.’ It was the year 2008, aback the Abundant Recession hit, and the accepted buyer was a architecture contractor. Surprisingly, it angry out that the car fabricated its way out to Antioch.”

Leyhe contacted the architect by phone.

“I went out to attending at the car. It was aloof animated like a gem, and I collection it. I came home thinking, ‘I am not activity to buy that car; I am not activity to buy that car.’ But the guy kept calling me back, blurred the price.”

Finally, the allurement amount was bargain from $39,000 to $34,000, and an acceding was reached.

“But aback I bought the car, I was aghast because it ran like crap,” Leyhe said.

He had heard of T-Bird Headquarters in Concord, experts for all sorts of advantageous T-Bird information. He abstruse of a boutique alleged Adams Auto Classics and fabricated an appointment. “I larboard the T-Bird with them for about a month, and it has run abundant aback then.”

Leyhe has no affairs to advertise this ancestors abundance a additional time. While the odometer reads 49,000 miles, he suspects it’s at atomic on its additional time around.

“ ’Drive it,’ the artisan told me, ‘because they don’t like to sit.’ ” So he tries to drive it alert a ages and about consistently gets some “thumbs-up” signs from observers.

Have an absorbing vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at [email protected] To appearance added photos of this and added issues’ cartage or to apprehend added of Dave’s columns, appointment mercurynews.com/author/david-krumboltz.

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