Make a little birdhouse in your soul

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch
Who watches over you
Make a little birdhouse in your soul


Back in February, I was visiting a friend who lives up in north Boulder. As we got out of his VW to walk into his condo, I noticed an old car in the community parking lot. I “ooooh”ed over it, and my friend mentioned that nobody knows who owns it, but it had been parked there, unmoving, for nearly 3 years.

Horrors! This car is not living up to its vehicular potential! I skipped over to take a look.

Okay, it’s a Thunderbird. The only style of T-bird I would know on sight is the round-window jobbie that Suzanne Somers (now there’s some trivia for you) drives in American Graffiti. But judging by the body shape on this one, I would guess early-to-mid ’60s. Hmmm… a few dents and dings, as would be expected on a car of any reasonable age, let alone one that’s 40-some-odd years old. A bit of rust. But overall, pretty clean and straight. I peek inside. It is gritty with the fine, dry dirt that is prevalent in the foothills. It gets darn windy up there, so I’ll assume that it blew in through the vents during three years of NoBo dust storms. The interior, or what I can see of it because the back seat is being used as a dusty storage locker, is decent. Peering through the window, I don’t notice any big tears in the upholstery or any obviously missing parts like, say, a dashboard. I do some quick calculations: This car is parked head-in, neatly between the lines. It couldn’t have been towed there that way, so I assume it was driven into position. It wasn’t there last time I visited my friend, but he said it showed up shortly thereafter. That means it’s been there since the summer of 2005. The tags on the license plate, however, expired a couple of years before that. What gives?

I ask my friend to do some sleuthing into who the owner might be. I want to make an offer.

Months pass. I think on and off about the car. My friend makes a couple of casual queries, to no avail. I narrow down the body style to falling into the ’61-’63 “Bullet Bird” category. My friend, who can actually SEE the car, verifies (by the “gills” on the side) that it’s a ’63.

42,806 hardtops were produced for the 1963 model year

The more I think about this car… well, the more I think about it. I assume that, while it most likely was running when it was parked, it doesn’t run now. All of the dust/dirt that has blown into the interior has also blown into the engine compartment. The oil will have become sludge. The battery will be dead. Anything that was merrily floating around in the gas tank is now settled firmly on the bottom. The hoses and belts will be dry and brittle.

390 Special V-8 (300 Horsepower) • 4-Barrel Holley Carburetor/Single Exhaust System

I am not a mechanic. I don’t have any friends who are mechanics. I could use AAA to tow the car… where? Since my favorite guys closed up their shop, I don’t even have mechanics for my own car. Who on Earth would I trust to work on a 45-year-old Ford? I can’t work on it at my place, nor can I park an unregistered vehicle. I have to check state regs, but I’m not sure that I can register a non-running car (Don’t I need an emissions check? Or would it be waived for a car of this age?) That is, if the car even has a title to transfer. I know it did back in 2003-ish, but why hasn’t it been registered since?

All-Transistor AM Radio • MagicAire Heater-Defroster

I believe the color is Patrician Green, which is actually a mid-tone metallic blue with a turquoisey hue. Of course, it might be Acapulco Blue, but not having actually seen the car in many months, and not having swatches in hand to go by, it’s hard for me to tell.

Cruise-O-Matic (Automatic, 3-Speed)

The community in which my friend lives has been under construction in various sections for years, and now the builder wants to finish out one last plot. The plot that the ’bird is parked right in front of. The builder has asked that all cars be removed from that area.

Power Steering • Power Brakes • Swing-Away Steering Wheel

I asked my friend to throw himself in front of any tow trucks that start circling the lot.



Filed under cars, vintage

4 responses to “Make a little birdhouse in your soul

  1. Ekwoman

    I know you can sometimes take possession of abandoned vehicles through the DMV…here’s a blurb I found as well:

    “If you are interested in placing an abandoned vehicle in your name, by obtaining the title and placing registration on it, you will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles. State laws differ but if the owner is unknown you may be able to find the owner if you take the license plate number and VIN of the vehicle to the DMV so that the owner can be identified.

    Also if you do not know the owner but a car is abandoned you may want to check with law enforcement first to make sure the vehicle has not been stolen and abandoned. The police may be able to identify the owners of the vehicle, if they do again you could discuss taking over the title of the car from the owners. Depending on state laws you may be able to request a lost title from the DMV and take it to the owners for them to sign over the vehicle to you.

    If you already know the owner of the car that is seemingly abandoned then you should discuss with them signing over the title to you so that you can transfer the title and placed registration in your name at the DMV.

    If you are able to take title of the abandoned vehicle, check with us for a quick car insurance quote.”

  2. Carrie

    Ooohh! I have the perfect mechanic for you if that sweet little bird ends up in your hands! He’s a friend of mine. He loves fixing up old cars AND he lives in the Louisville/Boulder area :)

  3. Thank you for all of your help, guys! I have given my friend little signs to put up on his community mailbox, inquiring about the car. Perhaps I’ll have more info to share soon!

  4. Marge

    Oh man. I get a week behind on my reader and I miss all the excitement. I think you have found one helluva gem there. When you first described it to me it sounded very cool, now it sounds like something you shouldn’t pass up. I’d recommend getting the number for the builder and have them call you if they are having ideas of towing it. No one i ntheir right mind would just abandon that beauty, right? right? I hope for your sake they were out of their mind and you can get a salvage title or something.

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