If taking pictures of old cars is all about drawing contrasts to newer cars and pointing out how cars have changed, look no further than these two white Ford two-doors, parked side-by-side behind the tastiest restaurant somewhere in northern Arizona. The owner of the restaurant owns both of the cars, and is willing to part with his Thunderbird for $200, but hasn’t had a taker in some time, and the last person to offer to buy the car skipped out on the deal altogether.
While the cars themselves show very, very different trends in styling and manufacturing, they have both suffered greatly under the persistent southwest sun. I see very little “they don’t make ’em like they used to” pride in the Thunderbird, and these two cars hardly seem very different at all. The old man who owns these cars remembers cruising the long western highways in his T-Bird, and I remember sitting in flaking, rusty old cars like this in the parking lot of my high school shop’s garage, but the strong memories stirred by this car have not been strong enough to pull it from this back lot and restore its machinery to working order. Its space age baubles and levers are fading and cracking in perfect harmony with its extruded plastic nephew sitting beside.
Time, as we’ve seen before, is not linear for cars, and these two coupes, born in such different times and with such different features, now seem so alike in their washed-out, unwanted, rusting hospice years.