Saturday, November 8, 2008

South Of The Border with Perry Anthony

In August, I met with the Mexican Thunderbird Club in Mexico City, and thoroughly enjoyed my time with these enthusiastic T-Bird owners. Their cars were mostly assembled at the Ford Mexico plant for all three years, and to authenticate this, each Mexican assembled T- Bird carries a brass plate that it stamped with some information about the car, but does not indicate what color the car was originally. The brass plate is affixed to the right doorpost below where the striker plate to located.

Each Mexican car also has a decal indicating it was assembled in Mexico and [it] was placed on windshields and rear windows at the factory. It was interesting to me to see one with the decal on the hard top rear-glass, as the entire hardtop can easily be switched to another car.

To the best of our knowledge. all Mexican assembled T-Birds from '55-'57 have the following prefix. P5MEXH, P6MEXH and D7MEXH or EMEXH [for the many "E' birds assembled there).
In one of the photos there is an off white "E" 'Bird that was originally owned by Gustavo Diaz Oraz, Presidente of Mexico from "64 to "70. [Presidents of Mexico can only serve for one-six year term.] It seems that this car fell into disrepair until purchased by my host and currant owner, Gerando Hernandez, who completely restored it.

Another un-restored black '57 was owned by Vincent Minnelli, father of Liza Minnelli, and fully documented. You can see part of this black 'Bird in some of the photos.

Gerardo drove me as the lead car in the T-Bird caravan through the streets of Mexico City (something I wouldn't do with a 25 year old "beater") with people taking pictures, including one that appeared in the Mexico City newspaper.

They have about 50 members in their club and are very active on a monthly basis. In October they participate in the Baia race [actually a rallye from Tijuana - nearly 2000 miles - much like the "Great Race" is in the US].

It was great to meet them, and they looked forward to my visit - as well as the "gringo from the north." Nice people, enjoying their Thunderbirds, never passing a restaurant, telling stories and kicking tires ... just like most T-Birders.

It typically costs 30% more to restore a Concours 'Bird in Mexico because of the very high import tax on parts. They are, however, very solid, good-looking cars as there is no snow to deal with in Mexico City.

We pledged that we would continue our cross border friendship and [we] plan on a get together somewhere at some time. Thought you would enjoy and could use [this] in the newsletter at some point.
- Perry Anthony

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