1966 Thunderbird Landau, Florida's Devourer of Cars, a Melancholic Beauty Ravaged by Corrosion -255

Merciless sun, humid air, and plenty of salt-saturated ocean vapors will eat a classic car like a hungry ‘gator would rip apart and gulp away a misfortunate chicken. Junkyards are filled with rotten corpses of once beautiful automobiles that succumbed to the elements. Some of them are pure automotive obituaries.

Classic Ride Society YouTube channel host went to sunny Tampa, Florida, and came across a 1966 Ford Thunderbird that fell victim to age, weather, neglect, and consumerism-fed oblivion. This Flair Bird is from the last generation of T-birds that emphasized sportiness and delicate lines rather than naval-inspired dimensions and boisterous attitude.

The Ford in this video is headed for the unforgiving steel jaws of the crusher – unless a savior dips the redemption hammer in TLC blessing and gives the ’66 “Thunder Chicken” a new breath of life.

Except for the see-through floor – courtesy of metal oxidation – and trunk, the Ford sits straight, with all the glass in good condition. Furthermore, the front and rear end bumpers are solid, without signs of abuse.

Although the single four-barrel is long gone, and rust crept its red curse inside the engine, the V8 turns – by hand! (see it in the video) – and it still has some life left. This is a pleasant surprise, in line with the nearly 38,000 miles on the odometer.

In 1966, this 390-CID – 6.4-liter - V8 was the standard package, with its 315 hp (319 PS) and 427 lb-ft (579 Nm). The three-speed automatic was the only choice for the fourth-generation Bird.

Apart from the trendy Landau package (the vinyl top, simulated landau bars on the B-pillars, and wood grain interior inserts were found on more than half of total 1966 Thunderbird sales), front disc brakes became standard. Rear sequential turn lights and tilt-away steering column added a touch of coolness to the Ford.

The fourth generation of the T-Bird was a comfortable market segment leader in cash-making. Still, it met an unexpected below-the-belt in-house blow from a newly introduced and youth-appealing pony. Sales numbers nose-dived from 92,000 in ‘64 to just 69,000 two years later.

Ford moved the Thunderbird model up to save the Bird from being plucked by its sibling, imbuing the following generations with more luxury treats. The change kept the name and wide-opened the Mustang treasure chest for the Blue Oval in the two-door, two-rows-of-seats automobile market segment.

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