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  • May 14, 2015

1961 Ford Thunderbird

1961 Ford Thunderbird

Automobile Driving Museum

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SPECIFICATIONS
Body Style: x
Factory Price: x
Production: x
Weight: x
Engine: x
Horse Power: x
Cubic Inches: x
Wheel Base: x
Transmission: x
Brakes: x

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The third generation of the Ford Thunderbird is a large personal luxury car that was produced by Ford for the 1961 to 1963 model years. It featured new and much sleeker styling than the second generation models. Sales were strong, if not quite up to record-breaking 1960, at 73,051 including 10,516 convertibles. A new, larger 390 cu in (6.4 L) FE-series V8 was the only engine available (in 1961). The Thunderbird was 1961’s Indianapolis 500 pace car, and featured prominently in US President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade, probably helped along by the appointment of Ford executive Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense.

The Thunderbird for 1961 introduced several firsts for the automotive market. The most distinctive feature of the 1961 to 1963 Thunderbirds was the highly touted ‘Swing Away’ steering wheel. With the transmission in the park position the steering wheel would slide approximately 18 inches (460 mm) to the right allowing the driver to exit the vehicle easily. Other innovations include a floating rear view mirror. Common on all autos produced today, this feature was first found on 1961 Thunderbirds. Depending on variable options Thunderbirds for 1961 could be purchased with options like air conditioning, power windows, power seats, AM radio, fender skirts and white wall tires. Several standard features, like power steering and power brakes, back up lights and bucket seats were costly options on most other autos.
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