THUNDERBIRD ERA - 1964 - 1966
The 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. 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. Contemporary testers felt that the Buick Riviera and Pontiac Grand Prix were substantially more roadworthy cars, but the Thunderbird retained its leading market share.
The revised model was initially offered as a hardtop, convertible, Sports Roadster with dealer-installed tonneau cover and wire wheels, and Landau with vinyl roof, simulated landau irons, and wood grain interior appointments. Total 1964 sales were excellent: 92,465, up nearly fifty per cent from the previous year, but with only 50 Sports Roadster kits were sold from the factory. The 1964 Thunderbird was the only car to have the word 'Thunderbird' spelled out on the front hood instead of a chrome Thunderbird emblem. The only transmission available was the Cruise-O-Matic MX 3 speed automatic.
For 1966, the 390-cubic-inch V8's power was increased to 315 bhp (235 kW). The larger 428-cubic-inch (7.0 L) V-8 became optional, rated at 345 gross horsepower (257.4 kW) and providing a notable improvement in 0-60 acceleration to about 9 seconds. All models featured a new front clip. A flatter hood, re-shaped front fenders, new headlight buckets, new egg crate grille with large Thunderbird emblem, new bumper guards, a single bumper bar, and painted roll pan replaced the previous two model year's two-piece front bumper. The rear taillights were revised, now a 3 piece unit going the full width across the rear, the backup light now located in the center section replaced the formerly rear roll pan mounted lamps.