Hershey, PA – The Williams-Clyne Gateway Gallery will be home to Thunderbirds May 18 through October 14, 2018. Gerard “Bart” Bartasavich, President of the International Thunderbird Club (ITC) will be guest curating the display at the Museum featuring their favorite cars. During the course of the exhibit date, the specific vehicles on view will vary.
The first Thunderbirds that will be on view in the Williams-Clyne Gallery are a 1960 Thunderbird AACA ITC Senior Award Winner; a 1963 Principality of Monaco Thunderbird; and, the 1957 Battlebird Thunderbird. These specific vehicles will be on display until the Museum rolls in the next group at the beginning of the summer.
The 1960 Thunderbird (pictured above) AACA ITC Senior Award Winner is owned by Tom Young. Young first purchased the vehicle in 1991 as a rust free original California car and was interested in restoring it after his 25 years of drag racing in the NHRA Eliminator category. Beginning the restoration process, the car was completely stripped to bare metal, all suspension pieces powder coated and all fasteners re-plated with chrome. As the years rolled on, Young collected New Old Stock parts to complete the restoration, but some items such as paint inspection stamps and wiring harness tags had to be handmade by Tom because they were not available for the car. Other than the paint and bodywork, Young did the entire restoration himself. After completing the restoration in 2006, Young entered into the AACA Fall Meet in Hershey, PA. The vehicles restoration was completed just 3 days before and won the “First Junior” award and has since won a ‘Senior” award, and a “First Grand National” award. In 2012, he won the coveted AACA “Thunderbird” award and to this date, this is the only 4 passenger Thunderbird to ever win. The 1960 Thunderbird was also a Senior Award winner with The International Thunderbird Club and a two-time Best of Show winner with another National Thunderbird Club.
This 1963 Principality of Monaco Thunderbird (pictured below) is number 325 out of only 2,000. These vehicles were quickly purchases by an eager luxury market and retailed for $4,500. This model was dubbed the ‘Princess Grace’ model by Ford after Grace Kelly cemented her role in history by marrying Prince Rainer III of Monaco in 1956. Princess Grace, had a part in the design of the vehicle, as she was consulted on the vehicles color scheme. She opted for Rose Beige Vinyl over the original design of Corinthian White and Ford was happy to abide by Princess Grace’s request. Car #1 debuted in February 1963 at the Monte Carlo Opera House and was presented to Prince Rainier as a gift from Ford. On February 7, 1963, Ford sent a letter to all prospective customers and had them postmarked from Monaco. The Principality of Monaco Thunderbird was quickly creating a buzz around the world, and was featured in magazines such as Vogue and was shown on The Ed Sullivan Show.
This Ford Thunderbird, known as a Bullet Bird, has a unique style and design featuring a 390 cubic inch. Engine, 300 hp, Cruise-O-Matic Transmission, Rose Beige Long-grained Vinyl Roof, White Crinkle/Vachette Leather and Rosewood interior Trim. The vehicle also includes carpeted door trim panel bottoms, Simulated Rosewood trim on the console, instrument panel, door panels, and rear quarter trim panels, and wood seat back emblem inserts. The “Princess Grace” also has a white steering wheel, deluxe wheel covers, and rear fender shields. The 1963 model is also the only model so equipped. This vehicle is on loan from Myrna and Steve Wishnick.
The 1957 Battlebird (pictured below) on loan by Richard Stuck has been drag raced at old-time drag events, made exhibitions laps and was the only post-1934 car ever allowed to make a run down the beach at The Rae of Gentleman. After going on an extensive hunt for original photograph and articles about Battlebird #98, Mr. Stuck had redone all the work from the original vehicle. All necessary aluminum parts were fabricated, all chassis modifications were performed, and a 347 cubic inch 312 Ford Y-Clock was built to power it. It took one year of full-time work to complete the car, but it is still considered a work in progress as more information on the Battlebird surfaces. To make the car period correct, all the graphics were hand painted by Joe Sannutti, a famous custom painter. The car is regularly driven to shows and events by Mr. Stuck.