A NEW APPROACH IN AN AGE OLD BUSINESS+44 (0) 1926 691 141
Sold for: £7,917
By the time Ford dispensed (at least temporarily) with the Thunderbird moniker in 2005, the model had progressed through no less than 11 generations, the combined production total of which was in excess of 4.4 million. The first generation cars hit the streets in October 1954 and, while it was created in direct response to Chevrolet's Corvette, Ford's emphasis was more on comfort than overt sportiness and is widely recognised as creating a new niche market “the personal luxury car”. Though sleeker than most of its Ford siblings, it shared many of their components and the 292ci (4.8-litre) V8 engine was borrowed from the company's Mercury division. By the time the fourth generation appeared in 1964, the T-Bird was an altogether larger proposition, with four rather than two seats and power from a 6.4-litre V8 of either 300bhp or 330bhp, mated to a three-speed automatic gearbox, and the styling was more in line with the trends at the time, almost a 'Space Race' car with styling cues taken from the space programme. The seat supports are mounted inboard, giving the appearance that the seats are hovering. The dashboard instruments are round like 'Sputnik' satellites, the wipers and heating are controlled using T-shaped levers mounted on the dashboard, and in the overhead console, there are buttons to control the flashers and warning lights for the seatbelts. Even the steering wheel moves to one side to enable easy entry and exit of the vehicle. The best feature of the '66 model is the sequential rear indicators where the rear turn signal consists of three bulbs that flash in turn, very similar to the new range of Audis, however, Ford had developed this technology 50 years ago! This beautiful Thunderbird was manufactured in Lorain, Ohio in 1966 and is fitted with the 390ci, 315HP V8, and three-speed 'Cruise-O-Matic'. Finished in Brittany Blue with contrasting White Pearl Vinyl interior, this delightful piece of sixties Americana is certainly imposing. The vendor states that the car is in “beautiful condition” and the photographs certainly suggest so. We understand that everything works and even the fuel gauge and rear sequential indicators behave themselves. The car was purchased from a dealer in Florida who had eventually persuaded a local collector to part with it after a number of years in his collection. Included in the sale are a set of new OEM front seat covers. The vendor has also fitted a modern Holley carburettor with electric choke and 'Petronix' electronic ignition to ensure the big, sixties V8 bursts into life every time. (The original carb is included in the sale). The vendor tells us that this dramatic head-turner is ready for the 2017 show season and to be enjoyed by its new owner. Original Thunderbirds in this condition are a rare find.