A Smooth, Clean, 1961 Thunderbird That Pays Respect To The Past And Looks To The Future … Tealbird!

The late 1950s and early 1960s saw a new kind of custom car that used cool paint rather than extensive bodywork to get attention. Flames, panels and scallops were used in place of chopped tops and sectioning on what were then new cars. One of the true artists of the era was Larry Watson who built an iconic 1958 purple Thunderbird with silver scallops and pink accents. Tealbird echoes some of that car’s looks brought forward to the 21st century. It is dedicated to Larry who passed away in 2010 and to my mother who would have loved the car’s style.

There are few cars than can be called “factory customs”… the 1961 Thunderbird is one of them. Known as “bullet birds” because of their side profile, they are a great beginning for a custom. Tealbird started out as a very solid base in need of 21st century style and stance. The custom mixed PPG Deltron turquoise pearl brings the 1961 factory Aquamarine color up to date, with scallops of dark turquoise pearl matching the darker interior color. Smoothed bumpers, a modified grill, clear headlights, and a smoothed hood vent flow to the sides with deleted side spears, door handle buttons and locks. The filled skirts help continue the design to the bolt-free rear bumper with filled backup lamps. Inside, a new 1961 interior kit is used for the seat bolsters, with perforated biscuit-style 1960 Thunderbird light turquoise inserts. A new headliner compliments the seats and factory futuristic dash. Perhaps the most impressive elements of Tealbird are the one-off Hot Rods By Boyd/Penfound Design custom 19-inch wheels inspired by the original 14-inch hubcaps, and unique, custom blue line tires from Diamond Back Classic Radials.

There is a growing list of sponsor/partners who help make projects like Tealbird possible. Penfound Design thanks the following companies… please see the LINKS section for contact information: PPG Industries, Inc. / Hot Rods By Boyd / Advanced Plating, Inc. / Larry’s Thunderbird and Mustang Parts / ACC Auto Custom Carpets / Griffin Thermal Products / Jegs High Performance / Powermaster Performance / Edelbrock / Comp Performance Group / Demon Carburetors / Flowmaster mufflers / Bridgestone / Eaton Detroit Springs / Coil Spring Specialties / LMC Truck / Custom Autosound / Eco Blast It / Diamond Back Classic Radials / Pop-Up Stands / DEI Engineering Boom Mat / Flaming River Industries / Totally Stainless / Grafton Metalfinishing / Advance Paint Technology, Ltd. / EVOD Industries / Tuff Stuff Accessories and more.

Tealbird joins a family of custom concepts that began in 2002 with LoSabre, a 1959 Buick. “Clean and Smooth” define the Penfound Design look. All of the cars have been featured in media like Hot Rod, Custom Rodder, High Performance Pontiac, Street Rodder, Super Chevy, Fox Sports Cable Television, Rod & Custom, Mac’s Motor City Garage, and social media. They have won awards at shows including the Detroit Autorama, Piston Power Show, Goodguys, National Street Rod Association, and SEMA. Tealbird is the seventh PD custom concept following LoSabre, Cambiar (1964 Cadillac), Sportsroof (1963 Chevrolet Impala), Inpala (1959 Chevrolet Impala), Sabertooth (1964 Pontiac GTO), and Scramjet (1970 Chevrolet Camaro).

The crew that assembled Tealbird and gets it to events is a talented group. They include: Lynch Concepts (body and paint) / Chuck’s Custom Design (interior) / Don Vierstra (illustration) / Motorheads (engine build) / Bob Krekel (mechanical) / Jeff Miller (transportation) / Meyers Tires and Truck (wheel and tire care) / Contributors: John Lasky, Ric Keller, Tim Foisy, Tim Nolan and more.