The 1971 two door Landau coupe, with its revived blind rear quarter roof panel, a look that was used in 1966, and 1969 as well.
M Y C O L L E C T I O N — There is a case to be made that the 1971 Thunderbird was the final edition of the original "4-seater" Tbird's life, first produced for the 1958 model year. Prior to that was the now-classic 2-seat convertible built from 1955-57. Other Tbirds were built on several different platforms until the late 1990s culminating with the revived roadster of the 21st century, but the '58-'71 versions, to this writer, represent the "real" Thunderbird.
Many people consider that "real" line ended in 1966, as the '67s abandoned unit-body construction in favor of a separate frame and body, but the '67s-'71s carried on so many unique Thunderbird traits and features, including the close-coupled interior and styling proportions, they are completely 100% classic Tbirds to me. Beginning in 1972, in my opinion, Thunderbird began the long slide to oblivion, although this was not the opinion of the general buying public. The "mid-size" 1977 edition, which was really a deluxe Gran Torino along with a greatly-reduced list price from the luxury-class Tbirds of the past, sold in the many hundreds of thousands per year, but was about as "unique" as shag carpeting in a 1970s family room.
Bucket seats and a console had been an option since the late sixties, but represent the quintessential Tbird experience to me. This emerald green cloth interior is gorgeous, isn't it?
The 4 door Landau was entering its last year in 1971, its suicide doors consigned to the halls of history until Casey/artandcolour began their revival in the mid 2000s, lol.
The 4 door's optional Brougham interior was as luxurious as the early 1970s got, as luxurious as any car ever needed to be in my opinion! This is still a pinnacle of design and execution.
While the Landau coupe reverted to the blind rear roof of earlier models, the base Thunderbird coupe kept the wonderful fastback roof from 1970. Though only a very clever facelift of the 1967-69 models, the windshield and roof was cut down about an inch and a half, making for this very stylish silhouette, another high-point of Tbird design.
The cover of the '71 Tbird brochure featured this three dimensional Thunderbird, raised and embossed, creating a sculptural appearance. It seems to be modeled in clay or wax, and the paper used was a heavy stock with an almost burlap texture.