I’m going to give you a glimpse into the language of us infuriating young people. “Gib” is a horrible slang version of “give” and “Plz” is a lazy way of saying “please”. Why did I choose such a title for a respectable car website? Two reasons. Number one, it catches the eye, and number two, it will serve the article. Read on to find out how…
Like many of our readers, I like to browse Craigslist, just to see what’s out there on the local market. I keep my searches to between $500 and $1500, limiting the year of manufacture to nothing made after 1979. On one of these searches early last year, I found a car very similar to the one pictured (via Google). It was the same dark green color, with a wide “electric razor” grille. At first, I thought I was seeing an early Charger, but upon reading the ad, found out it was a 1968 Thunderbird Tudor Hardtop. Best and most confusing of all, it was being sold running and driving for only one thousand dollars!
I quickly made plans to see it. I didn’t have one thousand dollars, but I needed to see this car before it got sold. There was something inside me drawn to it. It was a generation of Thunderbird I never knew about.
It was a rainy Sunday when I pulled up to a small house in Fort worth. The friend I wanted to bring along wasn’t able to come, so I went alone. The ‘Bird was parked along the curb. I parked behind it and got out, looking it over. The owner had said he would be by shortly to meet me. The car had one black door and one brown fender, one on each side, respectively. There was heavy rust on the rear of the car, and it was even worse underneath. Suddenly, a lifted, white, 1966 F-100 pulled up behind my car and the owner of the Thunderbird got out. He was nice, and explained that he was a construction worker who had recently got done with a job up North. He had found this car on some property they were tearing down and brought it back home with him after buying it from the original owner. He wanted to restore it like he did his truck , but felt it was too much of a project for him at the time.
It was a base model, with no padded top, two doors, and no center console. The seats were black and dusty, and the horn center section was broken off. He handed me the key, and a strange electric feeling rolled up my arm. Excited, I put the key in and turned it over. After some fiddling around with the carb, we had that wonderful big block running smooth. It was at that moment, I knew I loved this car. Well… Maybe not THIS car, but I wanted a 1968 Thunderbird. I wanted it bad.
He got in the passenger seat, and I carefully pulled away from the curb. The blinkers didn’t work, so I had to crank down the window and use my arm to signal. We came to a stop, and that big 429 Thunderjet rumbled away in front of me, the round gauges looked so pretty surrounded by the plastic wood trim. Things felt right. I made the turn and for just an instant, I had a vision…
Suddenly I was sitting alone in the seat of my new Thunderbird. I was wearing dark green slacks and a white shirt. My fedora sat on the seat beside me, and Hank Williams was on the radio. The sun was shining down on the houses around me. In that instant, I knew I was seeing this neighborhood how it must have looked when this car was new. Just as quickly as that vision had come, it was gone. I was back in the car on that cloudy day in 2016 with the strangest feeling… At one point in my life, perhaps another, I had owned a Thunderbird like this.
Unfortunately, I was flying my Hoover Flags and that deal passed me by. Ever since then it has been my mission to one day buy my very own 1968 Thunderbird. A base model, with bench seats, hardtop roof, and two doors. Dark green paint, and a black interior.
That brings us back to the title of this post. To “Gib” is to want. It is a tacit admission that you cannot have everything you want . It is a childlike cry of “but I waaaaant it!”. Maybe one day I’ll find my Bird. Until then, I’ll dream and check Craigslist, hoping to see another, and finally fulfill my dream.