Ford Thunderbird

 

Ford positioned the Thunderbird as an upscale model and it is credited with developing a new market segment, the personal luxury car. This is the second generation 1958 Thunderbird which was made larger with a second row of seats. From its introduction in 1955 to its final phase out in 2005, Ford produced over 4.4 million Thunderbirds over 11 generations.

For Corgi Toys it was another iconic US motor that lasted them well into then next decade in a variety of guises - and it's a nice piece of modelling too.

214 & 214M Hardtop

According to the Great Book of Corgi the mechanical version was always black over pink and the freewheeling version was cream over pale green. Ramsay has some cross-over suggesting both versions are available in both colours. However they have all versions of the freewheeling car valued the same. There are a couple of other variations to look out for which don't affect value. Some cars have spun hubs, some turned hubs, early cars have '1959' cast into the rear number plate and this is left off later releases.

215 Open Sports

This is a really super piece of US kitsch, it looks even better as a convertible. The early releases had no suspension that came later on the 'S' models. This first release was available in white with blue seats or blue with silver seats. One of my sources has it in red too, but I think they have confused it with the later 215s, which is red. It is of course possible that some new red bodies went on to the old non-suspension bases during the switch over to the S model. You will also see some of them with 1959 cast into the rear numberplate - some later releases have this removed. All versions are of similar (highish) value.

214S Hardtop

The 1959 Ford Thunderbird hard top gets the 'S' treatment and gains seats and suspension. Clever old Corgi are getting another few years out of an old war-horse. However the '62 model Thunderbirds which you could get in Husky Toys made this old boxy shape look very out of date with it's aggressive shark-nose styling. The revised Thunderbird hard top (214s) was released in June 1962 and remained in the range a further two years being deleted in 1964. It is always metallic dark grey with a red roof and a yellow interior. It is a popular and sought-after model with quite high values. There are no listed variations although the dark grey metallic colour is sometimes referred to as black.

215S Open Sports

Here the '59 T'Bird is given another lease of life by adding suspension and a driver figure - hence the S after the model number and kept on the books for another three years. I guess it was clever of Corgi to use so many American cars because we wouldn't notice that they were out of date in the same way. For this re-vamp they have removed the rear licence plate saying 1959 - like they would. This is a very nice bit of photography of a very photogenic model, you really get a feel for the car from these pictures, it's also worth comparing them with say the Mk3 Cortina Police car from 1972 to illustrate very clearly what went wrong with the brand at the end. This is a finely made and modelled car - the Corgi Cortina is lumpen and crude. I was fortunate enough to be able to see a real '59 Thunderbird at the Classic Car Show in 2006, stunning.

The revised Thunderbird open sports (215s) was released in June 1962 and remained in the range a further three years being deleted in 1965. It is always red with a yellow interior and should have a driver figure. It is a popular and sought-after model with quite high values. There are no listed variations.

430 Bermuda Taxi

Take a three year old motor car and squeeze another four years production out of it! The premise being I suppose that Caribbean islands use old Yankee iron for taxis, not bad thinking really when films like Dr No and Thunderball were bringing the islands and their cars into everyone's lives via the cinema. The '59 T'bird remains a very handsome car.

The blue roof car was another eBay bargain at 99p for a mixed lot containing this and a Sunbeam Imp Police, bought mainly for the back window off the Imp which would have cost more than twice as much from Steve Flowers... Police Imp subsequently sold on for 2 without its back window, so this one really was free and I didn't have to buy a spare window from Steve Flowers... Later..... I bought a roof and a new screen, drilled out the rivets and disassembled the car. With the addition of the new screen and the roof, we have a new fresh car.

The Bermuda Taxi (430) was released in July 1962 and remained in production until 1964. The car is always white with either a yellow, blue or green sun canopy, there should also be a driver figure.

         
Corgi Toys 214; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop; Green, Cream; 1959 Number Plate Corgi Toys 214; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop; Green Body, Cream Roof Corgi Toys 214M; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop Mechanical; Pink Body, Black Top Corgi Toys 215; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports; White, With Cast '1959' Corgi Toys 215; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports; White Without 1959 Cast
Corgi Toys 214; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop; Green, Cream; 1959 Number Plate Corgi Toys 214; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop; Green, Cream, Plain Number Plate Corgi Toys 214M; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop Mechanical; Pink Body, Black Top Corgi Toys 215; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports; White, With Cast '1959' Corgi Toys 215; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports; White Without 1959 Cast
Corgi Toys 214s; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop (S); Grey Metallic Body, Red Roof Corgi Toys 215S; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports (S) Corgi Toys 430; Ford Thunderbird Bermuda Taxi; White, Yellow Canopy Corgi Toys 430; Ford Thunderbird Bermuda Taxi; White, Blue Canopy  
Corgi Toys 214s; Ford Thunderbird Hardtop (S); Grey Metallic Body, Red Roof Corgi Toys 215S; Ford Thunderbird Open Sports (S); Red With Yellow Interior, Suspension Corgi Toys 430; Ford Thunderbird Bermuda Taxi; White, Yellow Canopy Corgi Toys 430; Ford Thunderbird Bermuda Taxi; White, Blue Canopy  

 


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Last Edit: 27/05/2022 Page Added 21/05/2022