Automotive Mileposts  
1969 Thunderbird
Production Numbers

ANNOUNCEMENT DATE: August 25, 1968
September 27, 1968
Three models available: 2-Door Hardtop (Tudor Hardtop),
2-Door Landau (Tudor Landau), and 4-Door Landau (Fordor Landau)
Wixom, Michigan: 40,571
Los Angeles, California: 8,701

FACT: Of the 49,272 cars built in 1969, only 16,769 (34%) of them were equipped with the optional Front Bucket Seats and Center Console. Rarest of them all was the Fordor Landau model with just 1,983 equipped with bucket seats.

This was the second year for standard front bench seats, and it was the most popular seating configuration for the year, regardless of body style.


1969 Thunderbird Tudor Hardtop roofline (rear quarter windows)

65C - Bench 3,552 (60.1%)
65C - Bucket 2,361 (39.9%)
(after 1-1-69)

1969 Thunderbird Tudor Landau roofline (vinyl covering - blind roof quarters)

TUDOR LANDAU (Blind Quarter Roof) 27,664
65D - Bench 15,239 (55.1%)
65B - Bucket 12,425 (44.9%)
(after 1-1-69)

1969 Thunderbird Fordor Landau roofline (vinyl roof covering)

57C - Bench 13,712 (87.4%)
57B - Bucket 1,983 (12.6%)
(after 1-1-69)

Note: Prices listed first above were in effect at model introduction; on January 1, 1969, all models reflected a price increase of $17 due to mandatory installation of Front Seat Head Rests to meet current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, which went into effect on January 1, 1969.

Note 2: A change to the sequential rear turn signal system was made during production. All units built prior to October 14, 1968 used the 1968-style motor and cam type signals. Units built on October 14th and later used the new solid state transistorized system, which was first installed in production on the 1969 Cougar, from Job One.

Thunderbird vs. Riviera

Thunderbird always gave you the Moon and the Stars. For 1969, Thunderbird also gave you the Sun. Apparently even that wasn't enough for personal luxury car buyers shopping for a new 1969 car, though. Buick's Riviera, for the first time ever, outsold the T-bird. Buick sold 52,872 Rivieras to Ford's 49,272 Thunderbirds. Not a huge difference, but a defeat for Ford's flagship automobile. And Riviera was in the 4th year of its body style cycle, one that would extend for yet another year, into 1970. The big news for the Thunderbird this year was the addition of a Power Sunroof to the option list. Appearing in virtually every advertisement, it was an expensive option. At $453, it cost more than the SelectAire Conditioning with Manual Temperature Control, and almost as much as Automatic Climate Control, the most expensive option for 1969.

Ford's styling department did an admirable job updating the T-Bird in 1969, cleaning up all of the little details. The grille literally sparkled with the addition of a new Thunderbird emblem, with jeweled inserts. The grille also got a bold new look, separated into eight sections that really made the front end distinctive. The jeweled inserts also made an appearance on the rear tail lamps, separate units for the first time since 1965. The sequential turn signals were still in place, and two backup lights virtually disappeared into the rear grille, visible only when illuminated. "THUNDERBIRD" was spelled out in block letters which stretched between the tail lamps. The rear side marker lamps were smaller, got the light bulb that the 1968 models should have had from the very beginning, and a small T-bird emblem graced the red lens.  New standard wheel covers dressed up the appearance from the side, as did new rocker panels, emphasizing the new suspension that made the Bird lower and sleeker than ever.

A new contender for the T-Bird's crown appeared in 1969: Pontiac's beautiful new Grand Prix. Not as expensive nor in the same class as the Bird, and with much less to offer in the way of standard equipment, the Grand Prix sported a hood that looked like a runway! The styling of the Grand Prix would have a huge influence on the Thunderbird for 1970, but that's another story that we will cover later. Pontiac sold 112,486 Grand Prix models for 1969, so it would have to be considered a huge success.

Considered by some to be the least desirable of the 1967-1969 series, the 1969 models are nevertheless collectible. Fewer '69s were made than the other two years, making them the most rare, and harder to find. Some of the gremlins that haunted the '68 models were dealt with, which make the '69s more dependable and less troublesome, and there are those who find the styling of the '69s much improved over the first two offerings. For instance, the split tail lamps in the rear with the concealed back-up lights, which has a very distinctive look, and the sectioned front grille with fine linear chrome slots that gives the car a very powerful appearance.

Regardless of how you may feel about the 1969 models, there's something about an Indian Fire Metallic Tudor Landau, with Black Alligator Grain Vinyl Roof, White Brougham Leather Bucket Seats and Console interior, with Factory Power Sunroof, and Deluxe Wheel Covers, that always catches attention. Or, how about a Fordor Landau in Midnight Orchid Metallic, with White Alligator Grain Vinyl Roof, and a Black Brougham Cloth and Vinyl Bench Seat interior? There's always the desirable Tudor Hardtop in Candyapple Red with a Black Brougham Leather Bucket Seats and Console interior, complete with Simulated Steel Wheel Covers and Chrome Lug Nuts...

You get the idea. Thunderbird for 1969: For the open road, and the open sky. Choose your roof line, seating arrangement, number of doors (2,3,4 or 5, if you include the Power Sunroof). Color - there are 20 different paints to choose from. Rich interior - front bench seat, buckets, vinyl, cloth and vinyl, or leather and vinyl. Plus dozens of Bird options. Your choice, that's what it's all about. Thunderbird: unique in all the world. Rise above the routine, fly away in a Bird. That experience might make you forget all other forms of travel.

1969 Ford Thunderbird Tudor Landau with Power Sunroof option
Up, up, and away!
Shown above: The Tudor Landau model in Indian Fire Metallic
Paint with optional bucket seats, deluxe wheel covers,
whitewall tires, and a rare factory Power Sunroof.

1969 Thunderbird Contents

Specifications | Paint | Trim | Standard Equipment | Optional Equipment

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