One Willow Green 1957 Ford Thunderbird
All pictures are "clickable" for larger views
|Every car has some kind of history whether short or long. Since this car has survived 54.5 years (built in October 1956) and we have owned it for well over half of that time, I can give some of its history.|
|Through affiliation with CTCI , we were able to obtain the factory invoice from TARTC. Click on the invoice if you would like to read its contents:||
The car was originally Thunderbird Bronze.
Though we have changed the exterior color, the interior has been kept like
the original - all white - a fairly rare option in 1957 but well-liked
by restorers of today. When we bought the car in the summer of 1975
from its second owner, the car was purple with black seats and black canvas
soft top along with the original white dash and visors. The previous
owner had tired of cleaning the white seats. We left the exterior
purple for about a year before changing it to '69 LeMans or Corvette
Blue. The soft top was replaced with a white vinyl. The
seats stayed black for 10 more years. We added the '66 Mustang
"Styled Steelwheels" and used them for several years.
Update2011: Mattel's Hot Wheels came out with a metallic blue with white top 57 this year in their Decades series. Fairly good match to ours other than the added graphics on the 1/64 scale model.
|By 1985, the seats needed to be fully replaced, including new springs so we went back to the original color of white and I made slip covers for the seats that could be easily washed. We drove the car up to Vancouver, British Columbia for the 1986 EXPO||
In 1988, we decided the car needed a new paint job so we contracted a friend of ours to do the painting and some bodywork. About a year and a half later, after a body off restoration, the car was back on the road. This time adorned in the beautiful '57 Thunderbird color of Willow Green. The seats are still the same from 1986 (slip covers have helped a lot) and we're still using the original sun visors though they do need replacing. The dash has been replaced twice since we've owned it -both times with white. We finally started using the fender skirts which had come with the car.
|The background picture
was taken in April of 1990 on the coast of Washington State. The
Rhododendrons were just beautiful at that spot that year and we couldn't
resist the chance to take the picture.
By The Way, a similar photo of mine was printed in the 2002 Thunderbird Calendar by BrownTrout, month of May, taken at the same location. Yes, it's part of my memorabilia collection.
In 1993, we moved to Texas where the car now resides.
|Isn't it amazing how different the car looks with a new top. We had this top installed in the summer of 1999 and the car made its debut at the Witchita, Kansas CTCI Regional at the beginning of July, 1999. This is a marine canvas soft top - the only way we could get close to the coolor we wanted..The top color is hunter green. We love the top color so much that the top is rarely down now. By the way, we finally bought new white sunvisors for the car in 1999; the original ones had been dripping foam on the dash thru the cracks in the vinyl around the mounts..|
|Next project may be the engine
rebuild which George is in no hurry to do. The engine has been holding
up fine with over 120,000 miles since the heads were rebuilt in 1975.
It appears that the base block in this car is still the original since
this car only had 106,000 miles on it when we bought the car in 1975. Car
still had original carburetor which has long since been sidelined.
The leaky rope seal in the 312 was replaced last spring with a modified
Mopar neoprene rear main seal. If you would like to know the modification
the late Walt Nuckels site, however a new seal has been manufactured
that does away with the need to build your own seal. A switch to synthetic
oil was also made a year ago (2000) so we know the seal is working great.
2004 ~ The engine rebuild was completed last year
but with a very hopped up cam. Alas, too hopped up, and the gas mileage
dropped by 6mpg & no longer starts quickly, so it's due for another
overhaul back to the original cam & block.
2009 ~ The hopped up cam was replaced back in
2004 within weeks of the rebuild being finished. The seat covers are still
the same. The car is still driven anywhere from 2000 to 8000 miles
each year. This year is a short year as our longest trip was to Tulsa,
OK for a CTCI convention. This year, we also replaced the green year
of manufacture WA plates with cream colored year of manufacture TX
plates as TX is now its permanent home. Our children still live in
WA so don't even think about asking if the WA plates are available for
2010 ~ Another new look was added this year. My spouse wanted the stock style white walls added and the car really needed new tires. The old white line tires were misshapen and causing handling problems so he opted to get the Michelin radials with white walls. The change in handling was dramatic. He loves to drive the car now. Somehow forgot to add that sometime during the past 10 years, he added heavy duty sway bars to the front and rear. Those also had improved the handling of the car making it much easier to keep straight on the road. With the new radials, it's even easier to drive. Oh! and the look has definitely improved as this photo shows:
Photo at left was taken at Ford's World
Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan last summer at the 55th Thunderbird
Anniversary in late June, 2010.
|We have added another Thunderbird to our stable, the 2002, in 2002.. To read our story about this new car and see pictures, please visit my website at Porthole Authority formerly The New Thunderbird. For a review of the New Thunderbird website, read here. If you have a new Thunderbird of your own, you may want to participate in an active forum at the Thunderbird Nest.|
|Bonus Page!!! - Where did I get this fixation for Green? Meet our 54 year old Station Wagon. When we bought our 57 Thunderbird, I really wanted to paint it Cumberland Green but was informed that that color was not available for the Thunderbird. Our Thunderbird may not be "concours" original but it is a stock color for the Thunderbird. My feeling was that since the car had already been painted a non-stock color when we bought it, there was no driving force to stick with the original color but I wanted to stick with a stock color. I'm rethinking that but the 22 year old paint job is holding up quite well with care.|
Photos, graphics & Web Design by Dot
background taken on the coast of Washington State near Long Beach