Featured Thunderbird for August 2003

1962 Landau Hardtop
Owner: Gary Lewis, Wildwood, Missouri

There's an old advertisement for a '63 Thunderbird Landau Hardtop titled, "What to tell your wife before the Thunderbird comes." I guess I should consulted this advertisement before I purchased my '62 Hardtop last June. I told my wife that I was interested in buying a Classic Bird, but never could find one I liked enough I could afford.

I searched the Internet long and hard and found a Bullet Bird in Kalispell, MT that I really liked. It so happened that I had a business trip to Vancouver scheduled for early June. I stopped over in Kalispell on my way back to St. Louis, looked at the car, made an offer on the spot, and signed the papers.

The only hang-up was that I couldn't get a hold of my wife to let her know what I was doing because she was tied up in business meetings. Needless to say, she was pretty mad at me when the Thunderbird came off the enclosed car carrier on June 9. Evidently, she thought I wasn't serious about buying an old restored Thunderbird. After about six weeks, things around the house finally settled back to normal. I have to admit that unloading the car in front of my house created quite a stir in the neighborhood!

Back to the car itself. It's a '62 Hardtop that has been mildly customized; i.e., it's been nosed, decked, shaved, lowered two inches, and has keyless electronic locks. It has been repainted Silver Mink Frost Blue with 180 course metalflake and finished with four coats of clear, all color sanded and buffed. It sports 17 x 8 American Torq Thrust II polished aluminum wheels fitted with 255/45 rubber. The engine is a balanced and blueprinted 390 equipped with Tri-Power.

The engine bay has been detailed with various chromed goodies. The two-inch custom exhaust system flows into Summit Turbo mufflers, which give it a mellow sound. The trunk houses a custom sound system with an amplifier, woofers, and a CD changer.

I've entered the car in five shows so far and bagged six trophies, including Best Paint at an "All-Ford" show in St. Louis. I've been invited to show the car at the World of Wheels AutoRama Custom Car Show at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis from March 7 to March 9, 2003. Needless to say, after a rocky beginning, I am starting to have fun with the car.

Gary Lewis

Copyright © 2003 by Gary Lewis


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