Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thunderbird: Unique in All the World

My 1967 Thunderbird GT estate wagon, complete with reversible Pucci seat cushions. The real 4 door Tbird, with Lincoln-inspired suicide doors and a tight 4 place bucket seat interior, is one of my favorite Tbirds of all time. Adding a hatch and upping the lux was a natural. Click on all images to enlarge.

My version of an '80 Thunderbird. Instead of using the actual Fairmont-based Tbird fielded that year, I cut down the previous '77-'79 Tbird, resulting in a more attractive, and appropriate, Thunderbird. I rendered it to resemble a wrinkled piece of sketch paper.

The 4th generation Thunderbird, 1964-66, also known as the Squarebird, lend's its lines quite well to a Squire type wagon. I used the suicide-type doors, as Tbird would in '67 for its new 4 door. The unitized body could well have supported an upward opening rear hatch. It would have opened 24 inches into the roof, similar to the late Dodge Magnum's hatch, and would have included the glass of course, leaving the trademark bumper-encircled taillights intact. The wood option was a no-brainer-Country Squires were all the rage in the '60s.

This '64 Sedan is a perfect example of using Photoshop to modify cars. This original Googled image was the standard painted-roof coupe. I've photoshopped it into the suicide door sedan seen here as well as the Squire wagon above. Notice in the wagon photo I've 'deleted' the large rock and sign in front of the driver's door. I've learned to retouch photos in almost any way you can think of, while having fun at the Mac and creating digital works of art of my favorite subject: cars. Work, Education and Fun all at the same time. Not a bad way to spend hours and hours and hours...

C H O P — Thunderbirds have long played a role in my life. The first car I ever fell in love with (age 5) was my aunt Hoohoo's Silver Mink '58 Coupe. Then it was her '64 Diamond Blue coupe she gave me at the age of 16 (along with the '69 Comet I mentioned below that my dad gave me that year. 2 cars for one birthday-I haven't quite hit the jackpot like that since, lol!)

I've chopped more than 25 Thunderbirds in Photoshop throughout the past 5 years. I've created modern ones, and I've 'adjusted' older ones. I use these renderings as practice in Photoshop, hence the various treatments seen here—trying to make them look old/wrinkled at the same time I'm changing their lines in some way. Many, and I mean many, things I've learned by creating these 'fake' cars I've ended up using in the books I design, and in restoring antique photographs.

This fake ad is based on one of the '66 Thunderbird's real ads which appeared in the National Geographic. I changed the roofline's C pillar, added two fixed "skylights," and cleaned up details all around. I also rewrote the taglines and text to reflect this new model's features. I used various filters to make the ad appear aged and stained, as so many vintage paper pieces become. I think the ad captures the feeling of Ford's sixties advertising quite well.


  1. O M G.

    These are precisely what I spend years drawing (just the same--as in w/typography and magazine-style layouts, while growing up.
    thought I was the only one.

  2. Thank you, Bryce! I've started another blog, just for my car chops. I've gone "live" but won't announce it here for a few more weeks until it's more filled out, but I thought if you just got here, you might think you're too late.