Invoice Haley’s “Rock Across the Clock” turns into the primary rock and roll single to succeed in Quantity One on the charts, Disneyland opens in California, “Gunsmoke” debuts on CBS, the Brooklyn Dodgers defeat the Yankees to win the World Collection, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus, and the Ford Motor Firm launches the Thunderbird.
It was 1955 and Ford’s plans to compete with Chevrolet’s Corvette, launched two years earlier, was an prompt hit, outselling the Vette with 3,500 orders positioned within the first 10 days of gross sales. Ford deliberate a complete of 10,000 of the sporty two-seaters however wound up promoting 16,155 of them earlier than the yr ended.
Estimates are that lower than half of them stay immediately, fewer nonetheless in unique situation, and Daybreak Stacy has one in all them.
Whereas asking her to explain her expertise with the basic T-Chook throughout our interview within the Kennedale Excessive Faculty parking zone, an excited passerby pulled up together with her teen, delightedly seemed it over, requested a bunch of questions, and had her image taken with it.
“That occurs on a regular basis,” Daybreak explains. “Individuals are at all times taking discover when we’ve got it out and about. The very first automotive present we took it to, it received first place even earlier than we had performed any work to it.
“We acquired it about 10 years in the past, and my husband referred to as it a “10-footer” – the paint had crazed, however you didn’t see that till you bought up shut. It drove nice so we determined to not do something for some time, after which all we did just a few years later was have it repainted, and we redid the seats.
“Buddies have requested us about including air-con, switching the electronics from six to 12 volts – stuff like that. I stated ‘no’ as a result of I needed it in as near unique situation appropriately.”
I needed to find out about her choice for a Thunderbird. Her prompt response: “My dad. He cherished outdated vehicles, particularly the Thunderbird, however he by no means acquired to personal one, however I acquired my curiosity in vehicles from him.
“He had three women. I used to be the tomboy, I used to be the one who performed ball and the one who favored vehicles. When Howard and I had been relationship, we might see them, and I stated I needed one sometime. Certain sufficient, we’ve acquired it now.
“We checked out a few others earlier than we discovered this one in such fine condition. My deal was I needed to drive it as a substitute of simply sitting round, and this one drove nice. I’m an enormous fan of convertibles, and the canvas prime of ours is rarely up.
“It additionally got here with a detachable fiberglass arduous prime as commonplace tools, nevertheless it’s heavy and arduous to see round, so it stays off.”
A primary occurred after I requested about any mechanical issues. Daybreak and Howard described how the unique key as soon as acquired caught within the ignition, and so they couldn’t get the automotive stopped from operating. A complete new key meeting needed to be acquired, making it one of many few components to get replaced.
The Thunderbird got here with fender skirts and Ford’s 292 Y-block V8 engine paired with Ford-O-Matic computerized transmission. As a departure from Corvette’s designation as a sports activities automotive, the T-Chook was designed to be a luxurious tourer able to speeds of 100 to 115 mph.
Spanning 11 generations, and showing in a wide range of configurations, Thunderbird manufacturing resulted in 2005. Nonetheless, just a few months in the past Ford filed for the title “Thunderbird” with america Patent and Trademark Workplace, signaling a contemporary comeback for the enduring mannequin.
Regardless of the future might maintain, Daybreak has one of many first, and Thunderbird fanatics in all places mark its 1955 starting because the time in automotive historical past when a basic was born – and it’s nonetheless dwelling nicely 65 years later.