Concept Car Of The Day: 1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien - AllCarIndex

Concept Car Of The Day: 1963 Ford Thunderbird Italien

Jun 11, 2024

The "Italien" was a unique concept car that was part of Ford's Custom Caravan and exhibited at the 1964 New York World's Fair. It was a styling study by Ford and was built by their concept car builder, Dearborn Steel Tubing. This special 1963 Thunderbird featured a new roof line with aerodynamic styling and a customized leather interior with bucket seats front and rear.

Designed by Ford's Thunderbird styling department, the Thunderbird Italien departed from the traditional Thunderbird greenhouse. The plywood buck for the clay model of the roof was built by the Thunderbird Stylists in their own studio before giving it to DST where Vince Gardner made the fiberglass roof and deck lid. Gardner constructed the Italien while working for Ford's outsourcing contractor, DST, who also built the famed 1964 Ford Thunderbolts as well as other non-assembly line concept vehicles.

After going through a complete, original, rotisserie restoration by Thunderbird restorer Tom Maruska in August 2007, the Italien was in pristine condition. It was prominently featured in Ford's 1962-63 "Custom Car Caravan" and appeared in Autoramas across the United States. The Italien was showcased in over 14 magazines in the '60s before being destined for the crusher by Ford. However, it was sold to actor Dale Robertson of TV's popular shows like "Tales of Wells Fargo" and "Wagon Train".

In 2006, Thunderbird restorer Tom Maruska purchased the Italien and meticulously restored it to its original specifications. The restoration process was featured in "Legendary Ford" magazine and culminated with the Italien appearing on the cover of the November/December 2007 issue. The sale of the Italien also included complete feature series in "Thunderbird Scoop" magazine and the Vintage Thunderbird Club International magazine.

The Italien's fascinating history and journey from being a Ford concept car to being restored to its former glory make it a truly special collector's item for automotive enthusiasts.

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