Unique 1963 Ford Thunderbird “Italien” concept car goes under the hammer
October 15, 2007 A one-off 1963 Ford Thunderbird “Italien” concept car is to be sold at auction with No Reserve. Barrett-Jackson has announced the rare sale as part of the company’s 37th Annual Collector Car Event in January 2008.
“It’s rare for such a classic concept to be offered at auction,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman/CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “The "Italien" features design cues that were virtually nonexistent in the United States during its time of production. This could be the most sought after and significant Thunderbird to ever cross the block at Barrett-Jackson.”
The “Italien” was designed and built by Vince Gardner at the Dearborn Steel Tubing Company, an outsourcing contractor responsible for various non-assembly line Ford concepts, including the 1964 Ford Thunderbolt and Mercury Super Cyclone. It was showcased in Ford’s 1962-63 “Custom Car Caravan,” numerous Autoramas across the country and in the 1964 New York World Fair’s “Cavalcade of Custom Cars.”
While most Ford concept cars were destroyed after their world tours, the “Italien” was rescued by actor Dale Robertson of TV’s “Tales of Wells Fargo,” “Wagon Train” and “JJ Starbuck.” Tom Maruska purchased it from noted Ford collector Don Chambers in January 2006, and restored it to original specifications.
It will be the first documented public appearance since its showing at the World’s Fair in 1964.
See the Barrett-Jackson site for more details.