Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cover Picture Story- Right Hand Drive

Copy of Invoice (left)

Cover Photo (right)

became inspired to launch a search
into the history of the (rare) Right-Hand
Drive Ford Thunderbirds. (A CCCA friend
had advised me that he had seen a '57 in
the U.S. in the summer of 1977.)

My research began, quite naturally, with
our CTCI publication, Early Bird. In 1973, a
certain Carl Cason (CA) had his article, T-
Birding in the Far East, published in the
July/August issue! Interestingly, the 'Bird
was for sale at the time, my correspon-
ence indicating that the asking price was
"big $$." This T-Bird was located in Kansas
City, MO, and at one time, I contemplated
a trip to inspect and photograph it.

Having determined the S/N of this T-Bird,
(see copy of the Factory Invoice on pg. 9)
I learned that the conversion toR-H Drive
had been accomplished in Hong Kong.

By March 20, 1978, I had received
photos and a "history" on the Kansas City
T-Bird trom Neil Oldridge (see page 8).

A letter from CTCI member, Ron Hitter
(dated Feb. 27, 1978) is among several
contacts in my files. Ron supplied me with
the copy of the Ford Factory Invoice
(page 9), indicating that the quality of the
copy was "....not great." [Historic Note:
The TARTC cost for a copy of the Invoices
was a mere $3.00 at the time!] Today, the
Dearborn Michigan Club offers Invoice
copies at $50.00 each, this representing a
major fund-raiser for the TARTC Treasury!
For the sake of clarity, I have re-typed the
main body of the Invoice pricing information.

My (dated) research was aided by Carl
Cason, Ron Hitter (TARTC) and Neil Oldridge.
Perhaps we'll see a R-H Drive in Dayton?



March 20, 1978

Mr. Bert E. Eisenhour
Crane Road
St. Charles, Illinois 60174

Dear Bert:

Thank you for your letter and particularly for theinformation attached. As you have no
doubt surmised by now, I have not pursued my T-Bird ownership interest academically.
I can, however, add a little information regarding your inquiry inHong Kong. My car left
Hong Kong when I did in May of 1970. My Hong Kong license plates (which I still have)
were 9047. I have somewhere my original Hong Kong registration, which is a small hard
cover book. This registration, has the names of all of the previous Hong Kong owners.

I purchased the car in april of 1969 from a chinese car dealer in Kawloon for a price of
4200 Hong Kong dollars, or almost $700 U.S. The car was a virtual wreck and barely
drivable. I had work done on it there at the local Hong Kong Ford Agency and a body shop
recommended by an Australian collector friend.

The car you referred to being in Hong Kong as of 1973 was not, therefore, this car. It is
interesting to note, however, that when I purchased the car the hard top and fender skirts were
white, while the body was red.

Regarding the engine, I had it replaced with a new 292 in February of 1977 in Roxsbury, Conn.
I obtained the engine from a friend and Vice President of Saville Ford in Waterbury, Conn.
I asked them to replace the engine exactly and it had a 292 engine in it at the time. If the
original automatics had the 312, I can only assume that sometime between 1957 and when I
acquired the car in 1968, the 312 was replaced with a 292.

Somewhere in my files I have a cancelled check covering the purchase with the name of the
car dealer. I do recall his first name was Anthony and his last name Wong, Chow or something
like that. The other document that I have not been able to locate, but know I have, is the hard-cover Hong Kong registration. If these items will be of assistance to you, I would be happy to press a concerted search for them.

Your resources are apparently fine and my interest too is piqued.

Once again, thank you for this information... I shall add it to my files on the car.

(signed) Neil L. Oldridge,

From the Desk of -
Dear Bert,
Please find enclosed a copy of the Invoice on T-Bird # D7FH172545. The quality of the copy is not great, as the original is gone, and the file copy is old. We have no idea who received the original, as early in the process of mailing invoices, there were no records kept. Also, there is no information that we have found concerning right-hand conversions.

It is interesting to see on the invoice that the car was/is a 312 Fordomatic, whereas you mentioned 292 Stick.
I hope this helps you, and I'd enjoy hearing of any new discoveries.

Sincerely, Ron

1 comment:

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