The Thunderbird legend features prominently in the lore of many Native American cultures. At one point in time, Ford Thunderbirds also featured prominently on American highways. And now, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has one that's gone off the reservation.
Maybe just for today, we'll consider this Nice Price or Peace Pipe in honor of both our Native American hosts, and today's candidate- a big, brown bomb from Ford.
The Ford Thunderbird goes back to 1955, when it debuted as a two-seat personal coupe. With it's removable hardtop and roll-up windows, it offered a more civilized ride than the Corvette, which was struggling for its existence in only its third year. With a standard 292 V8, it initially offered greater horsepower than Chevy's plastic fantastic. While not out-and-out sports cars, both the Corvette and T-bird were lithe and athletic emblems of American prosperity and driving fun.
But times change, and so did the T-bird. While the Corvette gained even greater sporting bona fides, the Ford, like many Americans, grew fat and lazy, looking back on its former life with the wistfulness of Uncle Rico.
By the time the sixth generation wallowed onto the scene in 1972, the Thunderbird had evolved from one of Ford's smallest domestic offerings to sharing the formal attire of one of its largest- the Lincoln Continental MKIV. This metallic brown example is a time capsule of Watergate-era America. It's vinyl roof and jutting prow embody the signature luxury paradigms of the age, as do full wheel covers, whitewalls, and faux landau bars taking the place of rearward visibility.
The base engine in '72 was a 400 cid V8, but that was quickly dropped as its 172 bhp was seen as insufficient to move the ‘Bird's ample 4,420 lbs. The 429 Thunderjet, with its four barrel carb and 212 bhp, was deemed adequate, and can be found under the massive hoods of the majority of this generation of T-birds, including this car.
Upon opening the wide door you are greeted by tufted seats and a dashboard resplendent in all the faux wood and plastic chrome your nineteen seventies-era dollar could buy. Entertainment options of the day were pretty much limited to two- AM and FM, however someone has decided that what this particular T-Bird needed was an additional stereo in a built-up center console, which does include a handy pair of cup holders. The surprisingly small 14 cubic foot trunk has been further compromised by a tub-thumper for when you're rollin' with your homies, and catching a freak is your intent.
All that for $7,250. The bodywork is clean, and there's a whole bunch of it, so you'd be getting your money's worth with this T-Bird. The paint is as shiny and brown as the day it left the Pico Rivera, CA factory, and the vinyl roof, usually the victim of that harsh mistress the Sun, is surprisingly intact.
But what about the attractiveness of this '72 Thunderbird? It's in that Bermuda Triangle of car desirability- too new to be a classic, or a hipster wagon, and too old to be viable family transportation. But who cares? It's a pretty nice example of a historically significant brand, and at a price that won't require you digging behind the sofa cushions to buy it. So, does that price put this Thunderbird at the top of your totem pole? Or, is this one legend that deserves to die?
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