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Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2005 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
In the decade or so since its 1955 introduction, the Ford Thunderbird came to attract a solid following from female motorists. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the 1966 T-Bird convertible featured on these pages was intended to please a lady.
History has probably been unkind to the 11th-generation Ford Thunderbird. Ask your average enthusiast about the relative marketplace success of Ford’s retro-themed 2-seat convertible, and you’re likely to be told that the revived T-Bird was a flop.
Blame Audi, Saab, and Volvo if you like, but by the mid Eighties, turbocharging had a sophisticated European cachet to it, and a number of American carmakers were working to get in on the trend.
This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
In the annals of automotive retailing, there are few–if any–model names that have been applied to more body types or market segments than Mercury’s Cougar badge. Over the moniker’s multi-decade run, it was used on coupes, sedans, station wagons, convertibles, pony cars, muscle cars, luxury cars, and, at the end of its run, a front-wheel-drive sporty hatchback.
Merkur, if you recall the brand, was in many ways a marketing complement to General Motors’s Geo experiment.
“They’ve never turned a profit.”
This phrase has become the official battle cry of Tesla detractors nationwide. Industry pundits with an anti-Tesla axe to grind—and there are many–wield this sentence with the fervor of a sandwich-board prognosticator warning that the end is near.
As we enter the age of autonomous vehicles filled with cloud-sourced entertainment and powered by solid-state batteries, it’s good to know that there are still a few relatively low-tech car features of genuine utility.
There is no longer space in the American new-car marketplace for vehicles with hoods and trunklids that consume more linear space than their passenger compartments do. While I know that the passing of the giant coupe was inevitable, I also lament that automotive designers no longer have a free hand with such large and expressive canvases.
Ford is doing it right now with a subcompact crossover (EcoSport) imported from India. Cadillac did it with a German import badged on these shores as Catera. Honda did it with rebadged midsize SUV (Passport) that was actually built by Isuzu.