Jeffrey C 1956 Ford Thunderbird 2dr Convertible

A '56 T-Bird for a 15 year-old kid.

When I was 15, my father asked me what kind of car I wanted. I had become interested in the '56 T-Bird because a local doctor had one and I loved it. I had no idea that it was more car than I was likely to get. My Dad owned a local welding shop; we were very blue collar. He found one with the driver's door caved in from an accident, and missing the driver's side front fender, in Albuquerque, NM. It was also painted liberally (in metallic green) with "Acme Fence Company" and rounded out with their phone number painted in a semi-circle on the Continental kit. I had saved $520.00 going on wheat harvest the summer before, in 1967. The car was for sale for $600.00. Dad loaned me another $80.00 and he and brother Steve slipped off to Albuquerque in the middle of the night, without even telling me he was going for the car, which I was still unaware even existed. It ran, albeit with the driver's door wired shut. It was also winter; my brother drove that car from NM to SW Oklahoma with no window in the driver's door. When my mother saw it, she cried, thinking it could not be repaired. Dad got it into a local body shop where, fortunately for me, the guy who undertook the repairs was a true artist and loved what he was doing. Meanwhile, I had 8 months to go for my 16th birthday and a driver's license. I suspect my Dad told him to "not finish" until that birthday came around. So, the repairs began and I saved my money carrying out groceries at the local supermarket in our little town of 5,000 people. The car cost $600.00 and the body shop charged another $600.00. My harvest money made the down payment, Dad paid the rest and I paid him regular payments of about $35.00 per month until I had it paid for. I put 183,000 miles on the old 'Bird and kept it for seven glorious years, through H.S., and graduation from Oklahoma State University. Owning it was a dream for a kid that age and my memories of it are infused with such great memories of my Dad and Brother Steve, now both gone. I was very, very lucky to have them - and the old T-Bird.

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