Suzanne’s father, Ken, bought his Ford Thunderbird on February 28th of 1955. He had special ordered the car because he wanted to ensure he got one of the first T-Birds delivered at the local Ford Dealership. As Suzanne recalls, he probably paid a little more for the car in order to have the privilege to own one of the first of Ford’s new two-seat sports cars. But her father didn’t mind because he had a point to make with his brother Robert, Suzanne’s Uncle Bob. You see Uncle Bob had purchased a new 1954 Chevrolet Corvette the year before and was a big Chevrolet guy. Uncle Bob drove the Corvette to nearly every family gathering and it made Suzanne’s father a little crazy as he was a big Ford fan and not happy that there was not a two-seat sports car in the “blue oval” line up! But now her Dad had his Ford V8 powered two-seater to help him wave the Ford flag at family gatherings. Suzanne didn’t go into detail about how this sibling rivalry went, but she did share the car brought her family a lot of great memories. Suzanne learned to drive in the ’55 T-bird and even used it to take her driver’s test, which maybe wasn’t her most favorite memory.
When she got to the department of motor vehicles to take her test, the car would not idle and she had to keep one foot on the gas and the other on the brake to keep it running. The driver’s test proctor called her out for driving with two feet. She explained to him that the car would stall if she didn’t. The proctor immediately failed her explaining, “Young lady you cannot take the test with a car that is not operating properly, you flunked!”
“I went home and yelled at my Dad, I was so upset he would send me for my road test with the car not running well!” Suzanne explained. Her Dad got the car fixed and she passed her test with flying colors.
Suzanne, who is 74 years young, giggled as she told me the Beach Boys song, “Fun. Fun, Fun” was playing on the hold music just before I took her call. “That song brings back a lot of memories of cruising in my Dad’s car!” She told me. I replied, “Oh really, tell me more!” But she played it cool and told me about how she and her granddaughter are building a whole new generation of memories in the T-Bird. I asked if she will give the car to her granddaughter someday and Suzanne replied, “I already see a lot of me in her, so I think I better keep an eye on her as she grows into her teenage years before I commit to giving her the keys to Grandma’s ‘bird!” Suzanne coyly responded.