One of the most recognizable classic cars of the 1950s was the Thunderbird, which was manufactured by Ford and released in 1955. The Thunderbird enjoyed one of the longest lines of car model in terms of lifespan, having undergone a series of 11 model generations from 1955 to 2005! It was considered as a luxury car in 1955 when it was first introduced.
The first generation of the Thunderbird was created as Fords answer to Chevrolets popular Corvette. Over 16,000 units of Thunderbird were manufactured in 1955 alone. The Thunderbird and the Corvette were the most popular car rivalries that emerged in the 50s.
Some of the features of the 1955 classic Thunderbird were a removable fiberglass top; this enables the car to be classified as a convertible, although it was a little inconvenient when you try to remove a 50-pound fiberglass roof from your car. For this reason, Ford came up with a version of the Thunderbird that has a fabric top usually lined with leather, which provided an easy way to remove the top. However, this option was not made widely available and Thunderbird owners had to specify this request to Ford.
Similar to the Hudson Hornet, which was a popular race car during the 50s, the Thunderbird also has a V-8 engine capable of hitting a top speed of 120mph. This car had a compact design, having only two-seats and little cargo space. It is considered as a sexy sports car that is rivaled only by Corvette.
While it was a progressive car design that became one of the pivotal reference point for the evolution of later-day sports cars, the Thunderbird retained a traditional feature found in most of its sister cars, which was the rear fender skirt. The fender skirt gave the car a distinct modern yet traditional look that put it in stark contrast to the Corvette.
The second generation of the Ford Thunderbird was released in 1958 and had largely departed from the design of its predecessor. It sported a longer hood that seems to look stretched back to the far end of the car tail, giving the car a look of straight and flashy impression. It still retained the traditional fender skirt and the forwardly protruding headlights. It also had an upgraded engine, the FE-series. It also had upgraded interiors that included controls, switches, and ashtrays, which were an ideal car feature for all convertible cars.
The Thunderbird is one iconic car of the 50s that will be forever immortalized in movies, and Hollywood.
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