Bill Elliott - better known as Awesome Bill from Dawsonville - became a NASCAR darling driving the then-new Aero-bird stocker. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe Thunderbird is a V8-powered homage to his Number Nine, but would buying it mean being presented with a not so awesome bill of sale?
When you think about it, the secular Easter tradition of an egg-laying rabbit sounds like a freak show straight out of the Island of Dr. Moreau. Similarly, yesterday's Mad Scientist E21 was seen as equally absurd, despite copious appreciation for its appearance and inherent coolness. In the end however, the egg-hued 3-series price didn't go over easy, and in fact fully 83% of you scrambled to vote Crack Pipe for it.
For a sport founded in the uber-conservative South, NASCAR sure spends a lot of time turning to the left. Politics aside, that singularly American racing series - which has its origins in Moonshiner runners - has provided a whole passel of left-turning heros over the years, as well as some ne'er-do-wells. They say that the candle which burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Bill Elliott career could have been considered to have required sunglasses, so brightly did he initially shine. But Elliott, like that proverbial candle, saw his career fade like, well a candle in the wind. Today, he's semi-retired, but that doesn't mean Elliott's still turning left, only this time with the blinker stuck on for miles afterward, just that he's not driving his famous Number Nine full time any more.
And that means you can!
This 1986 Ford Thunderbird V8 Coupe is a homage to Bill and the Number Nine superspeedway car that he drove during the heyday of his career. Appropriately red over white with a band of gold that doesn't come with a lifetime commitment, the car also sports the kind of product placement that has marked NASCAR for the past 40 years. Melling Oil first sponsored Bill Elliot to the tune of $500 to put their sticker on his car. Here, you get that same sticker for free! That, along with STP, Crane Cams, and the cool frosty taste of Coors make this T-Bird damn close to when Bill was trading paint with the likes of Dale Earnhardt and Neil Bonnet in the Two Winstons One Cup series. As a matter of fact, it's so exact a replica of the number nine car, that it hasn't won a single race in the past nine years!
Outside of pointing out the total NASCARgasm this T-Bird represents, the seller provides little info, and no interior pics. It is a V8 - and for ‘86 that meant port injection but still 25 fewer ponies than pumped out by a modern Ford Fusion's 2.5-litre four. Backing up the pushrod 4.9-litre eight should be Ford's AOD 4-speed automatic, and the whole thing sits on the heavily massaged Fox platform that made the Aerobird's ride and handling like no T-Bird that had come before it. The chrome steelies below have passed over 134,000 miles, but despite that seemingly alarming number, they look all shiny, and the sheet metal spoiler on the trunk appears as solid as the day it was riveted in place.
And then there's the lightbar! Walking a fine line between racer and pacer, this Melling T-Bird rocks an emergency vehicle disco bar on its roof. Imagine the fun you'd have stopping people in this car, and then screaming at them: I wasn't pulling you over, fool, I was drafting! Oh man, you and the cops would have a chuckle over that.
Homage cars are usually some half-assed tribute to something that probably didn't warrant an automotive proclamation of affinity - see any Star Wars Car, but taking the actual model of car raced, and then decking it out to look like its track hero twin actually isn't that embarrassing an endeavour. After all, what separates this car from a Gulf liveried Ford GT? Well, one thing that does is its price, because while a GT40, even painted liver livery, will still fetch six figures, while this T-Bird has an asking price of $5,995. But while cheap by comparison, is that a deal? What do you think, is $5,995 a fair price to be like Bill? Or, does that price make this Number Nine look like number two?
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