Auto manufacturers have a far less sentimental relationship with their concept cars than we do. Many of the most exciting ideas ever manifested in automotive form have been unceremoniously disposed of once they outlived their usefulness. As car people, we abhor this practice and the equally diabolical effect it has on the price of those cars lucky enough to survive. In the early 1960s, Ford exhibited flights of fancy in their own Custom Car Caravan, at the 1964 World's Fair in New York, and other shows as well. Virtually none of the vehicles produced for those exhibits survive, but one of the few will be crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson in less than three months.

The Ford Thunderbird Italien married a Zagato-riffic roofline with the rocket-age looks of the 1960s T-Birds, and created a car with arresting style. Vince Gardner of Dearborn Steel Tubing handled design and fabrication for Ford. The Italien was one of several show cars that the firm turned out for Ford. Under the aerodynamic pretenses of the roof are four leather bucket seats; two front, two rear. No sliding from side to side along an expansive bench seat in this puppy, you're coddled in the finest wares that Detroit could whip up in the slide-rule sixties. The reason this particular car managed to escape was that actor Dale Robertson took it under his wing, and it later wound up in the care of Don Chambers, a Ford collector. Tom Maruska, who has owned the car since 2006 is working to return this rare bird to its original spec. Now, which Hollywood car nut's got dibs on the Interceptor?

[Source: Motor Trend]

Related Gallery1963 Thunderbird Italien