Last post on Feb 07, 2010 at 6:57 PM
You are in the Classic Cars
What is this discussion about?
Ford Thunderbird, Classic Cars
#10 of 59 58-66 Thunderbirds ?
Dec 22, 2008 (9:14 pm)
My initial question. I so appreciate your comments. Not much good news. I must say I did enjoy your descriptive remarks (ie: piglike, drives like a beanbag etc.). I thought I might hear from some staunch supporters in defense of the negative observations. How many astronauts in the 60's were seduced by the Thunderbird advertising, the name, the interior styling. It is indeed sad to hear about the cars shortcomings. Visually, the inside looks like a posh booth in an Italian restaurant from the 40's. How can something that looks so sculpted and elegant be so bad? The proof is in the use and I will certainly defer to the experience of those who know these cars. How those astronauts must have felt duped when they realized how poorly these cars performed. I guess when you are breaking the speed of sound in your jet you can poke around in a sporty looking car in your spare time. Let me hear from those astronauts out there. Just an aside, when I was 10 I came across a pink Bullet Bird in a neighbors driveway. Boy, it caught my attention. I am not saying I liked it but it is my first memory of an automobile. Clearly its look made an impression on me. The next car that turned my head was a 64' Mustang. It was spring and it passed by like in slow motion, maroon in color with a foreground of yellow and red tulips and bright green grass. I looked at the Riviera and it was ok but didn't overwhelm me. I liked the triangular console but the inside didn't have the style of the Thunderbird. I won't jump into anything without a test drive and open eyes. Thanks again for your insights. Lots of snow here !
#11 of 59 Re: 58-66 Thunderbirds ? [piCARso]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 23, 2008 (10:07 am)
Well the 58-66 Birds were MEANT to be a visual madhouse and they definitely succeeded in projecting a "surface" of technology, futurism and that kind of "realtor-elegance" that people in brocaded, gold-scripted, vinyl-topped, carriage-hinged Cadillacs have come to love.
Gore Vidal once called the astronauts "Rotarians in Outer Space" so I'm not so sure they would be the best judges of actual high-performance machinery that rolls on rubber tires. "The Right Stuff" shows some of them in new Corvettes and that seems to exonerate at least a few of them.
I'd surmise that if Mr. Glenn's jet fighter handled like a '58 T-Bird he would have punched out over the desert.
#12 of 59 Astronauts were test pilots
Dec 24, 2008 (12:07 pm)
Remember that most Astronauts were test pilots. They were used to be on the every edge of control.... and hell - they LIKED it.
They probably enjoyed the fact that nobody else was
stupid brave enough to drive an old T Bird fast.
(Seriously, though, I thought they were all Corvette guys, and even had some kind of unofficial deal to get them very cheaply).
#13 of 59 Gus Grissom's Corvette
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 24, 2008 (1:39 pm)
The astronauts didn't get them for free---they paid $1!
Dec 29, 2008 (10:02 pm)
An idle curiosity. Perhaps I need to think earlier, substance and quality, let the facileness of the Thunderbird go. If you get this in time check out these two Packards on ebay: 1952 two door 110329744715, and 1950 four door 320327347702. What do you think , your thoughts just from the descriptions and pictures, purely hypothetically. Strengths and weaknesses of the engines? Just for fun, I won't buy one, just grist for the mill in the future.
#16 of 59 Re: Packard ? [piCARso]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 29, 2008 (10:41 pm)
Well they look like decent enough old relics, but being 4-door cars, there is no investment value, and they both seem like bottom of the line models. If they were 2-doors with AC and in nicer colors that might be of more interest to me. The '52 is a 4-door you know!
Both look quite solid I'd say the '50 is worth more.
These are big ponderous beasts with nice, torquey flathead 8 engines. You'd build up your arm muscles, that's for sure. No power steering looks like.
At least with the old T-Birds you are likely to get a more modern engine, power steering and if you're lucky, AC. On the negative side, the T-Bird is like driving a block of ice with a steering wheel. The old Packards should handle a lot better.
I'd choose the '50 for a number of reasons, such as manual transmission and the bathtub styling----but I suspect the paint job isn't very good on the car if you looked closely at it.
so I guess what I'm saying is neither car gets me very excited---they are just "old cars" and nothing special. They don't have the body style, the options, the colors, etc. that might have made them collectibles IMO.
#17 of 59 Re: Packard ? [piCARso]
Dec 30, 2008 (6:13 am)
I kinda like that 1952 Packard. I think it's handsome and clean, and by 1952 standards, pretty modern looking.
I never liked the style of those "pregnant" Packards, but that 1950 at least looks like it's in nice shape.
#18 of 59 Re: Packard ? [andre1969]
by Mr_Shiftright HOST
Dec 30, 2008 (10:59 am)
The '52 might "look" modern, but really, American cars did not become truly "modern", IMO, until 1955. Before that, most of them hid the vestiges of pre World War II engineering and styling. They had "modern bits" but they weren't totally modern until the famous '55 Chevy--with it's boxy look, completely flat sides, lightweight small-block, high-revving V8, and a "tight skin" stretched over the skeleton.
The 55-57 Birds have this modernity, whereas the '58-60 seems to regress in my eyes to an earlier and more cluttered look.
#19 of 59 Classic Dilemma !
Dec 31, 2008 (4:33 pm)
What does one do? I wave my ignorance of old cars like a banner with every word I write. Can't tell the difference between a 2-door and a 4-door although you must admit that back door was well hidden on the 52' Packard with it's out of the way handle and tight fitting seams. I feel like "Rocky" in the movie when the gym owner (you) beseeches him with the plea, " I've got so much knowledge and I want to give it to you". I am out of my element and I must not be the only one who would benefit from your wise council when it comes to selecting an older car. My wife and I discovered a small auto museum, the Owls Head Transportation Museum, up the coast and very much enjoyed seeing the vast assortment of automobiles people would bring on various theme weekends(i.e. fabulous cars of the 50's and 60's). My biggest revelation was that average people owned these cars and they were often very modestly priced. It seems to me it would be a pleasant pastime in my later years to sit on warm summers night in my plastic, webbed, folding chair next to my vintage car during classics night at the local mall. Lacking any perspective myself may I ask you to recommend 10 post 1955 family cars (not sport cars, muscle cars or anything too exotic) that would make solid drivers, could be obtained in decent shape for under 20 and still match your standard, if not for agility,at least for conspicuous beauty and sound mechanicals. Just off the top of your head( I respect your time) to give us uninformed some idea of what in your experience is a direction to pursue.
Thanks Joe and Happy New Year !