My Ford Thunderbird is lying there wrapped up for the winter, forlornly waiting for me to get round to restoring her. I will do so one day, when my life slows down sufficiently. In the meantime I was intrigued to learn that Ian Fleming was an enthusiastic Ford Thunderbird owner. Here’s what he wrote about his Thunderbird for the Spectator:
“True, it isn’t a precision instrument like English sports cars but that I count a virtue. The mechanical margin of error in its construction is wider. Everything has a solid feel. The engine, a huge, adapted low-revving Mercury V8 of 5-litre capacity, never gives the impression of stress or strain. When, on occasion, you can do a hundred without danger of going off the edge of this small island, you have not only the knowledge that you have 20mph in reserve, but the feel of it. As for acceleration, when the two extra barrels of the 4-barrel carburettor come in, at around 3000 revs, it is a real thump in the back.”
According to Alan Judd, who now writes about motoring in the Spectator, Ian Fleming’s wife, Ann, complained to Evelyn Waugh that the car’s acceleration was so fierce that it gave her “Thunderbird Neck”. No doubt she emerged from the ride shaken, not stirred.