Most early Ford show cars were sent to be destroyed after serving their duty, but this special car, a one-off Thunderbird called the "Italien" managed to escape the crusher. The story goes that this special Thunderbird was displayed at the 1964 New York World's Fair (the one and only time it was shown), and was destined to be destroyed after the show. Instead, it was sold to actor Dale Robertson, and later in 1986 sold to Ford collector Don Chambers. Chambers owned the car for twenty years, and then sold it to Thunderbird restorer Tom Maruska, who brought the car back to its original condition as seen here. Design features of the "Italien" include a fastback roof line and a unique leather interior.
The gavel price (before auction fees) of $600,000 wasn't cheap, but it seemed like a steal for a one-off concept car, especially with the Pininfarina Rondine concept going for $1 million more just moments earlier and concepts from previous years going for much, much more.