I visited my local Pull-A-Part this weekend, in search of an outside mirror for my father-in-law’s Mercury and a door-mounted speaker pod for another family member’s Buick, when I stumbled upon this:
That beautiful piece of industrial design is the intake manifold from a second-generation Ford Taurus SHO. I was tempted to grab it just for garage art, but the heat and the lack of a full toolkit made me walk away. While I was successful in finding the mirror and speaker I needed, I may just have to find an excuse to head back down that way soon, armed with a complement of metric tools.
My love of wagons knows almost no bounds, but this one really trips my trigger. I’ve never seen a flat blue car before, and I must say it looks fantastic, especially on top of the red wheels and white walls. I’d lose the yellow headlights and probably ditch the pinstriping (although I’m torn on that one), but otherwise this car is just about perfect. Eventually I’d tire of the Mexican blanket upholstery and probably swap in some white vinyl, but even with that goofy roof rack on there this is a sweet little ride – and the price is certainly right. It’s a good thing I don’t have the space (or funds) for this car, because my wife would be getting the full-court press on this one.
Wait, what? I’m certainly not a woodworker, but I have to imagine that the asking price is severely undercutting the amount of man-hours involved in this thing. While it is certainly awe-inspiring, I have to think whatever meager horsepower the original F4 engine makes is hard-pressed to move the equivalent of an entire neighborhood’s cabinetry, not to mention the discomfort brought on by the all-wood seating (as a coworker pointed out upon viewing this rolling sculpture, the least the builder could have done was craft some of those beaded seat covers that cab drivers use). And let’s be honest – what’s with skimping on the white wheels? Why not make those out of wood too, like a Conestoga wagon?
I’m being a little harsh here, because this really is pretty amazing, something beyond the abilities of 99% of the human population. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should – and it certainly doesn’t mean you can sell it.
Let’s just get this out of the way – the wheels suck and have to go. But look at the bright side – you could probably turn a small profit selling those Daytons and replacing them with the right steel wheels or something like that. Now for the rest of the negatives:
- It’s “only” got a 283 and a Powerglide – who cares, it’s not a race car.
- It’s got lacquer paint with some imperfections – this is a matter of personal preference, but it’s a $6k (or less) car. As long as they’re not serious, and you don’t plan on driving it in the winter, you could probably do some budget touch-up work and never worry about it again.
- It’s a four-door. Eh, get over it. A comparable two-door car would be three times the price. You play the hand you’re dealt.
It’s a pretty, if unloved, body style that would make an excellent cruiser/occasional project that won’t break the bank. Most of the important stuff seems to be squared away, so buy it, tinker with it, and either dump a bunch of unrecoverable money into a restoration or unload it for roughly the same price in a couple years. I certainly wouldn’t be ashamed to drive this around in the summer – even with those wheels.
I’m on the record as a fan of the first-gen T-bird, but Ford went all-in with the gingerbread and ruined it for the ’58 redesign – which was of course far more successful at the time than the prettier, simpler ’55-’57 cars. This white example is comparably priced for similar cars of the era, but man there is a lot going on here. Between the multiple character lines down the side and hood to the fins and jet-age bullets on the doors, I don’t see anything that’s in harmony. Couple that with the very formal roofline, and it looks like the car is arguing with itself. It might be the nicest 1959 Thunderbird around, but I’d take a more expensive earlier car any day.