The Grand National Roadster Show was as fantastic as ever this year. An army of automotive blockbusters rolled into the Pomona Fairplex, in California, but there was one car that really won our hearts, Dale Gould and Tony Wood’s restored 1967 Thunderbird Wagon. It was originally christened “Moody Blue” back in the day but has been renamed “George,” to honor the car customizing trailblazer George Barris.
During the much anticipated closing ceremony on the last night of the 2019 GNRS, George Barris’ daughter Joji and her son took the stage to crown the 2019 George Barris D’Elegance Award winner and “George” took the prize.
The backstory has two interesting threads.
First, If you dig original Hot Wheels cars, you’re in for a treat. This metal flake, candy blue ’67 T-Bird with an Olds Vista Cruiser greenhouse grafted from the B-pillar back, looks like a full scale version of a Harry Bentley Bradley’s finest creations for Mattel in the late ’60s.
The fifth-generation T-Bird has never seen as much love as the ’55-’66 models, but that seems to be changing and this early ’70s custom allows this era of Ford’s personal luxury car to rightfully soar again.
Then there’s the George Barris connection and the car’s journey back to better-than-new.
According to owner Tony Wood, “The car was originally built by Dale Gould who owned a muffler shop in North Hollywood, California. He built cars for George Barris as well. The car was created in 1973 or 1974 and Gould could be seen driving it everywhere.
“Originally, the whole roof section of the car was removable and looked like an El Camino when taken off. I saw the car again at Barris’ shop in 1975 and fell in love with it. It disappeared and I didn’t see it again until 1996 when it turned up at Mike Fennel’s shop in San Fernando, California.
“I inquired who owned the car and asked if I could contact the owner. It then took me seven years to acquire it. It was a planter in the desert for 20 years and it was tough getting it straightened out. Ironically, we restored the car at George Barris’ shop where I had originally seen it 30 years ago.”
How do you restore a car like this without mucking it up? Very carefully! Wood assembled a talented group of guys and they got to work at George Barris’ shop in North Hollywood.
With Steve Carpenter overseeing the project, Tony and “Radio” Bob Falini brought the car back to the sparkling kustom blue canoe you see here.
Bob Falini at Radio Active Auto Body and George “Hoodoo” Tantardini handled the bodywork and heavy metal flake paint job. Vandemon and Scratch did the pinstriping, Willie Sopher did the interior, and the chrome was handled by Astro Plating.
The video is really awesome as you can see not only how thrilled Wood is, but the Barris family was happy to see the car rescued, a reminder of the magic surrounding their father back in the hazy daze of TV cars and kustoms.
Congrats Dale Gould, Tony Wood, and the gang with this incredible T-Bird.