Ford Supercharged Thunderbird Concept

For most people, “supercharged Thunderbird” evokes memories of the “F-code” 1957 models – 197 cars built with a McCulloch supercharger delivering 300 bhp. It is just this image that Ford had in mind with this concept as part of the “Living Legends” line of automobiles.

The Supercharged Thunderbird concept, debuted at the 2003 Los Angeles Auto Show, was conceived to gauge public interest in a performance version of the new two-seat Thunderbird. It was a joint development of Ford’s Living Legends Design Studio and the Ford Performance Group and was considered as a potential future product.

To transform the Thunderbird’s 3.9-liter overhead-cam V8, a Roots-type blower was fitted, along with all-new aluminum headers. The supercharged engine developed its 390 peak horsepower at a heady 6,000 rpm, while torque peaked at 390 lb-ft at 3,500 rpm. On-tap power and acceleration were incredibly impressive. A number of underhood finishing touches were added, including a polished high-flow intake pipe, Gloss Red cam covers with the Thunderbird script and carbon fiber coil covers. A carbon fiber radiator cover housed the supercharger’s air filters.

Designers at the Living Legends studio massaged nearly every body panel to provide a distinctive visual presence. The hood, front fenders and both bumpers are unique to the Supercharged model, as are the seat and trim materials. A power dome hood provides both visual differentiation and improved engine cooling. A new, more prominent grille is finished in chrome, with air intakes in the grille openings normally used for driving lights. Large chrome air intakes are also located on each front fender. Cut-down rear-view mirrors are in color-keyed housings.

The suspension is lowered a full inch from the standard Thunderbird, while 18-inch tires on 16-spoke aluminum wheels meet the road. A lockable two-piece tonneau cover conceals the black convertible top when lowered. At the rear, twin exhaust ports exit beside the license plate surround, while backup lamps are relocated into the license plate housing, above the exhaust ports.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

390 bhp supercharged 3.9-liter DOHC V8 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel independent coil spring suspension, and four-wheel power anti-lock disc brakes. Wheelbase: 107.2".

Source: Ford press and RM Auctions

Gallery: Ford Supercharged Thunderbird Concept