Model: Thunderbird Convertible
Origin: Dearborn Michigan
Production: 1955-1957 | 16,155 ('55)
Engine: 292 cu. in. 4.8 L Y-Block V8
Ford announced the Thunderbird in 1954 at the Detroit Auto show as a direct response to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette. The first Thunderbird went from idea to prototype in about a year and was ready for sale in 1955. Even though Ford produced the Thunderbird as a result of Chevy’s Corvette, Ford marketed the vehicle to emphasis the car’s comfort and convenience rather than its inherent sportiness. Equipped with a V8 engine, the Thunderbird could hit speeds of 110-120 mph with the speedometer indicating speeds of up to 150 mph.
Demand for the T-Bird was high as 3,500 orders were placed in the first 10-day selling period. Initial figures thought to have 10,000 sales by the end of the first year. When in fact, the Thunderbird did so well it outsold the Corvette, 16,155 T-Birds compared to Corvette’s 700 in 1955.
Thunderbird has been so successful that the model has spanned over an 11-generation period between 1955 through 2005. With the Thunderbird being considered such a huge success in its first year, few changes were made for the 1956-year.