The First Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster | September 13th, 1961 | Today in Ford Motor Company History

ford thunderbird sports roadster

On September 13, 1961, the first Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s Dearborn Assembly Plant in Dearborn, Michigan. The Sports Roadster was a limited-edition model that was only produced for the 1962 model year. 

The Sports Roadster was based on the standard Thunderbird, but it had a number of unique features, including a removable hardtop, a folding convertible top, and a shorter wheelbase. It was also powered by a more powerful engine than the standard Thunderbird. 

ford thunderbird sports roadster

Only 558 Sports Roadsters were produced, making them one of the rarest and most sought-after Thunderbirds. They are prized by collectors for their unique design and performance. 

The Sports Roadster was designed by a team of Ford designers led by Bill Boyer. The team wanted to create a car that was both stylish and sporty, and they succeeded in doing so. The Sports Roadster had a sleek, aerodynamic design that was unlike any other car on the road at the time. 

The Sports Roadster was powered by a 390 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 289 horsepower. This was more power than the standard Thunderbird, and it gave the Sports Roadster a top speed of over 120 miles per hour. 

ford thunderbird sports roadster

The Sports Roadster was well-received by the public, and it helped to boost sales of the Thunderbird. In total, Ford sold over 73,000 Thunderbirds in 1961. 

The Sports Roadster was a short-lived model, but it left a lasting legacy. It is considered to be one of the most iconic Thunderbirds ever produced, and it is a highly sought-after collectible. 

ford thunderbird sports roadster

In addition to its unique design and performance, the Sports Roadster is also notable for being the first Ford car to have a removable hardtop. This feature would become a popular option on many other Ford cars in the years to come. 

The Sports Roadster was a significant car in the history of the Thunderbird. It helped to solidify the Thunderbird’s reputation as a stylish and sporty car, and it paved the way for the many other unique and desirable Thunderbird models that would follow. 



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