About two weeks ago I somehow was transported back in time, to a Ford dealership circa 1966. Fortunately, I had my camera with me. Tired of lozenge-shaped modern cars? Well, then, come along!
Of course, I was drawn to the ’66 T-Bird. This one looks like it’s undergoing pre-delivery inspection and a final detailing before going to its happy new owner. I’ve always loved these Flair Birds.
I readily admit to being biased. My grandmother got a brand-new ’65 convertible, navy blue with Parchment seats, blue carpeting and dash, and a white top. Can you say ‘sharp’?
My Uncle Dave (he of the Iowa City Outtakes) learned to drive in that car–lucky him! Although she kept it all the way until 1977, it was long gone by the time I came along. They replaced it with a new 1977 “basket handle” T-Bird, black with a red pinstripe, white bucket-seats-with-console interior, and red carpeting and dash.
While it wasn’t quite the car the ’65 was, I do remember that one well, and lovingly. I wanted it to be my first car, but alas, it was not to be. She sold it sometime around 1991, still in mint condition, and never to be seen again. I loved the colors on that ’77, and have never seen another one in that color combination.
But back to the past. Now this was when a Thunderbird was a Thunderbird. Ford had a gold mine in the 1955-66 T-Bird, which gave the rest of the Ford lineup a bump in prestige just by being in the same showroom. Here was a Ford vehicle with a great blend of sportiness and luxury.
Whoever ordered this brand-new drop-top obviously wanted additional scoot, since it sports the optional 345-hp 428 cu in V8 in lieu of the standard 390 and its 315 horses. Burn rubber in luxury.
The new owner, who must have giddily checked every box when ordering this ‘Bird, also had to have the dealer-installed sport wheel covers. They’re even color-keyed to the bright red paint. Nice.
Let’s take one final look at those red seats. Back then, you could get your new T-Bird interior in, among other colors, Red, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Aqua, Parchment, and Emberglo. A far cry from today’s gray or beige interior choices, eh?
I sensed that my time in the ’60s was nearing an end, so I hurried over to check out this 1966 Ford Custom. I’m guessing the mild-mannered Dad who ordered this car really wanted a Mustang, but familial obligations prevented it. How else to explain the bright blue paint and Mustang rocker-panel stripe?
I’m guessing it’s being fitted for some over-the-counter Mustang GT styled steel wheels. Why not add a little spice to your four-door sedan?
And then they were gone. I wandered outside, wondering if I had come back to the present, or perhaps to 1975, 1988 or 2002. Nope. Judging from this ginger ale-color Fusion, I was back when I belonged. But I’m grateful for the chance to peek into the past, albeit for just a few moments. Ah, the good old days…
ED: Special thanks to KV Dahl, for indulging my time-traveling fantasies with his beautiful ’66 ‘Bird!