1960 Ford Thunderbird

The Thunderbird was developed as a sporty car, but it was not fully sold as a sports car. The Ford Thunderbird was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the year 1955 in the United States. This article focuses on the 1960 Ford Thunderbird.

Ford Thunderbird was more of a luxury car that was something new in the market segment. For added practicality, the second row of seats was introduced in the Ford Thunderbird model of 1958. The coming generations of the Thunderbird increased in size and became more luxurious. The size became larger until 1977, and then it again decreased. The production of Thunderbird continued till 1997. It was again revived in 2002, which was the two-seat model that remained until the end of 2005.

Ford Thunderbird was undoubtedly a sporting car, but the company described and marketed it as a luxury car.

Founders of the 1960 Ford Thunderbird

Frank Hershey, a designer at Ford; George Walker, President, and a chief stylist at Ford Company; and Lewis D. Crusoe, a GM executive, were the founders of Ford Thunderbird. Walker and Crusoe took the idea of creating a sporty vehicle from a car in Paris. It was during their meeting in France in 1951 that they came across a car in the Grand Palais. Walker instantly called Frank to deliver the idea they had just caught.

They planned on manufacturing a two-passenger car that should have a weight of no more than 1150 kg. The target speed should be over 100 mph and equip the car with an interceptor V8 engine. They prepared a painted clay model of the car in 1953. It very much resembled the original idea. Finally, they started implementing the idea.

The design was finalized, and implementation had started. However, there came an issue with naming the car. About 5,000 suggestions were given for naming the car, but the founders rejected all of them. They offered $250 to anyone who could give a better name to this car. Stylist Alden Giberson suggested Thunderbird, which was finally accepted.

However, Giberson took a $95 suit only and accepted a pair of trousers from Saks Fifth Avenue.

1960 Ford Thunderbird Parts Catalog
1960 Ford Thunderbird Parts Catalog

1960 Ford Thunderbird

Ford greatly reduced the size of the 1960 Thunderbird, but the price went straight up high. There were not many changes in the car; it was just a few styling changes. The updates in the 1960 Ford Thunderbird included a square mesh grille with horizontal bars, vertical hash-marks on the rear fenders, six taillights, which were previously four, and “Thunderbird” written on the door projectile.

It was proposed that the two-year-old square bird design should be revised for the production of the 1960 model. For that, the roofline of Thunderbird was used for the larger Fords in 1959, but it didn’t succeed as the stylists were afraid of the car losing its individuality. It is also to be noted that using the metal sheets was not a good idea. It harmed both in terms of merchandising and cost point of view. Therefore, the Ford committee decided to withhold the changes until they started working on the next model.

Some small changes were also made to the ornaments, the standard rectangular outside mirror, and the emblems of the 1960 Ford Thunderbird. We can also observe some changes in the door handles, which were blended with the upper belt molding. The door trim is also modified to incorporate a built-in armrest. Go through the Thunderbird parts catalog to understand what more accessories can be added to it to make it even more amazing.

The previous models of four Thunderbirds until 1959 had smooth belt molding, which was also corrugated in the models built in 1960. A few stainless-steel components were also incorporated into the 1960 model. Two were entirely manufactured out of stainless steel, for which, one of Ford’s suppliers Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Corporation helped.


Undoubtedly 1960 Ford Thunderbird was an innovative car that paved the way for modern automotive design. It was one of the cars that remained alive in the automotive market and in the hearts of the masses for a very long time.

This vehicle came with engine options that include all ohv V-8; 352 cid (4.00 × 3.50), 300 bhp; 430 cid (4.30 × 3.70), 350 bhp. While talking about transmissions, it had an overdrive, a three-speed automatic, and a 3-speed manual. The vehicle weighed around 3799 lbs to 3897 lbs.

Introducing a metal sunroof in the 1964 Thunderbird was a new experiment that went really well. However, many have suggested a retractable hardtop, like the one that was in the big Ford Skyliner.

Overall, this car brought a lot more success to Ford as it won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year Award. Though many auto fans were not quite happy with the direction Ford Thunderbird was moving, it still managed to maintain a sales figure of 37,892. This figure was double than the sale of the previous years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 1960 Ford Thunderbird worth?

If the thunderbird is in decent shape, the 1960 model will bring $20,000 and up.

How fast is the 1960 Thunderbird?

The 1960 Thunderbird has a top speed of over 100 mph