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The Demise of the Thunderbird

Old 2/15/05, 09:03 AM
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Well I Read over at BON that Ford is Going to Discontinue the Thunderbird. 2005 is it's Final Year. Kinda Fitting that they only built them a Few years huh? 2002-2005 with the Final Year Being the Thunderbirds 50th Anniversary. Coincidence or not?

I am Hoping and Praying Ford Will Come to Their Senses with the Thunderbird Like they did with the 05 Mustang. This Name Plate Deserves to Be Carried On and on a Car Fitting to Follow in the Foot Steps of It's Great Prdecesors.

I have Seen a Couple Designs Using the Ford 427 as a Base, but The Problem I see with the Concept designed from the 427 Concept is that it looks more like a 60's Lincoln Continental, which isn't a bad thing Considering that the Original Concept for the 61 Thunderbird Is Actually what came out as the 61 Lincoln Continental. But The Problem I see with this Concept is the Same that Faced the 61 Thunderbird Concept. It Just Isn't Sporty Enough!

I designed a 4 Seat Thunderbird Using the same Formula that J Mays and the Team that Designed the New Mustng did. Take framilliar cues from some of the most memorable Thunderbirds of all time. Like the Thunderbirds Greatest Hits!

I used the most Popular 4 Seaters as Inspiration, The 58-66 Thunderbirds. The ones Most Thunderbird Collectors Claim as True Thunderbirds.

Here is My Design for a Modern Heritage Inspired 4 Seat Thunderbird. I picture it being Built on A Modified 05 Mustang Chassis. To Keep Production Costs Down and To Retain the Front Engined, V8 Powered, Rear Drive Layout that the Calssic Thunderbirds Used.

I designed the Front End to Recall The 58-60 Model Years Giving a Nod To the Smaller 2 Seat Birds, just as this model would to it's Immediate Predecessors the 02-05 Birds.

Using Crisp, Taught, Character Line Creases Along the Top Edge of the Fender Lines I Aimed for the Projectile Look of the 61-63 Thunderbirds. Crisp, Clean, Elegant, but Sporty by Nature.

By Integrating the Door Handle Design Into this Crease as it Flows From the Door Into the Quarter Panel I tried to give it a bit of Flair like the Small Wing's or Body Sculpting of the 64-66 Birds. I Also Drew some Inspiration from those same Birds for the Termination of the Quarter Panel With a Tapered Creased Pointed Edge.

I Also Drew Inspiration for the Interior from the 58-66 Thunderbirds. Using the Twin Binacle, Square Shouldered, Cockpit Inspired Dash of the 58-63 Thunderbirds, and Using a Full Length Floor Console to Seperate the Interior into 4 Seperate Individual Spaces.

I designed the Rear seat to Add Some Much Needed Flair to the Interior like the 64-71 Thunderbirds Did, Wraping Around at it's Outboard Edges into the sides of the Quarter Trim. Making it Comfortable and Cozy, Coved Seating they Called it. With Painted Trim to Match the Exterior of the Car for thr Rear Package Tray, Dipping between the Seats.

To Top it all Off, I used the Previous Generation 02-05 For the Shape of it's Chromed Windshield Header, and Roof Line, but gave it a much more Open Airy Appearance than the current Birds Windshield and Roof Offers.

As for the Top it's Self, I intended for it to be a Fully Retractable Hard Top Convertible. A Smooth Rounded Arc to Mimic the Removeable Hard Top on the 2 Seaters, but More Open and Airy.

I figured if GM can Introduce a Hard Top Convertible in the Price Range of the Pontiac G6, Why can't Ford Build a $29-35,000 Hard Top Convertible Legend Priced Right Above the Mustang for the More Mature Driver Looking for some Sporty Elegance?




Here is the One I saw Using the 427 Concept.


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Old 2/15/05, 09:45 AM
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I like the front end, really does give the not to the earlier models, I hope the Ford will continue the Thunderbird, just make it more "accessible" to paople that are not tremdously wealthy, but want a "status" car.

Nice work Tampa
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Old 2/15/05, 11:34 AM
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That's a nice design, I think the rear deck might be a tad bit long, but it still looks good. The roofline on the vert is right on. And the front end is awesome. That's a helluva good looking car.
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Old 2/15/05, 12:24 PM
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The one based off the 427 looks sweet. I'd get one of those as the cool family transporter and cruiser.
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Old 2/15/05, 01:42 PM
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Thanks JG, and FreeBass. The Reasoning for the Longer Rear Deck is for the Rather Large, Folding Convertible Hard Top to Be able to Fit, and Still have adequate Storage Space with the Top Down, and The 60's Birds did have kind of a Long Tapered Deck as well.

As for the design using the 427 Concept ManEHawk, It's a Fine Looking Car, but It's Not a Thunderbird, unless you are thinking of the Thunderbirds of the Early 70's like 72-76, or the Ones from the 80's, 80-82. It's Just Not Sporty Enough. Put a Continental Kit on it and make it a Lincoln Mark IX Maybe, but not a Thunderbird.
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Old 2/15/05, 02:57 PM
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i like the design of the first one a lot, with a few alterations it would be a cool fairlane/galaxie!
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Old 2/15/05, 06:44 PM
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Thunderbird doesn't sell well so I'm not surprised that Ford is discontinuing it. But Thunderbird will be back ... in few years.
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Old 2/15/05, 09:01 PM
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i really like that first one dude. great job
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Old 2/15/05, 09:32 PM
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I think Ford could easily do a very good 2-seat Thunderbird based on the new 05 Mustang's platform that could both be a hit and make a lot of money for Ford despite the dissapointment some feel with the current Bird. Given the new Mustang's classic long-hood, short-deck proportions and less expensive chassis it could easily be a "better" T-Bird than the one they build now, while being both more accessible for the customer and more profitable for Ford.

Executing this car would be simple as the proportions of the new Mustang work just about perfectly for a 2-seat T-Bird so I doubt that I would change dimensions much were it up to me. All you need to do is add styling that is reminiscent of the 55-57, but maybe not quite as retro as the current Bird, put a retractable hardtop under the rear deck, give it a smoother version of whatever mill the next Mach-1 is getting and watch this one do what the current one could not....drop jaws and win legions of fans

Faster, truer to the original, no more expensive (maybe cheaper), and easily better looking than the current Bird due to better proportions this could easily fix everything that is "wrong" with the current car and amortize costs of the D2C chassis even further.

Do not take this to mean that I don't love the 4-seater Birds though, since I do as you can likely tell by the car I mention in my profile. But, if Ford were going to do a new "larger" 2+2 based on this chassis I would rather see a proper luxo pony-car Cougar than the Bird if I could only pick one.

And, if there was room in the nest for one more I would rather see Fairlane, Falcon, or Torino attached to a 4-seat mid-size coupe than Thunderbird as Lincoln and Mercury really need to take up the mantle of what the wonderful 58-66 Birds did in the 60's....not Ford. I think Ford would be better advised to go the "muscle" route and let Mecury or Lincoln take on a mid-size, 4-door touring coupe.
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Old 2/15/05, 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by Red Star@February 16, 2005, 1:47 AM
Thunderbird doesn't sell well so I'm not surprised that Ford is discontinuing it. But Thunderbird will be back ... in few years.
Yeah? Thunderbirds Don't Sell Well....... When they are Marketed Wrong! (Heavy Sarcasm)

In Their Good Years 58-66, 77-79, 83-88 Thunderbirds Were Selling In 300,000 Unit Volumes! All Sporty Four seaters, with all of the Luxury Amenities Available. It's When Ford Messes With This Formula that Sales Die Off!

While the Thunderbird Started as a 2 Seater, that is a VERY LIMITED MARKET! The Best thing that ever happend to the Thunderbird is a Back Seat.

Ford Did what it set out to, in a way, to Spark interest in the Thunderbird again by doing a a Re-Issue of a Classic 2 Seat Icon.

But now it's Time to Get Back In there and Take back it's Rightful Place. A More Mature/Well to Do, Mans Sporty Car. What he Drives to go out on the Town With his Wife and a Couple of Friends, but She can still use for Daily Life.

Make it Affordable And Stylish, Roomy and Sporty. "Unique in all the World" that was the Thunderbirds Tag Line from the 60's. A "Personal Luxury Car!"

Hello, FORD........ Winning Formula, Don't Mess With It!
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Old 2/15/05, 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by TampaBear67+February 15, 2005, 10:51 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(TampaBear67 @ February 15, 2005, 10:51 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Red Star@February 16, 2005, 1:47 AM
Thunderbird doesn't sell well so I'm not surprised that Ford is discontinuing it. But Thunderbird will be back ... in few years.

Yeah? Thunderbirds Don't Sell Well....... When they are Marketed Wrong!

In Their Good Years 58-66, 77-79, 83-88 Thunderbirds Were Selling In 300,000 Unit Volumes! All Sporty Four seaters. It's When Ford Messes With This Formula that Sales Die Off!

Hello, FORD........ Winning Formula, Don't Mess With It!

[/b][/quote]

Those were different types of Thunderbirds. Big, luxury, 4 seats, and not expensive. Current T-Bird have only 2 seats and it cost $40,000.
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Old 2/15/05, 10:08 PM
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Ya, i was pretty disappointed when i heard the thunderbird wasn't gonna be forever, but apparently that was the plan from the start. I thought the car was pretty sweet, I guess it was just a bit too expensive to sell very well. I like your design tampa. I guess i have trouble seeing how a thunderbird really fits into the lineup with the mustang there. I know they're different types of cars, but if you think about it, not that different. Maybe if they based it off of a stretched mustang platform and made it more of an upscale car with all the creature comforts inside, then i could understand.

I'm just curious tampa, I notice you capitalize a lot of your words... Are you german? cause i know in german, you capitalize just about everything. Again, just curious, not pokin' fun. Capitalize All you Want!
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Old 2/15/05, 10:20 PM
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Originally posted by mustang_sallad@February 16, 2005, 5:11 AM
Maybe if they based it off of a stretched mustang platform and made it more of an upscale car with all the creature comforts inside, then i could understand.

Are you german?
BINGO!
You Nailed It Right on the Head! That's What the Thunderbird is all about! That's what I was aiming for with my design.

And no, I'm not Geman. It's just a bad habit I have..... Well I am Part Geman. LOL You might be on to something.
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Old 2/22/05, 09:55 AM
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i think streching the mustangs platform out a bit, choping two seats, lowerin the price to say, $27K or something would be freakin awesome!

i'd love to have a triple black 'bird
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