jim c 1966 Ford Thunderbird 2dr Landau Coupe

Actor’s 1966 Thunderbird a star to nephew

My uncle was character actor Jay Novello. His career spanned from the 1930s to the late '70s. Novello, whose given name was Michael Romano, acted in more than 200 films and TV shows such as "McHale's Navy," "The Brady Bunch" and "I Love Lucy." I didn't get to see much of "Uncle Mike" but was nonetheless enamored with him. All my life I've been collecting pieces of memorabilia from his life.

I remembered 1st meeting him as 9-year-old boy on a family train trip to California in 1972.He (Novello) picked us up in a black 66 Tbird wearing an ascot tie and the biggest smile. Our family of six piled into the two-door T-Bird. While I saw him only several more times before his passing in 1982, I always clung to that the special family Ford memory. That changed in April 2013.

Last year an eBay listing from a seller in California claimed to have Novello's car, and said it was still in original condition. I confirmed the authenticity and immediately purchased it, selling my own 1964 Mustang to fund the purchase.

"On the day of its arrival I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. I was simply in awe of it."

After giving it a thorough washing, I drove the car to my parent's home. "My sister came over and we all piled in for a family drive. It was like reliving that trip with my uncle in '72."

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