Rickie & P. D. Leonard

1957 Raven Black

I have always been an admirer of the 57 Thunderbird from the day they came out during my teen years through now. There was always some reason I never had one, but even in a college drafting course, my project was a freehand rendering of a baby blue 57 with a white top!

In 2012, I decided to get serious and even joined ATO without a car, but was looking. My family was well aware of my favorite dream car, so in 2012, I received a text message from my daughter with a picture of a good looking black 57 T bird parked in a lot on Lamar with a homemade "For Sale" sign on it.  The time was right. With the enthusiastic blessing of my wife, Rickie, 45 minutes later, we owned it!

The car is a late production model black (Raven) car (color code AA) with hard top only.  It was in great cosmetic condition, in and out, but needed serious mechanical attention. The list was long and took "too long" to complete.  The D code engine was completely rebuilt as was the automatic transmission. There were some remaining components of an old A/C system complete with a butchered upper fan shroud.  We installed a Perfect Fit A/C system from Classic Auto Air that integrates with the Ford heater controls and even routes the defrost air through the A/C. I added a parade fan and converted the generator system to an alternator system to better handle the load. A lot of suspension attention....new bushings, brakes to include rebuilt power brake booster, upper & lower ball joints, P/S pump and actuating cylinder and hoses, and tons of engine compartment details...(eye candy) . Even replaced the windshield (first try didn't fit) and threw away the old wiper blades (wrong part which had gouged the old glass).

Now, we get to drive around getting at least a knowing "thumbs up" from other motorists and often from drivers of high end new sports cars. Much of the fun and satisfaction come through participating in the ATO with really good folks with common interests and some really fine automobiles!

PD & Rickie Leonard