It all got started with the 'Bird' and in 1969
it would be difficult to find a personal luxury car with more all-around
versatility, especially the two-door Landau, which we tested. Our test
car was loaded with practically all the comfort and convenience options
available, which is the only way to go. If you plan to shell out the
money for a car in this category you may as well get the best.
Probably the most exciting and exhilarating new option on the Bird is
the electric-powered sunroof. European imports have had sunroofs for
years and we've always wondered why no American manufacturer ever capitalized
on what we consider a great feature. T-bird's sunroof is all metal and
is operated by a small button on the lower part of the dash. The roof
itself is a solid, well-built unit that seals tightly into place when
closed. Ford obligingly includes a small crank handle for manual operation
should your electric motor ever give up in a rain, storm. There is no
wind buffeting or turbulence with the roof open, and even on chilly
days with a bright sun, the car stays warm with the roof open.
Bench seats are standard on the Bird but our Landau had the optional
buckets, which are worth the money for the two-door model. They are
extremely comfortable, both for short hops or long cruises. Both T-bird
bucket seats were more comfortable than the seats in the GM cars, with
the exception of the Grand Prix.
With bucket seats in the Landau the floor-mounted center console sweeps
upward and forms an integral design with the dash panel. The center
console has two storage boxes in addition to the dash glovebox so there
is more than adequate room for stowing things. The center storage box
is raised and padded and makes an armrest for driver or passenger. It
is almost the same height as the door armrest, affording great driving
comfort on long trips.
Instrument panel treatment is similar to 1968 with a recessed five-pod
instrument cluster. The Thunderbird was the only car tested with complete
instrumentation. The others had warning lights for everything but fuel.
Ashtray and lighter are both located in the center console and easy
to use by both passenger and driver. The only poor feature on the T-bird
dash is the location of the temperature con-