What’s it like to drive a Classic 1956 FORD THUNDERBIRD?

It’s amazing how long you can live in a small town and still discover new areas that you’ve completely missed, even though you’ve driven past it a thousand times. Case in point, Ron Stackler’s pad up at Point Dume — and why he’s this week’s Ride of the Week.

The moment I met Ron, I knew I liked him. His car was outside, ready to roll to wherever it was needed for the shoot, spiffied up and a smile on its face. Ron, too. Being a seasoned retired lawyer, it was a treat to see him refuse to open the door and just plop over the side of his 1956 Ford Thunderbird and cork into the car. A second later, and the V8 and Hydramatic Tranny rumbles to a start.

“All I added was power brakes,” Ron said. “The originals never worked.” 

He bought it 15 years ago from a widow who kept it in a garage since her husband had died 10 years prior. “My father had the identical red T-Bird in 1956 and I always wanted one,” Ron said. 

With red being Ron’s favorite color for everything, naturally it made sense that this T-Bird would land in his lap.

As we began to shoot, it was hard to focus on what was more beautiful — the T-Bird or the incredible view of Zuma from high above in the north side of Point Dume. Then again, it’s a daily fight with us Malibuites who love cars. But being someone who loves wheels like Ron does and consistently gets his groove on via the T-Bird and his motorcycle, it’s a fight he actually gets to win every day.

“Southern Californians know and love cars,” Ron said. “I’m stopped every time I drive it by someone who wants to talk about the T-Birds he or she remembers from ‘55, ‘56 or ‘57.” 

Again, a gift that we here all share with some of the best roads in the word to experience. It’s no surprise that Ron’s favorite car is James Bond’s Aston Martin. Cool car, twisties and the incredible views — something Malibu and Switzerland have in common.

I’m grateful to Ron for sharing his ride and his time, but again, part of the reason these Rides of the Week are so fun is that I get to visit great folks in whole new areas. An amazing experience and a stunning place we live. 

Who’s next?

If you want to be featured Fireball’s Ride of the Week, shoot an email to askfireball@fireballtim.com.

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