Here I am once again, late afternoon giving way to early evening, sitting out on the deck, a couple of cocktails in. And gawking at giant, thirsty, impractical yet satisfying ’70s cabin cruisers.
Today it’s a fine example of the ‘thunder thighs’ T-Bird: The 1972 to 1976 version, with a lot in common with the Frank Cannon approved Continental Mark IV.
This was as big as the Thunderbird would get. Gas was cheap, life was good, and people still loved big, flossy land yachts. Well, at least until the late-1973 gas crisis.
But in late 1971, when the all new ’72 Thunderbird appeared in Ford showrooms, no such austerity in luxury motor vehicles was desired.
That first year was the only year the T-Bird and Mark had the elegant, but virtually worthless slim front and rear bumpers.
Starting in 1973, a battering ram front bumper was added, and in ’74, a matching rear bumper appeared, making these personal-lux coupes even longer.
A case could be made virtually every year for buying a Thunderbird over the Mark. It was cheaper, yet was no less luxurious, and the styling was less baroque.
And by the final year, 1976, they were no less luxurious. In fact, some of the extra cost Luxury Groups almost outshined the Mark in decadence and sheer Broughaminess. To wit: The 1976 Cream and Gold Luxury Group.
This was no car for shrinking violets. Massive, thirsty, and with rather compromised rear seating for normal sized adults, this was all about announcing your status in a flashy, nearly obnoxious way, ha ha.
And yet, I love them. With the growing homogeneity of modern cars and dying off of coupes and even sedans, their look and unquestionably brash, American attitude, will never be seen again, most likely.
But there are many survivors, and many are in fine shape, like this one on Orange County Craigslist, for a mere $8500.
Per the ad: “Helping my dad sell some of his collection. Here is his 1976 Thunderbird with the gold/cream luxury package. Big 460 motor runs and drives great. With just under 64,000 original miles.”
“New windshield, new wide white wall tires, new gas tank, new radiator, carb rebuilt. Interior is in mint condition with the exception of the stain on the dash (looks like somebody left a towel on it).”
“Original California car and my dad is the 2nd owner. This is the last year of the “big birds” Can help arrange transport if needed. Asking $8,500 OBO.”
Yellow leisure suit not included. If any readers are so inclined though, seek the seller out. See you at the supper club!