When Joan was thirteen, she spotted a White 1957 Thunderbird with a porthole top and thought it was the most gorgeous car she had ever seen. Needless to say, she was smitten with Classic Thunderbirds from an early age.
My love for Classic Thunderbirds started in 1959 involving a 1956 Sunset Coral Thunderbird. This particular Thunderbird belonged to the mother of a close friend. As young men, he and I would double date (cozy) in his mothers Bird. On occasion, I was able to use the Bird for my dates and that’s when I decided this was a car for me since I had already owned a 52 Mercury and was currently driving a 56 Mercury. You might say that Fords were in the blood at an early age, and Thunderbirds are now a number one interest.
A few years passed before I seriously looked to buy. In 1962, I found a 57 Bird in San Jose for $3,000. Although the Bird was in pristine condition with low mileage, I decided to spend $3,300 for a new Pontiac Grand Prix. Investment hindsight is certainly 20/20 in view of the current prices of Thunderbirds.
After 30 plus years and three children later, I once again actively started to look for a Thunderbird to surprise my wife on our Fortieth Anniversary. Guess what, $ 3,000 wouldn’t even start a conversation with a seller, so I started scouring the Internet and Classic Car Ad’s for several years. In the mean time we decided to secure our license plate before someone else took Joan’s idea of “Tbird 42”. That’s, “for two” not forty two. So we got the cart before the horse, having had the plates for 19 months before the car.
Finally, I found just the right (Joan’s choice) color and year (1956) at a reasonable price on the Internet. About that time, Joan walked up behind me and saw the Bird on the screen. She proceeded to ask how much, where is it, and is there a telephone number. Well, she now had the task of doing all the leg work since I was still working. After many phone calls and asked questions, we felt fairly comfortable to purchase our Bird from an older couple in Louisiana.
Transportation was now the pressing issue to be explored. After a lot of research, we selected Inter-City Transportation on the East Coast which Barrett Jackson had used. Now the nail biting began, but when the car arrived we were very impressed with the care in which they had protected our car in an enclosed trailer. The Bird arrived unscathed and just as pretty as the pictures. Both our dreams finally came true some forty plus years later in April of 2003.
Herman & Joan Schulze