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I first heard this in an audio-book. I do understand the implicit meaning but I always wondered what this really means and the background of this phrase.

I have tried searching the Internet but all I could find were lyrics of a song and other places where this is used.

I am not very good at English idioms, so please bear with me if I am asking something that's well known.

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

It seems to come from a 1964 Beach Boys song Fun, fun, fun.

According to this link:

This up-tempo classic suggests that life is somehow less enjoyable if one lacks access to a Thunderbird. It’s said to be based on the true story of a girl who drove her father’s car to a hamburger stand instead of the library and subsequently had her driving privileges revoked. Ford’s popular T-Bird was already in its fourth generation by then and packed a choice of V8 engines.

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Perfect answer! Thank you very much. – Menol Mar 20 '14 at 13:50
I'll just mention that Ford T-Bird is short for Ford Thunderbird, in case that isn't obvious. – Spehro Pefhany Mar 20 '14 at 15:08

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