February 19, 1954 – Ford Thunderbird prototype is born

Ford knew they would need a response, and fast, when Chevrolet rolled out the Corvette prototype in January 1953. The idea for the Thunderbird was born the very next month. From idea to rolling reality in just one year, the Ford Thunderbird prototype was finished on this day in 1954 and would debut at the following day at the Detroit Auto Show. The car would go into production the following fall and officially go on sale as a 1955 model on October 22. The Thunderbird, billed as a personal luxury car and not a sports car, was a smashing success in its first year, selling 16,155 to just 700 Corvettes. From 1955 to 1957 the Thunderbird remained largely unchanged but in 1958 it was completely redesigned and included a backseat. The four passenger coupes and convertibles of 1958 sold nearly double that of 1957 model. The Thunderbird would go through 11 generations in its lifetime, including many massive redesigns. The final Thunderbirds, produced from 2002 to 2005 were of retro style, paying homage to the original cars of the mid 1950s. 1955 Ford Thunderbird by davocano CC2.0 https://flic.kr/p/fNWowA2005 Ford Thunderbird – 50th anniversary by rulenumberone2 https://flic.kr/p/iXzue8

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