written by Richard Coulter

Looking back to my youth, I have always been a car nut. Those shiny Family carrying projectiles were a constant source of fascination to me. Each car with it’s unique style and design. You could decipher the model based solely on a silouhette. Unlike today’s aerodynamical styles, the only difference is the name tag applied to the front grille.  I believe the term is Jap soap bars.

In 1954 at the tender age of 5 I can recall my first car memory. Neighbours in our Scarborough community for the most part drove Fords,Chevy’s and Dodges . They were simple means of conveyance 4 door sedans with 6 cylinder engines and spartan interiors. Air conditioning, convertibles, power windows and power antennas although available on top line models were only pipe dreams for the working middle class.

Directly across the street from where I lived was a family named the Goddards. They had 2 sons Ricky and Randy. The father worked as a salesman at the local Ford dealership and from time to time would bring cars home to do a test drive and report his likes and dislikes.

In September 1954 Ford introduced the all new 1955 Thunderbird. The only one I had ever seen was in a copy of my parents National Geographic. My understanding was that Ford required you to make a certain amount of money in order to buy one. In otherwords a status symbol. Hollywood actors were the first to drive them and therefore exclaim that they had achieved the American Dream.

Sometime in the fall of 1954, Mr. Goddard drove one home from work.  It was white with a rear port hole window and continental kit on the back. A real sharp car. It just seemed to float into his driveway.

If only my Mother would allow me to cross the street and get a closer look at those wire wheels.

It was the first and last time I ever saw that car, but that memory is permanently etched in my brain.

I was hooked.

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