Featured Thunderbird for July 1996

Picture of Featured T-Bird

1957 / Exterior: Coral Sand / Interior:White

Owner: Neil Schebetta, Fremont, California

It was back in 1988/89 when a gentleman called me from one of the many "Thunderbird Wanted" ads placed in various publication back then. What was particularly memorable about this phone call was that a) I truly was not looking to buy another Thunderbird, and b) the day of the call I was so sick that answering the telephone that was next to the bed seemed like a monumental chore and took a tremendous amount of energy.

This call was intriguing because it was the original owner calling, the Thunderbird had BOTH tops, the car was priced right at $10,000, AND it was an original Coral Sand with all white interior. How could I turn this down? [Well as most of you know I did not.]

The arrangements were made over the phone to buy the car and to pick it up within a few days when I was feeling better. Fortunately, the car was nearby in the Oakland hills and stored in a garage of a house with a beautiful view of San Francisco.

After the car was brought home, it sat in the garage untouched, and then one day I told myself that there were two options, a) drive the car and enjoy it in its present tired condition, or b) forget about driving and enjoying it and take the car apart so that it could be "restored" to its original condition. I chose option "b" and soon realized that taking Thunderbirds apart are a lot more fun and less time-consuming than putting them back together.

The car was stripped down to bare metal, primed, and then painted the original Coral Sand. Cliff Long did an excellent job of assembling and restoring this car at his house in Hollister. We talked on a daily basis because somehow I had lost parts in the process and didn't want to slow Cliff's tenacity in restoring my Thunderbird. The next thing I knew Cliff and Marcy were out in front of my home with the beautiful Coral Sand on their trailer!

The Coral Sand turned out to be a hit because in June of 1991 it won, a) the people's choice award at Vallco Village, and b) the OVERBIRD award a few weeks later.

Neil Schebetta

Copyright © 1996 by Neil Schebetta

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