Automotive Mileposts  
ONE MILLION THUNDERBIRDS
1955 "" 1972
BUILT TO DATE - JUNE 22, 1972
Production Numbers
Specifications

1972 Thunderbird
TOTAL PRODUCTION: 57,814
INTRODUCTION DATE: September 24, 1971
$5,293
Body Style Code: 65K - 2-Door Hardtop
VIN/Body Serial Code: 87
ENGINE CODE

S*


N


A


400 Cubic Inch V-8 Engine (172 Net Horsepower)
  2-Barrel Motorcraft Carburetor/Single Exhaust System
  Bore 4.00" x Stroke 4.00"/8.5:1 Compression Ratio
429 Cubic Inch V-8 Engine (212 Net Horsepower)
  4-Barrel Motorcraft Carburetor/Single Exhaust System
  Bore 4.36" x Stroke 3.59"/8.5:1 Compression Ratio
460 Cubic Inch V-8 Engine (224 Net Horsepower)
  4-Barrel Motorcraft Carburetor/Single Exhaust System
  Bore 4.36" x Stroke 3.59"/8.5:1 Compression Ratio

Note: Beginning in 1972, Ford no longer rated its engines in brake horsepower. SAE net horsepower, which is theoretically the horsepower after deducting transmission and accessory drain, was used from this point forward. All Thunderbird engines ran on regular fuel in 1972.

*The 1972 Thunderbird sales brochure printed in August, 1971 lists the 400 CID 2V V-8 Engine as standard, with the 429 CID 4V V-8 Engine as an option. 2,006 Thunderbirds were built during early production with the 400 CID 2V V-8 Engine, but after just a few weeks, Ford determined the engine to be under powered for the heavy T-bird, so the 400 was discontinued and the 429 once again became the standard engine offering with the 460 an option for the first time on the Thunderbird.
TRANSMISSION CODE

U
Z
Automatic, 3-Speed C-6
Automatic, 3-Speed C-6 (Special)
REAR AXLE CODES

K
M
O
R
2
4
6
9
2.75:1 Traction-Lok
2.80:1 Traction-Lok
3.00:1 Traction-Lok
3.25:1 Traction-Lok
2.75:1
2.80:1
3.00:1
3.25:1
Wheelbase: 120.4 inches
Overall length: 214 inches
Overall height: 53.1 inches
Overall width: 79.7 inches
Curb weight: 4,420
Tread: 63.0" front/63.1" rear
Seating capacity: 6 passengers (5 with bucket seats)
Luggage capacity: 13.9 cubic feet
Tires: 215R15 Michelin radials (blackwall)
Fuel tank capacity: 22.5 gallons
Cooling system: 19.5 quarts
SPECIES POPULATION REACHES ONE MILLION

Image: 1972 Ford Thunderbird parked on dock near lakeMore than a car...more Thunderbird than ever. This statement was made by the 1972 Thunderbird sales brochure, printed in August, 1971. If it seemed there were a lot of Thunderbirds on the road at the time—it's because there were. 1972 would be a great year for T-bird sales, and 1973 would be even better. We all know that each and every Thunderbird is special in it's own way, but every once in a while, an extra special milepost is reached. Such an event happened on June 22, 1972 at the Pico Rivera Assembly Plant near Los Angeles, California. That is the day Ford built the one millionth Thunderbird. This one was truly more than a car...it was a milepost.

Painted a custom-mixed Gold color, it featured white body and hood stripes, a unique white Odense-grain vinyl roof, white leather interior trim, and white vinyl-insert bodyside moldings. The Deluxe Wheel Covers were specially painted with a gold-colored background behind the fine chromed fins, and special cast bronze "1955-1972 Millionth Thunderbird" medallions graced the center of the Landau "S" bars, as well as the instrument panel in front of the passenger seat. The silvery inserts on the "S" bars also featured a bronzed trim piece below the inserts, which created an outline of the insert itself. This car was equipped with almost every option available for the year, including the 460 V-8, but the power Sunroof option was not provided.

Ford had successfully recreated a classic, and Thunderbird sales soared to over 160 percent of the previous years totals. In 1972, bigger WAS better—and the Thunderbird proved it. Fuel costs were of minor concern, but that wouldn't last much longer. In just a few short years, the Thunderbird would be regarded as a gas hog, in a time when fuel efficiency was of chief concern to the car buying public.

But for 1972, "more Thunderbird than ever" was the phrase that identified the car that would only grow in size for the next few years. How would you change Thunderbird? The only way. Make it more Thunderbird. More personally individual. More Thunderbird than ever. And it was.


1972 Ford Thunderbird Contents

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