Photo GDR-00268

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  Bob Thomas


  Ford Thunderbolt


  Super Stock


  Howard Neal






  From the Dennis Kolodziej Collection





This vehicle is an original factory built 1964 Ford Thunderbolt equipped with the 427 Hi Riser engine and four speed manual transmission. The Thunderbolt, based on the 1964 Fairlane 500 Two Door Sedan, was designed by the Special Vehicles Department at Ford Motor Company, then contracted the Dearborn Steel Tubing Company for vehicle construction and final assembly, including necessary modifications, rework of the chassis, and installation the 427 Hi Riser engine, associated drivetrain, and lightweight body components. These vehicles were the most radical built drag racing vehicle marketed and sold to the general public by any automobile manufacturer, ever! There were a total of 100 units built, and as an advertisement read, "All you need is the ignition key to go racing!"

This Thunderbolt was delivered to Mr. Bob Thomas (Ellijay, GA) on March 19, 1964. Bob Thomas and his driver, Howard Neal (Blue Ridge, GA), campaigned this car in Super Stock and Factory Experimental classes, to match racing in a "run what you brung" at numerous Southern tracks, this is in addition to running at the NHRA U.S. Nationals in Super Stock class.

The success that Bob Thomas enjoyed with his Thunderbolt earned him continued factory support, including a 427 SOHC Mercury Flip Top Funny Car for 1967.

I purchased the Thunderbolt in 1977 and instituted the necessary repairs to get the vehicle back into race ready condition. All the major components, including chassis is as the car was built in 1964, except for certain items required for safety or to improve reliability. This vehicle has had a rebirth in drag racing success, running primarily in Nostalgia Class racing events such as the Super Stock Reunion, Supercar Showdown, Super Ford Extravaganza, Performance Ford Club of America, and the NDRA. I have received many favorable comments when I run the car at various meets, that I would continue to race such a rare and desirable drag vehicle. Considering that of the 100 units built, there are only 52 still in existence, and of that, only eighteen are in running condition. -- Dennis Kolodziej

To see the current car and owner information, see GDR-00269. -- John Dilbeck


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