Feeling a bit of T-Bird fatigue? Take one of these for an antidote. It’s the most un-T-Bird shot I could think of my recent finds. It has a geodesic dome, a roof-top water tank, solar panels and sky-box seating, all features that Ford never quite got to. I suppose someone’s going to argue that’s a continental spare on the back. Read the rest of this entry »
The 1971-74 Toyota Crown was a watershed moment for the company; one that I believe had a significant influence on the initial success of the Lexus. Being a Toyota, it was most likely an in-house styling job. That said, in tracing the stylistic influences on this car – overt or otherwise – I find that the 1967-69 Thunderbird plays the greatest part. Read the rest of this entry »
(first published 4/16/2013) The Thunderbird: So irrational, so illogical, so often successful. Out of all the cars that make no sense–at least on paper– I’m willing to give the beguiling bird a pass. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that my favorite is the first version to really jump the shark: Landau bars and eight-tracks, anyone?
I love Bullet Birds. Actually, I love them better when we call them Cigar Birds, but tomayto/tomahto, and all that. I loved these so much I bought one. And as much as mine abused me, I love them still. So, why wasn’t I more excited when I found this one?
(parts of this text are the same as a previous CC on a ’63 hardtop Landau) What exactly is the American Dream? Was it easier to answer that question fifty years ago? If you were seven years old, and had just arrived from Austria at the same time the 1961 Thunderbird first appeared, the answer is definitely yes. What more was there to aspire to then this? Seeing fifty of these convertibles in Kennedy’s Inaugural Parade only cemented the image. In America anyone could realistically aspire to own a car that actually looked like a Dream Car in a car show, one that would glamorously jet you away from the humdrum of ordinary life, if not exactly rocket you to the moon. Yes, in the fall of 1960, Ford was building my dream. And then I was rudely awakened. Read the rest of this entry »
(None of the pictures in this article are of the actual cars but pictures borrowed from the Internet using Google image search)
In our house during the late 80’s and early 90’s in, cars seemed to be disposable and cheap. It was not unusual for my parents to go through two or three beaters in a year. When I started driving, they decided to let me in on the fun. Read the rest of this entry »
Yawn. Another restored squarebird convertible in resale red. Aren’t there a couple of these at every car show? But I didn’t find this one at a car show Instead, it was on a quiet neighborhood street, looking just a little rough around the edges. Sort of like an elegantly dressed lady who has somehow found herself in a low class bar. This car had an air of mystery about it, which is fitting because for its entire history, the Thunderbird has always had some mystery as part of its aura.
I have been sitting on these pictures for, oh boy, probably close to two years. Thunderbird Week, however, finally prompted me to share my favorite model of my favorite year of the two-seat T-Birds: The Ertl Precision 100 1957 Thunderbird in Dusk Rose.
(Update: we’re going to dedicate each day of the week to one decade of the T-Bird’s existence. So let’s finish out the gen1 with a couple of vintage ads. The 1958 T-Bird will be covered tomorrow morning in a 1960 T-Bird CC.)
Ford’s advertisements for its new 1955 Thunderbird made it all-too obvious that it was not out to chase Jaguars and Austin Healeys, although allusions to Europeans are made in this ad. It was the first so-called “personal car”, and designed to be a reasonably powerful two-seat car, stable at speed, but not one that would ever impress anyone with sporty handling. The ad copy about its steering is explicit:
Ford engineers don’t go along with the idea that a high-performance car such as the Thunderbird should have overly fast steering for the American highway. It steers with the ease you are accustomed to you can have it power-assisted if you wish.
In other words, slow and soggy, just like a ’54 Ford sedan. Read the rest of this entry »
Somewhere west of Al-Kindi Street, in the Baghdad International Zone — better known as the Green Zone — there’s a 1955-56 Thunderbird that has probably experienced more than any other first generation Thunderbird ever made. Read the rest of this entry »
I suppose there weren’t as many as the four-wheeled variety, but “Thunderbird” once graced many a motel, hotel, lodge or casino. “Imperialist” sent me a vintage postcard of the Thunderbird in Las Vegas for some timely T-Bird Week filler, and I decided to search for a few more. This is probably the oldest one, of that once famous Las Vegas institution. That rare little ’51 Rambler hardtop really caught my eye. Read the rest of this entry »
Since we discovered the (semi)secret south side McCredie Hot Springs on the edge of Salt Creek near Hwy 58, it’s become a predictable stop on the way home after a hike in the Cascades. Such was the case last night, after a rather long twelve-miler up to Waldo Mountain and a detour to Waldo Lake; our vintage bodies were feeling it. The south side spring is a bit remote, and requires a drive down a forest road and a bit of a hike. But it’s worth the seclusion, although some others know of it too. And what more likely only other car to be there but a vintage diesel Rabbit? Read the rest of this entry »
If you fancy yourself a pretty decent mechanic, as I do, you’ve probably seen a few CCs that you wanted to buy. I bet you have even approached an owner or two to initiate such a transaction. This is my story.
Did you miss out on the Cutlass Decade? Do you wish you could still get one? Well, sadly, that isn’t in the cards, but one thing you CAN do, if you’re so inclined, is snag this burnt orange survivor. Such a deal!
The first generation Thunderbird has never been a car I’ve paid much attention to, but seeing this one outside a European carshow in its patinated glory I was struck by how well the design holds up against its transatlantic contemporaries. Thunderbird week gives me the ideal opportunity to share a personal take on this model.