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Friday, April 9, 2021

The streamlined T-bird Mexico concept never been grew up

In a motorized vehicle design process, sometimes it has to be stopped by non-technical matters. This also happened to a beautiful car design made by Alex Tremulis in 1956. At the time, as it is well known that Alex Tremulis' design philosophy had always been to strike a happy marriage between aircraft and automotive styling.
The Ford Thunderbird Mexico concept developed to be the reply to the Chevy's racing Corvettes. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
Because since teenager, he already inherently understood smooth flowing lines would not only look better but would be more efficient at slicing through the air. This might be achieved by him when he spent much of his time during the 2nd World War in the process of designing an aircraft to fly faster than had ever been achieved through the use of wind tunnels.
Alex Tremulis posed alongside the finished Ford Thunderbird Mexico model as it appeared in numerous PR photo shoots. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
This was later applied by him while working at the Ford Motor Company, when the American automotive company was in the midst of developing an equal contender model for the Corvette that was successfully made by Chevrolet, its rival compatriot subsidiary brand of GM. As it is well known, in the time the Chevrolet was already exploring design improvements to their 1956 Corvette that would eventually lead to the 1957 Sebring SS.
The Ford Thunderbird Mexico concept alongside a turbine concept illustrates how low and sleek it appeared compared to its contemporaries. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
By those reasons followed by Ford to develop the concept models through its R&D department. As the result, several car models managed to develop and one of them was the Ford Thunderbird Mexico Concept designed by Alex Tremulis with his automotive design philosophy, later it proven to be able to make the car speeding more than 200 miles per hour.
Another view of the 3/8 scale street scene provides different perspectives when evaluating various designs from all angles. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
In short, Tremulis managed to help Ford made the highly modified supercharged 1956 Thunderbird Mexico to be the answer to the Chevy's racing Corvettes, through the car's design refinement resulting of the large number of model test carried out in the wind tunnel including with the ground effects.

Initially, Mexico was made to race  in La Carrera Panamericana. The idea is that with less horsepower, the Thunderbird chassis can still win by using aerodynamics to gain a top speed advantage over other race cars especially Mercedes.
The 3/8 scale models of La Tosca and Mexico in the Rotunda with the model makers. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
It's a shame Mexico never made it to the full-scale model, plus a series of tragic racing events took place in the mid-50s, leading the Automobile Manufacturers Association placed a ban on the auto manufacturer supports for racing teams.
The Ford Thunderbord Mexico concept with an added-on rounded nose, similar to the late 1960's Chrysler Superbirds. (Picture from: Carstyling.ru)
This brought the development of the Mexico's design stopped, with only a few 3/8 scaled models previously ever been made and used for the wind tunnel experimental data collection process. The sheer size of these 3/8ths scale models made for better data in the wind tunnel than smaller sized models, but they took up a lot of room. It's unknown how many of these models were crushed after their useful days were complete. 

Despite this, the development of many future record-setting race cars and their drivers would benefit directly from the lessons learned by Tremulis a decade earlier. So the efforts weren't all for nothing. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CARSTYLING.RU | ]
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