Thursday, April 2, 2009

Transform Your Thunderbird With Custom Designs

New Front Fascia gives the Thunderbird a striking facelift. Made of elastomer urethane, it retains the trademark factory grille along with its bumper-impact cushion and air intake. Halogen running-fog lights complete a dramatic showcar transformation.

Roadster-style Tonneau Cover features headrest nacelles with leather-grained caps and 'waterfall' center. Made of light-weight, durable ABS, it installs easily in minutes. This exciting tonneau recalls the Thunderbird Sports Roadster of the sixties.

Sport Hood Scoop complements the redesigned front fascia by emphasizing it's aggressive contours. Easily added to the stock Thunderbird hood, this simple yet racy item adds an aggressive note to the otherwise tame factory hood scoop.

Interior Carbon-Fiber Trim Package is a custom designed 13-piece set that includes trim for the center console, gearshift, door armrests, and A/C vents. Made of real carbon fiber and available in several handsome, complementary colors.

The California Custom's totally redesigned appearance recalls the custom cars California is famous for, and echoes elements of the classic Thunderbirds of the 50's and 60's.

Features include an exclusive tonneau cover with faired-in headrest nacelles and a new front fascia with recessed grille that is reminiscent of the original Thunderbird. An aggressive hood scoop replaces the otherwise tame factory scoop and complements the new fascia. A real carbon-fiber trim package provides a high-tech look for the interior.

Performance Suspension Package features Koni shocks and Eibach springs, lowering the car about one inch. Designed for this specially-tuned car, the new suspension kit enhances cornering and appearance, while retaining a comfortable ride.

Exclusive Tire & Wheel Package features special 20" wheels by Giovanna with round openings that echo Thunderbird's hardtop porthole. High-performance Toyo 245-35/20 tires produce an exciting custom look, without sacrificing roadability.

Fender Skirts & Ground Effects Kit features aerodynamic rocker panel 'blades' which begin at the new front fascia and continue to the rear. The fender skirts create a sleek 50's look and incorporate functional air intakes for rear brake cooling.

Borla Stainless Steel Performance Exhaust is custom designed to provide an additional boost to power. It creates a specially-tuned, powerful new sound for the Powersport exhaust. Stainless steel construction assures long life.

The Powersport California Custom uses elements from the classic Thunderbirds to create an exotic showcar.

Its beauty is more than just skin-deep, though. The ground effects package includes aerodynamic fender skirts that not only add a nostalgic flair, but also incorporate functional air scoops for rear brake cooling.

A special performance suspension package from Koni and a custom-designed Borla exhaust system enhance the performance. Dazzling 20-inch Giovanna wheels and low-profile Toyo tires produce an exotic look, without sacrificing roadability.

The powersport California Custom was designed to transform the otherwise bland new Thunderbird into an all-out custom show car. Using cues from the 50's and 60's, this appearance and performance add-on package puts the 'thunder' back in the Thunderbird. These side-by-side comparisons demonstrate the dramatic change.

If you've ever marveled at the fifties futurism of the "nuclear-powered" Ford Nucleon or admired a 1961 Thunderbird, you've seen the work of James R. Powers. If you were fascinated by Revell's see-through model kit of a V-8 engine, you can thank James Powers. If you've enjoyed vacationing in a modern motor home, well, Powers again.

As a youngster, he began making wooden model cars and even crafted a very successful soap-box derby racer. The crowning achievement of his formative years as an auto buff was winning a national scholarship award in the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild competition.

Using the scholarship, Powers attended the Art Center College of Design. On a recruiting trip to the school in 1955, Alex Tremulis, head of Ford Advanced Design, hired Powers. They became good friends and Powers was a regular weekend guest of Tremulis and his wife at their home

At Ford, in 1956, Powers developed a series of Illustrations showing transportation of the future for PR use in magazines and newspapers around the country. The originals were hung in the Ford styling lobby and executive offices. Later they were shown in a Smithsonian exhibition.

Powers also did concept models of a nuclear-powered car, the Nucleon, and a flying car, the Volante, which were used for PR and later shown at the Smithsonian. The Nucleon is still on display at the Henry Ford Museum. The Volante was recently featured in a BBC documentary on flying cars.

After a couple years at Ford, Powers was assigned to the Ford Production Studio, where he contributed to early-Sixties Galaxies. He also spent time in the Thunderbird studio, where he fashioned the essential concept adopted for the all-new 1961 design.

Later, Powers was named manager of the Lincoln-Mercury Interiors Studio, where he served until leaving Ford in 1964. Powers left Ford to return to California, with its car-friendly climate (Powers had begun amassing a collection of favorite cars). He established a product design and advertising firm whose clients included automotive aftermarket firms, recreational-vehicle manufacturers, car dealers and toymakers.

Recently, Powers closed his firm and settled into semiretirement in South Pasadena, California. He's still surrounded by cars, though: He's converted a former office building to an apartment and a repository for his automobile collections, including 24 cars and over 2,000 model cars.

Portions excepted from February 2002 "Collectible Automobile."

...the thunderbird... it's early concepts

Retired Ford Designer James Powers occasionally takes on projects such as the design concepts shown here, which were done in 1996 for Jack Telnack, Ford Design VP, in the early stages of development of the new Thunderbird. These designs are more dramatic than the final production car, but now the spirit of these ideas is reflected in the Powersport "California Custom." Note the ground effects 'blades', the recessed grille, the aggressive hood scoop and fender skirts.

...from concept to reality

James Powers, as a Ford designer, created the original concepts for the dramatic '61 Thunderbird. Now, he felt the new Thunderbird could use more excitement and a more obvious 50's and 60's personality. So he designed a custom transformation package--one that would be available as add-on components that would not require bodywork. The original concept sketches shown here were modeled in clay on a stock Thunderbird. Molds were taken from the clay and refined to generate the tooling for production parts. When the parts are attached, the stock Thunderbird takes on a more aggressive personality--much like Powers' original '02 Thunderbird proposals.

Click Here For Powers Sport Cars

No comments: