January 2023


I hope all members had a nice holiday and look forward to seeing you this spring at our annual event planning meeting.  I never paid much attention to this series of Thunderbird, though distinctive, I feel ford diluted the exclusivity of this series of thunderbird from previous generations.  With a chassis dating back to 1972, many incarnations of ford cars were produced with this chassis, the cougar xr7, from 74-79, the Torino and ranchero from 72-79, the Mark IV and Mark V from 72-79 and the Gran Torino Elite from 74-76, the car the Thunderbird replaced from 77-79.  With a total of 318,140 produced in 1977, ford meant their goal of selling more Thunderbirds, with a total of 955,032 from this generation of Thunderbirds.  1976 had a production number of 52,935 while the 72-76 generation had a total production of 299,146 for the 4 years of this series.  The basket handle thunderbirds of 77-79, sold 3 times as many as the previous generation. There were many reasons for this:  lower cost, more parts inter- changeability from other ford lines, smaller and better gas mileage than the 72-76 versions.  I remember looking at a new 78 and did not like the gaudy looking straps on the trunk, a one year only option for 78.  The performance of this car was anemic.  This car listed for around $5500.  I remember looking at a fully loaded 76 lipstick edition and it listed for nearly $7500.  While looking at the 78, there was a diamond jubilee edition for $10000.  Our club president Roger Noll owned a 78 Diamond Jubilee and reported gas mileage in the high teens.  I chose to drive my high mileage 72 Mark IV for 2 more years.   In 1980 I purchased a 79 Chrysler 300 for half its list price, this was when Chrysler was facing its 1st bankruptcy.  In my college days I bought a 79 Cougar xr7 to flip, this was a nice car with a 302 and was whisper quiet, I quickly sold it.  A few members of our club have this generation of T-bird. These cars make excellent hobby cars and our reasonable cost wise to enter the hobby.  Consider the following:  Does not require premium fuel or additives, good examples exist at reasonable prices, safety, comfort, and good gas mileage, reliable and easy to maintain, parts availability is reasonable, doesn't have expensive computers, relays or modules, low taxes and insurance, A fine car to drive to club events when condition of weather, distance, or comfort is desired. 


Happy Motoring! 


Respectfully submitted

Larry Sneary
H.V.T.C. tech advisor


Ford Thunderbird News 1956-2005

First Generation 1955-1957

The Ford Thunderbird was introduced in February 1953 as a response to Chevrolet's new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before.

Second Generation 1958-1960

Although the 1955–57 Thunderbird was a success, Ford executives—particularly Robert McNamara—were concerned that the car's position as a two-seater limited its sales potential. As a result, the car was redesigned as a four-seater for 1958.

Third Generation 1961-1963

The Thunderbird was redesigned for 1961 with styling that gave the car a unique bullet-like body side appearance.

Fourth Generation 1964-1966

For 1964 the Thunderbird was restyled in favor of a more squared-off appearance, which was mostly evident when viewing the car from the side or rear.

Fifth Generation 1967-1971

1In 1967, a larger Thunderbird with luxury appointments more in line with a Lincoln was built. 

Sixth Generation 1972-1976

The sixth generation of the Thunderbird debuted in the fall of 1971 as a 1972 model.  It was the largest Thunderbird ever produced.

Seventh Generation 1977-1979

For the 1977 model year, the Thunderbird was shifted to the smaller chassis, but it still looked large.

Eighth Generation 1980-1982

Reflecting a further industry-wide adoption of smaller vehicle designs in the interest of improved fuel efficiency and emissions compliance, the Thunderbird was redesigned for 1980.

Ninth Generation 1983-1988

In response to the lackluster reception of the eighth-generation 1980–1982 Thunderbird, Ford executed a significant redesign for 1983.

1989-2005 Thunderbirds and Car Care tips

Styles and Changes

Tenth Generation 1989-1997


On December 26, 1988, a completely redesigned Thunderbird was introduced as a 1989 model along with the similar Mercury Cougar.

Eleventh Generation 2002-2005

About Us

After a five year hiatus, Ford introduced the 2002 Thunderbird. Returning to the original formula for the Thunderbird, the latest version had a two-passenger convertible/removable hardtop configuration like the first-generation Thunderbird and styling strongly recalling the original.

Car Care Tips


Things to know to care for your car.

Little Bit of This and That


Odds & Ends

Advice Tips

 Helpful Tips

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