Ford Thunderbird Hardtop 1960






scale 1:18

Model number: 4306

  Review of the model

Since childhood the Ford Thunderbird was a car for my taste. But the only cars of this maker I owned were toy cars! So I was very glad to see Sun Star make models of both Convertible and hardtops in their U.S.A. Collectibles series. The color of Monte Carlo red is very handsome for this type of car - and also for my little model car!

The design of the car is very special; low with many extraordinary trims and fins. The car is often referred as the "square bird" because of it flat boxy looks. It’s the type of car that people love of hate. I’m in the first category. I just love this car. And I like the model Sun Star have produced very well too.

Here we got lots of details, which only more expensive model have: Nice etched emblems on the side of the car, carpet in the trunk. Up front; a fairly detailed engine and motor room etc. The interior is richly detailed, but has no carpet. But you don't miss it, when you hold this fine model in your hands. Fantastic chrome parts and grill. Look at the car from behind, very fine tail lights. The model only miss the spring suspensions and the moveably windscreen vipers and it could go for a Platinum-series model. Well done Sun Star!

Are there poor quality control? Yes my little model had a minor problem: the inner back side interior was not mounted rightfully - I had to find my glue again!

I will give this model 5 out of 6 stars  ******

Below here are pictures of the model, historical description, old brochures, technical data and a little movie clip for the real car. So please enjoy!



A wellmade model car from Sun Star



Monte Carlo red

  Note the fine small details; "Gun sight " ornament with the Thunderbird  
Nice grill and lamps
Wheels and hubcaps are replicated true to the real car
Thunderbird etched emblem on the doors
Cute little hardtop car
Space age tail lights and fins
Ahead to the stars
Only minor issue regarding distortion of the window glass
Rich detailed interior with red plastic resemble real leather
The motor room is well made
Well laid carpet in the trunk, but where are the spare tire and jack
Note the small sticker above the door hinges
Lets go for a ride
A rear view
A well made model car
Note the extra spotlight on the drivers side
Reflections from the Sun on a Sun Star



The second generation Ford Thunderbird was produced by Ford for the 1958 to 1960 model years as a successor to the popular 1955-1957 two-seater. In response to Ford-conducted surveys two major changes were made to attract potential buyers: two rear seats were added and the level of luxury and features of a full-sized car were incorporated into a mid-size platform.

As a result, sales soared and the new model dramatically expanded the personal luxury car market, winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 1958. Over 200,000 units were produced in its three-year model run, quadruple that of the two-seater in its three-year span.

Along with the 1958 Lincolns, the 1958 Thunderbird was the first Ford Motor Company vehicle designed with unibody construction.

Although the 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird had proved successful (in comparison to the Chevrolet Corvette), Ford executives—particularly Robert McNamara—still felt its overall sales volume had room to improve. Market research suggested sales of the Thunderbird were limited by its two-seat configuration, making it unsuitable for families. As a response, Ford executives decided to add a rear seat to the Thunderbird.

The new Thunderbird had a distinct new styling theme. The design was driven entirely by the styling department and approved before the engineering was considered. The design was one of two proposals, styled primarily by Joe Oros, who later worked on the 1964 Ford Mustang. However, the losing proposal, styled by Elwood Engel, would gain its own place in Ford Motor Company history: after minor revisions, it would become the 1961 Lincoln Continental.

The four-seat Thunderbird was designed with unibody construction, eschewing a separate chassis. The intent was to allow the maximum interior space in a relatively small exterior package. The 1958 Thunderbird was only 52.5 inches tall, nearly 9 inches shorter than an average American sedan; the Thunderbird had only 5.8 inches of ground clearance. Ford incorporated the higher drivetrain tunnel that was required in a lower car into a center console dividing both front and rear seats which featured ashtrays, switches, and minor controls.

The remainder of the engineering was conventional, with Ford's new 300-hp 352 cu in (5.8 L) FE-series V8 coupled to a three-speed manual transmission, with overdrive or Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission optional. Front suspension was independent, with coil springs and unequal-length A-arms. The rear was initially a live axle suspended by coil springs, which were intended to be interchangeable with optional air springs that were canceled before production. Drum brakes were used at all four wheels


With more trim changes, most notably the addition of a third tail light in the rear clusters, 1960's sales figures hit another record: 92,843 units sold, including 11,860 convertibles. A rare option in this year was a sunroof; this "Golde Edition" (Golde was a German company whose sunroof patent Ford licensed) sold 2,530 examples.

At the end of 1960 production two Thunderbirds were constructed of stainless steel for the Allegheny Ludlum Steel Corporation, at a price of $35,000 each. Because of the properties of stainless steel, the production dies would be destroyed as a result of the stamping of the parts. This was not a problem for Ford, as the next generation of T-Bird used a new body style. To duplicate the T-Birds 3,957 lb (1,795 kg). normal production weight, body panels were made of Type 302 stainless steel, and trim pieces out of Type 430 stainless steel. At the time of their production, because of the maximum rolling mill for stainless steel only produced stock that was 72 inches (1,800 mm) in width, both cars' roofs were constructed from two 42-inch-wide sections welded together in the middle. Both T-Birds received mechanical and interior restorations in the 1980s and survive to this day, with one on permanent display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Production totals

The new Thunderbirds were produced at a new assembly plant at Wixom, Michigan, built as part of a corporate expansion plan to increase the sales of up-market cars (Mercurys, Lincolns, and Thunderbirds). A second location was opened in Pico Rivera, California at another new location called Los Angeles Assembly.












Technical specification:







Wixom, Michigan
Pico Rivera, California
Hapeville, Georgia
Mahwah, New Jersey

Body and chassis

Body style

2-door hardtop coupe
2-door convertible


FR layout



352 cu in (5.8 L) FE V8
430 cu in (7.0 L) MEL V8


3-speed manual
3-speed automatic



112 in (2,845 mm)


205.4 in (5,217 mm)


77 in (1,956 mm)



Ford Thunderbird (first generation)


Ford Thunderbird (third generation)


Old brochures of the car

















Video of the real car from Youtube


1960 Ford Thunderbird - original commercial



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  Aeronautic July 2017 Rev. Aug. 2018  

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