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DescriptionThe fourth generation of the Ford Thunderbird is a large personal luxury car produced by Ford for the 1964 to 1966 model years. This generation of the Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off, "formal" look, which was mostly evident when viewing the car from the side or rear. The Thunderbird's sporty image had by that time become only that: the standard 390-cubic-inch 300 bhp (224 kW) V8 engine needed nearly 11 seconds to push the heavy T-bird to 60 mph (96 km/h). The softly sprung suspension allowed considerable body lean, wallow, and float on curves and bumps.
Hinting at its roots in the previous generation Thunderbird that it evolved from, the new model retained a similar grille design with quad headlights and a 113.2 inches (2,875 mm) wheelbase. As before, the new Thunderbird continued to be offered in hardtop, convertible, and Landau versions. The 300 horsepower (220 kW) 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE V8 continued as the standard engine for the Thunderbird. It was paired with a 3-speed automatic transmission. For 1965, sequential turn signals were added, flashing the individual segments of the broad, horizontal tail lights in sequences from inside to outside to indicate a turn. Also new for 1965 were standard front disc brakes and doubled sided keys.Even though it was the last year of the generation, 1966 saw a stylistic revision for the Thunderbird highlighted by a new egg-crate style grille with a large Thunderbird emblem at its center and a single-blade front bumper. The rear bumper was restyled to include new full-width taillamps. Engine choices were also revised for 1966. The standard 390 cu in (6.4 L) V8 equipped with a single four-barrel carburetor produced 315 horsepower (235 kW). Newly optional and taking the top position for performance was a 345 horsepower (257 kW) 428 cu in (7.0 L) FE V8. The 428 cost only $86 over the base engine and was a popular option. This would be the last year for the convertible until the "retro" models of 2002-05.
- The 1958 addition of a rear seat to the Thunderbird, while initially controversial, marked the creation of market segment eventually known as personal luxury vehicles. An American interpretation of the grand tourer, personal luxury cars were built with a higher emphasis on driving comfort and convenience features over handling and high-speed performance. From 1968 to 1998, Lincoln-Mercury marketed their own versions of the Thunderbird as the Mercury Cougar and the Continental Mark III, Mark IV, Mark V, Lincoln.
- The Ford Thunderbird is also colloquially called the T-Bird.
- The Thunderbird was produced in a number of body configurations through its production life, including four-seat hardtop coupe, four-seat convertible, five-seat convertible and hardtop, four-door pillared hardtop sedan, six-passenger hardtop coupe, and five-passenger pillared coupe, with the final generation produced as a two-seat convertible.