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Ovaltine

A new Thunderbird - "For All the Right Reasons"!

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Although I know that the mixing of the words Ford, two-door, and sedans is now passe', I can STILL dream about a modern rendition/take on the old "Squarebird "Thunderbird design, can't I?!?

My first car at the age of 16 was a '72 T-Bird with a 429 4bbl w/dual exhaust.   I sure would like to be able to purchase a modern/safe version of a similar car someday!   The problem with the previous attempt at retro with the T-Bird was the two-seater concept - IMHO.  It just wasn't convenient enough.  A kicka** styled new car that can hold (at least) 4 comfortably would be bound to appeal to a larger segment than that one did.

Methinks that a stretched S550/Mustang chassis would do the trick, right? 

Again - I know I'm just dreamin', but it's a nice one.  😉

-Ovaltine

 

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Edited by Ovaltine

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I would love a new Thunderbird but Ford couldn't sell more than 6,000 per year.

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A shortened 2 seat Mustang with a 500HP 3.5EB, seven or eight speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and retractable hardtop would make a pretty sweet Thunderbird.

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I'm old enough to remember how disappointed we all were when the Squarebird was introduced.  It may have sold like hot cakes, but what a letdown from the original two-seat Thunderbird.   The original T-Bird was cool.  The Squarebird was not.  

I doubt it will ever happen, but I love to see a new T-Bird introduced.  If you're speaking four-seaters, I'm fan of the '61-'63 Bullet Bird, a beautifully styled car.

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10 minutes ago, mackinaw said:

I'm old enough to remember how disappointed we all were when the Squarebird was introduced.  It may have sold like hot cakes, but what a letdown from the original two-seat Thunderbird.   The original T-Bird was cool.  The Squarebird was not.  

I doubt it will ever happen, but I love to see a new T-Bird introduced.  If you're speaking four-seaters, I'm fan of the '61-'63 Bullet Bird, a beautifully styled car.

Fair enough on which 4-seat model to emulate - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  😉

But the last 2-seat model kind of had that early 60's streamlined vibe, mixed with the '55-57 footprint, so that would kind of be a "been there, done that" approach.

Having NOT lived through the 1st Gen 'Birds, I picked the Squarebirds as the inspiration, due to the noticeable bada** vibe they put out - ala' the Gangsta' vibe that the Chrysler 300 reboot initially purveyed.  It was that vibe that SOLD that original 300 reboot, to be sure - IMHO.

-Ovaltine

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1 hour ago, Ovaltine said:

Fair enough on which 4-seat model to emulate - beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  😉

But the last 2-seat model kind of had that early 60's streamlined vibe, mixed with the '55-57 footprint, so that would kind of be a "been there, done that" approach.

Having NOT lived through the 1st Gen 'Birds, I picked the Squarebirds as the inspiration, due to the noticeable bada** vibe they put out - ala' the Gangsta' vibe that the Chrysler 300 reboot initially purveyed.  It was that vibe that SOLD that original 300 reboot, to be sure - IMHO.

-Ovaltine

I’ve told this story before.  I lived in Dearborn when I was a kid and my dad was a engineer who worked at Ford.  He was given a “company car” to drive back-and-forth to work in.  Back in the summer of 1957, he brought home a two-seat T-Bird for the weekend.  EVERYBODY on the block came by for a look and for a test drive.  Even the few GM and Chrysler engineers in the area came by for a look.  This car, especially with the top down, was a sensation.  Briefly, for one weekend, I was the coolest kid on the block.

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The current Mustang is a go between for what I think many people want. It is not small and light enough to satisfy the 1st gen T-Bird lovers, yet not bold and spacious enough for the Square Bird and beyond fans. Best case scenario (wish list), would be that we get one of each.

The smaller would have to be comparable in price/performance to Miata (whatever they call it now), but easy for the aftermarket to upgrade.

The the larger would need to be an aggressive two-door sedan (no coupe styling), more geared toward luxury and V8 power, and priced about 10K above Mustang GT.

It would be a toss up as to which got the Thunderbird name. Then again, one could be called T-Bird, while the other got the whole name!

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Thunderbird should be a larger 4 seater. The 2 seat birds never sold well, even the retro birds. Being that the Mustang is 2 doors, the Tbird should be 4, preferably with Suicide or "coach" doors. Keep the Mustang drivelines intact, and you have a winning sedan.  

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1 hour ago, LSchicago said:

Thunderbird should be a larger 4 seater. The 2 seat birds never sold well, even the retro birds. Being that the Mustang is 2 doors, the Tbird should be 4, preferably with Suicide or "coach" doors. Keep the Mustang drivelines intact, and you have a winning sedan.  

Personally, I would like to see the name "Torino" attached to the vehicle that you just described. 

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On 12/26/2018 at 10:53 AM, NLPRacing said:

Personally, I would like to see the name "Torino" attached to the vehicle that you just described. 

Nothing wrong with that either.

 

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I’m all for using names that have a history and meaning. But IMO thunderbird doesn’t resonate with new car buyers. It’s right up there with Monte Carlo. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see young folks buying that. 

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1 hour ago, fordtech1 said:

I’m all for using names that have a history and meaning. But IMO thunderbird doesn’t resonate with new car buyers. It’s right up there with Monte Carlo. Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t see young folks buying that. 

I agree.

I wonder if the market for the T-Bird has come and gone.  I’d love to see a 2-seater, but I got to believe making a business case for a 2-seater would be difficult.  As for a 4-seater, you stick four doors on it, and you have another sedan which, seemingly, fewer and fewer buyers want every year.  And a 2-door coupe? That would be my choice, but they’d sell even less.  

But I hate to see the Thunderbird name die.  Such a rich nameplate, with great memories for those who grew up in the 50’s and 60’s.  The original ’55-’57 2-seater, the ’58-’60 Squarebirds, the ’61-’63 Bullet Birds, the ’64-’66 Flair Birds, and the ’67-’69 Glamour Birds, all featured expressive, unique styling.  By the 70’s, the T-Bird lost its identity and unique styling, and became nothing more than one more big Ford.  

  

 

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As to the "...but Ford couldn't sell more than 6,000 per year" prediction above, check out THIS set of stats about another old "dinosaur" in our midst:   😉

Since 2013, those sales are near or surpassing 10x that prediction!   What's FCA's secret then?   (I'm sure it has SOMETHING to do with 4 letters starting with an H and ending in an I.  LOL)

Dodge Challenger

http://carsalesbase.com/us-car-sales-data/dodge/dodge-challenger/ 

2017  64,537   

2016  64,478 

2015  66,365 

2014  51,611 

2013  51,462 

2012  43,119 

2011  39,534 

2010  36,791 

2009  25,852 

2008  17,423

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Mustang still dwarfs those sales, and with far less incentive spend.  Challenger, like nearly all FCA products, has a standalone customers very unique to them.  Ford can't respond by copying what they do.  Ford is already doing better with Mustang either way, there's nothing to shoot for that won't cost way more to do than FCA spends on their ancient Challenger.  

As for Thunderbird, there's no question that segment died well before the Thunderbird itself did, so I'm not sure how you resurrect it without moving it to another type of product.  It would only make sense if the brand equity and awareness of the name helped to sell the car it's attached to.  The opportunity could be out there in a form factor we can't envision yet.

Edited by Assimilator

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27 minutes ago, Assimilator said:

As for Thunderbird, there's no question that segment died well before the Thunderbird itself did, so I'm not sure how you resurrect it without moving it to another type of product.  It would only make sense if the brand equity and awareness of the name helped to sell the car it's attached to.  The opportunity could be out there in a form factor we can't envision yet.

That's an intriguing thought.  I have no idea what a new form factor would be, but it would have to be something that justified the name Thunderbird.  Hope it happens, it'd be a pity to let the name die.  Even people not familiar with cars usually know what a Thunderbird is.

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Heard this iconic tune by homeboy Bob Seger on Detroit's WCSX this morning, and it resonated with the sentiments I had when I created this post/thread.

Needless to say, that I'm STILL hopin' that someday Ford will be "Makin' Thunderbirds" again!  😉

 

 

Edited by Ovaltine

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