Three men are generally credited with creating the original Thunderbird: Lewis D. Crusoe, a retired GM executive lured out of retirement by Henry Ford II; George Walker, chief stylist and a Ford vice-president; and Frank Hershey, a Ford designer. Crusoe and Walker met in France in October 1951. Walking in the Grand Palais in Paris, Crusoe pointed at a sports car and asked Walker, “Why can’t we have something like that?” Walker promptly telephoned Ford’s HQ in Dearborn, Michigan, and told designer Frank Hershey about the idea. Hershey took the idea and immediately began working on the vehicle.
The concept was for a two-passenger open car, with a target weight of 2,525 pounds, a powerful V-8 engine and top of over 100 mph (160 km/h). Crusoe saw a painted clay model on May 18, 1953, which corresponded closely to the final car; he gave the car the go-ahead in September after comparing it with current European trends. Unlike the Corvette, the Thunderbird was never a full-blown sporting vehicle. Ford’s description was a personal luxury car, and the company essentially created this market segment.
Although the original Thunderbird was successful, the corporation’s executives felt its sales volume was too small. Market research suggested that sales were limited by its two-seat configuration, making it unsuitable as an only car for families. The second generation, introduced for the 1958 model year, was designed as a four-seat car, which was designed with unibody construction to allow maximum interior space in a relatively small exterior package. The 1958 Thunderbirds were produced at a new assembly plant at Wixom, Michigan, built as part of a corporate expansion plan to increase the sales of up-market cars (Mercury, Lincoln, and Thunderbird). For many, the new Thunderbird was their welcome to the Jet Age.
Big changes came in the mid 60’s when the newly redesigned Ford Thunderbird was introduced. The Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off “formal” look. Referred to by some as the ‘Flair-Bird’ or the ‘Jet-Bird’, the Thunderbird’s sporty image was maintained when Ford wisely decided to make the 390 cubic-inch V-8 the standard powerplant. The 390 cubic-inch engine with a four-barrel carb and dual exhausts, offered up to 305 horsepower and only needed 11 seconds to push the full-sized T-bird to 60 mph, and it had enough top-end to reach a top-speed of about 120 mph. This T-bird will eat up the asphalt with ease, and is fully comfortable at modern highway speeds.
This Magnificent Example is finished in Stunning Raven Black with Delux Black Leather Interior and Black Top. This Extremely Rare 2 Owner, Largely All Original T-Bird has been maintained to the Highest Standards.
Cruise-O-Matic Automatic Transmission
Master Guide Power Steering
Swift Sure Power Disc Brakes
Power Fully Disappearing Soft Top
Original AM Radio
Front & Rear Speakers
Swing-A-Way Steering Wheel
Cigar Lighter (unused)
Factory Select Aire Air Conditioning (Ice Cold)
Extremely Rare Option on ’65 Convertibles
Kelsey Hayes Wire Wheels
Sequential Blinking Rear Turn Signal Lights
Chrome Dual Side View Mirrors with Remote
Day/Night Rear View Mirror
Reclining Passenger Seat
390 Cubic Inch V-8 Engine
4 Barrel Carburetion
Dual Exhaust System
T Bird Crested Floor Mats
Front & Rear
Highly Detailed Engine Compartment & Undercarriage
Magic Air Heater/Defroster
White Sidewall Tires (Radials)
Aquamatic Windshield Washers
I-Rest Tinted Safety Glass
Original Owner’s Manual
Complete Original Set of Sales Literature
Manufacturer Statement of Origin
Overall Length 205 Inches
Weight 4693 lbs.
The public’s fascination with the space race is reflected by the jet-inspired instrument panel, and racy bucket seats gave the T-bird just a hint of sports car panache. It represents one of the most successful personal luxury cars of the era, with distinctive styling and performance that make the fourth generation Thunderbird a luxurious and iconic automobile that fits into any collection.
Many Vintage T’Bird aficionados find the ’65 T’Bird to be among the Very Best and Most Desirable of the era. Of the limited number of ’65 T’Birds produced with Factory Air Conditioning and Triple Black, only a select number of Excellent Original Examples remain. The Air Conditioning, coupled with Power Steering and Power Disc Brakes, make this “Bird” an Absolute Joy to Drive. This Classic garners all the “Oohs and Aahs” anytime out. It is as “Straight as an Arrow” and is in Excellent Overall Condition. Ready for Show or Tour.
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