The start of the model is in the distant 1955, marketed by Ford as a sporty convertible. The Thunderbird developed a whole new segment in the car market.
The personal luxury car is the new segment that Ford Thunderbird exploited. This segment was a somewhat sporty coupe that was designed with the comfort being number one priority. The desire to maximise the comfort threw the performance and fuel economy right through the window. They did not market the Ford Thunderbird as a sports car. Ford made the Thunderbird as an upscale model for the upper echelons of the society. The start of this model in 1955 is chased by its redesign in 1968. The redesign added second row seats. Ford produced the Thunderbird in 11 generations. The model had immense success in finding a place in the hearts if the American driver. The success was because this luxury car was an American interpretation of a grand tourer. The generations that Ford released and updated from 1958 were all becoming larger and more luxurious than the previous ones, until the model started downsizing in 1977. The reason for the downsizing of this beautiful long coupe was the ever raising gas prices and the shift in the likings of most American drivers to smaller, more versatile vehicles. The production and sales of the Ford Thunderbird were blooming until the 90s when these big two-door coupes became so unpopular that the sales took a huge turn in the wrong direction. And the eminent death of the Thunderbird was in 1997. Then Ford tried to revive this classic beauty in 2002 but it did not achieve the success they were hoping for. They discontinued the revived model in 2005. The model was successful until the shift of the desires of the wealthy Americans from big vehicles to a more refined and versatile ones. From the beginning to the end, Ford sold almost 4.4 million units of the personal luxury car.
Ford Thunderbird Design
Through the years of its production, Ford redesigned the Thunderbird multiple times. Each look of the car was unique and very stylish. When Ford first started the model, it was a direct competitor of Chevy’s Corvette, but soon the style of the car differed from the sport and performance oriented path to more luxurious style. With every design change, Ford’s engineers upgraded the suspension, the engines and the features that were available for the vehicle to give the car a better ride quality and more safety for its driver and passengers.
Ford Thunderbird Performance
Throughout the years of the production of this model, Ford used some powerful and modern for their time V8 engines and one time they equipped it with a four-cylinder engine to reduce the fuel consumption and appeal to a certain group of the car market. The displacement of the engines used were from 2.3L to 7.5L. Ford also experimented with the use of turbochargers and superchargers in the Thunderbird's powertrain throughout its production. They upgraded the engines in the time of its production to meet stricter emission and noise standards.
Ford Thunderbird Body Styles
Ford offered the Thunderbird in many body styles. But the most iconic and sought after body styles are the convertibles. They could be with a hardtop or a soft top that was lowered and stowed in the car’s trunk. The system that handled the folding of the top was hydraulic, and was operated by many valves and electrical relays that often were faulty. The troubleshooting of this system is a nightmare, according to mechanics. Unlike the soft top the hardtop was with a simple forward hinged design that used a key to lock it in place.