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AM Blog:
March, 2011 (Archived)

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird

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Post 2: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 12:44 PM

Image: 1956 Ford Thunderbird interiorSneak preview for AM Blog readers: 1956 Ford Thunderbird
Ford's sensational new two passenger sports/personal luxury car sailed into its second year with many improvements, including a rear spare tire carrier that moved the spare to the outside of the car, perched on the rear bumper to improve luggage space, front cowl vents to improve interior ventilation, a 12-volt electrical system, new port windows for the "glass-fibre" hard top to improve visibility, and new interior and exterior colors.

Sales were less than those of the introductory year, due mostly to a late production start due to delays in finalizing the rear spare tire carrier design. The T-bird was still a sensation, and styling generally followed 1955, with minor updates. 1956 would be the rarest of the two seater Birds in terms of production, and cars with both the hard top and convertible top and the new 312 V-8 engine option are most sought after today.

We will announce publication to everyone else tomorrow. Enjoy your journey back to mid-century America!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:21 AM

Good morning! We're putting the finishing touches on the 1956 Ford Thunderbird section, and expect to have it ready for AM Blog readers to preview sometime later today. Thanks for your patience, and enjoy your day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011 5:14 PM

New in The Showroom: 1978 Continental Mark V Diamond Jubilee Edition—Jubilee Gold model

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 8:33 AM

Good morning, everyone! We're working on the 1956 Thunderbird section right now, and are about half way through it. We do provide daily updates on Facebook, so check in there as well, and don't forget to click the "Like" button as well. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011 6:42 AM

Image: 1955 Ford Thunderbird1955 Ford Thunderbird
This was the one that created its own niche market: not really a sports car, but a personal car, a boulevard car. Compact and sporty in appearance, with room for two passengers, the new T-bird was as luxurious inside as most could want, yet it had a more individual, personalized flair. Powered by a V-8 engine under the hood, the convertible included basic comforts most wanted in a modern car. Things like roll-up windows, electric clock, and pleated vinyl upholstery came standard.

Options such as power windows, heater, radio, tinted glass, various wheel covers, and rear fender shields allowed the new T-birds to be personalized to fit the needs of the new owner. The car was an immediate sensation, and became a classic before it left production. An instant icon, the Thunderbird represented youthful America, with both young and old owners seeking excitement in their transportation. Even after the first body style left production, for years the two passenger Thunderbirds would still appear in movies because of what they represented and said about the owner. The first year cars had a few issues that were dealt with in later years, but they have withstood the test of time and are still one of the most beloved automobiles ever built.

Post 2: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10:33 AM

Image: 1977 Ford Thunderbird1977, 1978 and 1979 Ford Thunderbird Body Side Moldings
The late seventies Thunderbirds gave America a license to fly—and there were hundreds of options, color combinations, and interiors to choose from. Even something as simple as an exterior bodyside molding offered multiple choices in size, color, and style.

For instance, certain models and decor groups came with the color-keyed wide vinyl insert moldings shown in the image at left. (Yes, that's Tom Selleck lending his good looks to a 1977 Thunderbird print advertisement.) Some options, such as the Tu-Tone Paint Treatment, required either the wide bright or color-keyed wide vinyl moldings, to hide the color change.

And, buyers could in some cases match either the paint color, vinyl roof color, or interior trim color, with the wide vinyl moldings, depending on the colors, use of vinyl top, etc. Yes, it was a whirlwind of choices.

To minimize any confusion, we've put together a page showing the various exterior moldings offered during this period, along with pricing, and any restrictions to availability. We hope the late seventies T-bird enthusiasts find it helpful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 8:26 AM

We have updated the 1977, 1978, and 1979 Thunderbird Standard Equipment and Optional Equipment pages. Additional details have been provided regarding option availability, and which options were either required in combination with other options, or which options were not available with others. For instance, did you know that the T-Roof Convertible option required Deluxe Seat Belts at additional cost if they weren't provided with another option? Also, if you ordered Power Windows or Power Door Locks, you had to also get the left-hand remote control mirror option or the dual sport mirrors option. Do you know why? Ford didn't want to have to tool additional door panel filler plates for cars with power locks but no remote mirror control, or power windows with no mirror, so they made the mirror mandatory with those two options, thus saving the expense of two additional parts. Also, with power windows you had to order tinted glass.

Here are links to the 1977 Thunderbird, 1978 Thunderbird, and 1979 Thunderbird sections if you want to take a look. Some of the requirements and stipulations are very interesting. Much thanks to Michael Imaoka for helping us sort out all the confusion.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 10:04 AM

We hope everyone is having a great weekend. Yesterday, we updated the 1977 Ford Thunderbird Optional Equipment page to provide additional details as to the stipulations that came with some of the options. These cars offered a LOT of options to new car buyers, and we're sure ordering one took a bit of time because of that. At any rate, the requirements for certain options have been greatly expanded on the site, and additional details as to the limitations of certain options have been provided.

Friday, March 4, 2011 12:40 PM

Hope everyone is having a good Friday so far. We recently updated our Electronic Ignition System Conversion pages, and wanted you to know we've also added the complete line of PerTronix Flame-Thrower Coils as well. We have been very impressed with these components, as they eliminated so many problematic parts and adjustments from older cars. Not only do they start better under all conditions, the idle is smoother, there's more power, and you get better fuel economy as well. If you haven't made the switch to electronic ignition, ditch the points and condenser and do it! We think it's the best upgrade you can make to a classic car.

Thursday, March 3, 2011 8:07 AM

Image: 1975 Imperial LeBaron Dark Red Leather interiorWhich Classic Luxury Car Has the Best Interior?
Nominations are open through March 31, 2011 for the best interior in a classic luxury car from roughly 1950-1980. What is your favorite? We have 18 nominees so far, and if your favorite isn't on the list, you can send us an E-mail to nominate it so others can vote on it if it's their favorite as well.

You can base your preference for best interior on pretty much anything: color, materials used, unique features, comfort, appearance, rarity, whatever.

Which one will take top honors for the best? Check now to make sure your favorite is listed, then watch for updates on Automotive Mileposts to place your vote for your favorite classic luxury car interior!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 3:27 PM

Image: 1963 Lincoln Continental Sedan shown in Burgundy Frost Metallic1963 Lincoln Continental
Finally! The 1963 Continentals are ready for your inspection. Quality improvements continued to be the focus, and since these cars were very close to perfection anyway, it must have been difficult for Lincoln to find things to address. But they did. Interior room was addressed by modifying the instrument panel to provide more knee and leg room, and the front seat was relocated further forward to increase rear seat leg room. And while the Continentals were smaller than their full-sized luxury competitors, they were also the heaviest of the lot, due in part to extensive insulation to keep noise, vibration, and temperature extremes out of the interior compartment.

Additional power was provided with the installation of a four barrel carburetor which increased horsepower from 300 to 320. The exhaust system was modified to be more free-flowing to reduce back pressure, which also contributed to the horsepower increase. New colors inside and out, new fabrics, and tasteful updates to the front grille and rear deck lid imparted a new look without compromising the basic styling introduced two years earlier. 1963 was a beautiful year to go Lincoln!

Update: Tuesday, March 1, 2011 5:18 PM

Wanted to let everyone know that we're still working on the 1963 Lincolns. If we don't have it online this evening, we'll get it online tomorrow. We'll keep you updated, thanks for your patience, we know there are a few of you waiting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 6:50 AM

Happy March 1st, everyone! March is the month that many begin to think about their classic car projects for this year's warmer months. Get everything you'll need now so you won't waste time waiting for parts when the weather is nice. To help you get what you need, Automotive Mileposts has resources that can help. Here are the links:

Classic Car Parts Auctions (search for parts by year, make, and model) | Parts Vendors (tires, accessories, auto parts, restoration chemicals and tools, etc.) | Auto Parts Buyer's Guide (electronic ignition systems, glass repair, plastic restoration, and more). These are just a few, links on those pages will guide you to others.

Note on current work: The 1963 Lincoln Continental section is in the final stages of preparation, and we hope to have it online this morning. Enjoy your day, and thanks for visiting Automotive Mileposts.

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