Ford Thunderbird: 1955-1957, 1st generation

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The Ford Thunderbird [“T-Bird”] is Ford Motor Company car that had long lasting 11 generations during 1955-2005. Since the very beginning T-Bird has been  marketed as a Personal car not a sports one like Corvette. The car went from idea to prototype model in less than one year. And after positive reaction from the public in 1953 Detroit Auto Show it went on sale in 1955 and outsold T-bird’s inspiration  Corvette [23:1!!!].
Even though Thunderbird shared some parts with other mainstream Fords it was was sleeker and had more athletic shape. Thunderbird’s wheelbase frame was also shortened version of other Ford cars. The Y-block 4.8 liter V8 came from Mercury division. Even though T-Bird was considered to be successful model it faced some minor changes in 1956. The most noticeable one – moving spare tire to a continental-style rear bumper. This feature gave more space in trunk, bus caused some steering issues due to extra weight. In 1957 this spare tire feature was changed back. Among the other changes were new color options, fiberglass roof, 5.1 liter Y-block V8 which developed 215 HP if mated to a 3-speed manual transmission and 225 HP if it had Ford-O-Matic 3-speed automatic gearbox.
Ford Thunderbird was revised agin in 1957. It got reshaped front bumper, larger grille, larger tail lamps and tailfins. 5.1 liter engine became the standard one, but produced 245 HP. You could get even more – 300 HP  with 2 4-barrel Holley carbs and Paxton Supercharger. Ford was pleased with the sales peak but felt the car may do better. So, they decided to  redesign the Thunderbird for 1958, the second generation model.

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