A 43 Year Relationship


            Richard Ward has been having a pretty interesting relationship for 43 years now. It was 1968, just a mere five months after he turned 21 that he fell in love with and bought a 1957 Thunderbird.
            Ford launched the T-Bird in 1955 to go head to head with the Chevy Corvette and it fared well as a sports car with a comfortable enough ride to use for cruising. 1957 saw some changes to the basic T-Bird with some fresh body work, improved cooling, stiffer chassis, larger brakes, and a 12 volt electrical system among others.
            Though 1957 was the last year of the two seater version of the T-Bird, it also introduced some new engine options, including the fairly rare E code which took the standard 312 cubic inch V-8 engine and married it with twin four barrel carbs that boosted the horse power to 270. It is estimated that only 500 of these still exist. And Richard owns one and his has a 310 rear end that helps his car move.
            His prize T-Bird went beyond the upgraded engine. “It has every accessory that was offered at the time,” Richard said. “Including seat belts.”
            The car has undergone two restorations, according to Richard. “It was first restored in 2004,” he said, adding that the second had just been completed. In both cases it was a complete body off restoration.
            “There’s been no major work on the body,” he said, pointing out that the car has been garaged since he bought it. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t take the car out.
            “I get it out to shows,” he said. “But it never comes out in the rain.”
            Richard confessed that he has tested the car a few times and that it likes to run. He sheepishly admitted to having it up over 100 miles per hour.
            The car’s only real engine modification, according to Richard, was the change the heads so that it can run on modern fuel, specifically 93 octane. “If I keep my foot off of it I can get 18 miles per gallon,” he said.
            But with a beautiful work of art like this collectable 1957 Thunderbird, it’s not about miles per gallon; it’s about fun per ride. And after 43 years in the relationship, Richard is getting his fair share of fun.

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