Original 428: 1966 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau

Just as Ford had created the pony car segment during the 1960s with the introduction of the First Generation Mustang, it had achieved the same feat in the Personal Luxury Car sector in the 1950s with its Thunderbird. Competition followed from other manufacturers, but Ford had established a solid customer base when those broke cover. Our feature car is a 1966 Thunderbird Town Landau that presents nicely as an original survivor. Its attractiveness increases when we consider that its engine bay houses the most powerful motor offered by Ford in that model year. It is a classic that needs a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. Located in North Port, Florida, the owner has set the BIN at an affordable $9,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D, who has once again demonstrated the ability to spot some great classics for us.

While 1966 wasn’t Ford’s most successful with their Thunderbird, they still shifted 69,176 cars. Of those, 35,105 were the Town Landau derivative like our feature car. Finished in Silver Mink, this Thunderbird makes a positive first impression. While the paint isn’t showroom fresh, it remains consistent across the entire vehicle. There are no significant flaws or issues, and the panels appear free from dents and bruises. I would love to tell you that the T-Bird is rust-free, but I don’t believe that to be the case. Carefully examining the supplied photos reveals what appears to be rust developing in both lower front fenders, with the driver’s side looking more severe. There may also be some spots developing in the rear rocker on the same side, suggesting that an in-person inspection could be a wise move. The buyer actively encourages this approach, so I would take them up on the invitation if I were considering this classic seriously. The exterior trim presents well for a survivor, and there are no glaring faults with the tinted glass.

There were no mechanical lightweights within the ’66 Thunderbird engine range, but this car features the best of the bunch. The engine bay houses the Q-Code 428 that produces 345hp. The rest of the drivetrain is typical T-Bird fare, consisting of a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. While Ford was focused primarily on luxury with the Thunderbird range, this car should still cover the ¼ mile in a neat 16 seconds. The T-Bird had always been the performance king within the Personal Luxury Car sector, but it had to play second-fiddle to vehicles like Buick’s Riviera by 1966. If a buyer opted for a Riviera GS Power Pack as an alternative to Ford’s classic, that brought 360hp to the table and a ¼-mile ET of 15.5 seconds. However, the performance extracted from the 4,409lb Thunderbird was still nothing to sneeze at. My first impression is that somebody has had a field day on this engine with the trusty rattle cans, and I wish they hadn’t. This approach hasn’t done the presentation any favors, which is a shame. I prefer the survivor look with cars like this one unless somebody has performed a meticulous restoration. The original carburetor and air cleaner have made way for products from the good people at Edelbrock, while it looks like the car may also feature an MSD electronic ignition. Ignoring the presentation for a moment, the news appears pretty good. The owner supplies this YouTube video that provides a walkaround and allows us to hear that Q-Code running. It sounds perfect. It is smooth and clean, with no unwanted noises or evidence of smoke. The owner indicates that it runs and drives extremely well and has no mechanical needs.

The Thunderbird’s luxury leanings become apparent when we open the doors and survey its interior. The seats wear Black leather upholstery. While the front buckets exhibit the creases, wrinkles, and other character traits of aging leather, I feel that some work with a condition and leather dye would have them presenting well. The rear seat is in as-new condition, with the dash, pad, and console, looking spotless. The original owner ordered the car with air conditioning, but the seller believes this needs a service. Otherwise, everything works as it should. As well as A/C, there are power windows, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, a tilt wheel, and a factory AM radio.

One of the most significant battles some enthusiasts face, especially those dipping their toe into the classic car ownership water for the first time, is locating an affordable candidate to park in their garage. These difficulties multiply if the buyer has a young family because they then face the challenge of finding a classic that is desirable, affordable, and practical. This 1966 Thunderbird Town Landau seems to tick all of those boxes, and it would help explain why sixty-one people are watching the listing. It makes me wonder whether one of those people will blink first and hit the BIN button or whether they may hold out, hoping that the seller will drop their price. I probably wouldn’t be waiting because this could be a case of “he who hesitates is lost.” What do you think?

Comments

  1. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Looks like a pretty good ‘Bird overall depending on rust issues. Some images of the underside would have been nice. It does need some work but still presents well for a survivor. The A/C and rust repair might be cost the new owner a bit but you’re getting into a nice luxury car with all the bells and whistles. The price seems reasonable as anything under $10k that’s in decent shape is chump change these days.

    Like 10
    • Greg

      There is no A/C compressor on the car based on the engine compartment pictures.

  2. James Quinn

    It looks like the speedo cable has been disconnected from the cruise control. It might not be working.

    Like 3
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    That highly-styled interior reels me in every time.

    Like 10
    • James Quinn

      Bob, I agree. It’s probably my favorite interior of all time. Whenever I see one in a car show, I have to give it a look. I wish I loved the exterior (I don’t hate it though) more. If I did, I would pursue one.

      Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Bob, boy howdy, got that right. Fact is, I think it was the MOST beautiful dash ever. It’s no secret who they were appealing to. Air travel was gaining steam, and the pilots were the countries heros, of sorts, and if a pilot would drive one, presumably TO the airplane, got to be good enough for Joe( or Joann) lunch pail. The overhead controls were right out of an airplane. No question in my mind, the most beautiful car Ford ever made, right here.
      http://www.lov2xlr8.no/brochures/ford/66t/66t.html

      Like 3
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Nice brochure Howard, thanks for the link.
        But one of the photos, ironic as it may seem, would be deemed politically incorrect today.

        Like 1
  4. Moparman Member

    Never was fond of the Landau top, but those full width tail lights just do for me everytime! GLWTA!! :-)

    Like 2
    • Poppy

      The standard hardtop with the rear quarter windows looks a little better. I agree with everyone on the interior design. Simply stunning.

      Like 1
  5. Big Steve

    You could still get a 427 with dual quads in 1966. The 428 was not the most powerful Ford engine in 1966 but was adequate for this heavyweight.

  6. mike

    I knew a man that had a 428 1986 bird.It got only 9 MPG.It would not be a suitable daily driver if you were not making at least 100 thousand per year.

    • Dave

      Then I’m covered. 💰

  7. Cadmanls Member

    Not too sure about this one, missing the coolant tank on the front of the engine and placed a radiator cap on the top hose. Looks like someone wanted to go fast, chrome valve covers and open element air cleaner. Don’t get me wrong these will roll. I owned a 66 Town and Country Landau with the 428 triple black. Just a thought the Cobra Jet came out in 67 and it was underrated at 335 hp , you think this was 345 hp? I know mine would get it and it was not a one legged dog. Put down two respectful foot prints from a dead stop. Yeah I was 19 and it was 1971 so yes I drove it

    Like 5
  8. CVPanther Member

    Assuming the underside is fairly clean, this appears to be a very good buy. A lucky day for someone.

  9. angliagt angliagt Member

    One of the nicest styled cars – ever!

  10. trav66

    Sold! Helluva deal! I was 2 days (from seeing this) too late!

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.