The Ford Thunderbird was manufactured by Ford in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, it was not marketed as a sports car. Ford positioned the Thunderbird as an upscale model and is credited in developing a new market segment: the personal Luxury Car.


Engine:  312 cu in (5.1 L) V8  245 HP  (183 kW)                 Power Steering, Power Brakes

This car is a Florida car and has:

Both tops                                 Power windows                                  Power seat

Factory radio                          Air Conditioning                                Automatic Trans

Solid, straight, rust free body

The Thunderbird was revised for 1957 with a reshaped front bumper, an enlarged grille and larger tailfins and tail lamps. The instrument panel was heavily re-styled with round gauges in a single pod, and the rear of the car was lengthened, allowing the spare tire to be positioned back inside the trunk.

Ford Motor Co.

The Ford Motor Co we know today was the third company founded by Henry Ford I to manufacture and sell automobiles. Like so many auto companies of the period the first two went broke.  The second went on to become Cadillac Motor Co.  For the third company Henry was lucky to be teamed up with James Couzens late of Chatham ON as his accountant, advisor and stock holder.  The Dodge Brothers were also stock holders of this company so it had a good pedigree. This third company was a resounding success.

His signature car, the Model T, was manufactured from 1908 to 1927 virtually unchanged.  It came in any color you wanted as long as it was black and was so cheap that it quickly became the most popular car in the world.  The Model T was the recipient of the economies of scale made possible by the moving assembly line.  In 1927 Ford replaced the Model T with the Model A which was the first car with safety glass in the windshield. In 1932 they brought the first low-priced V8 engine to a North American automobile. This was the engine that outlaw Clyde Barrow used to brag that the Ford V8 was his choice as the “strongest engine” available in his flights from the law.

Although a multi-billion dollar world-wide enterprise, Ford Motor Co was being run by the eccentric Henry Ford I like a small store.  He did not keep auditable books so much so that by the time Henry II took over in late 1945 the company was broke and they had to start the books from scratch. In the immediate post war period Ford sales shrank to third place in the Big Three.  But under Henry Ford II’s leadership, solid engineering and decent designs Ford reconnected to their base and by the mid-50’s Ford Motor Co. were again fighting with Chrysler for second place in North American sales.

The origination of the Thunderbird can be traced back to conversations of Ford execs as they waked through the Grand Palais in Paris in 1951.  Lewis D. Crusoe pointed at the sleek European sports cars in the show and asked Ford Chief Stylist George Walker, “Why can’t we have something like that?” That got things going.  Soon a two passenger open car was taking shape with a target weight of 2525 lbs (1145 kg) powered by the interceptor V8 engine based on an upcoming over-head valve Ford V8 slated for a 1954 introduction. Henry the Duece signed off on the design and model after returning from the Los Angeles Autorama in 1953.  The T-Bird was a go!

The name Thunderbird is a reference to a legendary creature for North American First Nations peoples.  It is considered a supernatural bird of power and strength.  To that end, when the new Ford Thunderbird came to market in 1955 it came complete with a speedometer that read up to 150 mph truly separating itself from the rest of the market.

From its introduction in 1955 to its final phase out in 2005, Ford produced over 4.4 million Thunderbirds.