“Restoration project car, 1966 Thunderbird, 390, big block, runs great! New carb, rebuilt transmission. She is in good shape, and daily drivable. Needs some work and T.L.C., not show worthy, Please only call if you understand what that entails. $2950, to a good home. Please contact Nick at 778-891-3284, no emails.”
Looking at this particular example of automotive history, it’s hard to believe that this car’s forebears could have ever come out of a desire to compete directly with the Chevrolet Corvette. By 1966, just 11 years had passed since the then-new Thunderbird shamed the Corvette with superior horsepower figures and performance, but those 11 years had not been kind to the Thunderbird. While 1966 saw the mighty 427 big block ushered under the Corvette’s shapely hood, Ford spent the year escorting the Thunderbird’s big, luxurious fourth generation from the premises in order to make way for a newer, bigger, and vastly uglier fifth generation. Marking the last year that the Thunderbird could be called legitimately good looking, the 1966 model year features a trio of V8’s underhood (275- and 315-horsepower 390 cubic inch V8s as well as a 345-horsepower 428 cubic inch) and enough luxury features inside to sink a ship… which was ironic given the ‘bird’s land yacht status. The new Highway Pilot Automatic Speed Control set a new standard for cruise control systems, while the six way power seats ensured complete comfort for the driver and his passenger, and both new features were merely bolstering the already impressive list of amenities that included easy-ingress and egress rotating seats, tilting steering columns, power windows and locks, and a variety of other contrivances.
Of course, the downside to all these relatively complex luxury systems is that ownership of aging Thunderbirds could be a troublesome and trying experience. But, they say nothing unites people like a common foe, and few enthusiast groups are more cohesive and helpful than Thunderbird enthusiasts. With a strong aftermarket to support their penchant for replacement parts and a huge knowledge base, it can be surprisingly easy to keep one of these cars on the road. However, this being B.C., and these being cars festooned with trim and panel joints, it’s extremely important that any potential buyer do their due diligence and inspect for rust. However, if the photos are any illustration, it looks like it’s in relatively decent shape, although it looks like there’s something around the rear wheelarch that might need investigating. Clicking through to the actual ad will demonstrate the benefits of a proper hard top on an old car such as this, as the interior (what we can see of it, anyway) looks quite clean. But perhaps most telling is the inclusion of “to a good home” in the price. After putting in what appears to be a few of his own dollars, obviously the owner still cares about this old car, and that’s a really great thing to see. These are great cars that can still work as reliably as they did when they were new, and they’re extremely pleasant to drive on a daily basis, making this one yet another car you should buy.