April 5, 2013
LIMA —The Ford Thunderbird was first introduced in 1955. The military men returning from fighting in World War II longed for a European type vehicle. Chevy answered with their Corvette and Ford answered with the Thunderbird. Throughout the years, the styling of the Thunderbird evolved and changed. In 1976, the “Big Bird” was debuted. The 1976 Ford Thunderbird grew in every conceivable way, from size and luxury to weight. These cars weighed around 5,000 pounds, and they averaged from eight mpg to 12 mpg. With the energy crisis’ of the 1970’s, this gasoline consumption was dismal. Of course, Ford made up for it with the looks. These new “Big Birds” rode on a 120.4 inche wheelbase and measured 225 inches overall. The starting price for a 1976 Ford Thunderbird was $7,790 without options. There were a total of 52,935 Thunderbirds produced in 1976.
Dan Arnett, brought his 1976 Ford Thunderbird to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. He has owned it for 35 years. The car was purchased by his dad in July of 1976 from Raabe Ford. Dan purchased the car from his dad eleven months later, and has owned it ever since. His best memory is driving the car to prom.