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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 Thunderbird.
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.