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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

A custom-built car inspired by the vintage futuristic car of the '50 and '60s

Jet&Rocket Inspired - The following unique custom car called Thunder Flite immediately captures attention with its striking and unique design, reminiscent of a gleaming alien craft hovering just above the ground. Its sharp nose, sleek lines, and distinctive double-bubble canopies evoke a sense of otherworldly elegance, making it look more like a spaceship or jet-powered vehicle than a traditional car. This extraordinary vehicle stands out not just for its appearance but also for its intriguing origin story.
This is the Thunder Flite custom car built by Dean 'Dino' Arnold based of 1961 Ford Thunderbird. (Picture from: Barrett-Jackson)
Unlike typical custom cars, the 
Thunder Flite was not produced by an automotive manufacturer but was the creative vision of renowned custom builder Dean 'Dino' Arnold. Arnold, who has a rich history of modifying over a thousand cars, transformed a 1961 Ford Thunderbird into this futuristic masterpiece. The Thunder Flite made its grand debut at the SEMA Show in 2008, where it quickly garnered attention and accolades.
The Thunder Flite custom car has unique appearence inspired of the the GM's futuristic prototypes of the '50s and '60s. (Picture from: Design-Dautore)
Upon first glance, many might mistake the Thunder Flite for a vintage dream car from the mid-20th century. Its meticulously crafted details and period-correct aesthetics make it seem like it has been resurrected from a bygone era. The car’s double-bubble canopy, 'chrome effects' paint, and sweeping tailfins are clear nods to the futuristic concepts that American automakers explored in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Thunder Flite custom car has debuted at the 2008 SEMA Show and crowned as 2008 Best of SEMA show by Popular Mechanics Magazine, voted in Top 12 Coolest Cars at SEMA 2008. (Picture from: PopularMechanics)
As Arnold revealed to Street Machine, he aimed to capture the essence of those decades when companies like General Motors designed their dream cars. With his late wife SuzieArnold sketched the initial design on a napkin and later collaborated with Don Johnson to bring the concept to life. 
The Thunder Flite custom car has a very contrasting color combination of chrome color and accents with red-leather are covered the seats, dashboards and others. (Picture from: Design-Dautore)
The design draws inspiration from iconic vehicles such as the Pontiac Club de Mer, Oldsmobile Golden Rocket and Buick Centurion of 1956, all of which were influenced by the era's fascination with jet technology and space travel. The car's excellence extends beyond its design and engineering.
The Thunder Flite custom car has unique hallmark of double-bubble canopies such the Batmobile-esque. (Picture from: Design-Dautore)
The Thunder Flite’s exterior boasts a dazzling Chrome Effects paint job by House of Kolors. Under the hood, it houses a chromed-out 4,948 cc engine paired with a modified automatic transmission and a fully independent suspension system, featuring Air Ride technologies for a smooth, adaptive ride. Inside, the Deluxe Auto Interiors team created a striking contrast with chrome accents on the instrument panel, gear rod, door trims, and handles, complementing the predominantly red leather that covers the seats and dashboard.
The Thunder Flite custom car is powered by a chromed-out 4,948 cc engine connected to a modified automatic transmission system. (Picture from: Barrett-Jackson)
As qouted of TheBidWatcher, while at a 2010 auction hosted by Barrett-Jackson in Orange County, the Thunder Flite fetched approximately $85,800, a price likely higher today due to its continued recognition and desirability. 
The Thunder Flite custom car could be instantly recognizable thanks to its double-bubble canopy, 'chrome effects' paint and sweeping tailfins. (Picture from: Design-Dautore)
Its accolades include the 2008 Best of SEMA show by Popular Mechanics Magazine, a top 12 placement in the Coolest Cars at SEMA 2008, second place at the 2009 Grand National Show in Pomona, and numerous first-place awards at various prestigious auto shows.
The Thunder Flite custom car could be instantly recognizable thanks to its double-bubble canopy, 'chrome effects' paint and sweeping tailfins. (Picture from: UltimateHotWheels)
Dean 'Dino' Arnold, the mastermind behind the Thunder Flite, was inducted into Darryl Starbird’s Rod & Custom Car Hall of Fame and honored as Builder of the Year. The Thunder Flite has also been featured in several prominent publications, including Rod & Kulture, Street Rodder, Drive, Rod & Custom, Car Kulture Deluxe, ol'Skool Rodz, and SEMA magazines.
The Thunder Flite stands as a testament to innovative custom car building, blending the allure of retro-futuristic design with modern engineering prowess. Its journey from a sketched napkin concept to a celebrated show car exemplifies the creativity and dedication of its builder, ensuring its place in automotive history as a true work of art.[EKA [14012022] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | WHICHCAR.COM.AU | BARRETT-JACKSON | DRIVETRIBE | AUTOBLOG | DESIGN-DAUTORE | POPULARMECHANICS.COM ]
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