Friday, July 9, 2010

1970 Thunderbird Sportroof Sedan Sketches

A 1970 Four Door Thunderbird, based on the Coupe's lower roofline and shorter wheelbase. The Sportroof Sedan might had been a bit more mainstream than the more formal Landau Sedan produced from  1967-71. Shown in one of Ford's great colors from the era, Copper Glow with a Ginger interior and dark charcoal vinyl roof.

C H O P S — In the Lincoln MK-Zephyr post Comments, regular reader Keith/PhantomX, and I agreed that the 1970-71 Thunderbird fastback coupe was a great looking car. Keith has owned one before and is looking for another one. I wondered what a 4 door Tbird based on the coupe's lines would look like, the beginning question of most chops of mine. What if ... I did a few quick chops of this idea tonight, sketches really since the photos weren't that great to start with. 

I think the look is a bit more contemporary and mainstream for the period than the severely formal roofed Landau Sedan Ford offered. The image above shows the car with its trademark suicide doors. I've used door openings cut into the roof a bit to help with the Coupe's lower roofline. I've done a few variations of the second photo, including two with, gasp, normal opening rear doors! Ford dropped the suicide doors on the '70 Lincoln Continental sedans that year, so it's possible they would have tried to mainstream the Tbird's rear apertures as well. 

Original photo for above chop. Even when the resolution is high enough, and this was originally 1600px wide, the quality of the original photo and of the digital scan also plays into the selection process. I try not to have to restore the actual photograph before I can start pushing the pixels around. In this case I liked the color of the carand the angle the car is parked, so I used it anyway.

I'm not sure why the Ember coupe above came with the mid bodyside rubstrip moldings, and the Silver green coupe below had chrome rocker panel and rear quarter panel moldings. Perhaps it's a trim-level thing. I'll have to find my old dealer brochures for this year, and see if I can get to the bottom of this discrepancy. Original sources are usually the best.

A slightly used-looking example of a Sportroof Sedan with suicide doors. Note the slight rust on the rear quarters and rear doors.

The same car with 'normal' opening rear doors, and rendered in an old, stained snapshot-like format.

The same car in a slightly more colorful presentation! Click on each image to enlarge. 

Both of the base photos for these chops were found with Google Images, and show well-preserved examples of the Landau Coupe, but they were not high-resolution press photos by any stretch.




  2. thank you! i really like working on furniture too. my dad taught me how to refinish and restore old furniture, so that's one of the reasons i do so much art on wood. i like using the skills my family taught me. Hoohoo taught me to wallpaper at about the age of 5 so that's why i like to glue my paper images on the wood. they both taught me to paint neatly too, so that's where that skill comes from. the chaotic mix of images and paint colors, and the aged patina-like finish on them is all me though!

  3. Can't thank you enough for these "chops". I'm blown away.
    The 2 door fastback translates extremely well into a 4 door car - it's really very contemporary and would have been light years ahead of its time if Ford had done it back in 1970-71. Very de ri-gueur for 2010 since 4 door coupes are the latest rage. Really prefer the suicide doors - don't you ? (Now you know where my suicide door fetish came from - LOL). You know, one can only wonder how many fordors they'd have sold if they looked like these - I believe the actual production numbers were in the 5000 unit range - could have had a 4 door when the 72 redesign was introduced if the sales were stronger.
    LOVE the Copper Glow/Ginger combo.
    Very much my colors. ( With a Sept. 1 birthday I definitely love a fall color palate )
    The trim differences amounted to whether you bought the optional bodyside mouldings or not and they were standard only with the Special Brougham package which included bucket seats and a console - GREAT - but upholstered them in a vinyl & hopsack cloth combo - YUK ! (link to - you like it - great site). I prefer the Brougham interior - I'm hoping to find one in leather.
    I could ramble on forever - gain thanks for chopping this car !

  4. i actually liked the look of the hopsack cloth and vinyl! it was sort of a burlap texture. I have those brochures. I'm going to have to go through them all again for inspiration.

    thanks for the bodyside molding info! it's interesting that Ford deleted the rocker panel moldings when the mid bodyside was ordered. they were very protective of the Thunderbird's image, and sparse chrome on the sides was its hallmark.

  5. The hopsack looked good in pictures only. And only the front bucket seats.
    It was very uncomfortable to sit on - you felt that vinyl strip down the middle of your back - you couldn't clean them easily - and they had a very poor wearability compared to the other fabrics available.
    And, worst of all, the beautiful wraparound rear seat was lost if you had the special brougham option - the trim negated it's effect.

  6. i think the rear 'cove' seats were one of the coolest sixties features, along with the sliding steering wheel! the ones in my '64 were medium blue vinyl with narrow sewn-in pleats, almost a metallic looking vinyl. with all the chrome and aluminum trim, it really looked like a classic diner from back then, lol.

  7. They actually did use alot of metallic and pearled vinyls in these cars.
    Another Thunderbird feature that I love are the sequential turn signals - I think those started with the 1965...

  8. yup, 1965. My '64 had regular turn signals. i have yet to see a new Mustang at night, but the 2010s have sequential signals, right?

  9. Yes, and they are just too cool.
    I hope there use on the Mustang expands to a few other new models as well - how about a 2012 Thunderbird !

  10. I have to say I like the normal rear doors best - there's something about the relationship between rear door handle and fender kickup that reminds me of the Maverick sedan, thus tying the Ford line together.

    The only problem is, no way would Ford have put this kind of development money into a 1- or 2- year only car...
    Maybe a 4 door based on the '70-76, '83-88 and '89-97 'Birds? ('77-79 and '80-82 would've been plug-and-play, if under-differentiated from the LTD II and Fox Granada respectively). Maybe the lineage would've continued after '97 - what finally killed the T-Bird was the market for big coupes drying up.

  11. I totally love you 70 suicide door Thunderbird. I have drawn the 70 Thunderbird with suicide doors for years with a 77 Aston Martin frontend and 67 GTO tail lights.