The Full Size 1970 Thunderbird Landau / Photos, Styling, All Details

Our featured automobile is the full size 1970 Ford Thunderbird Landau Two Door Coupe. This was a part of the fifth generation T-Bird and this represented a major change for the model. Two and four door models were available for 1970.

70 tbird specs
1970 Ford Thunderbird Two Door Landau

The T-Bird Radically Changed in 1967

Starting with the fifth generation in 1967, buyers could no longer buy Thunderbird convertibles and now they saw the addition of a four door full size version with suicide rear doors. In addition the T-Bird moved from unibody to body-on-frame construction.

The new four door model was officially known as the Landau Sedan.

1970 ford thunderbird photos

Why the Big T-Bird Change in 1967

Look at a 1966 Ford Thunderbird and then look at a 1967 model and you’ll see a major styling change and the model was re-engineered as well. The cars were longer and heavier and actually started to look like Lincolns.

The T-Bird originally came out as a luxury sport car in competition to the Chevy Corvette. While the Corvette was more of a sports car, Thunderbird put an emphasis on creature comfort. The Thunderbird was a snazzy comfortable car with a sporty look.

During the 1960’s the Thunderbird and the Mustang began overlapping. Both models prior to 1967 were two door vehicles and both in a way found themselves competing with each other. In fact, by the 1970 model year, there were as many as six nameplates competing for the personal luxury buyer. With all this competition building, the Ford Motor Company decided to move the T-Bird more upscale and with that the changes mentioned above were put in place.

Thunderbird fans gave the name “Glamor Bird” to these fifth generation models. These new T-Birds were the largest and most luxurious examples offered to date so the Glamor Bird name was quite appropriate.

The 1970 Thunderbird Styling

For 1970–71, Ford dropped the gaping fish-mouth grille in favor of a narrower grille that jutted forward in the middle. This new front end would be the most significant change you would notice with the 1970 model. Some thought it had a bit of a Pontiac look and there was a reason for this. Ford had hired Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen from General Motors. Knudsen was impressed with what the Pontiac grille styling did for that brand he then desired to try the same with Thunderbird.

One problem discovered however with the pointed front end (Ford would refer to it as the Thunderbird beak) was that the front bumper didn’t sufficiently protect the protrusion and many were damaged.

The redesign for 1970 would last for only two model years and change again in 1972.

70 thunderbird landau

Sales Success Then Sales Erosion

Interestingly enough, the 1967 model year saw Thunderbird sales grow. The 1967 Ford Thunderbird enjoyed sales of 78,000 units which was above 1966 numbers. Sales success was short lived since both the 1968 and 1969 model years came in lower for each of those tears.

1970 Ford Thunderbird Specifications

Plenty of power in the 1970 Ford Thunderbird. It’s 429 cubic inch V-8 Engine with a four barrel carburetor delivered 360 HP. Also, a 460 cubic inch V-8 and four barrel carburetor with 370 HP.

Transmissions available were two three speed automatics. A Cruise-O-Matic and a SelectShift Cruise-O-Matic.

Brakes were four wheel disc.

Dimensions for the Full Size Thunderbird includes a 114.7 inch wheelbase, 215.0 inch overall outside length, 77.3 inch width, 53.4 inch height. Curb weight at about 4,550 lbs. New car price averaged about $5,150.

1970 Thunderbird production total 50,360 units.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

1962 Thunderbird Sports Roadster

References for this article included….Thunderbird: An Odyssey in Automotive Design by author William P. Boyer…..Ford Motor Company Archives…..Edmunds Ford Thunderbird History..Thunderbird Fifty Years by Alan Tast. 

fifth generation thunderbird

The 1970 Ford Thunderbird Collector Car

One of the reasons the Ford Thunderbird has the popularity it has is that the automobile had a sportiness and luxurious appearance, and known for passenger comfort along with plenty of V-8 power. The model went through many redesigns including from two seats to four seats and at one time evolved from a luxurious sport vehicle to a full size four door land yacht.

Current asking prices for a 1970 Ford Thunderbird can be found in a general range of from about $19,000 to $35,000. Excellently restored models with relatively low mileage and matching numbers would likely fall in the $30,000 plus area.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)