The 1970 Mercury Cyclone would like to have a word.
I believe the Thunderbird gets the final word by about 5 inches.
that Merc is a good looking body style!
Agreed. It’s funny how the same styling treatment works so well on the Mercury but looks so hideous (just my personal opinion!) on the T-bird.
Supposedly, the ‘Bunkie Beak’ Fords, along with the Mustang’s flimsy front bumper, were among the main reasons for the implementation of the 5mph bumper regulations.
The little ‘bumperettes’ on the front corners of the Camaro Rally Sport probably didn’t help, either.
The Rally Sport had a urethane grille frame. Three easily replaced pieces provided full width coverage,
You want a TBird Beak or a Riviera Butt in 1970?
Without that side striping, this Riv would be a good looking car!
It was available without the French side trim and the fender skirts.
A green one of these roamed the streets of my home town for many years..
Poor thing was really a “rough sounding ride” , come the “mid 80’s”.
The T-Bird’s wheelcovers. I hate them. They hung around forever, too. Is that the first year of those?
I think it was.
I usually like fender skirts but on this car they make the rear fender area look too heavy.
The Boeing 747 certainly has a more graceful beak. 50+ years later, it’s still the most beautiful commercial airliner in the sky.
I’ve always been partial to the great Boeing 707. A beautiful looking plane.
I love 707’s. My uncle was a flight engineer on these, and I got to ride in the cockpit of one. It was a cargo plane, so I didn’t risk many lives when he and the captain let me take control of it for 20 mins. I was 16 at the time. What a thrill! And my uncle always said, the pilot earns his money in the last 5 mins of the flight.
These in the picture are new 747s.
And they never looked better than when in their original PAA livery. Same goes for the 707s.
“in the sky” is needed here. Nothing beats Concorde for visual elegance; never has, never will.
Though there is something about the wing profile of the A380.
+1 for the Concorde
Semon ‘Bunkie’ Knudsen really bloated the Birds as well as anything else he could get his hands on to make a Ford look like a bulbous Pontiac.
I saw several 747s take to the air while on layover recently. It’s a marvelous looking airplane whose design could still pass off as modern. That beak-faced land barge in the foreground? Yuck. Hard to believe they are from the same era.
I must be an outlier regarding the Bunkie Beak Birds. I kinda like ’em, but that car being a white one, and the camera angle of that pic, really do emphasize the ridiculousness of its beak, I suppose.
But it’s a bird… with a beak! What’s not to love? The car does look better in a dark color like a deep blue or dark green. I had a model of one of these when I was a kid painted in Emerald Green and liked the way that car looked.
Regarding the 747, I was 8 or 9 when this plane had its initial roll out. I did not like it, having grown up on that classic Boeing nose. The 707 and 727 were always my favorites. But much like what happens with cars that you don’t like at first, the Queen of the Skies grew on me, and I love her classic lines now.
Years later when the 757 came out, I didn’t like it for the same reason, the shape of the nose. But then I got to fly in one, and wow is that plane a performer! Its acceleration on my first flight on one blew me away. Of course that plane was half empty. The pilot hit the throttles to full power and it felt like we were shot out of a cannon.
The 767 & 777, although larger, still have that classic Boeing Beak look, but the 787 Dreamliner is more of a nightmare (in appearance) if you ask me, although I’m sure it’s a cool plane.
The beak certainly captures all the attention, but its not what I dislike about the 1970 front end. Take away the beak it looks almost identical to a 68 Buick Skylark. That isn’t to say the Skylark is a bad looking car(though it is certainly not my favorite) but it was the first Tbird that truly lost its way, by committing the normally inoffensive and frankly common act in automotive design; resembling something else. I never cared for the preceding 67-69 jet intake design much either but at least it was very distinctive, as a Thunderbird should be, as every Thunderbird had been up to that point. 1970 set the stage for the nameplate’s fall from glamourous Americana to just being a name in the lineup, the followup generation was even worse with a prow that looked like a Mark IV without headlight doors, which was exactly what it was.
I legitimately wonder if Ford’s designers really were smitten over the 68 Buick Skylark design. I don’t think the front end resemblance I see in these Tbirds is a coincidence, especially when you consider a year earlier Mercury inexplicably incorporated its side sweep into the bodylines of the Cougar as well
Like this one!!!
Always interesting reading your responses Matt, reckon you nailed it with your comment on the Thunderbird losing its way.
Charmin Pan Am makes the going great!
The Bunkie beak worked on some, the Cyclones and the 70 Cougars. The T-Bird for some reason just looked like a last minute tacked on piece, something you would by from J.C. Whitney.
The Queen of the sky was a product that arrived at the right time. One needs to stand in a hangar with one of these 747’s to appreciate the size of this bird. The 747 has a special memory for me, my first two commercial flights were on 747’s. The sad part is I never flew on one again. I did have the chance to crawl thru 747’s at Northwest Orient Airlines home base in Minneapolis, MN. This was all before 9/11. Hard to imagine today that a buddy could simply walk in on a Saturday or Sunday with friends tagging along and walk thru the shops and hangars without anyone batting an eye. In fact when you did run into employees they were all very welcoming, eager to show you what was going on with this particular plane. The machine shops were fascinating for a gearhead. Northwest made lots of parts rather then purchasing the part. They had a dozen or so items in a display case, these parts were made in the shop and they listed the cost if purchased from the manufacturer and the costs Northwest incurred to manufacture it in house, huge savings, should have taken a photo.
For looks I prefer the clean wing look of the rear engine planes, 727, DC9, Lear Jet, Citation, etc
Everyone hates on the “Bunkie Beak”, but it at least makes a statement. Compare this to the front end of the 1967-69 Thunderbirds, which was one of the most bland, forgettable front ends of its time – especially if we restrict the pool to front ends with hidden headlights.
My vote is that these were the last Thunderbirds that could be considered as a stand-out design until the 1983 models.
ironically, given the date, of this photo, those aircraft could have been on Boeing’s flightline at Renton waiting for engines. IIRXC, there was a point where the value of the otherwise finished aircraft that couldn’t be completed and delivered, due to P&W’s issues, was greater than the capitalisation of the Boeing Aircraft Co.
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