For the second time in many years, Ford released another spectacular show car for the 1969 season. The Thunderbird Saturn II was similar in overall appearance to the 1968 Thunderbird Saturn but had a completely restyled front end, rear end, and interior. The Saturn II was painted in a pearlescent Gold metal flake paint, striking bright gold with a high level of metallic particles embedded within the pigment. The high back bucket seats of the 1968 version were replaced by new ones with a more traditional look and were upholstered in metallic gold leather. The front fender vents were eliminated, new wheels appeared, and white sidewall tires replaced the red band tires. Stock 1969 Thunderbird front turn indicator/parking lamp assemblies appeared in the center of the vertically divided grille.
The Saturn II hood was 4 inches longer than the hood on a stock 1969 Thunderbird, and the roof panel was 2 inches lower. Onboard, special electronic equipment ensured that personal luxury passengers of the future had everything necessary at their disposal—including two-way communications, radar, and a computerized trip monitor. Stock accessories were also included, most notably the Rear Lamp Outage Monitor [image link opens in new window], which used fiber optic tubes to transmit light from the tail lamp bulbs to a monitor mounted on the rear package tray. The driver could view the monitor from the rearview mirror and check the rear lamp operation.
Ford usually designed its show cars to gauge public reaction as they toured the country at local auto shows. If a design were especially popular, it would often appear within a couple of years on a production model. The fastback roofline of the Thunderbird Saturn and Saturn II was quite popular and showed up in a somewhat modified form on the 1970 and 1971 Thunderbird production models.
Images: Ford Motor Company; www.conceptcars.it