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AJ's Car of the Day 1961 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
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Car: Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Year: 1961

What makes it special: The 1961 Thunderbird introduced several firsts for the automotive market. One of which was the famous 'Swing Away' steering wheel. With the transmission in the park position the steering wheel would slide approximately 18 inches to the right allowing the driver to easily leave the car. Other innovations include a floating rear view mirror which is common on all cars produced today, but was first found on 1961 Thunderbirds.

What made it famous: For 1961, a new larger 390 cu in FE-series V8 was the only engine available. Thunderbirds for 1961 could be purchased with options like air conditioning, power windows, power seats, AM radio, fender skirts and white wall tires. Several standard features, like power steering and power brakes, back up lights and bucket seats were extra cost options on other cars.

Why I would want one: There's a very cool, gentleman's hot rod aura about Thunderbirds. They can be kept as luxury cars, but can easily lend themselves to some customizing or hot rodding, and be just as cool.

Fun fact: The Thunderbird was 1961's Indianapolis 500 pace car and was featured in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade

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