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words & images: Leanne Gichard

Maree Allan is a vibrant and energetic woman who has a passion for all things ‘fifties’ and one of those passions just happens to be a sleek, shiny 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible, or ‘T-Bird’ as they are affectionately known. 

But this is not the only T-Bird in the family – they actually own three: a 1959 ‘Square Bird’ (belonging to son, Shaun), a 1964 ‘Flare Bird’ (which husband, Gordon, drives) and now the ‘Baby Bird.  “Classic Cars are a passion. I grew up helping my Father restore vintage vehicles and it runs in the blood,” Maree explains.

Maree had been looking for a ‘Baby Bird’ when she spotted an advertisement on TradeMe in September 2016.  Her son Shaun, a mechanic, was in Auckland at the time, so went to check that the Thunderbird actually existed.  The deal took place and the Ford Thunderbird was shipped to Lyttelton.

It is equipped with a factory 292 Y block, V8 engine, with a 3-speed manual gearbox and boy, this baby purrs!  Or, should I say, growls.  And why not?  With a name like ‘Ford Thunderbird’, you’d expect a bit of thunder!  This is one very cool car.  From the white walled tyres, to special gleaming chrome trim and horizontally pleated upholstery this car exudes style……

…read more in SpiritMagazine online, or pick up a copy.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.