My Car Quest

November 27, 2021

The Ford Thunderbird Italien From 1963

by Mike Gulett –

One of the interesting benefits of attending car shows is when you come across a unique one-of-a-kind car that you likely will not see again. That is what happened when I went to the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance this past July 2021 and I spotted the 1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien (not Italian).

Ford Thunderbird Italien

Ford Thunderbird Italien

The Thunderbird Italien Concept was not created by any Italian design house as we might expect. Not Zagato, Ghia or Bertone but this beauty was created in Ford’s own styling department.

Ford sent the design over to Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. to create the fiberglass roof and trunk, as well as the other custom features.

Vince Gardner at Dearborn Steel Tubing Co. was head of the project, who was also responsible for the short wheelbase Mustang. The Italien received custom touches such as fender vents, custom bumpers and a full leather interior.

Ford Thunderbird Italien

Ford Thunderbird Italien

The Italien was presented at many Autoramas including Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles. Somehow this unique Thunderbird avoided being destroyed like so many concept and prototype cars. It wound up in the ownership of American TV star Dale Robertson who then gave it to his gardener. It was fully restored in 2007 and is now owned by the Blackhawk Collection and is for sale.

I like it when the styling of American cars is inspired by Italian design, or done by Italian designers. And I love the color Candy Apple Red. Don’t you?

Ford Thunderbird Italien

Ford Thunderbird Italien

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Ford Thunderbird Italien Logo

Photos by Mike Gulett.
Summary
The Ford Thunderbird Italien From 1963
Article Name
The Ford Thunderbird Italien From 1963
Description
Somehow the unique Ford Thunderbird Italien avoided being destroyed like so many concept and prototype cars. It wound up in the ownership of American TV star Dale Robertson who then gave it to his gardener.
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Comments

  1. That T-bird is one yummy improvement on the baseline! I’m surprised they didn’t drop a couple of bucket seats in there. Nice that it didn’t end up in the crusher.

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