Area 51

Ford Thunderbird 1961

A Bullet Bird in Blue

After the cute ’55-’57 Thunderbirds (introduced as Ford’s ‘Personal Luxury Car’) came the ‘Square Bird’ in ’58. Interestingly the design for the ’61 also started in ’58, (not surprising as the ‘Square Bird’ was not too pretty!). They got it right with this one, the ’61 is truly a styling classic. Stainless steel ‘blades’ run from front to rear and form the door handles, so cool. A true space age design with rear lights like rocket boosters!

The third generation of ‘T-Birds’ ran from ’61 to ’63. In 1962 some chrome bling was added to the rear fender sides and in ’63 they were moved to the doors. The ’61 has the clean look and imho looks better for it.

This is a beautiful low mileage example, finished in a 1961 only colour of ‘Garden Turquoise Metallic’ (strange name) with an ivory interior. Chrome wires and whitewall tyres never looked so good!

A very distinctive feature is the ‘Swing Away’ steering wheel, when the gear selector is in ‘Park’ the steering wheel will slide some 8 inches to the right to allow easy exit. Power steering, power brakes, reverse lights and bucket seats were all standard.

The V8 engine is a 390 Special (6.4 litre) with Cruise-O-Matic Automatic transmission. A heavy car at almost 2 tons yet a wonderful cruiser and capable of 129 mph back in the day.

Cruising never got so good, but on a sunny day I could just pull up a deck chair and stare at this car! This is style, big time.


Desert road