The National Insurance Crime Bureau has released its Hot Wheels Classics report on the Ford Thunderbird, in which it has analyzed theft based on law enforcement reports and the National Crime Information Center’s database.
From the years 1981-2011, there were 179,625 theft records; records do exist as far back as 1955, but only 1981 and up were the focus here, because that’s when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration instituted VIN standardization. The most stolen year of T-bird has been the ’78 model, with 14,288 thefts logged. Ranking at 2 was the ’79, followed by the ’77 (and 1977 was also the year in which the most T-birds were sold in the U.S.: 304,430), then the ’84 and the ’85. The most popular year of theft was 1981, followed by 1989, 1988, 1990, and 1991. States with the most theft? California is king, with Texas, New York, Florida, and Michigan rounding out the top five.