Angelo's 1963 Ford Thunderbird: Our Shed
Unique Cars staff member, Ange Loupetis wanted to be a pilot and the Thunderbird’s space-race styling and jet engine taillights caught his imagination early on.
1963 Ford Thunderbird
Designer Ang first spied a ’63 T-Bird in a book, then shelled out for a die-cast model so it was inevitable that he would end up with a life-size version of the classic coupe. And, yes, Phil Walker had a hand in this car too!
"I’ve always liked planes and I love the T-Bird’s jet styling," Ang explains, sitting behind the ’Bird’s big steering wheel. "I loved that jet era and the T-Bird looks like it’s going 100mph when it’s standing still.
"I’ve had it about five-and-a-half years, since I was 23. It’s a California car and I found it on eBay with Phil, who’s a bad influence. The owner was moving from California to Texas to retire and had to sell up and it was a real genuine car."
Originally painted in Green Mist, the car had been resprayed Raven Black – not Ang’s preference but as his wife Karla digs it, it’s the one non-original aspect of the car that probably won’t change.
Ang admits he was a little naïve about what constituted a ‘good 46-year-old car’ and he’s spent a significant amount on it since it lobbed.
"I didn’t expect it to be perfect and it was off the road for a long time because there was always something going wrong with it, but I was lucky because it was a good basis to start with," Ang says.
"I didn’t realise I’d have to do so much. But I raised my standards when I got it and then saw what is available for it. The more I looked into it, the more accessories I wanted to return it to original condition.
"It was running a ’67 intake with a two-barrel carby and I wanted the original intake with a four-barrel. I joined the T-Bird club because I didn’t know much and people in the club have shown me what’s right and wrong.
"For example, I was expecting a vinyl interior but it’s got factory vinyl seats with cloth inserts, which is a lot rarer."
The ’Bird is powered by a 390 big block and it’s got a three-speed Cruise-O-Matic. The power steering is sorted, as is the suspension and brakes, and it wears the correct period tyres. Ang likes his details and regularly trawls eBay looking for parts.
"I’ve got a new old-stock cloth interior with repro vinyl to go in, then I have to redo the dash pad. A lot of the interior chrome is original and I’m leaving that. I love getting new old-stock in the original packing." It’s a fair-weather car, though.
"I don’t drive it in the rain and try to drive it at least once a month," he says. "I’m really proud to own a classic car and all the effort to get it where it is now pays off when you drive it.
"I’ve put this car ahead of a lot of other priorities in my life and it gets a lot of attention. But I didn’t buy it for that."
1963 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop
Mileage 46,000 miles
+ "Electric everything!"
- "Finding a safe parking space that it’ll fit into"
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