Ford thunderbird concepts

ford thunderbird concepts

Ford - Thunderbird Concept. Thunderbird lives -- in the hearts of enthusiasts, in the garages of collectors and in the studios of Ford Motor Company. 5 Ford Thunderbird Concepts And Special Editions You Didn't Know Existed · Ford SVE Thunderbird · Ford Thunderbird Supercharged Concept · Ford. Ford introduced a concept prototype for the eleventh-generation Thunderbird at the North American International Auto Show on. ANYDESK LOCAL CONNECTION

Two men, Louis D. Crusoe and George Walker, were primarily responsible for the birth of the Thunderbird. Both were devoted to the automobile and its constant development and refinement. Crusoe, a millionaire lured out of retirement by Henry Ford II, was a businessman with a solid "feel" for the automobile market.

As a Ford vice president and Ford Division general manager, it was his responsibility to strengthen a young Ford Division -- give it a car that breathed excitement -- a car that would add prestige to the Ford name. Walker, later a Ford vice president and chief stylist, is described by contemporaries as a "stylist with the soul of an artist burning in his heart. It was October It was not quite so, until Walker found it convenient to get to a telephone and talk with his aides back in Dearborn.

But, by the time Crusoe returned to the United States, there was indeed a "job just like that" in the works. In the months that followed, there was a lot of talk about a "true Ford sports car. All hands had been instructed to go to work on a completely new Ford car for the model year. Official approval of a crash program to develop the Ford sports car came in a product letter dated Feb.

In it, May 1, , was set as the target date for a full-size clay model. The letter also authorized parallel work by the engineers on a suitable chassis. The initial guidelines called for a two-passenger, canvas-topped open car that "would make maximum use of standard production components. The new Ford sports car also was "to retain Ford product characteristics and identification to the extent necessary for a ready association with the standard production car. With no time for scale-model studies and the like, the first sports car styling suggestions were full-profile, full-sized air-brush renderings on paper of five different cars, cut out and mounted so they could be viewed like automobiles on the highway.

It was an effective, if unorthodox, technique. None of these proposals led directly to a final car, but each provided ideas for the full-size clay model that was taking shape. On May 18, -- 17 days after his deadline -- Crusoe saw a complete, painted clay model for the first time.

It closely corresponded to the shape of the final first Thunderbird. Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Bill Burnett had cut a Ford two-door sedan to the inch wheelbase of the sports car in order to test some ideas about problems such as handling and brake balance. By the summer of , the car was far enough along for a decision to be made about building it. The decision came in September when Crusoe -- in Paris to view the renowned sports cars of the world and measure them against the clay models back in Dearborn -- decided the Ford car was right.

Although production wouldn't begin until the fall of , making the new car a model, Ford was anxious to tell the world about it. Only one small detail remained -- a name for the car. There were 5, names considered. Hep Cat, Beaver and Detroiter were early, yet undistinguished, front-runners.

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Harley J. Earl , the head designer at General Motors, recognized the company was losing business to the enormous popularity of the European sports cars. He knew the former soldiers were an important segment of the auto buying public and he was envious of how popular the cars were with the former troops.

On 28th, June , workers were ordered to begin assembly of the new roadster at the Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan and the 2-seat sports car would soon become an American icon. Crusoe was joined by several others including Ford chief designer, Frank Hershey. Hershey began working on a two-passenger open vehicle with a Ford Interceptor V8 engine, based on the upcoming Ford overhead-valve V8 engine, slated for introduction in the models. Hershey based his two-seater on one of his favorite English sports cars, the Jaguar XK The car would have the same wheelbase, interior seating position, steering wheel angle, and pedal angles.

On 18 May, , Crusoe was shown a painted clay model that closely resembled the final car after comparing it favorably with the current European trends. Henry Ford II approved the final design concept and Crusoe gave the go-ahead for production in September.

The new car was unveiled to the public on 20 February at the Detroit Auto Show. His submission was a reference to a legendary Indian creature, a supernatural bird with great power and strength. The new Thunderbird began coming off the Ford assembly line on 9 September and went on sale to the public as a model on 22 October. Over 3, orders were placed during the first ten days after the introduction. Beautiful styling and high performance would no longer be out of the reach of the average American driver.

Ford had expected to produce only 10, cars during the first year, but sales exceeded that number and peaked at 16, the maximum that could be built at that time. This compared to only Corvettes selling during the entire model year. The Thunderbird came with a removable fiberglass top and fender skirts with a fabric soft top listed as an option.

For cars equipped with a manual transmission, it produced a compression ratio of 8. For cars equipped with an automatic transmission, a slightly higher compression ratio of 8. The Thunderbird used many existing suspension and chassis off-the-shelf mechanical components and was built using the same body-on-frame technique parts of fuel economy. The exhaust pipes were integrated into the rear bumper through bumper guards to give a unique sports car look. Other unique sports-car features in the Thunderbird included a tachometer and a unique telescoping steering wheel that had not been seen before in an American car.

In , Ford made adapted the Thunderbird in response to customer complaints. One complaint was the issue with the crowded trunk. They utilized the Continential kit which required welding additional supports to the frame. An optional new cu in 5. This move allowed Ford vehicles to more easily accommodate higher compression engines, air-conditioning, and numerous other accessories that had become prevalent in many of the latest cars.

The total production for was somewhat disappointing at 15, units, the lowest of the three 2-seater model years. Changes included slightly reshaping the front bumper and the grille, tailfins, and taillights were made larger. The spare wheel was relocated back to inside the trunk and mounted vertically to allow more trunk space. This raised the power rating to hp at 4, rpm with maximum torque of lb.

Total Thunderbird sales for were 21,, but this included three additional months of production because of a delay in introducing the new models. The Thunderbird was the last two-seater sold by Ford until when the company introduced the EXP sport compact car. In , a new comedy film, American Grafitti, appeared in movie theaters. The film was directed and co-written by George Lucas and featured a Thunderbird driven by co-star Suzanne Somers.

The car had been painted red and showed 55, miles on the odometer. The Dailys painted the car back to the original color white after moving to Petaluma, CA. She thought the note was a joke but called the number anyway. To her surprise, it was Lucas Films that wanted to use the car! Both were devoted to the automobile and its constant development and refinement. Crusoe, a millionaire lured out of retirement by Henry Ford II, was a businessman with a solid "feel" for the automobile market.

As a Ford vice president and Ford Division general manager, it was his responsibility to strengthen a young Ford Division -- give it a car that breathed excitement -- a car that would add prestige to the Ford name. Walker, later a Ford vice president and chief stylist, is described by contemporaries as a "stylist with the soul of an artist burning in his heart. It was October It was not quite so, until Walker found it convenient to get to a telephone and talk with his aides back in Dearborn.

But, by the time Crusoe returned to the United States, there was indeed a "job just like that" in the works. In the months that followed, there was a lot of talk about a "true Ford sports car. All hands had been instructed to go to work on a completely new Ford car for the model year. Official approval of a crash program to develop the Ford sports car came in a product letter dated Feb.

In it, May 1, , was set as the target date for a full-size clay model. The letter also authorized parallel work by the engineers on a suitable chassis. The initial guidelines called for a two-passenger, canvas-topped open car that "would make maximum use of standard production components. The new Ford sports car also was "to retain Ford product characteristics and identification to the extent necessary for a ready association with the standard production car. With no time for scale-model studies and the like, the first sports car styling suggestions were full-profile, full-sized air-brush renderings on paper of five different cars, cut out and mounted so they could be viewed like automobiles on the highway.

It was an effective, if unorthodox, technique. None of these proposals led directly to a final car, but each provided ideas for the full-size clay model that was taking shape. On May 18, -- 17 days after his deadline -- Crusoe saw a complete, painted clay model for the first time. It closely corresponded to the shape of the final first Thunderbird.

Meanwhile, Chief Engineer Bill Burnett had cut a Ford two-door sedan to the inch wheelbase of the sports car in order to test some ideas about problems such as handling and brake balance. By the summer of , the car was far enough along for a decision to be made about building it. The decision came in September when Crusoe -- in Paris to view the renowned sports cars of the world and measure them against the clay models back in Dearborn -- decided the Ford car was right.

Although production wouldn't begin until the fall of , making the new car a model, Ford was anxious to tell the world about it. Only one small detail remained -- a name for the car. There were 5, names considered.

Hep Cat, Beaver and Detroiter were early, yet undistinguished, front-runners. A young Ford stylist, Alden "Gib" Giberson, submitted the name that would quickly earn approval and eventually acclaim -- Thunderbird. He thought of the name because he had once lived in the southwest, where the legend of the Thunderbird was well-known.

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