- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

In the early years of the Thunderbird, the body styles were changed every three years, the fourth generation being built during 1964, 1965 and 1966.

Ford Motor Co. undoubtedly did not have young Ronald Lee in mind when the 1966 Town Hardtop Coupe with a formal roofline was designed with a cockpit-style passenger compartment, Silent-Flo ventilation system, front disc brakes and wall-to-wall taillights with sequential turn signals.

However, the senior at Ballou High School was one of the most ardent admirers of the new Thunderbird. He even liked the fake air scoop on the engine hood.

About 40 years have passed but the desire for a 1966 Thunderbird still languished in Mr. Lee’s mind.

In July 2004, he saw an ad for a restored car just like he wanted. It was in Springfield, Ohio which necessitated many phone calls and an exchange of photographs before he finally took the plunge.

He flew to Ohio and found the eggshell white Thunderbird was exactly as advertised, one of 15,633 such models produced that year.

“It looked good and sounded good,” Mr. Lee recalls, “So I bought it.” The air conditioner was in working order as was all the power equipment including:

- Power brakes.

- Power steering.

- Power antenna.

- Power windows.

- Power door locks.

Mr. Lee explains that the transaction was a “buy and ride” deal. Before the ink was dry on the paperwork, he was on the highway heading home to Camp Springs, the big 390-cubic-inch V-8 delivering 315 horsepower. The 4,359-pound Thunderbird rides on a 113.2-inch wheelbase.

Once at home, Mr. Lee gave his new old car a thorough examination.

Since then, he says, “I have replaced a lot of stuff,”and he is quick to add, “But I did it with love.” To assist in starting the car and also to improve gas mileage, a Holley carburetor with an electric choke was installed. The right window was balky and that problem was also fixed. On the trip home Mr. Lee had noticed the steering was loose. That dilemma was resolved with the installation of a new idler arm assembly.

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