First published January 14, 2016 in a Old Cars Weekly
1981 FORD THUNDERBIRD MAGAZINE AD – By: M. J. Frumkin
Some Thunderbird owners will claim blasphemy at this 1981 Ford Thunderbird magazine ad that seamlessly composed upon a mirrored surface the image of an eighth-generation Thunderbird (1980-1982) with the likeness of its ancestral 1955 Thunderbird.
A talented graphic artist stretched and weaved the reflective profile personalities of the two T-Bird images in sync so as to echo discernible family traits. Case in point: The ’81 edition wears vertical opera windows; unique wrap-over roof molding and stylish padded rear half vinyl roof reinterpreted from the 1955 Thunderbird’s portholes and liftoff hardtop. Also, note how the bright lip moldings accentuated the rear wheel openings on both bodies, while the cast aluminum wheels and thin whitewalls mimicked the wide white sidewalls and wire covers.
At the time, Ford stressed that it’s contemporary-sized ’81 T-Bird was created to “spread its wings” and fly four occupants in first class accommodations.
The ad’s headline, “The Thunder’s Still There,” was somewhat true, but neither the 1981 Thunderbird’s 88-hp 3.3-liter (200-cid) six-cylinder, available 4.2-liter (255-cid) V-8 with 115-hp or optional 130-hp 5.0L Windsor (302) V-8 could pound pavement like the original ‘Bird, which packed a 292-cid V-8 with up to 198-hp.
As one of Ford’s “Better Ideas,” the innovative Thunderbirds have been reinvented over the decades, adapting to the changing times while living up to its reputation to offer all of the lavishness, innovation and prestige expect of a high-spirited sporty, personal luxury car.