Featured Thunderbird for August 1996

Picture of Featured T-Bird

1956 / Exterior: White / Interior: Black & White / 312 cid / automatic

Owner: Hugh Jackson, Houston, Texas

I have always loved Thunderbirds. But it wasn't until after I bought one that I figured out why. In 1992, I accompanied a friend to look at a '64 Continental convertible. The owner of that Continental had just restored a TeeBird pedal car, and when I saw it, I instantly remembered the pedal car I had when I was a child. It hit me--that must be the reason I love Thunderbirds.

In 1986, I had seen a green '55 on a used car lot in West Texas. Of course, I was attracted to it, and stopped to look. It could be mine for $12,000, and the owner would adjust the carburetor and fix the brakes--the only two problems with the car. The lot owner asked if I wanted to drive it. How could I resist? I took it for a short spin--my first drive in a T-Bird since my old days in the pedal car. But with one child here, and another on the way, I just couldn't justify the purchase.

I kicked myself for walking away from that car, until 1991, when I saw an ad for a white '56 Bird. I called my Lincoln buddy, and we drove the 90 miles to look at this car. When we arrived, I could hardly contain myself. It was beautiful. It needed a paint job, the interior was fair, but mechanically, the car was in good shape. It started right up, and away I sped for a test drive.

A quick check on the data plate, and I discovered that today was the car's 35th birthday. It must be a sign, I thought. The car was wonderful, but now there were 3 kids, and I was wondering how I could justify this again. My buddy reminded me that I walked away from one car, regretted it, and he didn't want to hear me crying over this one. Ok, he made his point. I left a deposit, and raced back to Houston to talk to my wife about it.

She agreed to the purchase, and I called the owner back to say I would take it. He would deliver the car the next weekend. It was the longest week of my life, but my car showed up, and everything was wonderful. Since then, I have had it painted, had the interior re-done, and done some minor routine maintenance. It's no show car, but it's nice, and I'm not afraid to drive it. I am active in the Classic Thunderbirds of Houston, and we take cruises regularly in our cars. We're going to cruise Route 66 in October, and attend the 70th anniversary party in Vega, Texas.

Somewhere along the way, my original pedal car was lost. I now have another TeeBird pedal car, a T-Bird Jr., and lots of other T-Bird memorabilia. It's a great hobby, T-Birders are a great group of people, and the T-Bird is a great car.

Hugh Jackson

Copyright © 1996 by Hugh Jackson

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