Surprisingly, when it was introduced in 1955, the Ford Thunderbird sporty coupe was not marketed as a sports car. This was the first car marketed as a personal luxury vehicle.
First Generation (1955-1957)
This initial version of the Thunderbird was a 2-seater with a 292 cubic inch V8 engine. In its inaugural year, the Thunderbird outsold the Corvette 23 to 1.
Second Generation (1958-1960)
The Thunderbird was changed to a 4-seat model despite its huge success as a 2-seater. Consumers wanted more room, and Ford gave it to them. This generation had an engine change as well; it came equipped with a 352 V8. This rendition of the car again sold very well for Ford.
Third Generation (1961-1963)
Ford upped the engine to a 390 for 1961 and the car was given a makeover both inside and out. The front end was rounded out and the interior dash curved outward at the ends so it could blend it with the door panels. The Thunderbird was also the first car ever to feature a swing away steering column. 1962 offered a Sports Roadster package with vinyl roof and 48-spoke wire wheels among other options.
Fourth Generation (1964-1966)
This latest generation of the Thunderbird was squared off a bit in the front and still boasted the 390 V8 motor. 1965's model offered front disc brakes and in 1966, you could opt for a 428 cubic inch motor, offered as an option. A reverse front wheel scoop was also a design change for 1965 and the '66 model got a new grill and awesome one piece taillight that ran the width of the back of the car.
Fifth Generation (1967-1971)
1967 was a big year for the Thunderbird. The unibody frame was no longer used and the exterior underwent a big revamping. It was now offered as a four-door model with rear suicide doors and more luxury appointments, making a move away from the “sporty” division due to competition with the Mustang. The convertible was no longer offered in 1967. There were only minor changes to the body over the next couple of years. The concealed headlights remained a feature and the car could still be purchased as a 2 or 4-door model.
Sixth Generation (1972-1976)
The 1972 model was the largest Thunderbird to date. With the larger body style came a standard 429 with an option to jump to a 460. Despite its low fuel efficiency, the model was a big hit and sold well. Sales did start to fall off in 1975, however.
Seventh Generation (1977-1979)
1977 brought a lighter version of the Thunderbird, but still retained the interior room of the 1976. The 302 horsepower engine was the standard offering, but the 351 and 400 were offered as upgrades. A t-top came with the 1978 model and the 1979 lost the long one-piece taillight and instead had two separate taillights in the rear.
The Ford Thunderbird is one of the most iconic cars in American history and made appearances in several films, like Pal Joey, Vegas, Butterfield 8 and the Parent Trap. If you are the lucky owner of one of these pieces of Americana, don’t take a chance leaving it unprotected and vulnerable. Even if she’s garage-kept, things can happen. Protect your T-bird with one of perfect fit car covers. We have the highest quality car covers on the market. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority. If you’re not happy, we’re not happy. Check us out today at www.carcover.com– we have the perfect cover for you and your pride and joy.