The Ford Thunderbird has been presented in many variations. From the classic and original 1955 convertible and porthole-hardtop, to the straight-to-car-rental-fleet version of 2005.
But it is the third generation—introduced in 1961 (through to 1963) which I find most appealing. The sleek, softer-edges of the convertible have stood the test of time in their beauty.
The third generation Thunderbirds had a “Swing Away” steering wheel which could slide approximately 18 inches to the right allowing the driver to exit the vehicle easily. It also featured a floating rear view mirror optional air conditioning, power windows, power seats, AM radio, fender skirts and white wall tires—all newfangled technologies that still only existed in luxury class vehicles—and as optional equipment.
There were coupes, convertibles and the Thunderbird Sports Roadster which was a limited production convertible which featured a 48 spoke Kelsey Hayes designed wire wheels, special badges to the front fenders, a passenger side grab bar to the front dashboard and a fiberglass tonneau cover for the back seat—hiding the retracted top and creating the look of a two-seater. All of these features may seem commonplace, but many were “firsts” in the amazing 1961-63 Ford Thunderbird.
Images via NetCarShow.