1971 Ford Thunderbird: T-bird achieved peak plumage

The Ford Thunderbird holds a special place in the hearts of automotive enthusiasts, but not every version of this iconic American car has enjoyed the same level of admiration. While the 1967-71 “Glamour Bird” has its dedicated following, the restyled models from the Bunkie Knudsen era, specifically the 1970-71 versions, haven’t received as much love. However, when it comes to the two-door hardtop variant, its sleek and unique appearance sets it apart.

When the Glamour Bird was introduced in the fall of 1966, it made waves by discontinuing the convertible and introducing a four-door option. This expanded lineup gave the Thunderbird newfound appeal in the market. The two-door variants included the standard hardtop and Landau, while the four-door was exclusively offered as a Landau model. As the 1970s arrived, the two-door Thunderbirds adopted a sportier appearance with a semi-fastback roofline, a design feature Ford dubbed as “SportRoof-styled.” However, in 1971, the two-door Landau received a proper formal roofline reminiscent of the one last seen in 1969.

The 1970-71 Thunderbirds came with intriguing options, particularly for the two-door models. One notable choice was the Special Brougham Option, which included high-back bucket seats, a center console, a three-spoke Rim-Blow steering wheel, plush cut-pile carpeting, a rear center armrest, door pull handles, and courtesy lights.

On the exterior, you would find auxiliary grille lamps similar to those on a Mercury Cyclone, a color-keyed stone shield, radial whitewall tires, color-keyed wheel covers, bodyside moldings, and wheel lip moldings. Another new addition for 1971 was the Cayman grain vinyl roof, available in blue, green, brown, white, and black.

The particular 1971 Ford Thunderbird being offered by the seller has traveled 69,452 miles and was originally sold in Clearwater, Florida. Like all Thunderbirds of this era, it is powered by the 360-horsepower 429 V8 engine. The seller claims that the car remains in its original, unrestored condition, though it received a repaint in code S Gray Gold approximately 20 years ago. The exterior is complemented by a brown Cayman vinyl top. Upon entering the interior, one can observe the Brougham Interior Option, featuring quilted light gray gold cloth and vinyl bench seats with a center armrest.

The distinctive wrap-around rear seat is another notable characteristic. Additional features include an AM/FM stereo radio, air conditioning, and the Driver’s Control Console, which places power controls on the driver’s side door. The seller also mentions various updates and improvements, such as a new Holley carburetor, transmission rebuild at 65,000 miles, updated 134A air conditioning, a new battery, and updated ignition and alternator components.

In conclusion, the 1971 Ford Thunderbird two-door hardtop represents a unique chapter in the Thunderbird’s history. While it may not receive the same level of admiration as some of its predecessors, its sleek design and notable features make it a distinctive choice for collectors and enthusiasts alike. This particular example, with its original condition and well-maintained status, offers a glimpse into the glamour and style of the Bunkie Knudsen-era Thunderbirds.

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