I grew up a Chevy-lover. Not quite sure why, but my dad did own a '55 3100 p/u, in which I learned to drive. And when I was a teen, it seemed like 80-90% of my friends had bowtie cars. There were a few Mopars and FoMoCo products sprinkled in, and although I won't say I had any particular reason to do so, I kind of just fell into the "GM guys hate Fords" mindset. As life progressed, I owned plenty of GM products - mostly Chevrolets - and more than a few "foreign" cars, from Fiats to Mazdas to Porsches to Toyotas. Even had a Renault once.
But in all my years and all my vehicles, I only managed to own one Ford. A 2-ton '72 truck with dualies, a 390, and 10-lug Budd split-rims. It had had a parking lot sweeper vacuum unit on it, which had been switched to a newer truck. Had quite a few miles, but most of them had been in parking lots, so it was in pretty good shape. I built a flat bed on the frame, and used it to haul firewood and racecar parts while towing a trailer to the dragstrip on weekends. It also hauled nearly all the gear for my and my hunting buddies' annual weeklong deer camp. I honestly can't tell you one, single thing I disliked about it - except for the four letters on the hood...
Like a lot of car nuts, I admired the Shelby story, and the GT40 successes, and I've been left in the exhaust of plenty of Fords at the strip. But also like a lot of other people, I kept my admiration of any Ford "cool stuff" to myself. I mean really, a life-long Chevy guy say something nice about a Dearborn product? Out loud? Are you kidding me?
So when my friend Don and his youngest son decided to restore a 1964 Thunderbird, was I excited? A bit less than none-at-all. I mean, another friend has a K-code, Hyland Green '68 Mustang, which I kinda can at least live with, but of all things, a THUNDERBIRD? Sheesh, get real, willya?
But after several years of meticulous massaging (Don is certainly meticulous, if nothing else), they revealed the end result, and I had to admit, it was stunningly beautiful. I've driven it and although not a "performance car", it has plenty of zip, and it handles like a dream. And this isn't even hard for me to say - I think it looks really good.
Now before all you Ford lovers decide to jump my case, please understand: I don't REALLY hate Fords. I'm just a victim of peer influences. My heroes-in-cars during my formative years drove Chevrolet products, and it was groovy to look down on other marques, even if they were often superior products. Although not a FoMoCo owner, and not even approaching "fandom", I'm slowly going through rehab (kind of a 12-step process) and declaring to the world that Fords can be pretty good vehicles (kinda-sorta). There, I've said it. I feel better. Now, excuse me while I go caress my...
Oops, just checked and see that they didn't come out until '71, so guess I surely didn't see one in late '60s! But aside from my faux pas on the date, the story is the same. Nobody counted those as Fords back in the day, did they? Do they now?
Not too sure about the '64 Birds but my mom's '66 had a 428 in it. My dad and I, both hated that car because we did all the maintenance on it and it was a real bugger to work on. You had to unbolt the passenger side motor mount and jack the engine up to reach the # 3 and 4 spark plugs from under the car. The rear shocks you had to take out the back rest of the rear wrap around seat to access a small triangler hole in the body support to stick your hand into to get to the shock. But it was sure a fun car to drive and it did handle very well. By the by I am also a GM guy....
Yeah, I was talking about the Pantera power when I said 351 Cleveland. Don's 'Bird does have the 390. We could never get that old Autolite carb to work very well, so it does now have a Holley on it - but just about everything else is bone stock as spec'd in '64.
DUB6, I hear you, born in '63, I grew up a Ford guy and I know why. My father and most of his buddies were all Ford guys and boy did they ever have some cool Ford products in the mid to late '60 and early '70's for me to fall in love with! I felt the same distain for the other brands as you describe. I hated those whiny Mopar starters and their Ballast Resistors that always seemed to go out at the worst time. Those big powerful Oldsmobile V8's liked to heat soak the started and they wouldn't start when hot and I can't tell you how many timing chains we had to change on those Pontiac 389's. Many of the Chevy's we worked on had valve guide issues and blew a lot of blue smoke upon start up. I also hated that all of those GM V8's had the distributer in the rear! This could go on for days and sure, Ford products had their challenges too, but we were much more forgiving of those!
I can honestly say that I have completely grown out of all that. I love them all now, I have great respect for all the Muscle Car era entrants, and the models that lead up to the Muscle Car era from the '50's. Sure, I still like the Fords better, but all makes are welcome at my place and now I can always find a compliment rather then an insult like when I was younger. A nice, well preserved and/or restored car is a beautiful thing, no matter what brand!
I have a '66 T Bird and they have a 300hp, 390cid. This could easily be the first luxury modern performance automobile. It's heavy, well sprung, but also well equiped by modern standards. It has full power, fully guaged and has numerous remote controlled functions. It has a foot long thermometer style spedo that turns red as you attack the highway. It also has effectively, 4 bucket seats. Detroit was proud to build these cars and badged them profusely with THUNDERBIRD script as well as T Bird emblems all over. It takes the highway smootly, handles reasonably and has enough power for civilian roads. I challenge you to find all these qualities in most other automobiles.
I have to agree that they were really class cars in those years. They did get a little bloated and carried away with the whole "luxury" thing a little later on...but then again, so did a lot of GM and Mopar cars that had good pedigrees in the '50s and '60s.
As my little avatar shows, I kinda like all cars, well all but some of those foreign things. But I've had some of those too! Right now there is an old Ford and an old Chevy in my little garage. Another Ford and another Chevy in two other garages. Yet another old Ford and a late model Impala in the carport.
I've had a few Stupidbakers and Dodges. If it's on four wheels. sometimes two, I treat them equally.
Now I gotta figure how to swap my avatar to my latest ............FORD.
Not my car, belongs to a friend. He hasn't ever mentioned any door leaks, but to be honest, I don't think it rains much inside his garage, and I certain that it doesn't come out to play in the rain, so it possibly could leak like a sieve and nobody would even know about it!
Born and raised in Dearborn. Graduated Dearborn High in 57. Dad had a 55 Chevy Belair and then a 57 Ford. I drove both and loved both. I was even a production foreman at the Chevy engine plant in Flint in later years. Love all cars (most, that is).
That is a stunning car and you are right, the color combo is fantastic. I confess, I was raised in a "Mopar or no car" family and it took a long time to shed that ridiculous bias. Now, when I crank over that whiny starter on my 67 GTX, I hope I don't obsess about it and just laugh!
I had a friend in High School with a '57 Fury that we called "The Wing". I drove it a few times and it was actually a very nice car and ran pretty fast. I actually liked the sound of Mopar starters and kind of wished I could figure out how to get that high-pitched spin sound on my Chebbies. I thought they sounded like the air starters on some big rigs, which I thought was cool.
GTXs are really great cars. '68, I think, is my favorite. This isn't a very good photo, but it's a pic of my friend Dave's 440 GTX at a show last year. Basically a dressier Road Runner, and Road Runners in those years were indeed great cars.
I have been mosty GM. 61 Apache 10 (still have it), 67 Mustang, 74 Cutlass Salon (still have it), 76 Granada (company car), 80 Bonneville (company car), 82 LeSabre (company car), 90 SHO (GM had nothing), 05 V, 10 V, a few Suburbans, 11 GMC Yukon XL, 14 F150, 18 Z07, amd probably a 22/23 Yukon Denali XL. Looks like I am back mostly back to GM. Except I am now eying a Ram 1/2 ton truck. They have been crushing Ford and GM in the reviews for ride and interior. It has been Motor Trend's truck of the year for 2013, 2014, 2019, and 2020. We will see.
But I am a GM guy.
Not a Ford fan mostly due to some of the odd quirks in a number of their cars over the years. Things like when you remove a gas tank from a Mustang and there is no trunk floor. Or the old twin I beam truck axles that ate tire tires.
My first car was a 63 Galaxies that was 100% original and was a very good car. A set of radials and Original Ansen wheels transformed it from a Mayberry looking car to a nice ride. It was all black and sat low and level.
My other Fords were a 95 T Bird that was great to drive but had head gasket issues, sagging doors, sway bar coming loose, seat issues and a few more things in less than 70,000 miles.
But I still love the T Birds that my uncle and best friends father owned. My Uncles is a 63 Sport Roadster he has owned since 1970. It is one of the few with factory air that still works. My buddies fathers car is a 62 Sport roadster with a full resto. These are amazing car where Ford did not cut corners.
My uncle is considering selling his and I hate to see it go. Many a summer I remember riding in that car. He is in his 80’s but looks and acts more like 60 so I hope he gets a few more summers out of the car. It just would not be right to give it up too soon.
Love that GTX. It looks like the silver/black stripe combo that is one of my favorites. Ok, I'll skip the long history and show you these pics; my Tor Red Runner, from high school that is long gone and, me and my Jersey-born brothers from then, and my current ride. A little older, maybe more refined, but, maybe not at all right?
Yeah, my Poncho and Don's 'Bird seem to play nice together. We have, a few times, loaded up our wives and picnic lunches and cruised to someplace nice just to enjoy the drive, the meal, and the company.