dates : 28th November 2004
2nd December 2004
you talk about classic Ford Thunderbirds you are looking
at the years between 1955 and 1966.
The Thunderbird, or T-Bird as it is affectionately
known, came onto the scene in 1955 as a reply to
Chevroletís Corvette, which made its debut in 1953.
But the Thunderbird was never designed as a true sports
car the way the Corvette was. It was always a little
bigger, a little more luxurious, even though it was
often more powerful in its various guises than the
The Thunderbird takes its name from the mythical bird
sometimes employed as a messenger by The Great Spirit in
American Indian folklore. It has been said that
theThunderbird produces great winds from the flapping of
his giant wings and lightning flashes from his eyes, as
well as great rain and hailstorms.
Nigel Haselauís 1965 Ford Thunderbird is significant
in the carís history in that this model year saw the
return of the great Thunderbird emblem to the hood, or
bonnet, of the T-Bird.
also the year when Ford introduced disc brakes for the
first time on the car, and as such represents the
beginning of modernization for the Ford line-up which
was technically conservative until that time.
The Thunderbird had given up pretension to being a
sports car after 1957. But the four-seat Personal cars,
as they were known, still retained a sporty appeal with
a narrow, smallish cockpit compared to the vast sweeps
of bodywork surrounding the cabin.
From the outset in 1955 the T-bird had been fitted with
a V8 engine and in fact it was very successful in
racing, taking six NASCAR stock car racing wins in 1959.
It seems difficult to imagine how a car with 300
horsepower or 225 kiloWatts from its six point seven
litre V8 motor could cope with old drum brakes.
Yet in other ways the Ford and others of this era were
extremely sophisticated. You had items like electric
seats, electric windows, a powerful air-conditioning
system in 1965, whereas European and British cars were
bare-bones basic by comparison.
Comfort has always been king in America, and anyone who
has driven on the intestates for thousands of kilometers
will understand why.
This Thunderbird is fitted with a three-speed Autoflite
automatic transmission and it is perfectly suited to the
car, offering absolutely unobtrusive progress.
And Nigel is happy to know that when he drives by,
everyone else appreciates the Thunderbirdís natural
The car abounds with lots of neat features, such as
sequential indicator lights and fold-away steering
column which makes getting in and out so much easier for
The interior is a mix of grace, luxury and a touch of
flash with its pleated upholstery being edged with
chrome trim, giving the rear compartment a snug feel.
Of course a radio was usually an option ordered by every
These cars were fast for their time, with a zero to 100
time of around nine to 10 seconds and a top speed
approaching 200 km/h.
Until the Ford Mustang arrived, this was Fordís
showcase sporty model, and Nigelís car was built in
the year the Mustang took over as the younger crowdís
The first Thunderbird went on sale 50 years ago and the
nameplate is still big in the Ford line-up. This car is
a mere 40 years old, and the way it looks and runs, it
should be good for another 40 years at least.
1965 Ford Thunderbird Hard Top
- Engine: V8 6
- Power:225 kW
@ 5 000 rpm
- Torque: N/A
Three-speed automatic, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
9,5 seconds (estimated)
- Top speed:
200 km/h (estimated)
- Fuel consumption:
20 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: N/A
Car Torque is