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1957 Ford Thunderbird – An Early Beauty

Cruising with the Top Down

If you make a list of iconic cars of the 1950’s, the Ford Thunderbird would definitely be in your top five. Its sleek, sophisticated design still hits a chord with Americans that resonates today. Etched in our memories thanks to classic films like American Graffiti, the stylish exterior of the Thunderbird is forever linked to cruising down Main Street and listening to rock-n-roll on the radio. You can almost see Suzanne Somers sitting behind the wheel …
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


Too Sexy for Words

Elite Autos in Jonesboro, AR gives us an up-close-and-personal look at a perfect example of an early Thunderbird. Beautifully restored, this 1957 Ford Thunderbird E Series in bronze with a cream interior is too sexy for words, and can be found on their website, www.eliteautosllc.com, along with many other classic cars. Check it out.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


The First Personal Luxury Car

In 1953, the gauntlet is thrown down to the automotive world with Chevrolet’s introduction of the Corvette. For the executives at Ford Motor Co., building just another sports car to compete with the Corvette is too limiting. They have loftier goals of building a “personal luxury car” that appeals to a wider market. Just two years later, they roll out the Ford Thunderbird and the passenger car is never the same.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


Demand for Thunderbirds Outpaces Corvettes

Right from the beginning the Thunderbird creates a fire storm and soon Ford has a challenge keeping up with demand. In the first year alone, Ford produces 16,155 vehicles, five times the number of Corvettes produced in that same time frame. The American consumer makes it clear they want a passenger car that rivals those from Mercedes Benz and Jaguar in quality and style.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


A Different Bird

This car isn’t your Granddad’s old workhorse sedan. The early Thunderbirds are two-seater convertibles with fiberglass hardtops and an optional canvas retractable roof (sigh). Unlike the plastic Corvette body, the T-Bird is mounted on a solid steel frame and comes with a 292 cubic inch OHV V8 engine. In other words, it has muscle under the hood. Despite looking like a sleek sports car, the Thunderbird retains some of Ford’s basic design standards such as the egg crate grille, the single headlamps, and the stubby tailfins. There is no denying it though, the Thunderbird is a different bird.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


Make Mine a Ford-o-Matic

The T-Bird has a top speed of 150 mph and is rated at 193 hp with a manual transmission. You could select the “Ford-o-Matic” option (don’t you just love that name!) which is a three-speed automatic transmission and increase the output to 198 hp.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


Remember to Pack Lightly

Ford makes a few concessions to buyers with later models. Consumers complained about the limited trunk space in the ’55 Thunderbirds so Ford decides to mount the spare tire on the rear of the car. They call this the “Continental Kit” and while this frees up space in the back for suitcases, you still have to lift them up and over the spare tire to place them into the trunk.


Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)


Change Happens

Ford also decides to drastically change the design of the Thunderbird in 1958, making it a four seater. There is very little carry over from the early T-Birds to the ’58 version. It has a new body structure, a longer wheel base, a new design style, and a new engine. Thunderbird sales continue to climb, yet these later generation models never attain the iconic status of the “early birds”.


Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)

 

“Retro Birds” Attempt a Comeback

Ford shuts down the production line for the Thunderbird in 1997 after 43 years. A total of 73,814 T-Birds had rolled off the line. It is the end of an era… or so America thinks. In 2002, Ford attempts to revive the brand and take the Thunderbird back to its roots. They release a modernized version of the classic two-seater convertible. Car lovers rejoice until 2005, when the renewed excitement wanes and Ford stops production for the final time.


Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)

 

Capturing the American Spirit

The Thunderbird has reinvented itself more times than Madonna over the years. Its style has transformed from 50’s muscle car to 90’s family sedan. Each generation brought a different take on what a luxury car should be. It is the classic American car. In a lot of ways the Ford Thunderbird represents the best characteristics of this country – always changing, always pushing boundaries and never settling. Long may the Thunderbird reign.
 

Looking for a 1957 Thunderbird? Here's one for sale
(Photo courtesy of www.eliteautosllc.com)

 

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

No matter what generation of Thunderbird you may drive make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your investment. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/25/2015 12:39:13 PM with 0 comments


EPA and High Performance Cars – Was It Worth It?

These Three Letters Get Car Lovers Worked Up

When you bring up the EPA to a classic car lover they will likely growl and complain about how the agency single handedly killed the American muscle car with all of its regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency can sure get car folks worked up. Having lived through the era of environmental regulations and catalytic converters, which can reduce once powerful engines to anemic hulks of metal, you have to ask yourself – is it worth it?

 


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
 

Who Cares About MPG?

When the EPA comes into being in the 1970’s car manufacturers have very little restrictions on them to deliver automobiles that are as fuel efficient as they are fast. The car makers keep squeezing bigger and bigger engines into smaller and lighter bodies. The motto is – “you want fast, we’ll give you fast”. No one is concerned with miles per gallon, including consumers.


 
Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.secondchancegarage.com)


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of EverEffect)

Better Fuel Efficiency – Americans Love a Challenge

As oil embargos and rising fuel costs begin to affect our economy, demands for fuel efficiency do indeed help to kill the muscle car. Yet Americans love a challenge! Why couldn’t a fast car also get great gas mileage, we say? Fast forward to today, where cars are manufactured to be more fuel efficient, better performing and even more powerful than their predecessors.



Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.autonews.com)

Smaller Engines … Faster Cars

Today’s engines are half the size of those in cars like the 1967 Pontiac GTO, which has a 6.4 liter V8 engine with 360 HP. The Mercedes-Benz CLA 45 AMG has a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder twin-turbo engine and is rated at 355 HP. Even “America’s Sports Car”, the Chevrolet Corvette C-7, gets a higher highway fuel economy (29 mpg) than most economy cars do a decade ago.


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.media.caranddriver.com)

MPG Solutions Help Generate Innovation

Think of the technological innovations that are inspired by the EPA rulings back in the 70’s and 80’s. Sure, some had been toyed with, but none are put into practical use until the advent of EPA restrictions. Advances like variable valve timing, direct injection, turbo chargers, advanced engine control computers, lightweight materials and composites are all solutions for the power versus fuel economy conundrum.


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.assets.nydailynews.com)

Automotive Ingenuity

Car lovers will say that the evolution of the automobile would have happened regardless of the government stepping in and creating restrictions. Perhaps. Before the EPA comes along car manufacturers seem less motivated to improve a car’s performance. Automatic transmissions barely change from 1950 to 1980. Now, we see automatic transmissions with twice the number of gears and numerous other innovations that (dare we say it!) make them more efficient than manual transmission models. (Gasp!)

 
Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.media.caranddriver.com)

Tesla Model S – Part Car, Part Electronic Device

Totally electric cars like the Tesla Model S, which is capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.1 seconds, are ushering in a new wave of automobiles. With a battery that is literally part of the car’s structure, the Model S gets an incredible 94 mpg city/ 97 mpg highway. It is part car, part electronic device. The Tesla Model S might very well be the wave of the future.

 
Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.media.caranddriver.com)

The Fastest Accelerating Car of all Time

If an electric car is not to your liking then try this hybrid on for size – the 2015 Koenigsegg Regera. With a base price just shy of $2 million, this hybrid supercar has 1500 HP and can hit speeds of up to 248 mph in less than 20 seconds. It has a 5 liter turbo V8 engine along with three electric motors and a single speed Direct Drive transmission. This unique hybrid may be the fastest accelerating car of all time.


Classic Car Lovers Love High Performance Cars
(Photo courtesy of www.kinja-img.com)

Turning Roadblocks into Milestones

History shows us that the EPA emission standards force car manufacturers back to the drawing board. At the time we consider them to be hurdles that we neither want nor need, endangering our big engines and fast cars. Sometimes the roadblocks that appear before us turn out to be what motivates us to strive for something better. Maybe that’s what the EPA restrictions accomplish in the long run. Not to mention, the skies above some of our larger cities are benefitting from lower carbon emissions. Thankfully, automotive ingenuity has come full circle, enabling us to not only have fast cars, they are more fuel efficient and more powerful than ever. Isn’t it nice to be able to have our cake and eat it, too?

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

No matter what type car or engine you have, you want to protect them from life’s little mishaps. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/18/2015 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments


The Ultimate Father’s Day Buying Guide [INFOGRAPHIC]

Gifts for Every Kind of Car Loving Dad

Not Another Tie!

Finding the right Father’s Day gift for your Dad could be about as difficult as restoring a classic car. You’ve known the man your entire life, yet when it comes down to shopping for him, nothing fits the bill. All you know is, you’d better not show up with another tie in that package! Factor in that Dad is a classic car enthusiast and the task gets even tougher.

Dad’s in a Class by Himself

We’ve come up with four basic types of classic-car-loving Dads to help you narrow down your gift selection. See which category your Father falls into and hopefully light bulbs will begin to go off over your head.

  1. Techie Dad – He is the man who always has the latest and greatest gadget.

  2. Relaxation Dad – He is someone who loves to enjoy his time off with his family … and his car.

  3. Musical Dad – He is listening to his favorite tunes no matter what he’s doing.

  4. Mechanic Dad – He loves to get his hands dirty and is always under the hood.

No “Magic 8 Ball” for Finding Dad a Gift

Last year Americans spent about 12.5 billion dollars on their Dads for Father’s Day. The average person spent just under $114 on presents for Father’s Day that range from clothing to gift cards –and ties. Before you get stuck wandering aimlessly around your local mall only to buy something totally … we’ll say uninspired, like a “Magic 8 Ball”, we’re here to help. We’ve put together a great list of gift ideas that are sure to please even the most discriminating Dad. Share our list with all the other desperate Father’s Day shoppers out there. Let’s make this the best Father’s Day ever! Now, get out there and shop ‘til you drop, people!
 

Father’s Day Gifts for Every Kind of Car Loving Dad
 

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Classic Car Dads know – the right auto insurance is as important as using original parts in your restoration. Let the friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right insurance policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/12/2015 4:09:46 PM with 0 comments


What is a Classic Car?

Take Time to Research

You’ve been toying with the idea of buying a Classic car for a while now (unbeknownst to your significant other, perhaps). You find yourself surfing the internet for the perfect car in need of a little TLC. You have the garage space, so why not? But that little voice inside your head keeps screaming, “Take your time. Research this a little more.” Giving in to that nagging inner killjoy, you decide to find out what it means when a car is called “Classic”. We are here to help.
 


Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

But I Got a Classic Car Tag!

Trying to find an agreed upon definition for what a “Classic” car may be harder than restoring one. It seems that everyone from organizations like the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) to your state’s DMV has their own definition of what makes a car a “Classic”. The term is often used to describe any car over 25 years old, whether it is a VW van or a Dusenberg. Therein lays the problem. Can every old car be a “Classic”?

 

Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

One Man’s Classic is Another Man’s Folly

The folks at CCCA say that a classic car is a vehicle that is produced between 1925 and 1948 and is known for its “fine design, high engineering standards, and superior workmanship”. Translation – your grandmother’s old Dodge Volare is not going to make the cut. The CCCA website actually lists the cars that they feel are unique enough to be called “Classic”.



Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Just Because It’s an Antique Doesn’t Make it a Classic

An easier way to think of the “Classic” label is to consider the time periods in which cars are made. The “Antique” car era (1890-1915) is when vehicles were built by small teams of innovative engineers, artisans and craftsmen. These were the first of the “horseless carriages”.
 


Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Vintage Isn’t Just for Wine

The “Vintage” era (1916-1924) introduces automobiles that fall in between the expensive luxury sedans and the basic car models from Ford, Dodge and Chevrolet. They have the simple engineering features of the Model T but also include perks like visors and cigar lighters. This is where paying for “optional” features on a car must have begun.



Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

“Classics” – Rare and Beautiful

Now to the category in question, which is the “Classic” era from 1925-1948. During this period cars go from being just modes of transportation to status symbols. An average car costs between $400 and $1,200, whereas a “Classic” car would cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000, and only a limited number would be produced. These are the luxury cars driven by society’s elite. Rare and beautiful, these “Classic” vehicles hold their value over time.
 


Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Automobile Technology Reigns During “Post War” Era

The “Post War” era (1945-1970) is the period where powerful engines and sleek designs are introduced. Car technology takes a huge leap forward. The automobile becomes a worldwide “must have” and production numbers soar. Mercedes Benz, Ferrari and Chevy Corvette are among the many standouts in this period.



Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Recognizing When a Car is Not a “Classic”

So how does this inform you on your search for the perfect Classic car to restore? It will at least help you recognize what car collectors refer to when they describe a vehicle as “Classic”. The general public tends to misuse or overuse the term quite often, especially in car listings for sales. So buyers, beware.



Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Collecting Cars - Investment or Guilty Pleasure?

Your focus for buying a collector car should be on what you want. Ask yourself first, is the car going to be an investment or a guilty pleasure? Do you want to restore the vehicle in order to sell it or to enjoy showing it off? Will the time and money you put into restoring the car bring you a profitable return or just a lifetime of joy spent in your garage?
 


Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
 

For the Love of Cars…Don’t Get Hung Up on Labels

Labels like “Classic” and “Antique” mean a lot at car shows and on the auction block but on a personal level, not so much. Your car is your pride and joy whether it is a Maybach Zeppelin DS8 sedan or a Ford F-10 truck. So don’t get too hung up on labels. Car enthusiasts love looking at beautifully restored automobiles, regardless of their pedigree. The love of cars is what drives us all to restore these unique pieces of history. Just enjoy the ride.



Classic, Antique, Vintage, Collector…what defines a classic car?
(Photo courtesy of www.nethercuttcollection.org)
 

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

You put a lot of hard work into restoring your Classic. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/11/2015 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments


Car Cruise-in Season is Here!

Take to the Streets in Your Favorite Car

All across America the warmer weather inspires people to head outside and take in the sunshine. The car community is no exception because now is the start of “cruise-in” season. Whether it is along Main Street USA or outside of your favorite neighborhood restaurant, car enthusiasts are taking their local streets and showin’ off their rides.
 

Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
 

The Car is King at the Local “Cruise-In”

When you think of “cruising” most people flash back to the scene from the 1973 classic movie American Graffiti, where all of those wonderful ‘50’s hotrods paraded slowly up and down the main strip in Modesto, CA. Today “cruising” is done mostly via “cruise-ins.” Local car enthusiasts get together weekly or monthly at a specific location to show off their wheels and talk shop. The one thing that remains top of mind is that the car is still king.
 

 Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
 

Cruise-in vs. Car Show

What is the difference between a cruise-in and a car show? It’s all a matter of size and attitude. A cruise-in is a laid back three to four hour social gathering for just about anyone who appreciates a nice looking car. It is a small event with no entry fees and pretty much any kind of car is welcome. A car show on the other hand is a larger all day event with entry fees, class divisions for cars and, of course, judging. Think of it like this: a cruise-in is low stress; a car show can get the blood boiling a little hotter.

 

Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
(Photo courtesy of www.sacbee.com)
 

Make Mine a Cruise-in

For the lazy days of summer, make mine a car cruise-in. Folks stroll around admiring the wide assortment of automobiles on display and striking up conversations with owners or other car enthusiasts along the way. It’s a family atmosphere. Many cruise-in events are held along local main street where spectators can wander into stores and restaurants when they aren’t out kicking the tires on their favorite hotrod.
 

Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
 

Break out the Lawn Chair and Talk Cars

Sometimes called “show and shine” events because that’s about all someone has to do to enter their car into one of these gatherings, entry fees are rare. If there is one it’s usually to raise money for a local charity. All you have to do is park your car, set up your lawn chair and enjoy yourself. The whole purpose of the cruise-in is to get together with your neighbors and talk cars. It’s about as low stress as it gets when showing off your car.


Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
 

Is There a “Cruise-in” in Your Town?

From Middletown, CT and the "Cruise Night on Main" to the "Back to the 50's Car Cruise" in La Mesa, CA, you can literally find a cruise-in happening pretty much anywhere in the U.S. starting in May right through to September. Check out www.carshowfinder.org to find a listing of some of the cruise-ins and car shows in your state. Heck, plan a summer road trip and hit a few along the way. Start off with the "2015 ShrinersFest" in Evansville, IN at Riverfront Plaza on Friday, June 26. Finish up in Jacksonville, FL on the third Tuesday in July for the "Jax Beach Classic Car Cruise" . Think of the new friends you can meet along the way … not to mention the cars. Whoa, momma!

 

Car Cruise-In Season is Here – Get Outside with Your Classic!
 

Cruise-Ins – Great Way to Spend a Summer Evening

Summertime and the living is easy! Why polish that classic of yours if you don’t show it off once in a while? Get out and find a local car cruise in your community. Connect with your fellow gearheads. Bring the entire family. It’s a great way to spend a summer evening.

Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less

Worrying about your car insurance is no way to enjoy your summer. Let our friendly staff at Classic Auto Insurance help you find the right policy for your needs. Visit our website at www.classicins.com and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.

Posted: 6/4/2015 9:00:00 AM with 0 comments


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