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Ford thunderbird images by year

ford thunderbird images by year

The Ford Thunderbird is a personal luxury car produced by Ford from model years until and until throughout 11 distinct generations. Find the perfect Ford Thunderbird stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. Select from premium Ford Thunderbird of the highest. Find the perfect ford thunderbird stock photo. Huge collection, amazing choice, + million high quality, affordable RF and RM images. No need to register. DELETE SPLASHTOP ASUS

The unitized construction unit frame of the Thunderbird was a forerunner of this type of construction in the industry. The "Square Birds" became sought by collectors in ever-growing numbers. Despite the popularity of the two-seaters, "Square Bird" enthusiasts have as strong a following as two-seater worshipers. Certainly, there are more models to collect. Ford produced a total of , of the convertible and two-door Landau models. The Landau models with sunroofs are especially valuable since only a limited number less than were built.

The Square Bird Thunderbird's future for the next four decades belonged to the four-seaters. Certainly, the two-seater had given Ford Division the prestigious car it needed, and sales exceeded planning volumes in each of the three years it was on the market. Economic realities of the times, the public's motoring needs and Ford's market share inhibited the potential of the car. Even as the two-seater was being designed, plans for a four-passenger personal car were on Ford's drawing board.

The decision to build a bigger 'bird was justified by subsequent marketing research that showed two-seaters were not being purchased by families with children as their primary vehicle. Seating capacity and price restricted Thunderbird ownership to upper-income families. The Thunderbird retained the classic lines of the original Thunderbird, plus some classic styling touches of its own, including the one-piece grille and bumper and clean contemporary rooflines that would set new styling standards for the industry.

Another leading feature of the Thunderbird was unit frame construction, and the car boasted "more room per passenger than any luxury car. The MT editors added that "the ride of the new Thunderbird is as comfortable as any American car today, regardless of size.

Classified as a "semi-luxury" car, the Thunderbird was square in design, with few concessions to rounded corners, fore or aft. Sales totaled 48,; almost matching two-seater deliveries for all of the three years the model was on the market. The Thunderbird In keeping with a three-year planning cycle, Thunderbird styling was again changed in This time, the now-established Ford Division flagship introduced the "projectile" look, a design featuring full-length body sculpturing and an even thinner roof than previous models.

Standard equipment included automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes, and a unique swing-away steering wheel - ordered by nearly 77 percent of all Thunderbird buyers - was optional. The "projectile" styling continued through , with the model offering more than improvements and two exciting new models, a two-seater sports roadster and a vinyl-covered hardtop Landau coupe.

Among the improvements:. Thunderbird Photo Gallery Two men, Louis D. Crusoe and George Walker, were primarily responsible for the birth of the Thunderbird. Both were devoted to the automobile and its constant development and refinement. Crusoe, a millionaire lured out of retirement by Henry Ford II, was a businessman with a solid "feel" for the automobile market.

As a Ford vice president and Ford Division general manager, it was his responsibility to strengthen a young Ford Division. His goal was to give it a car that breathed excitement, a car that would add prestige to the Ford name. Walker, later a Ford vice president and chief stylist, is described by contemporaries as a "stylist with the soul of an artist burning in his heart. It was October With their mission in mind, the two men were walking along the aisles of the Grand Palais in Paris when Crusoe gestured toward one of the sportier automobiles on display, turned to Walker and asked: "Why can't we have something like that?

It was not quite so, until Walker found it convenient to get to a telephone and talk with his aides back in Dearborn. But, by the time Crusoe returned to the United States, there was indeed a "job just like that" in the works. In the months that followed, there was a lot of talk about a "true Ford sports car. All hands had been instructed to go to work on a completely new Ford car for the model year.

Official approval of a crash program to develop the Ford sports car came in a product letter dated Feb. In it, May 1, , was set as the target date for a full-size clay model. The letter also authorized parallel work by the engineers on a suitable chassis. The initial guidelines called for a two-passenger, canvas-topped open car that "would make maximum use of standard production components. The new Ford sports car also was "to retain Ford product characteristics and identification to the extent necessary for a ready association with the standard production car.

With no time for scale-model studies and the like, the first sports car styling suggestions were full-profile, full-sized air-brush renderings on paper of five different cars, cut out and mounted so they could be viewed like automobiles on the highway. It was an effective, if unorthodox, technique. None of these proposals led directly to a final car, but each provided ideas for the full-size clay model that was taking shape.

While the clay model was being developed, other decisions were being made:. On May 18, - 17 days after his deadline - Crusoe saw a complete, painted clay model for the first time. It closely corresponded to the shape of the final first Thunderbird. Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Bill Burnett had cut a Ford two-door sedan to the inch wheelbase of the sports car in order to test some ideas about problems such as handling and brake balance.

By the summer of , the car was far enough along for a decision to be made about building it. The decision came in September when Crusoe - in Paris to view the renowned sports cars of the world and measure them against the clay models back in Dearborn - decided the Ford car was right. Although production wouldn't begin until the fall of , making the new car a model, Ford was anxious to tell the world about it. Only one small detail remained - a name for the car.

There were 5, names considered. Hep Cat, Beaver and Detroiter were early, yet undistinguished, front-runners. A young Ford stylist, Alden "Gib" Giberson, submitted the name that would quickly earn approval and eventually acclaim - Thunderbird. He thought of the name because he had once lived in the southwest, where the legend of the Thunderbird was well-known.

Chief Stylist Frank Hersey, also a southwesterner and an enthusiast, spotted the name on Giberson's list and picked it for the new car. The name Thunderbird comes from the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, where, according to Indian legend, the Thunderbird was a divine helper of man. Its great flapping wings, invisible to the eyes of mortal man, created the winds and the thunder, and gave the Indians water to live on in the dry wilderness where fate had flung them.

With the name settled and a couple of last-minute appearance changes made, the Ford Thunderbird was ready to go to market;. Thunderbirds U. Sales History. A Cherished Roadster It's practically impossible to pinpoint the origin of the sports roadster.

It was just "there" when the model year lineup was announced. It was a grand experiment, and the cult of Thunderbird sports roadster collectors quickly grew as the years passed. It was an unusual car with a molded fiberglass tonneau and padded headrests that transformed the four-seat convertible into a two-seater car. Special features included wire wheels with chrome-plated spokes and rims, simulated knock-off hub caps and an assist bar for passenger comfort during cornering.

Interestingly, the roadster had a special emblem - a gull-like bird, not a Thunderbird - superimposed over a red, white and blue crest that was mounted on the front fenders below the Thunderbird script. After two years and a total production of 1,, the sports roadster was discontinued. The Thunderbird The Thunderbird reverted partially to the square design theme.

It was more angular than the models, yet not as square as the models. The new styling featured a longer hood, a shorter roof line and sculptured side panels. With the bumper and grille designed to provide a faster, more aerodynamic look, the overall styling continued Thunderbird's by-now traditional image of "swift-lined sleekness.

Interior design also reflected the space-age styling of the early and mids. Featured were luxuriously padded, high, thin shell, contoured individual seats, "pistol grip" door handles and a full-width, safety-padded instrument panel. Radio, clock and retractable seat belts also were standard. New options included individual reclining seats and trailer towing equipment. And, insulation and sound-proofing were improved to the point that they were described as "super.

Though the design for the 4,pound car was essentially the same as models, the Thunderbird became a collector's favorite because it is regarded as the best of the four-seaters of the era. The edition offered Town Hardtop and Town Landau models with a unique appearance gained from a bold new roof line extending forward into the quarter area of the door windows and without the conventional quarter windows.

Windshield washers and vacuum door locks were added to the standard equipment, and power six-way seats and a power antenna were new options. All Thunderbird convertibles, but especially the convertibles, are collectors' items. The reasons are obvious: First, they are Thunderbirds, second, they are convertibles. Ford discontinued the Thunderbird convertible after the model year. Not counting the two-seaters, 70, were produced.

The Thunderbird The Thunderbird grew a little more when the models were designed. The wheelbase for the two-door hardtop was extended to inches up two inches , overall length was The Thunderbird represented one of the most dramatic styling changes in industry history. It was a jet aircraft-like design featuring a long, thrusting hood and a short rear deck. The front-end highlight was a crisp lattice-work grille deeply inset and outlined with thin, bright metal moldings on the top and sides.

The grille was framed at the bottom by a new deep-sectioned bumper that blended into the sheet metal, and the headlights were concealed by doors at the outboard edges of the grille. Also, for the model year, a four-door model was added. It was discontinued after the model year. The four-door didn't help sales much - only 70, were built during the two years it was on the market - but today they are collectors' cars and are rapidly gaining in value.

From , a four-door model was produced and rapidly gaining value in the collectors' market. Into the '70s. Other exterior design features included a new extruded-aluminum grille the "poke-thru nose" flanked by dual headlights. A concealed radio antenna provided a non-cluttered look and eliminated antenna noise. Concealed windshield wipers and cowl air vents provided a clean, "sweeping" line from the hood to the roof, and back-up lights were "concealed" in the center rear panel.

Ultra-luxurious appointments were on the inside. Included were a standard full-width front bench seat with attractive, re-designed head restraints, individual bucket-style seat backs and a fold-down center armrest. Thick padded armrests extended the full-length of the front door panels. Safety innovations included a "Uni-Lock" three-point safety-belt and shoulder harness system.

A New Generation of Luxury A new generation of even more luxurious Thunderbirds started with the model. Only a two-door model was offered. The emphasis was on styling and comfort. The Thunderbird was on a The car weighed 4, pounds. Strikingly handsome and formal in appearance, it achieved new levels of luxury and comfort, even for the Thunderbird. Michelin radial-ply steel-belted tires and bodyside protection molding were standard.

The standard power front disc brakes were re-designed to provide more positive braking and longer brake life than previous systems. The number of parts in the all-new braking system was reduced from 26 to 12 for even greater reliability and quicker service. The Epitome of Personal Luxury The Ford Thunderbird reached its pinnacle as a personal luxury car with the model.

Skipping the traditional three-year styling change for the first time, the design was basically the same as the previous model, except that the car was longer and heavier. Overall length was The added length was to accommodate Ford's most powerful engine, the CID V-8, and much of the added weight was accounted for by the addition of air conditioning - and the bigger engine - as standard equipment. Other standard refinements were concealed windshield wipers, a distinctive opera window, dense-grain vinyl roof, solid-state ignition, power side windows, automatic seat-back release, spare tire lock and white sidewall, steel-belted, radial tires.

Available for the first time were power four-wheel disc brakes, making Thunderbird one of the few American-built cars to offer this safety-enhancing feature. Other options were power mini-vent windows, quick-defrost windshield and rear window and moon roof. With the exception of three new luxury groups, the Thunderbird was basically the same as the version in terms of luxury, convenience, appearance and standard equipment levels.

The greatest significance of the Thunderbird was that it marked the end of another Thunderbird era. After this, the flight of the Thunderbird would change directions. New Directions The new direction of the Thunderbird was into the high-volume mid-size specialty car market. Built on a inch wheelbase, it was a slimmer and sleeker automobile that retained many of the traditional Thunderbird styling touches that millions of owners and admirers had come to know.

The appearance of the Thunderbird was spotlighted by a unique wrapover roof treatment, featuring beveled glass opera windows in the center pillars. Other distinctive features included a chrome-plated grille, hidden headlamps and "wall-to-wall" taillamps.

The early s saw a completely different direction for Thunderbird - it was smaller, more angular in styling and targeted to a more conservative, fuel-economy concious customer. Not destined to be a favorite of collectors, it was not long for the cycle-plan. In , Ford took Thunderbird into a new design phase introducing the "aero-style" Thunderbird that would lead Ford Motor Company and the industry in a new direction.

The bold styling would next find its way into the car that changed the industry for years to come beginning in - the Ford Taurus. Thunderbird was all-new from the ground up in , featuring an exterior design destined to further reshape the aero-styling trends of the '80s. It was a leader in technology transfer from racing to production and was among the first vehicles outfitted with Ford's next generation electronic engine control module developed by Ford's Formula One racing program.

The standard cu in 6. Newly optional and taking the top position for performance was a hp kW cu in 7. The Thunderbird's fifth generation brought the second major change in the car's design direction since its debut in However, the introduction of the Ford Mustang in early had created a challenge to the Thunderbird's market positioning for it. The Mustang had an advantage in that it was substantially cheaper.

To prevent overlap between the two cars, Ford's response was to move the Thunderbird upmarket. The result, introduced for , was a larger Thunderbird with luxury appointments more in line with a Lincoln. The new Thunderbird abandoned unibody construction in favor of body-on-frame construction with sophisticated rubber mountings between the body and frame to reduce noise and vibration. Two significant departures from the previous generation of the Thunderbird were the elimination of a convertible model and the addition of a four-door model, which used suicide doors for rear-seat access.

The available four-door design remained a unique feature to this generation, as it was not carried on after One of the most noticeable design elements of the fifth-generation Thunderbird was the gaping, fighter jet-inspired grille opening that incorporated hidden headlights.

The Thunderbird continued with the same platform and many of the same parts and styling cues used in the to models, including the sequential turn signals incorporated into the full-width tail lamps. The most noticeable change was in the front fascia , where a large, prominent projection resembling a bird or eagle's beak was now used, in line with long, angular lines in the hood. Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen , a former GM executive now president of Ford, is said to be responsible for this dramatic change.

The T-bird was offered in coupe or sports-back models for these two years, the latter being a further distinction from the '67 to '69 models. In , Neiman Marcus offered "his and hers" Thunderbirds in its catalog, with telephones, tape recorders, and other features.

The Thunderbird was mostly a carry-over from the model as Ford prepared to release a new, larger Thunderbird for It was also the last year to offer a four-door. The sixth generation of the Thunderbird debuted in the fall of as a model. With a Matching the large size of the car were large engines, including a standard cu in 7. Though offering two of the largest displacement V8 engines ever installed in a production vehicle by Ford, the car's considerable weight combined with low power output caused by restrictive emissions technology resulted in modest performance.

As might also be expected from installing a large-displacement V8 in a heavy car, fuel efficiency was poor. The big Thunderbirds were popular, with sales peaking at over 87, units in in spite of the oil crisis , but sales had slumped to less than 43, by Finishing off the generation, sales had an uptick to almost 53, units for Acknowledging increasing fuel prices and more stringent federal emissions standards, a new, downsized Thunderbird was to appear for For the model year, the Thunderbird was shifted to the smaller inches 2, mm wheelbase chassis that underpinned the —76 Ford Torino and its replacement, the LTD II which also debuted for Even being nearly 8 inches shorter than the Thunderbird only 1.

It was not dramatically downsized, from In essence, this generation was a continuation of the — Ford Elite , Ford's first attempt at competing in the market created by the Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Compared to the previous-generation Thunderbird, the new car lost nearly 8 inches of overall length at The standard engine outside California was the cu in 4.

In California, the was the standard engine, and the was optionally available. For the first time, a wide, fixed "B" pillar was used, reflecting Detroit's abandonment of pillarless hardtops in the mid- and late s. However, the door window glass remained frameless. In , Ford offered the "Diamond Jubilee Edition" Thunderbird to commemorate the company's 75th year as an auto manufacturer.

Naturally, it included every option available except for a moonroof and an engine block heater. A similar option package, called "Heritage", was available for Though this generation was the most successful in sales with over , examples produced in its three-year run, [2] Ford sought to downsize the Thunderbird further, due to fuel-efficiency and emissions concerns, leading to a redesign for For the model year, the cu in engine was no longer available.

Reflecting a further industry-wide adoption of smaller vehicle designs in the interest of improved fuel efficiency and emissions compliance, the Thunderbird was redesigned for on the compact Ford Fox platform , which first appeared only two years prior as the basis for the Ford Fairmont. Compared to the previous Torino-based Thunderbird and its large inches 2, mm wheelbase and The squarish styling seen in the previous generation of the Thunderbird was favored for the new model, but now using a smaller car platform.

Frameless door glass was no longer used; a chrome metal frame was used, instead, making the car look more like a two-door sedan. Combined with the poor-performing 4. The available cu in 4. Significantly, though failing to generate any new interest for the Thunderbird, a six-cylinder engine was made available for the first time in the Thunderbird's history in , the cu in 3. For , this was followed up with the replacement of the straight-six engine with a more modern V6, the 3.

It came equipped with a Motorcraft 2V carburetor. Hurting the Thunderbird's sales performance further, the V8 did not return for , leaving the cu in V8 as the only alternative engine. At , units produced between and , the eighth generation of the Thunderbird was barely more successful than the final model year of the previous Thunderbird generation. In response to the lackluster reception of the eighth-generation — Thunderbird, Ford executed a significant redesign for Though based on the Fox body as the previous Thunderbird, the new Thunderbird featured a radically sleeker, more aerodynamic body and a slightly shorter wheelbase of To power the new Thunderbird, the 3.

All-new, and a Thunderbird first, was a turbocharged 2. The engine initially was rated at hp kW , but by , power was increased to hp kW. Another first was the availability of a five-speed manual transmission with the turbocharged four. In , the higher trim model was the Heritage; this was renamed the Elan in Also, a Fila-branded model was introduced.

In , a special 30th Anniversary edition was available, with special Medium Regatta Blue Metallic paint, special graphics, and trim. For , the Thunderbird received a significant refresh complete with new sheet metal and a revised front fascia with aerodynamic composite headlamps. Mechanically, the car was mostly unchanged. The V6 models carried over port fuel injection from , while the Turbo Coupe's turbocharged four-cylinder engine gained an intercooler, increasing output to hp kW and lb of torque.

On December 26, , a completely redesigned Thunderbird was introduced as a model along with the similar Mercury Cougar. The Thunderbird was the first in the car's history not to offer a V8 engine, instead offering two different versions of Ford's 3. Standard versions of the Thunderbird received a naturally aspirated version of the V6 producing hp kW , while the "Super Coupe" model received a supercharged and intercooled version of the engine rated at hp kW.

The naturally aspirated V6 came with an AOD four-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment. The Super Coupe's engine had the same 3. Among the modifications, the engine block and heads were modified to enhance coolant flow, the crankshaft was upgraded to a fully counterweighted forged unit, the billet roller cam had a unique profile, and the pistons were made of a stronger hypereutectic alloy. The supercharger used was an Eaton M90 Roots style , designed for mounting atop the intake manifold.

Boost pressure during hard acceleration under ideal conditions is approximately 12 psi 0. In for the model year, a V8 was offered in the Thunderbird once again, slotting in between the standard and supercharged versions of the 3. The V8 5. For , the one-year-only Thunderbird Sport model featured the 5. In , the model year Thunderbird received a substantial refresh, including stylistic changes inside and out and mechanical enhancements.

In particular, the Windsor 5. The performance increase is largely attributed to the tighter gap tolerance of the supercharger rotors allowed by the use of resin coating and a new high-flow supercharger case. Simultaneously, the AOD automatic transmission was replaced by the also-new electronically controlled 4R70W four-speed automatic in all instances where the AOD was previously used in the Thunderbird.

In , Ford did little to commemorate the Thunderbird's 40th anniversary. The Super Coupe model was discontinued. The last model of the tenth-generation Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line in Lorain, Ohio , on September 4, Prior to the ending of the production line, Ford's Special Vehicle Engineering Division proposed a high-performance version of the tenth-generation Thunderbird. After a five-year hiatus, Ford introduced the Thunderbird. Though the Thunderbird's exterior styling was unique relative to the others, the instrument panel, steering wheel, and other trim pieces were borrowed from Lincoln LS.

The sole engine of the Thunderbird was a Jaguar-designed AJ 3. Complementing the extra power and torque provided by the AJ V8, a manual shift feature for the five-speed automatic called SelectShift was available as an option in and later Thunderbirds. With sales dropping off significantly after its first model year, Ford ended Thunderbird production with the model year.

The last Thunderbird was manufactured on July 1, In the season, most teams returned to using the conventional full-sized Ford body style, and the T-Bird made only sporadic appearances through the rest of the s, with no additional wins. Beginning in , Thunderbird-bodied racecars replaced the Torino as Ford's primary body style in NASCAR , starting a trend of luxury coupe type body styles eventually the Imperial would also be seen racing being used as a sheet-metal source on the race track.

Bobby Allison won 13 races with this car driving for owner Bud Moore in the through seasons, though the cars looked boxy and unaerodynamic. During —, the downsized and aerodynamically clean Thunderbirds were successful in NASCAR stock car racing before they were replaced by Taurus -based bodies in The — to bodied cars routinely broke the mph barrier, in one case during a qualifying session set the record of the fastest lap in stock car history at Alan Kulwicki also won the championship in in a car nicknamed "Underbird", due to his underdog status as a driver.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see T-Bird disambiguation. For other uses of thunderbird, see thunderbird disambiguation. This article possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations.

Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. February Learn how and when to remove this template message. American car model. Motor vehicle. October — September June — July Personal luxury car Sports car and versions. This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Ford Thunderbird first generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird second generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird third generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird fourth generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird fifth generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird sixth generation.

Main article: Ford Thunderbird seventh generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird eighth generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird ninth generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird tenth generation. Main article: Ford Thunderbird eleventh generation. Weekly Driver. Retrieved May 8, Thunderbird Fifty Years. ISBN Automotive News. February 3, Retrieved November 13, New Atlas.

Thunderbird Country Club. Automotive Mileposts. Retrieved August 20, American Automobiles. Farber and Associates. Retrieved June 4, Motor Trend. Greatest American Cars.

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