|Fall Auto Rally 2001
held at the Volo Auto Museum -- Volo, Illinois
by Rick Smith
The Volo Auto Museum was an appropriate place to compare modern cars and view the classic cars of yesteryear. I thoroughly enjoyed the surroundings and really didn't want to leave.
Classic 50's Cadillac for sale in Volo
This same love of the classics caused Ford to look back at the original Thunderbird (1955-1957) a few years ago and create a modern version. Ford hopes that their reincarnation of this well-known classic will be a top seller. If you're in the market for a $30K "fun" car that isn't like the neighbors, Ford's new Thunderbird is well worth a look. It has the precise fit, polished styling and high performance of a well-built, European-engineered car. This is absolutely amazing -- it really doesn't feel like any conventional American car -- it is a great ride.
Unfortunately, I see only a few new Thunderbirds on the street, but see them sitting on dealer's lots. While the cars look great in these images, I'm not so excited by the colors of those T-Birds I do see.
The Thunderbird prototype shown in 1999 was a gorgeous pale yellow color that contrasted beautifully with the turquoise and silver used on the Thunderbird logos. Unfortunately, I have not seen pretty yellow T-Birds on the street. The current "aqua" color is a greenish blue color that looks better on a large sedan than this modern speedster that has the fit, finish and performance of a quality European roadster.
While black and red were great looking colors on the original fifties Thunderbirds, I don't feel that these same colors come across as well in the modern incarnation. Don't get me wrong -- I love the new Thunderbird -- I was SO impressed by the prototype at the 1999 Auto shows -- I simply don't think the production car looks as stunning as the concept car that launched the production process. What happened?
Let's hope Ford chooses some better colors for this potential classic more carefully. It is really a wonderful car, but on the street, in traffic or on the dealer's lot, the new Thunderbird doesn't look nearly as impressive as it should be. This car is a star and it should LOOK like one -- like it did nearly fifty years ago.
Dated: February 3, 2002 (updated September 2002)