According to a PBS documentary, 1964 was the most pivotal year of the 60s, a year that set the stage for political and societal splits that we still feel today. Style took on new forms, as did music, and civil liberties became forefront in the American vocabulary.
But hey… I prefer fun to politics, so let’s talk about some of the more lightweight facts of 1964, like how Detroit designed cars with women in mind that year since women represented over a million sales.
Also in 1964:
- The cost of a house averaged around thirteen-thousand dollars.
- A new car cost between nineteen-hundred and sixty-five hundred smackers.
- A movie ticket, a buck twenty-five.
- A gallon of gas? A mere THIRTY CENTS.
- Bewitched! made its Television Debut
- Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton for the first time.
- The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
- Sony introduced the Home Video Recorder
Lesley Conant was born.
Las Vegas, NV – Lesley, a former pre-school teacher turned tattoo shop owner/manager, puts her family and friends first. She loves hosting monthly wine nights with her ThirstyGirls, loves classic cars, and loves listening to the blues, so much so, she and her husband, Krystof, designed their tattoo shop Bluenote Tattoo around just those things.
We play blues music, and even have a monthly blues jam in the shop. We’ve had bands play a few times and had car shows in the parking lot. We call it Cars and Guitars and it’s always a big hit. Combining our love of both is really fun, and it’s cool to introduce that young 18-19-year-old, who’s sitting in the tattoo chair for a few hours, to Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf…And they are looking out into our lot and see at least one of our classic cars.
Over the years, different classics have graced their driveway, from a ’54 BelAir and a ’65 Galaxy, to a ’73 Pontiac LeMans (Krystof’s daily driver) and their ’51 Mercury–but the cars always felt like her husband’s, something Lesley wanted to change.
I wanted to take a car to shows and have it be mine! I wanted to be the one making the decision on what the car restoration would be, from the choice on paint and interior to just little details like license plate holder to hub caps.
But how to chose the right car with so many wonderful options out there? After much deliberation, she decided on one defining parameter: A car made the year she was born…
And so the search began.
We started looking at car ads on craigslist, and other internet car ads, nothing came up that caught my eye.
It’s an intriguing method to chose a car, don’t you think? What car would I pick from my birth-year? Let me think on that…
For now, back to 1964…
The most iconic new car of 1964 would arguably be the Ford Mustang, but while her dad had two growing up–and Lesley’s daily driver is a 2012 Mustang–she wanted something less common for her classic.
During the search, she fell in love with the Mercury Monterey Breezeway but never found one in the right shape.
Not until a friend mentioned T-Birds did Lesley light up. The friend knew of one in California, so they made arrangements to bring the car to Las Vegas.
When the car got to Vegas and I saw her in person, I really loved her. I love the front end, and I thought the curve of the rear seat was so cool.
And so Lesley found her perfect car and named her Twiggy after the iconic 60s model.
The Ford Thunderbird
Thunderbirds came into the Ford line-up in 1955 to compete with the Corvette, although rather than categorizing them as sports cars, Ford created a new genre: Personal Luxury Cars. The hugely popular fourth-generation Thunderbird, referred to as the “Flair Bird,” had a similar design to the “Bullet Bird” introduced in ’61, but with squared taillights, an emphasis on luxury, and a lower ground clearance that gave the illusion of soaring just above the ground–something the marketing gurus certainly emphasized. They even went so far as to use “Thunderbird” as a verb in their ads:
…other cars you drive… this one you Thunderbird.
The John Najjar-designed interior–with its swing-out steering wheel and curved, tilt-up assist seats–is truly one of the most spectacular interiors ever created, something Lesley immediately loved, especially the rear seat.
All Twiggy’s original interior parts were in good shape, just needed some refining.
Lesley found original seat covers in Rose Beige from MAC’s, and had a vinyl guy redo the dash and door panels. She went off original with the carpet, switching to a darker burgundy, creating a lovely contrast.
Getting this 1964 Thunderbird on the Road
The Thunderbird was in good original shape, with a stock 390 motor.
The first thing I did was to go through the motor, we had to flush the radiator a few times, it was full of dirt. We changed out all belts, any seals etc. and had to change the carburetor. Did a tune up and other minor mechanical issues were fixed.
Pink?? No. ROSE.
The one thing Lesley didn’t initially love about her Thunderbird, was the color.
Her original color was Rose Beige. Uh Oh, PINK! I am not a pink girl at all..lol. But I wanted to keep her as original as possible, so I decided Ok she’s going to be Rose.
Rose yes, but with a slight modification from the original, thanks to Lesley’s friends at T Motors in Vegas.
The original was a bit flat so we went a bit pinker, and it has a beautiful shimmer. I like to say it’s like a beautiful eye shadow. The roof is white with 4 layers of pearl on it, so in the sun it has a lovely pink hue.
I think it’s kinda cool that I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal, while she’s a total girlie and glamorous car. We are the same age, but let’s face it, she’s had some work done, LOL! But I love her and would not change anything about her.
Ahhh… but it appears Twiggy might be changing Lesley just a tad. The Thunderbird’s glamour seems to have rubbed off, at least on Lesley’s hair. Guess maybe she is a pink kinda girl now.
She and Twiggy have already won an award, first place People’s Choice at Wayne Newton’s in Las Vegas. I have no doubt they’ll win many more.
“People who Thunderbird Move in a Special Atmosphere”
1964 may be considered the last year of innocence, but it certainly created two stellar ladies who move in their own special atmosphere: Lesley, who strives to enjoy every minute of life, and Twiggy, who provides that joy as they “Thunderbird” down the highway together.
I think the best thing I learned from this experience, don’t have any preconceived ideas of what you think you want or how it will end up! Lol, things happen, and you have to go with the flow. For me it was about finding a car and I knew I would know her when I saw her, and that’s the way it was.
If you see me on the road, beep and wave!
Keeping up with Lesley:
- Follow Lesley and Twiggy on Instagram
- Check out Bluenote Tattoo in Las Vegas!
- Follow Bluenote on Facebook!
Before you go…
Okay… so one last thing. I put the challenge to you now. What car would you choose for the year you were born (you don’t have to put the year if you don’t want to)??
For me? How about this… a Bentley born the year of this Bentley: a Bentley Drophead Coupe. Yeah, baby!
Until next time…
P.S. Still rebuilding the site after the great crash of 2017, so if you click a post and see pictures missing, that’s why! Also, rebuilding subscriber list, so please subscribe below if you’d like a notification with new posts!
3 thoughts on “Lesley and Twiggy, her 1964 Thunderbird”
I chose a 1956 Ford Fairlane Sunliner from my birth year!! Can’t seem to attach a photo!!
Cadillac El Dorado Seville, from back when Seville was an El Dorado.
Great story on a great person! Leslie and chris are nice people to hang with. I know she loves twiggy and she came out real fine