PETER & CHARLENE ZIERDEN 

    Back in 1962, I purchased a 1960 Chevrolet red convertible with a 348 High Performance engine and 4 speed on the floor (all original). ( A real CHICK Magnet ). I paid $2300 dollars for the car, and in the two years I owned it I got more speeding and racing tickets that I felt I was forced to sell the car or lose my license. A friend of mine had a customized 1955 Thunderbird and I fell in love with the body style and had to have one. I looked for 1955 thru 1957 T-Birds and found a 1957 Starmist blue with less than 30,000 miles, both tops and a continental kit for $1800. It was in mint condition. I had just sold my Chevrolet for the same amount of money but thought I could do better. I found a 1956 black Thunderbird with a 292 and three speed with overdrive transmission. The car was $800 and had tire inspection holes on the top of the front fenders from rust. Rocker panels and trunk floor were also rusted. It was in bad shape but I thought it was a better price, and I would have $900 to restore the car. Well I spent the $900 and another $900 and another $900 dollars and had a good looking patched up car. I had also installed a 406 Ford High Performance engine with a 4 speed transmission. It was fast. I sold the car for $2500 in 1968 and bought my current 1955 from the president of the Classic Thunderbird Club of Wisconsin who brought it back from California to drive while his 57 was being restored.
       I started a body off frame restoration on January 2nd of 1969 and completed the car in May of 1969. That is correct! six months for a complete restoration which included sand blasting the frame, stripping the body and everything that goes with making a quality show car. I worked on the car about 4 hours every night and weekends.  
     When finished I drove the car to a St. Louis Thunderbird show which was titled "Meet Me in St Louis 1" over Memorial weekend. It was the first body-off the frame restoration in the country. It took a first place award and was featured in the Early Bird national magazine. In July of 1970 I drove the car to Durango Colorado to the CTCI national convention and it took a First place. Since that time the car has won numerous First place and Best of Show trophies at regional and national CTCI conventions.
      By the mid 90's the car had been driven a total of 25,000 miles since restoration and the years had taken a toll on its appearance.  About 6 years ago, I stripped the car down for re-restoration and it will be completed in May of this year. The body was taken off the frame again and repainted. The frame was in very good condition and since I wanted to drive the car I did not re-restore the chassis that is directly under the body. Engine compartment was completely detailed and a new soft top, interio,r and trunk complements installed. Air ducts, and under the front fenders were cleaned of dirt accumulation from the years of driving. It looks great!

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