Thursday, May 29, 2014

What do you get when you combine a fox and a bird?

There I was, riding along Ocean Parkway, when I felt a stinging in my eyes. It was this:
Ugh. The holy grail of missteps in automobile design. A 1980 Ford Thunderbird wearing the extra-cost optional color Medium Blue Glow.
 Built on the new Fox Body platform, Ford got rid of this entire design after only 3 years in hopes that the public would forget about it. Even with the leather seats and landau roof it's impossible to deny the fact that this car is a dressed-up Ford Fairmont.
From the front the upper and lower sections of the grill match up visually, but from this angle you can see the severe underbite of this wide-eyed sickly beast. This detail, however, is the only way to identify the year accurately as the lower grill texture was dropped from the bumper in the years following this one.
This is what happens when you take an economy car and slather personal luxury gaudiness all over it; vacuum operated power headlights, faux cornering lights (you can see from where the lens broke off that they were just big wrap-around reflectors), and wire wheel covers (spoke hubcaps as opposed to actual fancy wheels).
To top it all off this example is in horrendous condition! If this were a super-rare car from the '60s someone might attempt to conquer this rust and restore it, but this car is on death row and has exhausted all appeals. The Governor will not be calling at 11:59 to offer a reprieve.
One feature Ford held over from the '70s T-Birds is the full-width taillight housing, which I actually like. Unfortunately as this is the first Thunderbird to come with a 6 cylinder standard as opposed to a V8 I don't think many people saw the rear end at all.
That trunk lock replacement tells me that this thing has been living a hard life in the city for quite a while.
You see those 5 smudgy rectangles above the door handle? That is the very first keyless entry system offered on a production car! You punch in your code and the reward is being able to climb inside this car and be seen in it. Bizarrely the numbers on the pad (which are long gone on this one) were doubled up; the first button was 1-2, the 2nd was 3-4, etc. I don't know who that would fool or why they would bother but I guess it would make a 5 digit code seem twice as cryptic?
That forward-leaning landau roof and larger rear 3/4 window means that this 'Bird was ordered with the Decor Group package (which also included the keyless entry). This added $359 to the cost which is more than this one is currently worth. Regardless, someone's still driving around in it so I guess they got their money's worth.

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