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1978-1979 Ford Thunderbird
T-Roof Convertible

Image: 1978 Thunderbird T-Roof Convertible Hatch

The Ford Thunderbird entered into the "T-Top" craze during the 1978 model year. The first factory T-Top was introduced on the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette, which came out with a new body style that year and the T-Tops allowed an open car feeling with the convenience of a closed car during inclement weather.

During the seventies, most GM mid-sized cars began to offer a T-Top option, and it was a popular option on Pontiac Grand Prix and Oldsmobile Cutlass models.

Since the Thunderbird was now a mid-sized model, having something other than a Power Moonroof to offer customers was attractive to Ford. Introduced at mid-year 1978, the T-Roof Convertible option was priced at $699 for 1978, and $747 for 1979. We wonder if that 747 price was just a coincidence...

The first factory T-Roof Birds rolled off the Chicago assembly line on Wednesday, March 1, 1978 and the Los Angeles assembly plant followed with its first T-Roof cars a few weeks later on Monday, March 27, 1978.

The hatch panels were made of tinted tempered glass, and could be removed or installed in a matter of minutes. Two padded vinyl storage pouches were located in the luggage compartment on cars with this option, which allowed for safe storage of the glass panels. A restraining strap on the right side secured the panels in their pouches until they were ready to be installed on the roof again.

The T-Roof conversion was apparently designed by Cars & Concepts Skylite, which had its own international dealer network. Cars & Concepts began installing Skylites on 1977 Thunderbirds, and offered a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty on those installations. This option was only offered by Ford on the Thunderbird in 1978 and 1979. T-Roof Convertible Thunderbirds are pretty rare, and as such are worth seeking out if you are in to open air classic motoring.

There is a registry of Thunderbirds equipped with the T-Roof option. See our Thunderbird Sunroof Registry for details.

Invite the sky into your Thunderbird!

Image: 1979 Ford Thunderbird with T-Roof option

The T-Roof Convertible option was available on all 1978-1979 Thunderbirds, including the Diamond Jubilee Edition and Heritage models.