Plummer ordered a 1955 T-Bird when they first came out, but the Ford dealer told his dad—a good customer—and Robert was told he could not drive a T-Bird while he lived at home. Two years later his brother bought a 1957 model with the dual four-barrel “E” code engine. “He bought the car early and then he had to buy a ‘squarebird’ when they came out the next fall,’ Plummer recalls. “So, I bought the car in 1957 and it was my first car. We settled on a price of $2,250.”
Plummer drove the Thunderbird for two or three years and discovered it was worth more than he paid for it. After that, he bought and sold lots of cars. “If I saw one in a newspaper that seemed better than average with a low price, I bought it and a few weeks later I’d sell it again,” he said. The most he ever paid for a car was $6,500 for a restored Essex that was a twin to a car his dad drove.
All of his other cars have Ford connections. Plummer’s 1907 Ford Model S Runabout was originally advertised in a full-page ad and It took him two years to buy it. The Model S incorporates parts of the Model N, Model R and Model T and is rare. It was the last Ford to have right-hand controls and it has a hole right in the radiator for the crank, which permits a lower body.
Plummer has a 1917 Ford Model T depot hack that he believes may have been some type of pilot version of the heavier TT truck that was introduced during 1917. It has a beefed up chassis with overload springs and a non-Ford body. Plummer also has a restored 1927 Ford. Model T roadster,
Plummer bought a 1937 Ford pickup used in the movie ‘Chinatown. “I went to Universal Studios and picked it up,” he recalled. “I got it home and a caller asked if I had bought that truck and offered to double my money.” He sold the pickup and bought a 1937 Toro. Model T lawn tractor with a Ford front end.
The largest car in the collection is a 1947 Ford Deluxe convertible. “I had a ‘47 Sportsman convertible, but it was so hard and expensive to restore that I sold it,” Plummer notes. “This was 25-30 years ago and with the money I made, I was able to buy two restored cars, which were the ‘47 convertible and ‘27 Model T.”
Plummer has a 1967 Mustang convertible. “I bought it about 25 years ago from a schoolteacher,” he says. “She ordered it by adding and deleting options, so she deleted the clock to save about $10, but it still has the clock face.”
For 1977, Plummer has a Lincoln Versailles that he thinks will be valuable someday. “A lot of them were thrown away and hot rodders use the rear ends,” Plummer explains. “These were the first Fords with clear coat paint and they have a spring type hood ornament and a pheasant grille that swings back at the bottom to avoid breaking. Mine has a moon roof and a dial-in temperature control system like a modern car. It has just over 100,000 miles on it and looks new.”
Plummer says his 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe is a fantastic four-cylinder cars. “I use it for pulling my camper because it has a five-speed stick and gets excellent gas mileage, even with the camper attached,” he says. He also has a ’97 Lincoln parked, I have no more invested in all of these cars than if I went out and bought a $50,000 Cadillac or Lincoln,” Plummer advised.