• Oct 14th 2007 at 8:02AM
  • 10
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]



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  • 10 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      why not hire zagato to do another one for 2010...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Absolutely beautiful. If Ford would've brought something like this back as the T-Biird instead of that pathetic excuse for one back a few years, they might still be selling them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Simply beautiful, but sadly these cars go to the monied people who view them only as investments (like art-work) and are therefore kept out of the hands of "car-lovers". These cars are bought & sold freely, at whim, whenever a $$$ profit can be made. They are not bought for love of the car, but rather for the love of the money the car can make for the owner.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I was not referring to collector cars, but rather 1-offs and/or styling studio 1-offs. I know collector cars are sold between car lovers. ( I have 4 myself ). No, sorry...No Sour anything....
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great looking car. Some of the best designs were passed over then as they are now.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's a good design, but (maybe it's just my imagination) i think that the hood of the car would have cost alot to manufacture :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      Some people here must not remember this
      http://www.tntclassiccars.com/61tbird.JPG
      Because besides major roofline and minor flash elements, the car was made. One comment said the hood would be too expensive to manufacture. Well, here it is on a production vehicle...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Love the Afterburner Glow Tailights and wish Lincoln or Ford would use them again on some cars. That was classic Ford.
        • 7 Years Ago
        they sorta did a little homage to them on the last T-bird(round tail lights).But You're right.They were nothing like the jet-age inspired after-burner tailights on this t-bird.
        • 7 Years Ago
        John, I agree.
        Some of Ford's best were the years with round tail lights. Todays cars have no tail light chracteristics that define a brand. They only do grilles.
        Yeah, bring back the round tail lights.

        Myself, I would take a white 61 Ford Starliner & 63 Ford Galaxie and have Chip Foose update it. Now set them on the designers floor and use styling cues to replace the full size Fo