Ford Thunderbird 1955
During the early 1950's, a plan was initiated
by the head of the newly organized Ford Division to design and produce a
two seat sports roadster that would add glamour and prestige to the company's
image. Lewis Crusoe admired the sleek Pegasos, Jaguars and Ferraris that
received so much publicity al the glamourous international Automobile shows.
The appearence of the Chevrolet Corvette prototype in January of 1953 hastened
the developement of Ford's new sports car. On February 20, 1954, avid auto
enthousiasts that visited Detroit's first post war auto show were treated
to the premier public showing of the fiberglass mockup of the exciting new
The Thunderbird was a strikingly elegant design. During its evolution, the
car had been transformed into a luxurious personalsports car. Powerd by
a V-8 engine, the first Thunderbirds were available with an automatic transmission,
overdrive, powersteering, power brakes, electric windows and removable hardtop.
The Thunderbirds were extremely well received by the public, and their stunning
appeirence enticed prospective Ford customers into Ford showrooms throughout
the country.Though the Thunderbird enjoyed great popularity, the Thunderbird
development staff instilled significant changes into the 1956 model. To
improve interior ventilation, opening side vents were fitted to the body.
Luggage space was increased significantly by extending the rear bumper,
and adding a 'Continental Kit' to house the spare tire. A 312 cubic inch
V-8 engine was offered to maintain the car's performance in view of theunavoidable
weight increase. Finally, vision difficulties were overcome by yhe installation
of two circular windows in the removable hardtop roof. In time, these distinctive
porthole windows became synonymous with the 1956 Thunderbird. Today, two
seat Thunderbirds are avidly sought by dedicated collectors. They were the
culmination of a corporate decision to market an automobilethat would favorably
influence the Ford image. These impressive automobiles will reign foreveras
one of Ford's classic creations.