July 1, 2005 – The final Ford Thunderbird

a red thunderbird

On this day in 2005 the last Ford Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line at Ford’s Wixom, Michigan plant. The Thunderbird was developed in the years following World War II as a competitor to the Chevrolet Corvette, though billed as a personal luxury vehicle. When it hit the market for 1955 it outsold the Corvette 16,000 units to just 700.

1955 ford thunderbird
Above: First generation Ford Thunderbird
Top: Last generation Ford Thunderbird

In the decades that followed, the Thunderbird would go through numerous changes, including growing from two seats to four in 1958. In an attempt to capitalize on buyers’ nostalgia, Ford released a retro Thunderbird in 2002 to much fanfare. Despite promising initial sales of the old school T-Bird, the success eventually waned, leading to the car being discontinued.

Cars & Bars featuring a Ford Thunderbird

Check out the below video produced by This Day in Automotive History featuring a 1955 Ford Thunderbird. Love it? Donate here or send Venmo to @automotivehistory! Thanks for being a fan of This Day in Automotive History, where we talk about the history of cars every single day!

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