Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chrysler Report

EDITOR"S NOTE: This page, and the following two pages, represent a condensed version of a 10-page report prepared by the Chrysler Corporation in March of 1954. From all indications, this early assemblage of Specifications and photos might well suggest that Chrysler was engaging in a clandestine bit of industrial espionage!
Although not an uncommon error, even in many post production T-bird reviews, the "spy team" noted a "non-functioinal Air Scoop..." ( the poor quality of the photo, copied from a previous copy, prevents determination of the inside scoop detail.) Also of interest, note the underside hood sound deadening, "waffle-patterned" material!

Photo Captions: Top photo: Standard Transmission, Overdrive and Fordomatic are offered. Gear shift levers, including that of Fordomatic, are placed on the floor. In addition to the regular instruments, a Clock and Tachometer are furnished.
Center photo: The telescopicaoly adjusted steering column with 3 inch travel in and out is standard equipment. Power windows and Power seats are offered at extra cost. Controls for both are on the door. The tops of the doors are 33.7 inches high.
Bottom photo: The steering gear is standard but a linkage modification lowers the over-all to 20 to1 from the 25.4:1 of a regularFord.
Bendix Link Type Power Steering costs extra.
Power Brakes are offered at extra cost.

Prepared by the Engineering Publications Department
Technical Information Section__ __ March - 1954 _ __ _

Whether for prestige or profit, Ford has decided to answer the challenge of the Chevrolet Corvette with a sports type car of its own, the Thunderbird.

Top photo: A non-functional Air Scoop is placed in the Hood
top to clear the Air Cleaner.
Center photo: The frame, made especially for this model, is of
conventional construction with box type side rails and an x-
The front suspension is of the regular ball joint type slightly
modified to decrease the tread from 58 to 56 inches. 11 inch
Mercury brakes are used.
[Note: green used by Editor to highlight info error!]

Ford hopes to get into production with this car this coming Fall. Indications are that it will be priced below $3.500.

The body will be of all-metal construction, the only fiberglass component being the optional and removable hard top. A folding, manually-operated fabric top is standard equiptment, as are metal frame glass windows with windup handles.

Most of the mechanical elements are production items. The engine is a slightly modified Mercury with a nominal rating of 160 HP at 4400 RPM and a torque of 238 lb-ft at 22-2800 RPM. (Ford states that the car uses a Police Interceptor engine which is, of course, the Mercury.)
The prototype model is described in the following picture story. Undoubtedly, changes will be made before this car reaches production.

Wheelbase ................... 102"
Tread - Front and Rear ........... 56"
Over-all Length ............... 175.2"
Over-all Width ............... 70"
Over-all Height (with fabric top) ...... 60"
Leg Room .................. 45.8"

Hip Room ................... 60.2"
Shoulder Room ................ 55.6"
Road Weight ................. 2837 Ibs
Rear Axle Ratios .............. Optional
Rear Suspension ............... Semi-Elliptic
General Clearance .............. 5-1/2" at frame
Tire Size .................. 6.4O x 15

EDITOR'S NOTE: Quite remarkably, much of the information contained in this early 1954 Chrysler "spy" report, quite accurately defines the T-Bird's design features! Bear in mind the fact that actual production did not commence until August 25, 1954 (S/N 100004). For example, the report records a "manually operated fabric top" (pg. 8). Even later on - in 1955 - some articles indicated it to be "a power operated top."
The reference to pricing ("below $3,500) is also an accurate forecast. A common mistake, even in post-production articles, is the mention of the "fake hood scoop" (pg. 10). The photos show the Fair-lane headlight trim, which was featured on the very first production units. The fender shields do not have the stone-guard that was introduced on later '55's.

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