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Special Landau script
1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau interior in Parchment Vinyl with Emberglo Appointments 1965 Thunderbird Special Landau
Unique among the unique

Similar in concept to the 1963 Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau, only 4,500 Special Landau models were built for 1965...
Read 1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau: The Story of One Car
A recollection of the history of one Special Landau from its original purchase in May, 1965 by original owner Paula Douglas, to its discovery in a salvage yard in 1975. Written by Mike Jonnaken, the subject car belonged to the neighbor of a childhood friend. It's a touching story that shows just how special these Special Landaus truly are!
1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau front view - note the optional power antennaUNIQUE AMONG THE UNIQUE

The Thunderbird Special Landau was introduced in the Spring of 1965, and differed from the regular Landau due to its unique combination of interior and exterior colors, as well as differences in trim. All Special Landau models were equipped with a Special Parchment-colored vinyl roof, and a matching interior. Special touches included Ember-Glo accents on interior instrument panel, bucket seat backs, and carpeting. Emberglo was used on unique Special Landau deluxe wheel covers, (Ford part number C5SZ 1130-C), which were standard on this model and not available on other models, in place of the traditional black-painted vanes. The center medallion of the wheel cover, normally decorated with red, white and blue accents surrounding a chrome Thunderbird emblem on a black background, was instead Emberglo, white and blue. The three "THUNDERBIRD" stamped lettering areas on the wheel cover retained their usual "dull black" color. (Dull black is shinier than flat black, but not as shiny as satin black.)

The roof rear exterior quarter mouldings had a nameplate mounted on them with a gold-colored Thunderbird emblem, and "Special Landau" engraved on it. The interior simulated woodgrain trim was of "burled walnut," a different pattern not used on the standard Landau models, and Special Landau nameplates mounted on the front door trim panels reminded occupants they were in something special. A few of these cars were delivered from the factory with Wimbledon White paint adorning the bodies, instead of the more usual Emberglo metallic. Ember-Glo was an exclusive color to this model in 1965.
Special Landau Personalized Numbered Nameplate

1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau rear view with new tail lamps designed for sequential turn signals PERSONALIZED NUMBERED NAMEPLATE

Another exclusive part of the Special Landau was a personalized limited edition numbered nameplate, upon which the owner's name could be engraved. Facts vary somewhat as to how this plate was engraved with the owner's name and attached to the car (for details, click on the link in the previous sentence). One account is that this plate was delivered with the car in an envelope inside the glove compartment. The dealer would make arrangements for the engraving of the owner's name, if the owner desired. Affixed to the console with a double-sided foam adhesive strip, normal placement was just above the radio. The television advertisement announcing this new model showed the plate attached to the console in the area where the air conditioning vents would be located on cars equipped with SelectAire. The plate featured a bevelled edge, with a small cast Thunderbird emblem on its left side. This emblem was a small version of the roof sail panel emblem first introduced on the 1964 Thunderbird Hardtop models. At the bottom of the plate the notation "SPECIAL LANDAU LIMITED EDITION No." was engraved, followed by the production sequence serial number of 1 to 4,500. In reality, the numbers on the plates did not always correspond to the build sequence of the car VIN number. Offset to the center right area of the plate would appear the owner's name in capital letters using the same type font as that on the nameplates available for all of the other Thunderbird models.

Unfortunately, not all of the surviving Special Landau cars still have their nameplates affixed. Some were never installed by the original owner and remained in the glove compartment until they were thrown away, or they were removed when the car was traded in. As interest in the Special Landau models continues to increase, so is the value of finding one with the original nameplate still attached.
Landau-inspired ladies' fashions from an exclusive collection by Shannon Rodgers for Jerry Silverman.


1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau in Emerglo with Parchment vinyl roofThe exterior is finished in exclusive Special Ember-Glo Metallic (code V) paint. Wimbledon White (code M) was also available as an exterior color choice, but very few (approximately 5%), left the factory with this color, making it very desirable today. We also have reports that one car, possibly two, left the factory in Navaho Beige (code T) paint by special order. The color of these cars is described as matching the Parchment vinyl roof color, but Automotive Mileposts has not verified that these cars did indeed leave the factory with this color.

1965 Ford Thunderbird Special Landau interior in Parchment vinyl with Emberglo appointmentsSpecial Landau interior shown at right in Parchment Vinyl (interior code 7D). Interior code XD was identical in appearance, but identifies the trim used with the optional Reclining Passenger Seat. Other than that, there were no other interior options available, as genuine leather or a cloth/vinyl combination for the seats were not made available as a part of the Special Landau option.

Note that the floor console is Parchment-colored, a departure from the normal interior two-tone configuration used on other Thunderbirds. The console was usually fitted in the darker color, with the exception of the Pearl White interiors. The steering wheel on this model is also Parchment, instead of the more familiar simulated woodgrain found on the standard Landau models. This one incorporates a metallic ring inset in the full inner edge of the steering wheel, differing from the standard non-woodgrain wheels, which normally include this ring below the spokes of the wheel only. Also note the "Special Landau" plates mounted on the door panels.

In 1966, a Parchment-colored interior with Emberglo appointments in all vinyl, a cloth and vinyl combination, or optional leather was made available on all Thunderbird models, but these cars are not Special Landaus, even though the exterior Ember-Glo Metallic paint and a Parchment-colored vinyl roof were also available.

The prototype Special Landau car featured contrasting Ember-Glo colored vinyl inserts in the emblems used on the front bucket seats and rear package tray, but this was not carried over to production units, which used matching Parchment-colored pieces instead. It is reported that during the design stage, the prototype car was fitted at one point with woodgrain inserts similar to those used on the 1963 Thunderbird Landau seats, matching the woodgrain pattern used on other parts of the interior. A woodgrain insert for the roof quarter S-bars was also considered, and would eventually appear on the 1967-1971 Thunderbird Fordor Landau models, which were in the design stage at this time.

Thunderbird Special Landau magazine advertisement AUTHENTICATING A SPECIAL LANDAU

Currently, the only way to authenticate a Special Landau would be to check for one of the two interior codes listed above on the VIN plate, mounted on the left door by the latch. The ROT sheet, which was used by the factory to assemble the car is sometimes found in the springs of the rear seat back on the left side of the car (driver's side). These sheets have also been located under the front seat cushion springs, as well as other areas of the car. If you find the ROT sheet for your car, be very careful with it. The paper is extremely fragile, and will fall apart very easily. Automotive Mileposts recommends you remove this sheet from the car, as it will continue to deteriorate if left. You can have it preserved as you would a rare or antique book. This will extend its longevity. And please, if you ever sell the car, make sure this accompanies the car to its new owner.

1965 Thunderbird Special Landau Ad

The ad shown at left began appearing in magazines dated March, 1965. Production of the Special Landau model started in mid-February and continued through the rest of 1965 production. Regional versions of this ad were also produced by the different Ford Districts to support sales for local area dealers.

Although never officially promoted by Ford as a tenth anniversary edition, 1965 was the Thunderbird's tenth anniversary, and that in itself makes all of the 1965 models unique among the unique.

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1965 Thunderbird Special Landau: 4,500 or 4,576 Built?

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