Long before Ford’s Thunderbird grew into a full-size luxury coupe with long hood and monstrous dimensions, it was a cool sportster, first a two-seater, then a four-seater.
From its launch as a 1955 through the end of its second generation model, 1960, the T-bird was a styling home run. That’s why I’m happy to see NEO’s fine 1/43 scale model of the 1960 model in convertible trim.
One of my dad’s co-workers had one of these and as a 5-year-old I was mighty impressed. Wish I had that 1/1 version now, but guess this will have to fulfill that wish for now.
Ford saw good sales with original 2-seat T-bird, but for 1958 decided to broaden its appeal by restyling it completely into a four-seater, both hardtop and convertible. Ultimately this niche became known as the personal luxury car segment.
Men and women both liked the new bird’s long lean look with tiny tail fins and hooded quad headlights, fake hood scoop along with a wide toothy chrome grille. Sales hit 200,000 units in three years, nearly 93,000 in 1960. Ford was on to something.
Each year from 1958-1960 Ford updated its look a bit, mainly with new grilles each model year. Under the hood for 1960 was a 300-horsepower V8, or optional 350-horse 7.0-liter V8. Also for 1960 Ford added triple lens taillights, one more than in 1959, further distinguishing the new model from its predecessor. For 1961 a new bullet-shaped T-bird was introduced, but for my money the square bird was the epitome of style for the model.
Lucky us, NEO perfectly reflects that lean sexy look of the 1960 model and in the sample car bathes it in a silky light metallic blue paint scheme. Finish is perfect and accented by chrome windshield trim, wipers and driver’s side mirror, along with door handles.
Most impressive may be the fine creases molded into this model for the hood with its flared front hood edges to wrap up to the fenders, plus the fine markings for the hood scoop and center rear indentation in the trunk lid. Likewise, the small fins in back and the rocket-like styling pike that extends from the chrome rear bumper up into the door panels.
T-bird’s photo-etched mesh grille behind the massive oval ring and bumper guards also is impressive and the clear headlights and red taillights look convincingly real. Nose and tail also feature PE Thunderbird logos and there are twin tailpipes in back.
Inside, the model features a contrasting brighter blue leather-look interior with nicely shaped seats representing the four-pillow bottom-cushion pattern. Inner door trim is well executed too with painted silver trim and door release handles. I like the big white 3-spoke steering wheel with horn ring and a spiffy dash with chrome-look dual-cockpit dash trim and a chrome and black center console. The shifter is column-mounted with a white handle.
What’s not to like? Not much unless you thought you’d get opening doors, hood and trunk in this scale at this price. Unlikely!
The ’60 Thunderbird was a beautiful car, and NEO delivers a beautiful model.
Vital Stats: 1960 Ford Thunderbird
Stock No.: NEO46057