Featured Thunderbird for April 1999


1957 Roadster, Exterior: Raven Black
Owner: Larry Bennett, Carson City, Nevada

I was about 13 years old when I saw my first '57 Bird. It was love at first sight. I knew that some day, Lord willing, I would have one for my very own. Little did I know that it would take some 37 years before I realized my dream.

When I was 16 my dad took me shopping for a car. I had been working summers and afternoons for several years, mowing yards, cleaning gutters and working at my uncle's sheet metal shop, saving every penny I could get my hands on, preparing for this event. However, I quickly realized that it would require several more summers before I could afford my dream car. School work, marriage and five kids became the focus of my life for many years, but I never lost the desire to own one of these beauties for myself.

In 1996 I received a call from the wife of a friend. John and I had lost track of each other after he retired. He was the owner of several old Birds, including a beautiful black 1957 T'Bird. Once again, it was love at first sight. I had asked him many times over the years to please give me the first chance to purchase it if he ever chose to sell. Sadly, his wife informed me that John had passed away. However, he had told her that if she ever decided to sell the car, that she should call me. Fortunarely, she had remembered and called to say that she must part with the car. She could not look at it without remembering how much John loved it and begin to cry. She wanted someone to have it that loved it as much as John had. Within several hours of the call his prized possession became my prized possession.

I have made a few minor changes to return her to the original condition going back to the original style Goodyear, wide white sidewall tires and real wire wheels. (Even though the '57 did not originally come with wire wheels, my dream car had them, so this one had to as well.) I went back to the original engine dress-up kit that it came with and replaced the rubber gasket on the hardtop. Although I love the porthole top, mine was ordered without this feature, so I will keep it original. It came from the factory with a Colonial White hardtop, and when time and money permits, I will restore that as well. Even without these changes, I love the car just like she sits. I still cannot believe that after so many years, she is finally part of my family. I do not know if it is proper to pray for a car, but I am thankful that The Good Lord does answer prayers.

Larry Bennett

Copyright © 1999 by Larry Bennett

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