Thunderbirds, Galaxies, Cobras, Oh My!

            Even though the recent All Ford Show was sponsored by the Tri-State Mustang Club, it didn’t stop owners of other great Ford cars from showing up and showing off. There were quite of few Thunderbirds, ranging from the sporty two seaters from the 1950s to the more luxurious later models. Though created to beat out Chevy’s Corvette, within a couple of years the T-Bird evolved into a four door coupe and later into a full blown luxury car.

            There were also a number of Cobras on display, looking like they were ready to race at any time. Carroll Shelby was something of a free agent when it came to the car industry. He did a great deal of work with Ford, most notably with the famous Shelby Mustang, but also did work with Dodge. It was his own branded Cobras, Ford powered roadsters that debuted in 1963 that really cemented his legend.

            Starting in 1959 Ford made the full sized Galaxie to be their high volume driver. It rolled off the lines in various stages until 1974. By then it was in its fourth generation and had evolved itself pretty much out of existence. The following year, 1975, Ford elected to eliminate the Galaxie marquis and group all of their high end cars under the LTD banner.

            A number of other “orphan” cars were at the show, including a Maverick. Maverick hold fond memories for me as it was my first real car. Sure, I’d shared a VW Beetle (a real one, not one of the new ones or even a Super Beetle) with my brother but the Mustang was all mine. And it was also the first car in which I’d gotten in a wreck.
            I was a sophomore in high school and a friend and I were driving home from an away basketball game. It was February and there was a mist in the cold damp air. I was driving down a fairly well traveled two lane road with no traffic around me. I approached an intersection where I had the right-of-way and a car started to pull out. I slowed but he stopped. Then he must have thought he could beat me because he gunned it and pulled out right in front of me, turning to go in the opposite direction. I had nowhere to go because I was on a small bridge crossing a creek. My left front quarter panel crunched as I hit the left rear of his car.
            There was no serious damage and no one was hurt but I was pretty shaken. As fate would have it there was a police officer not too far behind me who saw the whole thing. He pulled over the other driver who, it turned out, was drunk. You can’t blame that one on a 16-year-old driving too fast.


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