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Cars > alwaysakid’s Garage > Blog > 1961 Ford Thunderbird (White In Night Satin)

 

alwaysakid’s Profile Photo

alwaysakid

M –60
Burnsville, Minnesota
United States

 
 

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Is it Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary?

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1961 Ford Thunderbird (White In Night Satin)

My 1961 Ford Thunderbird is 50 years old this year. Actually, I haven't taken the time to look up the car's actual build date, but just going by the car's model year and present actual calendar year this is the year it becomes a half century old.
Looking at the car it's hard to believe it's actually half a century old. Maybe that's a reflection on how old I am, because when I start using the word "century" I have thoughts of headlights that are attached on top of fenders that are attached to the sides of the cars. My '61 T-Bird actually looks kind of modern for an antique car.
Then we get into that great question of "How old does a car have to be to be considered an antique?" Based on Minnesota automobile license plate laws, any car 20 years old or older is an antique, although they have sub-categories within that antique definition that would indicate a car built after 1948 is a "collector" car. I've heard other arguements that a car must be 25 years old or 50 years old to be an antique, or that it must've been built before World War II (what, not enough people were killed in any the wars after WWII to create a new dividing point for antique cars?). And if the latter definition is used, how many years do we wait before we finally move that WWII boundary up to include some of the millions of cars built after then?
Regardless of whether or not my T-Bird is an antique, there is no question that it has become a half century old this year. And when we're talking about a mechanical product that is still performing its intended functions, I think that's very significant. And when I look at the odometer, it means this car averaged about 2400 miles per year; try making it to work within that many miles of driving in a year. And try looking as good as my T-Bird when you turn 50.
I don't think I'll be around when the car becomes a whole century old. So, I'm celebrating the half-century as a landmark moment in this car's existence by writing this blog dedicated to it.
Happy Birthday, T-Bird! or would that be, Happy Anniversary T-Bird? I don't think it really cares.

The T-Bird Takes One For The Mazda

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1961 Ford Thunderbird (White In Night Satin)

I wanted to call Mother Nature mother-something-else!
We had severe storms come through our area Saturday evening with some very strong winds that caved in our garage door. The Mazda was unscathed, but that's because the '61 Thunderbird next to it was a much longer car and served as a block for the Mazda, stopping the garage door from caving in any further.
But the T-Bird held up very well. The only damage is a slight, barely negligible dent by the taillight. It appears when the garage door hit the bumper, it was stopped from going any further. Other garage doors in the neighborhood, all on houses facing west like ours, were punched in much farther than ours.
And two large trees behind us were uprooted and knocked over.
The cost of replacing the garage door will be less than our deductible, so I'm doing some customizing to the budget. But the T-Bird has good, full coverage, so I don't anticipate that to be much of a problem. It's just a question of whether the dent can be knocked out of the original bumper.
Or since it is the original bumper with the original chrome still good and the dent is barely noticeable, maybe I should just leave it alone.

Wide white walls

By alwaysakid

Filed under: 1961 Ford Thunderbird (White In Night Satin)

My '61 Thunderbird looks great with wide white walls. But alas, wide white walls apparently are not in the cards for my T-Bird, although I did put in a good effort.
I had purchased some fake wide-white walls for it a few years ago, but it turned out they were held on by wheel covers and my car has mag wheels, so that didn't work. Then I came across a guy who had a set of the original Portawalls from the 1950s or 1960s in excellent condition, and I bought them from him. But when I took them to the tire shop, we discovered the tire will not hold air with those Portawalls on them, so I had to purchase inner-tubes. I did that, but had to go to another store to get them. Then it was back to the tire shop, and the tire shop knocked down all the tires to install the tubes and then the Portawalls, but the guy warned me that he didn't know how well they'd hold up on modern tires because the modern tires are shaped a little different and don't have the smooth sidewalls with no raised letters or print like the tires of old. Sure enough, by the time I got it home, one of the Portawalls had worked part way off and broke. So, back to the tire shop, and I had him take them all off, because the car looked incomplete with only three wide white walls. When I got back home again, I discovered one of the tires going flat in the garage. So, I pulled that wheel off and went back to the tire shop again. It turned out the wheel had a slight defect in it that punctured the innertube but otherwise never would've manifested itself with tubeless tires. He took the innertube out and the tire was fine.
It was a most frustrating experience.
I'm aware that there are companies that sell wide white wall tires, but I've also head some stories of quality issues with these companies. I've been told the tires are made more for show than for doing a lot of driving. And having to order the tires by mail and having no dealer to go back to locally for repairs when something does go wrong makes me very hesitant to take this route. And that's without even mentioning the high cost of said tires.
But that's OK. The wide white walls may have looked great, but when you have a good-looking car to begin with, doing without them becomes a minor detail. That is, once I got over all the frustrations I dealt with.
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Cars > alwaysakid’s Garage > Blog > 1961 Ford Thunderbird (White In Night Satin)

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