January 3, 2001
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Thunderbird Sports Roadster concept!
Inspired by the 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster the 2002 Thunderbird Sports Roadster concept car is reminiscent of the “Bullet Birds” of the Sixties.
Through the course of its original four decades on the market, the Thunderbird’s design moved from a sporty two-seat roadster to a large, luxury four-door sedan. The late ’50s Thunderbirds were practical, people haulers displaying dramatic styling with slab sides and flat fascias adorned with chrome. They served their purpose in providing Ford with a full-sized, near luxury family sedan marketed to the masses.
While the original two-door cars stirred enthusiasts’ passions, the replacements were a marketplace hit when the company needed a volume seller. Even today, those “Square Birds” have a loyal following of collectors with an appreciation of their unique design flair.
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The Thunderbirds of the early 1960s were a radical departure from the Square Birds. Inspired by a decade that was rapidly moving forward, the projectile looking cars were dubbed “Bullet Birds” and also were referred to as “Rocket Birds.” The cars personified a futuristic image with a smooth aerodynamic appearance and a design that featured full-length body sculpturing.
In 1962, the big news for Thunderbird enthusiasts was the Sports Roadster, which featured a large, fiberglass tonneau cover that changed the convertible ‘Bird from a four-place to a two-place car. The tonneau completely covered the rear seats and raised the deck of the car to meet flush with the tops of the front bucket seats. A smooth, aerodynamic fit was accomplished by seat backs that recessed into the tonneau. The effect gave the car a sporty, but laid-back look that set it apart from all others in the prestige car niche. The Sports Roadster was offered once again in 1963 with the addition of a sculptured body side feature line, a slightly revised grille, restyled taillights, new side trim and wheel covers.
In 1999, Ford unveiled the 2002 Thunderbird concept, calling it a modern interpretation of a classic design. The Thunderbird Sports Roadster concept is a more outward interpretation of the 1962 and 1963 designs. The car reflects the flamboyant ’60s finished in vivid red enamel with a white leather interior. The concept features a sloped rear deck with a moulded fibreglass tonneau cover and integrated, white leather-covered headrests embossed with the trademark Thunderbird logo. Chrome-finished fasteners secure the tonneau to the roadster.
The tonneau cover “waterfalls” between the seats into a relaxed interior environment that features “ceramic” white leather fluted bucket seats. The instrument panel, pillars, scuff plates and interior door trim panels are leather wrapped and feature unique stitching by Draxlmaier.
The driver’s cockpit area features a leather wrapped three-spoke steering wheel, shifter knob, hand brake and armrest. The cluster appliqu