THUNDERBIRD ERA - 1967 - 1982
The fifth generation of the Ford Thunderbird is a large personal luxury car that was produced by Ford for the 1967 to 1971 model years. This fifth generation saw the second major change of direction for the Thunderbird. The Thunderbird had fundamentally remained the same in concept through 1966, even though the styling had been updated twice. The introduction of the Ford Mustang in early 1964 had, however, challenged the Thunderbird's market positioning. It, like the Thunderbird, was a small, two-door, four-seater with sporting pretensions, but it was more affordable. The Thunderbird's sales suffered. Ford's response was to move the Thunderbird upmarket.
The 1967 design was radically different from what came before. Ford's stylists delivered a radical shape that in many ways anticipated the styling trends of the next five years. A gaping wide "fishmouth" front grille that incorporated hidden headlights was the most obvious new feature. The look was clearly influenced by the intakes on jet fighters such as the F-100 Super Sabre, and was enhanced by the flush-fitting front bumper incorporating the bottom "lip" of the "mouth". The sides were the barrel-like "fuselage" style that was very popular during this period. The belt line kicked up "coke-bottle" style after the rear windows, again a styling trait that would prove ubiquitous. Large C-pillars (and a small "formal" rear window on the 4-door) meant poor rear visibility but were the fashion of the time. The taillights spanned the full width of the car, and featured, as in previous Thunderbird models, sequential turn signals.
In 1970 the Thunderbird was stylistically updated with the addition of a large, bird's beak-style projection out of its grille. Offered in coupe or sports-back models, all 1970-1971 Thunderbirds had prominent angular lines on the hood leading to a jutting tip, that also formed the center of the grill work, that was not a too thinly disguised bird beak. The T-bird for these two years had its most animalistic look that was fairly aggressive in appearance.