As we’ve chronicled before here at Mac’s Motor City Garage, each successive generation of the Ford Thunderbird earns a nickname from the car enthusiast community. First come the 1955-57 two-seater Baby Birds, then the 1958-60 Squarebirds, followed by the 1961-63 Bullet Birds. The fourth-generation models of 1964-66 are known by T-bird fanciers as Flair Birds, though we’re not sure if that name has stuck quite as well as the other Thunderbird handles.
By its fourth generation, the Thunderbird had departed far from its origins to become an all-out luxury car with barely a trace of sports car flavoring—the curb weight was now over 4,500 lbs. With a base price of $4,394, by far the most expensive model in the Ford model line for ’65, the Thunderbird was priced a bit higher than even its upmarket rival, the Buick Riviera. As the pioneer of the personal luxury class, the T-Bird outsold the Riviera by a comfortable margin, too: nearly 75,000 units, compared to not quite 35,000 for the Buick.
The Flair Bird’s marketing tagline, “the private world of Thunderbird,” spoke to the nearly endless list of standard and optional luxury features, but the two most memorable items, even to this day, were the fabulous wrap-around rear passenger seat and, brand new for ’65, the gee-whiz sequential turn signals. As car-crazy little kids in the ’60s, we were impressed by these neat gimmicks. Courtesy of Ford Heritage at the UK’s National Motor Museum, we have this nicely preserved dealer film singing the praises of the Thunderbird for ’65. Video below.