1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis no. 6Y85Q115522
Ford's Thunderbird debuted in 1955 as stylish two-seater with good straight-line performance. Good looking and moderately quick, it was no sports car. Considering the absolutely dismal sales of Chevy's Corvette, not being a sports car was a very good thing. Sales were strong, but product planners and accountants thought they could be stronger stillif only the car would seat four.
For 1958, gone was the original two-seat bird in favor of the "Square Birds." Bigger, heavier and far more luxurious, sales just kept on climbingthey were up 77 percent in their first year and another 78 percent for 1959. The Thunderbird had found its niche as a four-passenger personal luxury car as sales continued to climb.
Although the four-seat formula was set in stone, there was an all-new T-Bird for 1961 and another version in 1964. That fourth generation Thunderbird was to be the last built on a separate chassis and would continue through the 1966 model year. Styling of the 1964 models could best be described as crisp, with essentially straight sides relieved by several strategically-placed creases. The nose of the car was almost entirely chrome, with a heavy bumper assembly hollowed out for a grille. In fact, that nose was reminiscent of a catfishonly extremely attractive. Minor changes came along for 1965, but within the confines of the existing bodyshell, the effect of the restyle for 1966 was quite remarkable. Gone was the heavy chrome nose. It was replaced by a simple wrap-around bumper bar beneath the grille. The rear of the car was freshened as well, with taillights that ran across the entire back of the car. Side ornamentation was reduced as well and the '66 was the cleanest looking of all the fourth generation T-Birds.
Like all 1966 Fords, the front suspension was independent and a live axle did duty at the rear. Drums were employed all around, although they were power-assisted. The base Thunderbird engine was a 390cid unit producing 275 horsepower. More power could be had by selecting the four-barrel version of the 390 or a choice of 427 or 428 engines.
Loaded to the gills, the T-Bird on offer here has it all. Fitted with the top-of-the-line Q-code 345-horsepower, 428 cubic-inch V8, with a Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, it has factory air conditioning, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, power seats and an AM-8 track. Finished in its original Tahoe Turquoise with Aqua interior, it left the Wixom factory on October 20, 1966 and currently shows just over 62,500 likely original miles on the odometer.
While best remembered as a convertible, less than 8% of the Thunderbirds produced in 1966 were droptops. 1967 saw a brand new T-bird that, like promises on an election year, was more bloated and less pronounced than the prior version. Nicely presented and rarely offered in classic period colors with all the option boxes ticked, good times are practically guaranteed.
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