This Thunderbird Doesn't Have What You Think Under The Hood

Unless you're thinking of a gas tank, a battery, and some open space and probably a few Twix wrappers, this T-Bird does not have what you'd expect under the hood. That's because, technically, it's not a T-Bird at all. Meet the Veebird, especially this one being sold in Ohio.

From, say 12 feet away, this car totally passes as a normal '57 Ford Thunderbird. Maybe the bumpers look a little strangely matte, but that could just be some poor-man's rattlecan 'rechroming' with some silver Krylon. But this car is actually a VW Beetle kit, and one of the most convincing replicar kits I've seen.


A reader sent us in this ad, and I'm surprised I'd never encountered one of these before. Most VW-based replacars seem to be either vintage Porsches or MGs, and simply due to the differences in scale, American cars are very rare choices for car-imposter kits. The Thunderbird was one of the few Yanks small enough to make this plausible.

I found a few old brochures and ads for the Veebird, and it looks like it used real Thunderbird window glass, taillights, and a few other details. Everything else — drivetrain, instruments, door handles, suspension — is all bone-stock VW.


I'm impressed with how well disguised this is — most of these kits I can usually spot as a VW quickly. But the Veebird kit seems to hide all Beetlearian origins remarkably well. I'm not certain where the engine pulls its air from, since I guess vents would be a giveaway, but I do know that for optimal cooling, that engine compartment should have a floor.


This is almost like one of those movie-extra cars built on VW platforms in the wonderfully deceptive way it messes with your mind.

There would be something perversely satisfying about doing one of these up to a really high standard of paint and finish, and taking it to a vintage Ford show.


That could go really well or really horribly. No in-between.

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