The Beginning and the End ?

The story of something lost and something found





January 11 , 2018



Contributed by Paul R.
with assistance from SAACs Registrar, Vinny Liska




During the winter of 1968, Niasami Shimizu of New York visited Gotham Ford. He had his eyes on a brand new, Candyapple Red, GT500. It was just like the one he had seen in Carroll Shelby's advertisements. The car was a fastback with a 4 speed and Air Conditioning. Vinny Liska was able to provide the serial number : 8T02S169151-00413. That is the beginning of this story.

Niasami brought the car back to the dealership for numerous warranty items, but exactly how long he owned the car is still unclear.




One day in the not too distant past, Paul started looking through Craig's List ads. He could hardly believe his eyes when he found the 1957 Thunderbird "project" car. He really wasn't interested in the crudely built, Thunderbird, but rather what sat in its engine bay. After Paul contacted the owner, he realized the car was going to part of a package deal. The Thunderbird was slapped together and had numerous backyard engineering modifications. The big 428 Ford engine wasn't really designed for a Thunderbird. Paul said the bottom of the shock towers from the Shelby were still attached to the motor mounts and attached to the engine.




Paul was able to identify many of the unique Police Interceptor parts. The car still has one of the original Autolite carburetors. He also knew that 1968 Shelby engines were required to have the serial numbers stamped on the engine assembly. He began by checking the casting dates. These all lined up perfectly with the build date of the car. Looking at this photograph, you can still see the original big block oil cooler. These were unique to Shelby big block, air conditioning equipped cars.





Because this engine was basically complete and mostly untouched, he was able to find the numbers. When he checked the numbers, he knew this engine belonged to Niasami's red, GT500.





The car also had a the correct "RUG-S" transmission and inside the Thunderbird project, were the original Stewart Warner console gauges. Paul also found the original, Marchal fog lights.




If you look closely, the original ink stamps are still present on the water pump pulley. Some the bracketry has been changed.




Paul was able to able to determine # 413 had probably been separated from its engine in the mid-1970s. Exactly what happened to the chassis will remain somewhat of a mystery. For now, that's the end of the story....but we always look forward to the updates :-)


If you happen to run into Mr. Shimizu, let him know we have a surprise for him.