1956 Thunderbird

By Vern Parker

Decades before Mike Shepherd's grand daughter Shelby was born the Ford Motor Company introduced a “personal car” in the 1955 model year. The two seat sporty car was named Thunderbird.

A few improvements were made to enhance the car in the 1956 model year. Of course all of this activity was pre-Shelby.

The most visible changes were the addition of round porthole windows in order to improve visibility.

Cargo space in the 1955 Thunderbird was extremely limited because the dual exhaust pipes were routed through the trunk space. To expand the cargo space in 1956 Ford rerouted the exhaust pipes through elliptical slots in the ends of the rear bumpers. The space occupied by the spare tire in the trunk was freed by moving it outside of the trunk in a Continental kit addition.


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1972 Pontiac Trans Am

By Vern Parker

Like many young men back in the glory days of muscle cars, Gary Lore purchased a new 1972 Pontiac Trans Am.

Also like many young men he sold the car after only a few years prompted by rapidly rising fuel prices and the very real shortage of gasoline. It was an action he soon came to regret..

“I started looking for a replacement in the mid-1980s,” Lore recalls. In 1987 he bought a used 1972 Pontiac that had been altered to appear as an authentic Trans Am. In 1991 he found a buyer for the car who was not particular about the authenticity.

Then the search continued for the real thing. Not long afterward Lore saw a virtual twin to his original car. It was advertised for sale and was located in Charleston, West Virginia.


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1967 Volkswagen

By Vern Parker

For years after a Navy commander purchased a 1967 Volkswagen for his daughter he took the car to master technician Bob Burgess for regular maintenance and needed repairs.

In the spring of 1991, after 74,000 miles, a number of parts on the car simultaneously worn out.

When Burgess gave the Navy officer the bad news he recalls the commander said he did not want to spend any more money on the car and he was going to sell the VW.


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2018 Hyundai Sonata: Back in the Game

By Ted Orme

That applies to the car and the writer. By the luck of the draw at a local press introduction of the Hyundai Ioniq Electric and Hybrid, I was one of two lucky Washington Automotive Press Association members drawn from a hat to attend the introduction of the 2018 Hyundai Sonata at the luxurious Lodge at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California in July. “Yes, yes, oh boy,” was my response. 

Back in the day, when I was an active freelance auto writer, I attended many a “long-lead” new model launches in exotic locales. But I had to step away from that wonderful life to make a living. I took a real job and the junketing ended. So, after a lengthy absence, it was a very happy Teddy that boarded that flight to La Jolla to get back in the game.

For the next couple of days, over windy roads that that led us within sight of the border wall with Mexico and through a Border Patrol checkpoint to make sure we had no illegals in the back seat, we got to flog the thoroughly revised Sonata, which is also looking to get back in the game.


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1967 Corvette Sting Ray

By Vern Parker

Jose Rodriguez says he has long been enamored by General Motors products, especially Corvettes.

As the years passed he became more discerning and found himself especially attracted to the 1966 and 1967 model Corvettes.  Of course locating such a Corvette model in excellent condition proved to be a daunting task.

Nevertheless, Rodriguez pesisted, remaining alert for his dream car.  Then one day in 2014 he saw an ad offering a restored 1967 Corvette coupe for sale not too far from his home in northern Virginia.


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