August 1, 2007

Classic Thunderbird Facts

  • The Thunderbird name was conceived by Ford stylist Alden "Gib" Giberson
  • Although it is widely rumored porthole windows began in 1957, they were first ffered on the '56 Thunderbird
  • The decision was made in 1955 to build a four-seat Thunderbird in 1958 ecause there was larger market potential for four-seat cars. At the time, sales figures for two-seat Thunderbirds were unknown
  • It took 15,000 units to begin turning a profit during the mid-'50s
  • The best two-seat Thunderbird sales year was 1957 at 21,380 units
  • Supercharging was available only in 1957
  • Dual four-barrel carburetion was available only in 1957
  • Ford sold 37,892 four-seat Thunderbirds in 1958
  • Ford sold a whopping 1,674,448 '57 Fords, including Thunderbirds, beating hevrolet that year
  • Although commonly referred to as a sports car, the Thunderbird was always a personal luxury car-never a sports car
  • Other names considered for the Thunderbird were Beaver, Detroiter, Runabout (yes, Runabout), Arcturus, Savile, El Tigre, and Coronado
  • The Thunderbird was first shown to the public at the Detroit Auto Show in February 1954
  • The '55 Thunderbird first went on sale on October 22, 1954
  • Ford expected to build just 10,000 units. It built 16,155 for 1955
  • The Thunderbird was introduced with the 292ci Mercury Y-block V-8
  • The 312ci Y-Block V-8 was introduced for 1956 and continued for 1957
  • Former Ford executive (later Secretary of Defense in the Kennedy administration) Bob McNamara concluded Thunderbird needed four seats to be a seller
  • Classic Thunderbirds were full-frame cars. The '58-'66 T-birds were of unit-body construction with shock towers like the Falcon, Fairlane, and Mustang
  • The original Thunderbird was designed by George Walker, Lewis D. Crusoe, and Frank Hershey. Crusoe was a retired GM design executive hired by Henry Ford II during the early '50s
  • How badly do you want a '57 T-bird?
    Resale values are pushing $75,000 for average restorations
  • SR-71 Black Bird-Eye In The Sky

  • World's fastest air-breathing, highest- flying aircraft
  • Based at Beale AFB, California
  • Holds record for fastest New York to London flight-80,000 feet at over 2,000 mph-with an average speed of 1,807 mph-in under two hours. Exact time to cross the Atlantic was 1 hour, 54 minutes, 56. 4 seconds. SR-71 slowed one time for refueling from a specially modified USAF KC-135Q model jet tanker
  • This world-breaking record was set in 1974 by Major James V. Sullivan and Noel F. Widdlefield
  • This same airplane flew 5,447 miles back to Los Angeles in 3 hours, 47 minutes, breaking windows in places along its route (sonic boom) on the way home
  • SR-71 uses a special jelly-like jet fuel called JP-8
  • Pilots wear pressurized space suits due to the 80,000- to 100,000-foot cruise altitude
  • Exceeds Mach 3 and outflies the Earth's rotational speed, which means it flies faster than the sun crosses the sky. Mach 1 is 741.4 mph at sea level. Mach 2 is twice that. Mach 3 is three times that
  • In the SR-71, you can have breakfast in New York City and have another one in Los Angeles before you left New York state
  • Think your classic Ford is fast? The SR-71 flies 33 miles in 1 minute. That's 3,000 feet in 1 second. Let's see your quarter-mile e.t. timeslip
  • The SR-71 is made of titanium and composite materials
  • The SR-71 was the world's first truly stealth airplane
  • Fifty SR-71s were built, then all tooling was destroyed
  • The SR-71's cameras can photograph a golf ball on a putting green at 80,000 feet
  • The SR-71 was designed with a slide rule, not a computer
  • A total of 478 people have flown the SR-71-a fortunate few Information courtesy www.wvi.com-an SR-71 Web site.