In the mid-Sixties, Ford’s light-weight Fairlane Thunderbolt set data on the drag strips, and one of many 60 or so survivors has set one more document, this one for the very best transaction value on the AutoHunter collector automobile public sale web site.  

Soon, the automobile will journey to its new residence, a deliberate museum up close to the Arctic Circle.

The purchaser of the automobile is Doug Gonder, who lives in Whitehorse, capital metropolis of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Gonder’s household moved from southern Ontario to the far north when he was “a child,” he stated in an interview.  

At first, he was disillusioned to be forsaking a vibrant automobile tradition, however he quickly realized that, looking back, “Whitehorse was like a mini-American Graffiti within the outdated days,” he stated, remembering how the locals would line up on either side of a roadway for impromptu drag races; people nonetheless speak concerning the time the ’67 Chevelle beat the ’67 Mustang in a kind of races.

“I’ve been a automobile fanatic since I used to be sufficiently old to know the makes and fashions,” he stated, including that the “gassers” – automobiles custom-built for drag racing – “have been a fascination for me.”

“I wished to be a automobile designer however was by no means nearly as good as Chip Foose.”
427-cubic-inch big-block Ford V8 was constructed for velocity

Instead, after shifting to Whitehorse, and lengthy earlier than there was an web to feed his curiosity, Gonder learn automobile magazines and books and labored in his household’s enterprise, which he grew to the purpose that he might start to gather automobiles, particularly these with drag racing historical past. 

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His favorites have been Fords, particularly these powered by the corporate’s heralded big-block 427cid V8, and his assortment additionally contains some essential Mercury Comets and even “a few Dodge Hemi automobiles.”

Gonder stated he adopted Ford Thunderbolts as they got here up on the market. He chased a number of however couldn’t strike the proper deal. 

He had purchased one other collector automobile simply earlier than Jim, the vendor, put his Thunderbolt up for bidding on AutoHunter, he stated. 

“When this one got here up, I believed, ‘heck, I can’t purchase two automobiles in a row’,” Gonder stated. “But I received speaking with Jim and we made a deal and I acquired it.”

Gonder, who will quickly have fun his 61st birthday, stated he has bought automobiles by telephone bidding at dwell auctions, however that the Thunderbolt was his first on-line transaction.
This automobile was constructed to meet the necessity for velocity

He known as AutoHunter a “smart way” to purchase a automobile, not just for the in depth library of images displaying the automobile intimately, however the way in which he might talk with the vendor when he had questions concerning the automobile. He stated he received a “good really feel” for the automobile by that communication. 

“I feel it’s a great deal for the client and the vendor,” he stated, including that in these instances of the coronavirus, “you’re not touring, particularly proper now when you’ll be able to’t recover from the border.”

Ah, sure, the closed border between Canada and the US. Buyer and vendor hope to satisfy within the late spring to do the precise handoff of the Thunderbolt.

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Once residence in Whitehorse, the automobile shall be featured within the new non-profit museum Gonder is creating for his assortment. One of the household companies was a Chevron filling station, and Gonder has a set of Chevron petroliana relationship to the Nineteen Thirties, in addition to a set of neon indicators. The museum could have a vintage-gas-station backdrop for displaying Gonder’s assortment of round 20 uncommon muscle automobiles.

“What’s it for? You don’t drive them,” Gonder stated of his assortment. “But it’s a ardour and I’m fortunate sufficient to accumulate them and (now to) put them on show.”

And it received’t essentially be a case of construct it and they’ll come as a result of Whitehorse, positioned on the intersection of the Alaskan Highway and the Yukon River, already is a vacationer vacation spot, particularly for individuals within the Klondike Gold Rush of the late nineteenth Century, when round 100,000 prospectors invaded northwestern Canada.

Before too lengthy, these guests additionally can have a automobile museum to take pleasure in, and a particular 1964 Ford Thunderbolt to see in particular person.

Larry Edsall

A former every day newspaper sports activities editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek journal earlier than making the transition to writing for the online and turning into the creator of greater than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor on the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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