Can We Talk About this Bagged T-Bird

Posted June 04, 2019

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, Craigslist

Your average 1966 Ford Thunderbird isn’t quite what you’d call a blue-chip collector. But in its day, this two-door Landau Coupe, was a highly spec’d four-seater in a premium price class that epitomized the term personal luxury vehicle. In fact it was the Thunderbird that created this market segment in the first place, when Ford designers moved the T-bird to a larger, four-seat luxury platform.

But the big T-bird isn’t exactly exclusive or expensive these days, as owners treasured their Thunderbirds, and original, unrestored cars are pretty easy to come by. Hagerty’s price guide places the top-spec ’66 Landau hardtop at an average value of $11,700 for a #3 (Good condition) car. So call the big T-bird an affordable classic, and while you won’t make it big on the Bird you inherited from your grandfather’s estate, affordable classics offer loads of fun without the guilt from paint chips and dirty carpeting.

Which leads me to this modified ’66 Landau Coupe on Craigslist. It’s a low-mileage original, powered by the 390 FE that made about 315 hp in this application. The T-bird is finished in code 2, dark turquoise metallic, and sports the landau roof option, which omits the rear side glass in favor of an S-bar treatment. The interior exemplifies the personal luxury theme, and is anointed with all sorts of chrome bits and faux wood grain. But in spite of all the T-bird’s luxury features, its party trick these days is dropping to pavement at the flip of a switch.

Bagged classics like this one get mixed results, as some will love it, and others will think you’ve ruined a perfectly good old car. I don’t know that I’d ever bag anything myself, but I kinda dig this Thunderbird. The owner has managed to preserve most everything that makes the T-bird cool, while bringing it new appeal with air-bag suspension. That system comes courtesy of Ridetech, and features ShockWave air shocks up front, and a bag-over-leaf kit in the rear. The owner reports that all the components necessary to control the bags are contained in the spare-tire well, including Ridetech RidePro air management, two VIAIR compressors, Ridetech Big Red valves and a five-gallon air tank.

From the photos, it looks like the T-bird is capable of getting pretty low; low enough to make a statement for sure, but not in-your-face low. It’s likely the reserved nature and relatively stock appearance of the car that preserves its character, and I think the black steelies and period-correct rubber speak volumes here.

All that aside, I find this Thunderbird to be a pretty sweet ride. You won’t win any races (even with the big 390 under the hood), but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a better car for piling a few friends in, and heading to the casino — or even Vegas for the weekend. The big Thunderbird was built for personal luxury, and I see this one as the perfect luxury cruiser.

See the seller's ad here on Craigslist.

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