Charles McDonald's 1955 Ford
1955 Ford Thunderbird originally owned by Charles "Chuck" McDonald. Chuck's Thunderbird left the factory yellow with a yellow and black interior. As Chuck wanted his Thunderbird to stand out from the rest, he took it to Don Roberts of Bear's Custom Body Shop in Inglewood for a custom treatment. According to rumors, Don customized more first generation Thunderbirds than anyone else in the Los Angeles area.
Don shaved all emblems, except for the ones on the gas tank lid and the chrome hashes on the fenders. The stock bumper guards up front and in the rear were replaced by slimmer looking guards. The exhaust exits were moved below the bumper, and the raised areas on the rear filler panel were flattened and smoothed. Inside, the interior was converted to black and white, and the hard top was covered with vinyl. All 1955 Ford Thunerbirds were sold with a black soft top, so Chuck had a white top made for the car as well. Once the bodywork was done, Don gave the car a Candy red paint job. A Bear's Custom Body Shop Inglewood sticker was fit on the backside of the rear view mirror, so the car had to be restyled after Don moved his shop in the late 1950s.
Chuck kept on to the car for about 5 decades. In 2005 he sold it to Toni Aulicino, who helped take care of Charlie on his older days. In 2013 Toni moved to Weatherford, Texas, and she brought the Thunderbird along. Chris Savaglio of Las Cruces, New Mexico bought the old custom from Toni in the spring of 2014. When Chris bought the car, Toni told him that she had bought it from the original owner, and that his name was Charles McDonald. When Toni bought the Thunderbird, back in 2005, Chuck was 90 years old, and he would still take it out to flirt with the girls. Chris got the original 1956 California yellow plate with the car. As the Thunderbird is a very late production 1955 model, he believes the car was not titled until 1956. When Chris got the car, it still had the Candy red paint job that Don Roberts had applied when the car was first restyled. Unfortunately, it had seen better days, and the paint job had lots of chips, dull spots, and faded areas. There were snaps for a tonneau cover on the car, but it came without one, so Chris fit it with a new one. After Chris got the car, he went over it, cleaning things up cosmetically and mechanically to make it a good and reliable driver. Under the hood, the car was bone stock, and every casting number that Chris checked were correct, down to the carburetor. Chris installed a 1957 4bbl intake on the car and a newer distributor so he could run a modern Holley instead of the teapot, but he packed all of the original parts safely away.
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