Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird

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Photo by George Barris
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1957 Ford Thunderbird owned and restyled by Dick Jackson of Lynwood, California. Dick Jackson's 1957 Ford Thunderbird was restyled while he worked as a painter at Barris Kustoms. He had just sold Buddy Alcorn's 1950 Mercury, and used the money to buy the Thunderbird. When Dick bought the car, it only had 10 miles on the clock. Dick "Peep" Jackson restyled the car by removing 6 of the false chrome louvers on the front fender, leaving 3 widely spaced louvers set off by a narrow horizontal bar and a graceful painted spear. The car also featured additional hood scoops formed by 1956 Buick portholes. The most notable changes on Dick's T-Bird were in the grille, where a heavy horizontal center bar was anchored between the bumper bullets. The grille is from a 1957 Chevrolet pickup turned upside down. The top and bottom were trimmed with smaller-diameter floating bars. 1955 Chevrolet headlight rims served as basis for the headlight treatment. Radical shades formed scoops below the lip. The stock taillight lenses were removed and replaced with custom designed taillights consisting of large red reflectors lens augmented by smaller Buick lenses and chromed accessory spinners. Dick sold the design for the taillights to Alex Kraus of Cal Custom for $100. The Cal Custom taillights were produced and sold as Satel-Lites, and Alex sold hundreds of these sets in the 1950s.[1] The same bullets as used in the taillights were also used to trim the front bumper lights. The regular wheel disks were retained, but gold-colored spinners were added. Other complimentary additions to the car were side exhaust stacks, hand-made black and white plastic control knobs, custom rugs and a pleated and rolled package tray and roof. In order to get the right stance on the car, Dick cut the coils and fitted the car with lowering blocks, lowering the car 4 inches in the front and rear. Once completed, the car was painted in a Sam Barris Bronze Lacquer. The gold scallops were applied by Dean Jeffries. The car took about a year to complete. Once finished Peep named his car the Little Bastard in honor to the actor James Dean that had died a few years before.


In 1958 Dick's Thunderbird was nominated as one of 28 "Top Customs of the Year" in Motor Life July 1958.[2]


Dick recreated the car in 1998. The cloned version of the car featured 1958 Chevrolet Impala taillight lenses instead of the 1953 ones used when the car was first done. Dick repainted the car himself, Dave Whittle did the pinstriping and the upholstery was done in white tuck & roll by Glenn Cannon. The recreation is currently owned by John Gagnon and Anna Gagnon of Fairfield, California. John and Anna bought the car from Dick.


Magazine Features

Car Craft April 1958
Motor Life July 1958
Car Craft August 1958
Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual
Car Kulture DeLuxe December 2008


Sources

Trend Book 175 Custom Cars 1959 Annual
Car Kulture DeLuxe December 2008
www.rodandcustommagazine.com


References





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