In late 1955, Marilyn Monroe acquired a Ford Thunderbird convertible with a 5,000cc V8 engine producing 225 horsepower and a top speed of 113mph. Soon after Marilyn bought the car, she married Arthur Miller and it is thought that the two drove the Thunderbird to their civil wedding ceremony in 1956.
Now, the very same car has sold at an auction at Julien’s Auction House in Los Angeles for $490,000.
The car was created as Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Corvette made by General Motors. The convertible consisted of Raven Black bodywork, a black and white interior, an automatic transmission, power steering and electric windows and seats. It also has the distinctive porthole windows on each side of the vehicle.
It is thought Marilyn Monroe owned the car for around six years before giving to John Strasberg, the son of her acting coach Lee Strasberg, as an 18th birthday present – just a few months before she died.
The owner who put it up for auction traced and purchased the iconic car through accompanying documents which were in the possession of Lee Strasberg who inherited the majority of Marilyn’s estate.
The car has been restored somewhat but most of the surfaces that would have been touched by the driver and passenger have been left untouched.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the owner said:
“I found the vehicle in lovely show condition. Nevertheless, it has received a frame-off restoration to its exact original appearance by a premier Californian firm specialising in classic 1955, 1956 and 1957 Ford Thunderbirds.
“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.”
It’s always exciting for classic car enthusiasts when a charismatic car with a rich history goes up for auction and this one is no different!