Lance Herrington, owner of Thunderbirds Southwest, has been involved with and has had a love for Thunderbirds since purchasing his first one in 1964. Lance started the company in his garage in 1983, doing repairs and some minor paint, body and interior work.
In 1984, he decided to invest all of his efforts and open a Thunderbird shop. He named it Thunderbirds Southwest. Initially he only worked on 1955-1966 Thunderbirds, but eventually expanded the services to include 1967-1976 Thunderbirds and 1949-1967 Ford passenger cars.
Since he was able to supply the needed parts for these vehicles, he had requests from customers for "upgrades" such as better handling, modern radios, interiors, cooling systems, etc. He approached different manufacturers in the industry and had them produce his designs and ideas. They wholesale these items to most of the other Thunderbird and Ford parts houses worldwide.
From its humble beginnings, Thunderbirds Southwest grew into a combined 13,000 square feet on two acres in Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Within a very short time, the company had developed a reputation of quality and craftsmanship, and were having vehicles sent to them for restoration from as far away as France. By this time they were also selling the special interest vehicles worldwide.
By 1988, Houston had engulfed Sugar Land and the quaintness of a one time small community was no more. Thunderbirds Southwest decided to rid itself of this and moved the company 100 miles west, to the small community of La Grange. They found a 8,000 square foot building on ten acres located about 5 miles out of town on Highway 71. The scenery was elegant, consisting of rolling hills, deer and many beautiful oak trees. In 2013 a 1/2 acre pond was dug so that we can enhance the property and have our own "Fishing hole"!
A 6,000 square foot showroom, decorated in the style of the 1950's was created to present and sell the large number of classic and special interest vehicles. To enhance the outside show area, fifteen more acres were purchased next to the showroom giving them 1200+ feet of display area along Highway 71.
Another 8,000 square foot building was erected to serve as equipment and parts storage. Thunderbirds Southwest has been parting out Thunderbirds for 20 years and has accumulated parts from over 275 vehicles.
More land was acquired and a 2000 foot turf airstrip was installed next to the showroom. It was needed for the "company plane" (Lance's hobby) and an additional metal building, $8000 was required for a hangar. Anyone who wants to fly in to view the vehicles or just grab a "$100 cup of coffee" is welcome.
Lance had another “want” as a youngster (but never was able to achieve). About 8 years ago he finally purchased a Nash Metropolitan! Then he purchased another, and another, and another! Now he has about 50 “Mets”. Like his fondness for the T-Birds and Fords, he started restoring, repairing, and servicing them for customers. Lance has even designed and had parts manufactured for them. As with other vehicles, customers from all over the country send their “Mets” here for work or just purchase ones the we have here for sale. “This hobby is getting out of hand!”
When you call Thunderbirds Southwest, the pleasant female voice you hear on the telephone is Lance's wife, Pam. She retired as a private secretary for a surgeon in Houston. She runs the office and takes care of orders.