1969 Ford Thunderbird

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This is Ford’s first, personal, luxury car, but it is no Lincoln. There are so many items of individualization on the body of this car that you can just forget about belonging to the Ford brand. Pay attention – there is no Ford inscription on the hood or on the radiator grille.

This car is much more Thunderbird than Ford. And I think someone in Ford’s management was probably thinking about making the Thunderbird a separate brand, like Chrysler did with its Imperial. Perhaps in Ford’s case they didn’t do it because of the luxury brand they already had, Lincoln, or perhaps because of negative experiences with the Edsel brand. Whatever the reason, the Thunderbird was an unusually well-equipped car by Ford standards at the time.

1969 Ford Thunderbird refers to the 5th generation of this model, which was produced from ’67 to ’71. In luxury and comfort, the Thunderbird came close to the Lincoln cars and far surpassed the super-popular Mustang of ’64. This car was produced before the global oil crisis, so its engines have decent power and volume, which is so loved in the U.S..

1969 Ford Thunderbird sale and price.

In ’69, a Landau coupe could be bought for $4,704, the equivalent of $38,000, today. At the time, a good one cost $15,500. Today you can buy a good specimen for $15,000 to $20,000, which is not much for a swanky car from the golden era of American automotive engineering. Not a bad specimen can be found at all for $4000. In terms of not high prices, the Thunderbird is similar to the Chrysler Imperial, although the car from Ford sold much better. In ’69 alone, it sold 4,927 cars of this model.

The Thunderbird was often chosen by those who wanted a beautiful, fast, well-equipped, and large car. Compact by American standards Mustang did not suit such people. Despite its large size and rich equipment, the Thunderbird was considerably cheaper than the expensive Lincoln.

Appearance and photos:

Looking around the 1969 Ford Thunderbird, one can’t help but notice the grille with hidden headlights. If you open the headlights in slow mode, the flap over the right headlight opens first and then the flap over the left headlight. If you close the headlights in slow mode, the right headlight closes first. This grille is called, -fish mouth‖. Of course, there is Thunderbird emblem on the grille, but not Ford.

Immediately below the windshield wipers you can notice two vented strips. The unusual thing is that there is not one – as it usually happens, but two. In the left fender there is a motorized antenna.
Pay attention to how many Thunderbird emblems there are. The big emblems are on the taillights. They are on the rear roof pillars and on the chrome, wheel covers (which are stylized as spokes). The logos are even present on the rear cataphores mounted in the rear fenders.

The rear doors of the four-door Thunderbird open against the traffic, which was typical of prewar cars. Regardless of the body type, the 5th generation Thunderbird was a frame car. The coupe had a body length of 25 255 millimeters, a wheelbase of 2913 millimeters, and a curb weight of 25,000 pounds.
Above the rear lettering Thunderbird you can see the hatch, but it does not cover the neck of the gas tank, and the keyhole – a rather unusual solution. Under the rear window there is a vent strip – it is also an unusual solution.

In the expensive options, this Ford is equipped with a vinyl-covered roof and chrome hubcaps on the wheels.
Undoubtedly, this is a beautiful car. But the number of personal symbols of individualization is not less attractive than design decisions. There is not a single nameplate that would point to Ford. That said, again, this car cost significantly less than the Lincoln cars.

Interior and equipment.

When you open the door of this Ford, on the threshold you can see a metal overlay with the Thunderbird inscription. When you open the door, the indicator on the roof lights up, which informs the driver about the open door. Nearby are indicators to remind the driver of unbuckled seat belts and low fuel levels. Opening the driver’s door, on its end you can see the VIN number of the car. It is really unusual that the steering wheel is shifted up and to the right from its normal position for comfortable boarding / disembarking!

The area around the instruments is trimmed with wood, and between the speedometer and the clock, you can see the Thunderbird logo indicator, which lights up when the high beam is on. It is somewhat unusual that with a significant number of instruments, there is no tachometer among them. Perhaps the creators of this car felt that the owner did not need to focus on the engine speed at the moment.

1969 Ford Thunderbird is equipped with electric mirrors and seats. There is a cruise control and climate control. The front seats are made in the form of two, separate seats. Although at the time, most American cars had one-piece sofas in the front.

For those sitting in the front, there is an ashtray and cigarette lighter in the transmission tunnel. As on other American cars of those years, the transmission lever is mounted on the steering column. The parking brake is activated by a pedal. The safety belts here are of the aviation type, which are fastened in the abdominal area, which was characteristic of the cars of those years.

The car’s logo is on the center console and even in the middle of the air deflectors. Large headlights are mounted on the rear pillars to illuminate the interior. Those sitting in the rear can electrically lower the small, side vents.

Engine and Specifications 1969 Ford Thunderbird.

The base engine was a 390 cubic inch V8. But the most well respected was the ThunderJet engine with a cubic inch cubic capacity of 7.0 liters. The ThunderJet engine had 4.36d bore and 3.59d stroke. The compression ratio is 10.5:1. The power unit is fed by a four-chamber carburetor. By the way, from the photo you can see the inscription on the air filter housing – 429 ThunderJet with model logos. There is a sticker on the valve cover with information about the technical fluid change intervals. The valve covers themselves are embossed – Power By Ford. Obviously, Ford considered this engine as something special and want to emphasize the presence of a particular motor under the hood of a particular Ford. By the way, the hood is not held by gas struts, but with the help of special springs.

Maximum power of 360 horsepower and a gigantic torque of 651 N.M. allows to accelerate from a place to 60 miles per hour just for 8.1 s. A quarter mile is done in 15.9 seconds. It had a split exhaust.
The transmission was a three speed automatic, Cruise-o-Matic. Front disc brakes were four-piston calipers.

This model took its rightful place not only in Ford’s lineup, but also in the history of this American company. The 5th generation Thunderbird was significantly different from other models of the brand, and especially from the super-successful at that time Mustang. Yes,- the Mustang became a more iconic car, but it did not offer its owner as much comfort and equipment as the Thunderbird did. And although I don’t have the exact data on that, I think Ford might have been thinking of making the Thunderbird a separate brand, which would occupy a place between Ford and Lincoln. Perhaps a failed attempt with the Edsel caused the idea to be abandoned, but that’s just my guess.

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