trols. They are on the left side of the steering column, away from
|-tage, and being the heaviest car, the Bird has the solidest, most comfortable
and noise-free ride. The Toronado was the next heaviest and had the next
best riding comfort. In addition to better handling, Thunderbird suspension
changes have also lowered overall height to 52.3 inches, giving a lower
and more esthetic profile to the car. Also improved in '69 are brakes
and a fail-safe system for the retractable headlights that automatically
opens the headlight doors if the vacuum system fails.
In addition to the luxury gadgets already mentioned, our test car had some great options such as a beautifully toned stereo, convenience lights located in the headliner just above the rear-view mirror which indicate "door ajar," "low fuel," seat belts," and "lights on," and a tilting steering wheel.
Even though it was the heaviest, the T-bird performed right up there close to the "hot" ones, the Grand Prix and Marauder. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in nine seconds flat is quAte good when you consider the speeds in gear, which are extremely high. The car just won't wind all the way out. Top speed is probably about 140 mph. An indication of how well the speed control works on long trips shows in gas mileage. On one stretch of a long highway trip we got 16.8 mpg. That has to be considered good from a 429 cubic inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor.
Ford hasn't just "added on" the '69 Bird, but has made definite and worthwhile improvements right down the line - in ride, handling, comfort and convenience. It has that elusive, diffident air known as class.
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