AJ's Car of the Day 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt
Car: Ford Fairlane "Thunderbolt"
What makes it special: Originally based on a factory experimental 1963 Ford Fairlane, the Thunderbolt was a limited production, strictly factory drag race model built in 1964. A total of 100 units were produced.
What made it famous: The Thunderbolt combined the light weight of Ford's intermediate-sized body with a "High rise" 427 cu in V8 equipped with dual Holley 4-barrel carburetors that was slated for use in the much larger Ford Galaxie. When installed in the Thunderbolt, that 427 was rated at 425 horsepower for insurance reasons, but estimates gave the actual output at 600+ horsepower. Fiberglass doors, hood, front fenders and front bumper on early examples along with plexiglass side and rear windows aided in weight reduction, and its hood had a distinctive raised "teardrop" ram air scoop designed to draw hot air from the engine compartment with hood pins. Later cars had aluminum front bumpers in place of the fiberglass unit due to racing regulations.
Why I would want one: The Thunderbolt is one of the most famous factory built drag racing cars of all time. The fact that there are only 100 originals ever built gives it the collectability factor, and it commands high dollars when sold. ( Not that I would ever sell an original if I got my hands on one...)
Fun fact: Though it was technically a street legal automobile, modifications and deletions along with a final drive ratio of 4:58.1 for the 4-speed cars and 4:44.1 for the automatics made the Thunderbolt impractical for street use. The first 11 cars were painted in Ford's "Vintage Burgundy;" the remaining 89 were painted "Wimbledon White."
( 1964 Ford Fairlane Thunderbolt photo from conceptcarz.com )