We are very pleased to announce that this wonderful gold Ford Thunderbird from 1961 will be shown at Motor Show EAST 2-3 June 2018. This particular car was one of the official Pace Cars for the Indy 500. Out of the 34 produced, it is believed that there are only a handful of these pace cars surviving in the world, this one being the only one in the UK.
It has a 6.4 litre V8 with an electric roof. It has been used many times as a course car at Goodwood for the Revival meeting every September. Some of the photos were taken at Goodwood. It has been driven by Lord March (Now the Duke of Richmond) and Buzz Aldrin, the US astronaut, has ridden in the car with Lord March - see the photo below.
Ford Motor Company was given the honor of providing the Pace Car for the 1961 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The Thunderbird, with its unmistakably new styling was the obvious choice at the time. This would be the 50th (Golden) Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Race, although it was not actually the 50th running of the race; during World War II the race was suspended. Ford would provide a total of thirty-four 1961 Thunderbird convertibles, including one Official Pace Car, one alternate Official Pace Car, and thirty two official "500" festival cars.
All would be painted a unique shade of gold that was not available on any other car, not even other Thunderbirds. All of the cars featured white convertible tops and either black leather or black vinyl interior trim, Firestone brand whitewall tires (they sponsored the race), rear fender shields, and 3.00:1 rear axles.
The 32 Festival Cars fulfilled their official capacity by appearing in the parade the week before the race. They also carried the race car drivers around the track during introductions held before the race. The 32 festival cars plus the alternate pace car represented the 33 drivers that would start the race.
It is now considered to be one of the most fascinating and historically significant Fords of all time. In fact, you could even buy a 1:24 die cast model of this very special edition of the Thunderbird.
30th June 2019