Hit the Road Marilyn

Marilyn Monroe’s 1956 Ford Thunderbird to be auctioned


A 1956 Ford Thunderbird gifted as a Christmas present to Marilyn Monroe in 1955 by her business partner, the photographer Milton Greene, is to be auctioned in November.


The raven black roadster bodied automatic – dubbed a “personal luxury car” by Ford – comes with numerous documents  and of it, the current owner comments:


“I found the vehicle in lovely show condition. Nevertheless, the car has received a frame-off restoration to its exact original appearance by Prestige Thunderbird, Inc., of Santa Fe Springs, CA. Prestige is the premier west coast firm specializing only in classic 1955, 1956, and 1957 Ford Thunderbirds. In recognition of the car’s important provenance, special heed was given to the retention of original parts, with most driver and passenger touch surfaces left undisturbed.”


“Finding this car, a classic two-seater model, after 56 plus years of its unknown whereabouts, was a singular event. No other car has been located and documented as owned by the incomparable Marilyn Monroe.”


Speaking of the 225 horsepower, V8 engined vehicle, Amy Greene, wife of Milton Greene, remarked:


“Marilyn liked to drive. We’d take the convertible and with the top down, we’d go sailing along the highway. We both liked to feel the wind in our faces and the warmth of the heater on our legs.”


Kept and driven by the icon for six years, Monroe and her playwright husband Arthur Miller drove the Thunderbird to their civil wedding ceremony on 28th June 1956 and likely also to their private wedding on 30th June 1956. The vehicle was subsequently ‘regifted’ t to John Strasberg, the son the director and acting coach Lee Strasberg, as an 18th birthday present in 1962. It comes with a black canvas convertible top, a porthole windowed hardtop and has 30,399 miles on the odometer following an engine rebuild.


Darren Julien, president of Julien’s – the firm conducting the sale – added:


“Once in a while something comes along that has a powerful magic about it, a charisma, because of everything and everyone associated with it. This wonderful Ford Thunderbird is not only part of automotive history but comes with an aura of glamour, romance and tragedy of a true Hollywood legend. It will make the centrepiece of any classic car collection and be an object of fascination to millions.”


Julien’s Auctions will offer the car at their ‘Icons and Idols: Hollywood’ on 17th November in Los Angeles, California. They have set an estimate of £230,000 to £384,000 ($300,000 to $500,000, €262,000 to €436,000 or درهم1.1 million to درهم1.8 million).


2018 photos: Courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.


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