I have been interested in Thunderbirds since seeing the first one on display in late 1954 at a local Ford dealer. Several years later, we started looking for a Thunderbird. We found a 1955 advertised at a Mercury dealer. When we took it out for a test drive, both of us were sold on the car. Upon our return, and while the car was still idling in the dealers lot, the lower hose burst. This was not a bad thing as it helped in making a better deal. We wound up as the new owners. We later found out who the previous owners were, and have since talked to both of them. The original owner had passed away, but we corresponded with his wife in Florida, who was glad to send us the original paper work and some early pictures of the car.
My son Mark Jr. used the car through his college years, graduating in 1965 with a degree in Industrial Engineering. He was offered a job by General Motors and immediately went to work for them in Dayton Ohio. He did not feel it was in his best interest to have a Ford product in the GM parking lot so he purchased a 1967 Corvette. I obligingly agreed (and how!) to take the Thunderbird off his hands and save it for him.
Now the '55 Bird became a part of my life and I joined the Classic Thunderbird Club International in 1967. My wife and I drove it to our first National Convention in Tulsa Oklahoma in 1968. We highly recommend CTCI to everyone who has, or has a desire to own a Classic Thunderbird. I later formed the Music City Chapter and we received our Charter at the Durango Convention. My son had done some minor conversion to the car during his college years, but I had carefully saved all the stock parts.
Being a member of CTCI, I recognized the importance of keeping the car in stock condition. I had done as much as could be with present available materials, but it was not enough to place us in the stock class. At that time rubber trunk mats and stock type upholstery materials were not available. I was placed in a modified class and placed Second in Class at the Palm Springs National Convention. When correct materials were available we replaced them, and at the Dearborn National Convention in 1974 the car placed First in Class and advanced to Senior Status in CTCI.
Attending several more conventions, competing no longer was a priority. I started on the modification route again and installed a set of 15" wire wheels, converted the 6-volt system to 12-volts and installed a modern radio and tape player and an air conditioner. We still have the stock parts that were removed by these changes.
The Thunderbird was featured on the back cover of the 30th Anniversary issue of the "Early Bird" Jan-Feb 1993. The car with its present owner and his wife were pictured in the advertising brochure that Ron Peters sent out to all CTCI members promoting his book, "Where The Cars Are". The same picture was used on the cover of his book along with some other pictures of Classic Thunderbirds.
A period of 27 years passed before I could finally part with our Thunderbird Blue '55 and return it to our son. He got over Corvettes but continues to hold the T-Bird as part of his life. He still works at GM and now drives a GM Truck to work each day. Soon it will be time for him to retire and he can begin his life with the T-Bird again.
Marcus and Mildred Green
Copyright © 1996 by Marcus Green