Throughout its many iterations and designs, the Ford Thunderbird never failed to make an impression. Ford’s famed T-Bird spanned five decades and eleven model generations, which led to an extensive legacy. The car was first introduced as a two seat convertible and went on to transform in shape and form, with the number of seats and roof format changing along the way. However, the model always retained its two door design and iconic look.
The original Thunderbird was born from the combined minds of Ford veterans and newcomers, and out of the need for a sports car model. Thousands of names were hence proposed for the innovative idea, out of which not one was “thunderbird.” This one was eventually submitted by a Ford stylist. It is a reference to a legendary creature in Native American lore: a strong, powerful supernatural bird.
The first prototype was unveiled in 1953, and it was meant to be a direct response to Chevrolet’s newly announced car: the Corvette. However, Ford pushed the Thunderbird as a personal car, focusing on its convenience and comfort (contrasted to the Corvette’s sportiness). The first generation, released in 1955, gave way to a lasting line of iconic models that were subsequently released all the way until 2005.