Sunday, April 22, 2012

1966 Thunderbird Speedster Showcar

"If I Had Been There"
Quick Study: Loyal blogreader, "Bobf," suggested I try a Speedster version of the mid '60s Thunderbird. This is what I came up with, in the manner of a period '66 Ford showcar, complete with Cragar wheels, whitewalls, cut-down windshield and redesigned side glass. I "welded" the rear fender skirts into the body, removed the doorhandles and nameplate, added the sidepipes and a modified '66 Mustang scoop trim piece, all things they might have done in the Ford studios of the time. I wouldn't mind taking a country drive in this Tbird! I started with a base photo from a website called Bold Ride, found a background image at a wallpaper site and did the rest with the magic of Photoshop.

B T W :
This car inspired me... I'd love to see a TV show based on the automobile industry in Detroit, circa 1958-71. It could be a Mad Men-ish look at a major automotive design studio, and its execs, designers, clay modelers, and their wives, boyfriends, affairs, drinking and swearing habits, their custom cars, rushed clay models, weekends at the Grosse Point Yacht club, hijinks, shenanigans, their personal relationships... You know, but with a heavy emphasis on the cars and how those cars affect their lives, professionally and personally. There could be a 10-minute Epilog at the end of each 80 minute episode; an historic "sidebar" of an actual show car and short history and sexy trivia.

B T W :
Marty Martino, a new reader to casey/artandcolour, but a long-time car builder and afficionado, mentioned the '63 Thunderbird Italien when commenting about my Speedster. A long time ago, I did a chop of what a square-edged '64 'Bird might have looked like with a fastback, hence my '64 Italien 2. I think this chop is about 5 years old. I'll take another stab at a factory Tbird fastback one of these days.

A full length brushed aluminum lower body side strip was added, too.


  1. Casey,
    This would have certainly been a star in
    "The Ford Custom Car Caravan" .This was Fords 60s traveling custom car show that featured customized Fords . Not quite as extravagant as GMs 50s Motoramas, it was still a big deal for an 11 year old to see! The big difference Was that the cars were
    sub contracted out to popular customizes of the day .
    You would surly have gotten a contract to build this! My thought is that if you raised the Mustang quarter side trim to the center of the fender ,like a '65 Birds trim, this would have given the '63 Italian a run for the money, wich has long been considered the ultimate star of these shows. Looks great! Marty

  2. thanks, Marty! That really means something coming from someone with your experience with real cars! I love that Italian (sp?) too. I made a '64 version once, but it was an early crude attempt. I'll do a new one soon. -casey

  3. I'd watch that show. I watched part of "Wheels," the NBC miniseries based on Arthur Hailey's novel. For that matter, I watched part of "The Betsy," though there aren't many cars in it, though there is another, um, reason to watch. Think of the characters -- Bill Mitchell and Chuck Jordan of GM, Lee Iacocca of Ford ... maybe you could even work in George Romney.

  4. Yea, Im a terrible speller, So I checked with my Buddy ,Tom who restored the car and it is "Italien ".You might enjoy his web, it are concepts were you can see some of my scribbles. I like your new '66 more every time I see it, but I'm wondering how you would have handled the retro 2 seater . I had day dreamed of this concept since the '70s and remember being cautiously optimistic before it was shown.My worst fear was that it would have the cues of the '89 Nissan Figaro ,Well my hart fell to my knees in the first millisecond after I saw it,In fact I was blown away at how close to the worst case scenario it was! I have done my version in 1/25th scale,based on the current Mustang ,as if done by an aftermarket body panel kit builders. I'd really love to see your version with a clean slate.Im sure it would be terrific! J Mays did a great job of doing the retro beetle but should have thrown away those drawings before he did a T Bird! Marty P.S. I also really like your contemporary 4 seater Bird with hints of the personal luxury Birds of the '60s ,Shame that it would be such a hard sell to Ford to make it pillarless and ad distance to the front between wheel and door.

    1. Marty: I just updated the post to include the '64 Italien 2 I chopped about 5 years ago. It's fairly crude, but I think the Squarebird could have handled a fastback! Thanks for your comments, as always!

      oh, almost forgot. I was disappointed by the last 2 seater 'Bird, too. The proportions were all wrong. The retro part should have been the proportions and not the fussy details they picked.

  5. Casey, You are rite on about the proportions of the retro Bird. If they would have moved the cockpit back 6 inches the rest could have been corrected with aftermarket custom work.Since I have a passion for T bIrds in general ,my friends are tired of hearing my disdain for thie retro bird as done by Ford in '89 . On the brite side,at the same show that it was first shown, I loved the '89 Nomad ,Damn shame GM didn't build it . it would be my current daily driver! I like your older chop of the Tbird Italien with the squared off roof but look forward to seeing your updated version, Marty

  6. Wow! This is great looking. It is sleeker than what was in my 'mind's eye'. The fastback is different enough to upset the traditional T-bird fanatics - which is why it is so good. Congratulations, and thanks.


  7. I seem to remember a car from that era with a "c" panel that was a bit thinner and slightly concave but for some reason cannot seem to retrieve it from the old gray cells ( that is what happens when you get old ) that could be a variation of your '64 Italien.

    The idea of the car designer show could really start a round of discussions of what era? What company? What characters and cars? Who would star? We should keep this going. Great fun.