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Automotive Mileposts Thunderbird 1955-1975: 20th Anniversary
Production Numbers

1975 Thunderbird
Thunderbird Copper Luxury Group emblem
INTRODUCTION DATE: September 27, 1974
Body Style Code: 65K - 2-Door Hardtop
VIN/Body Serial Code: 87

Code A 460 Cubic Inch V-8 (220 Net Horsepower)
Carter 4-Barrel Carburetor
Single Exhaust System
4.36" x 3.85" bore/stroke
Solid State Ignition

Code U XPL (C6)
Code Z XPL (C6 Special)

Code K 2.75:1 Limited Slip
Code 2 2.75:1
Code 6 3.00:1
WHEELBASE: 120.4 Inches

Length: 225.6 Inches
Height: 53 Inches
Width: 79.7 Inches
Weight: 5,101 Pounds
Luggage Volume: 13.5 cu. ft.
Fuel Capacity: 26.5 gals., unleaded
Could It Be the Best Luxury Car Buy In America?

Possibly. Considering the Thunderbird and the Continental Mark IV were essentially the same car, the Thunderbird was the smarter choice in the financial department. Priced over $3,000 less than the Mark IV, it had about the same level of standard equipment. The Mark, of course, had many distinctive features that the T-Bird didn't, but in overall appearance, handling, performance, ride, quality control, etc., they were very close.

In 1975, you could walk into your Ford Dealer, ask for a bare bones, no options, Thunderbird, and leave with a car that had essentially everything you would expect in a luxury class car. And although there was a high level of refinement and quality control, there are reports that the factory actually goofed on a few cars it built. Apparently, a few Mark IV's were delivered to Lincoln Dealers with Thunderbird script on the instrument panel, and vice versa. The pieces were interchangeable, with differences only in the woodgrain pattern, (and the script of course), so the reports may have some validity to them.

It is very difficult to tell the 1975 Thunderbird from the 1974 Thunderbird. The 1976 models would contribute to the confusion the following year, as they too were almost identical. One of the easiest differences to spot between 1974 and 1975 is the steering wheel. All Ford Motor Company vehicles adopted a new steering wheel center bar that angled downward at its outboard ends. The 1974 Fords all tapered at the outboard ends, but they did not make the downward curve. The front bumper guards also moved farther apart for 1975, in an effort to improve the impact-absorbing front bumper system. A few new colors were offered, and a few of the items that were optional in 1974 became standard for 1975.

The automobile manufacturers at this time were busy keeping up with constantly changing government standards for safety and emissions, which left little time or money for appearance changes. A new Hydro-Boost hydraulic brake booster, with 4-wheel disc brakes and Sure-Track Brake System included as part of the package, appeared for the first time in 1975. This option allowed Thunderbirds to rank at the top in brake performance tests.

The days of the big Thunderbirds were numbered: more fuel efficient cars were what the American public wanted, and the T-Birds were among the heaviest on the road. It takes fuel to propel over 5,000 pounds of weight down the road, and after the fuel shortage of 1974, driving a car with poor fuel mileage would place the operator at the mercy of having enough fuel available to go where they needed to go. And that fuel was beginning to get expensive.

The big Thunderbird would return again for 1976, but would be a much changed car in 1977. For those who didn't care about fuel economy, the 1975 Thunderbird could have been the best luxury car buy in America. Ford's advertising slogan for 1975 was "the closer you look, the better we look." In styling, value, and comfort, the 1975 Thunderbird was one of the finest personal luxury cars ever made by Ford Motor Company.