Cars of Coolhaven

An exploration of extraordinary cars in an ordinary neighborhood

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Ford Thunderbird ‘Flair Bird’ hardtop coupé (1964)

July 8th, 2008 by Rolph · 3 Comments

There seems to be an abundance of wedding cars, lately! Granted, this car is not in use as a wedding car when I spot it, but I seriously think it is rented out as one every now and then. It is a whale of a car, creamy white, in perfect condition, a Landau vinyl roof, quite the looker. Considering the costs of keeping this heavy gas guzzler running, you would be a fool NOT to rent it out every now and then.

The Thunderbird is one of those cars that I liked even before I had ever seen one, just like the Interceptor and the Vixen. Why oh why do car manufacturers come up with all these boring car names like C-Max, Fabia, Materia? Probably because the cars are boring too… 😉 Nothing boring about this Thunderbird in the Flair Bird series, the fourth generation T-Bird.

Production started on the Thunderbird in 1955, the first generation ‘Early Birds’, as a two-seater sporty car but, unlike the similar Chevrolet Corvette, the Thunderbird was never sold as a full-blown sports car. Ford described it as a personal luxury car, a description which named a new market segment. Lewis D. Crusoe, Frank Hershey, and George Walker are considered the creators of the Thunderbird. Crusoe was a retired GM executive; Hershey was a designer for Ford; and Walker was the chief stylist for Ford. While Crusoe and Walker were in Paris, they saw a sports car and were instantly inspired. They convinced Hershey to create designs and the result was an open car with room for two passengers. In 1958, the Thunderbird gained a second row of seats. Succeeding generations became larger until the line was downsized in 1977, again in 1980, and once again in 1983. Sales were good until the 1990s, when large 2-door coupes became unpopular; production ceased after 1997. In 2002, a revived 2-seat model was launched, which was available through the end of the 2005 model year.

The ‘Flair Bird’ certainly isn’t a sports car anymore, it is heavy, is soft suspension gives it the handling of a Bedford truck, and its V8 engine has considerable problems propelling the car to speed. Given the fact that this particular car has the word ‘Thunderbird’ written on the front, instead of the logo, means that we have spotted a 1964 model.

For a nice overview of all Thunderbirds: check this site.

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Tags: Ford · Nice cars · Oldies

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Geoff The Wedding Cars Expert // Jul 19, 2008 at 9:36

    It is quite true that this is one of those car that you don’t really find much about on the internet. There are so many cars available but for wedding, there are very few special wedding cars. It is tough task to choose the better one. So referring such an article can help us to find it without any stress.

  • 2 Jon // Jan 24, 2009 at 14:12

    My uncle had one of ’64 t-brids and it was one of the coolest cars I had ever seen (as a kid under 7). Sleek dash, lots of push buttons and chrome slides, and futuristic gauges made this car different from other cars. Ford’s designers did a great job with this one.

  • 3 capt donald r morvant // Aug 12, 2010 at 9:33

    Fine memories of my good friend borrowing [sneaking] his older sisters 64′ out for a drive..not nearly often enough..the style of this “jet bird”..like nothing other on the road…as close to a perfect style in autos that designers have ever come to…!!!

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