When Bob Christiansen finds something he likes, you can bet he’s going to hang on to it for awhile.
For many “car guys,” the buying, selling and horse trading of classic after classic is part of the fun. But when Christiansen takes the title, he tends to hold on to it. Christiansen and his late wife, Pam, were founding members of the CLASS Car Club in Clear Lake. The two first started looking for a classic car to buy together more than 30 years ago, and Bob still owns it.
“My wife and I were looking for a Thunderbird, and we thought we wanted a 1955. But the more we looked, we wanted a ’56, and then we looked some more and wanted 1957,” he recalls.
The 1957 Starmist Blue Thunderbird they purchased is still its original color, with original transmissions and all “numbers matching” — a huge plus for all car collectors.
Christiansen is only the third owner of the T-Bird and was able to learn that the first owner bought it in Connecticut but took it out to California before its first winter. In California, she traded the car to her sister for 40 acres of land in Arizona. It had never known winter until it came to Iowa, and Christiansen hasn’t really ever introduced it to the harmful affects of the season.
But that’s not the only classic in his garage. Christiansen also owns a 1965 Ford Fairlane 500, which is also original all the way through. The car belonged to his mother-in-law and was purchased new in Belmond for a whopping $3,306 — and he even has the original window sticker to prove it.
Today, the Fairlane has only 78,000 miles on it, or an average of a little more than 1,600 per year.
Christiansen’s third classic also came from his mother-in-law, a 1976 Plymouth Fury Sport. It was spared from trade-in many years back when Pam topped the dealer’s offer by $100 and gave her mother $300 for the Plymouth.
For Christiansen, keeping classics in the family has been a way to have some fun together. Over the years, the Thunderbird earned a number of car show trophies.
“We won a lot of first places with it, some second places and one third,” he recalls.
And they also made memories to last a lifetime.
Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”