Ford "Nazy Crate" Thunderbolt

Fifty years ago Ford unleashed a new challenger in the F/X wars: the Fairlane Thunderbolts. Built by contractor Dearborn Steel Tubing, the Thunderbolts were Fairlane Tudor Sedans, each one stripped and lightened, and then modified to accept Ford’s all-conquering 427 CI Galaxie V-8.

Production number 57 of 100 built, this 1964 Ford Thunderbolt was originally sponsored by Wayne Jones Ford in Virginia, owned by Lloyd Quisenbury and driven by Gene Lunsford. It was later purchased and run by Tom Caldera and driven by his partner Nate Cohen as the “Nazy Crate.” In 2006 it was purchased by accomplished Super Stock and A/FX restoration specialist Randy DeLisio from Tom Caldara who had owned the car for 32 years. DeLisio restored it to its Caldera/Cohen configuration with the help of Howie Nisgor, who recreated the paint scheme he had first applied to the car in 1974.

The drivetrain was upgraded from the original factory configuration; while keeping the dual-4-barrel equipped High Riser 427 CI engine and its distinctive aluminum airbox and ram-induction air hoses, it now runs a Doug Nash Toploader manual and 5.13:1 Detroit Locker rear end. Additionally, as the NHRA permits larger tires in Super Stock if the original sheet metal remains, the original trunk floor and gas tank were narrowed to accommodate wider slicks while meeting NHRA qualification standards. Also present are the original fiberglass fenders, hood, aluminum front bumper and Plexiglas side windows. The restored Thunderbolt was chosen by Mattel Corporation for their Hot Wheels Dragstrip Demon series; a quantity of the Hot Wheels replicas is included with the car.

Featured in the December 1974 issue of Cars Magazine and the August 2008 Hemmings Muscle Machine Magazine, the “Nazy Crate” still retains the original unique lightweight components that made it a Thunderbolt and comes with full documentation that includes a photo album of the restoration.

Source: Photos by John Hollansworth Jr. Courtesy of Mecum Auctions; Part of Indianapolis Auction in May, 2014

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