Thursday, September 27, 2012

Car Of The Day: September 27, 2012

Today's car of the day comes from craftymore's collection and is High Speed's 1963 Ford Thunderbird.

The Thunderbird ("T-Bird"), is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005. When introduced, it created the market niche eventually known as the personal luxury car.

A new third-generation Thunderbird bowed for 1961 on an unchanged wheelbase and would see mostly minor alterations through 1963. Distinctive styling was highlighted by severely pointed front profiles, modest "blade" tail fins, big circular tail lamps (a sometimes Ford hallmark), and outward-curving body sides bereft of sheet metal sculpturing.

There was again just one engine: Ford Division's new 390 V-8, a stroked 352 but delivering the same 300 horsepower. An optional power package offered 40 more bhp for 1962-63. With minor alterations, the 390 would be the basic Thunderbird power plant through 1968, joined by big-block options beginning with '66. Base prices for '61 stood at $4172 for the hardtop and $4639 for the rag top.

Third-generation engineering was conservative but sound. Ford had contemplated front-wheel drive, but felt it too unorthodox for this market. Instead, engineers stressed quality control, solid construction, ride comfort, and minimum noise at speed. Extensive use of rubber bushings for the coil-spring independent front and leaf-spring rear suspensions made the 1961-63 Thunderbirds among the best-riding cars of the day.

Slightly less than a quarter of a million Thunderbirds rolled off the assembly lines of Ford for the '61-'63 3rd generation 'personal luxury' car.  At this point, the Thunderbird was seen as a luxy Ford car that had similar looks of the larger Lincoln Continental evoking an elegance not seen in other Ford cars.   High Speed produced this 1/64 item in the early 2000s and it remains the only true stock example in small scale of a '61-'63 Thunderbird hardtop.

After Greenlight bought the High Speed castings previously used in the Readers Digest series and other models, there had been speculation as to when or if we'd see the '63 Bird included in their Motor World line.  With the High Speed factory closing in China this year, we found out GL did not obtain the mold for this casting which disappointed me greatly. Had hoped to see this in the Motor World line to buy a few for my collection plus one for custom duty . . . .  aka derby bait! :D   While that won't happen, I'm very glad to have this in my collection.  I was lucky enough acquire this model from  Hosspower98  who won a lot of High Speed items and offered several to me. :thumbup:   This had been one of my grail items.

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