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1966 Ford Thunderbird

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The Ford Thunderbird, introduced in October of 1954, remained in production until 1997, and from 2002 to 2005. The Thunderbirds were built over 11 generations, with a combined total exceeding 4.4 million. They were built in direct response to Chevrolet's Corvette and it emphasized comfort over sportiness and is widely recognized as creating a new niche market 'the personal luxury car.' It shared many of the company's components and the 292 cubic-inch V8 from the company's Mercury division.

The second to fourth-generation Thunderbird convertibles were similar in design to the Lincoln convertible, with the convertible soft top being stowed in the forward trunk area. The trunk lid was rear-hinged; raised and lowered via hydraulic cylinders during the top raising or lowering cycle. When fully retracted, there is no sight of the soft top.

The fourth generation of the T-Bird appeared in 1964, growing to have four seats and powered by a 6.4-liter V8 of either 300 bhp or 330 bhp, mated to a three-speed automatic gearbox, with styling in keeping with the trends of the time. This new generation of Thunderbird, often known as the 'Flair Bird' among enthusiasts, followed the production of the 'Bullet Bird,' which had been in production from 1961 through 1963.

The new 4th Generation Thunderbird had styling cues from the space program, with the dashboard instruments being round like 'Sputnik' satellites, and the seats were mounted inboard, giving the appearance that they were hovering. The wipers and heating were controlled using T-shaped levers mounted on the dashboard. In the overhead console, there were buttons to control the flashers and warning lights for the seatbelts. The steering wheel moved to one side to enable easy entry and exit of the vehicle. The exterior had a more squared-off appearance, retaining a similar grille design with quad headlights from the third generation Thunderbird. It also kept the 113.2-inch wheelbase platform and continued to be offered in hardtop, convertible, and Landau versions. It had sequential rear indicators where the rear turn signal consists of three bulbs that flashed in turn. The 300 horsepower, 6.4-Litre, FE V8 continued as the standard engine, paired with a three-speed automatic transmission.

Some of the innovations intended for the new Thunderbird had been delayed, only reaching production in 1965. Most notably, front disc brakes became standard for 1965, and the dramatic sequential rear turn signals were delayed in certain states.

1966 was the last year of the fourth generation 'Flair Bird', and its stylistic revisions were highlighted by a new egg-crate style grille with a large Thunderbird emblem at its center and a new rear fascia. The standard 6.4-liter V8 was now rated at 315 horsepower alongside a newly optional 7.0-liter FE V8 offering 345 horsepower.

A total of 5,049 Thunderbird Convertibles were built for 1966, with the most popular body style being the Landau with 35,105 examples. Total 1966 Thunderbird sales reached 69,176 examples which accounted for 3.3% of Ford's U.S. sales of 2,093,832 vehicles.

After the 1966 model year, it would be 36 years before Ford would produce another Thunderbird convertible.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2019

Related Reading : Ford Thunderbird History

The Ford Thunderbird is an American automotive icon first introduced in 1955. During the early 1950s, military men were returning from fighting in World War II. In Europe, the style of the vehicle was very different from the Detroit American car. The graceful but sporty MG, Triumphs, and Jaguars, to name a few, had found their way into the hearts of many of these American soldiers. In the U.S.,....
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Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1966 Thunderbird
$4,843-$31,400
1966 Ford Thunderbird Price Range: $4,393 - $4,843

Other 1966 Ford Models
$2,238 - $3,066
$2,415 - $2,650
$2,660 - $3,845

Thunderbird - Fourth generation

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
92,465
113.20 in.
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 300.00hp
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 330.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 410.00hp
$4,485 - $4,851
74,972
113.20 in.
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 300.00hp
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 330.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 425.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 616.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 657.00hp
$4,392 - $4,850
69,176
113.20 in.
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 275.00hp
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 315.00hp
8 cyl., 390.00 CID., 335.00hp
8 cyl., 428.00 CID., 345.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 410.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 425.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 616.00hp
8 cyl., 427.00 CID., 657.00hp
$4,393 - $4,843

Industry Production

#1#2#3Ford
1971Ford (2,054,351)Chevrolet (1,830,319)Volkswagen (1,128,784)2,054,351
1970Ford (2,096,184)Chevrolet (1,451,305)Volkswagen (1,193,853)2,096,184
1969Chevrolet (2,092,947)Ford (1,826,777)Volkswagen (1,241,580)1,826,777
1968Chevrolet (2,139,290)Ford (1,753,334)Volkswagen (1,191,854)1,753,334
1967Chevrolet (2,206,639)Ford (1,730,224)Toyota (1,068,321)1,730,224
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)2,212,415
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Volkswagen (1,174,687)Toyota (1,068,321)
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)1,594,053
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)1,525,404
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)1,476,031
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,338,790

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