The Blue Bird Of Happiness – The Mathematics Of Luxury



I have just figured out the age equation for motor cars – it is the sort of thing we calculate for dogs vs humans to see how old our pet is . We can do the same for our classic cars.

Now before you get all furious and reach for a tyre iron, I am not going to say that your car is getting old – this is a piece of mathematics that deals with your age appropriate to the car. If you car is a 1909 De Dion Bouton it is indeed old, and may God reward you for giving it a warm home and a bowl of oil.


Right. When a car model is introduced to the lineup of a major manufacturer it is for one purpose – to cause you to give that manufacturer your money. They then keep it and bribe government officials to largely ignore the fact. But to get the process going they need to get your money – they need to appeal to your inner self so hard that your hand reaches for your wallet. To do this they need to know how old your inner self is.


Up until now, we have never known how they found this out. Now we do know, because we can work backward with the Ford Thunderbird cars and calculate it. The ratio you need to keep in mind is the same as the ratio of a dog year to a man year.

1955 – the Ford Thunderbird – the “personal car” of the Ford range comes out. It is designed to appeal to the 7 -year old sense of aesthetics. Cute, Disneyish, small. Brightly coloured. A Barbie car for boys before Barbie existed…

1956 – more of the same – now the 14 year-olds are starting to take notice. Puberty is setting in, but the car still doesn’t have any hair.

1957 – Well Chevrolet might have machine gun fairings on the bonnets of their sedan cars but the ’57 Ford Thunderbird has longer tail fins and fairings on the rear wheel arches and Harley Earl can go screw himself. Now 21-year olds are interested and they can drink and smoke and take girls out in their Thunderbirds. Why, we’ll never know…

1958 – Well Ford has two. So does Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, and Sabrina. If you are 28, you are now interested in the Ford Thunderbird and  you know what I am writing about. 1958 was the year of two. Note: high beam was a memorable experience…


We’ll abandon the mathematics now to go to the car in question – the 1964 Thunderbird. Advertising it as a “personal car” be damned. It was a luxury cruiser with a special scoop designed to pick up girls. The only trouble was that by the mathematics of the trade, the people to whom it was marketed and who could afford to pay for it were 9 x 7=63 years old. Toupeé and Tylenol time. Mistress and Mogadon. Triumph of desire over delivery. Those of you who are under 63 …trust me on this one…


The car is magnificent, in a sort of a space-age rounded-rectangular sort of a way. It has chrome trim. It has sculptured side panels. It has big-arse bucket seats. It has a big engine and even bigger air conditionong. If it was in your kitchen it would dispense ice cubes from a chrome slot in the front door. If it was in your bedroom you would never sleep at night.

It has the suspension of your dreams – if you eat cheese and mustard late at night.

It is glorious – but then so was the battle of Waterloo.


I do appreciate the style, and did I have enough money to buy one and a spare acre of land to park it on, I would love to own an example. Not, perhaps, a convertible – I have seen one erecting itself in Melbourne in 2014 and I am still taking medication…Did I own this car I should fill it with girls and myself and hope that they did not push me out of the door at the first curve in the road.


But the mystery still remains…the USAF symbol on the dash. Is this 1964 Ford Thunderbird actually armed with a nuclear weapon? They never tell you – apparently it is a matter of national policy. I have always assumed that it is unwise to press any button on the dash that is red in colour…





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