The Ford Thunderbird is a car, built by the American manufacturer „Ford“. It was built from 1955 to 1997 and again from 2002 to 2005. It´s a sporty, personal luxury or upscale vehicle, depending on the model year.
The vehicle wit the the short name „Tbird“ is one of the classics of American automobile history. „Thunderbird“ is one of the product names being longest in use in US automobile- and industrial history. Other examples are the Chevrolet Corvette or the Ford Mustang.
In the beginning (1955-1957) the Thunderbird was a sporty two seater and was built in competition with the Chevrolet Corvette. One feature, the Corvette was lacking those days, was a V8 engine.
Later models (1958-1969) had a more angular style, which was characteristic for the mid 60s. Engine power grew from ~150hp up to 365hp and the four to six seaters were significantly bigger.
From 1967 to 1971 there was a four door version with opposed opening doors, which is also called „suicide doors“. This feature was also known from the Lincoln Continental (1961-1970). Especially model years 1967-1971 were considered better than competitors from GM and Chrysler with reference to handling and efficiency.
80s and 90s model years increasingly lost significance for lack of unique selling propositions. Size and power were still good, but had no technical advantage like in earlier days. Power plants were R4 turbo, V6, V8 and supercharged V6.
Despite changing buying behavior, which was accounted for by SUVs and trucks being on the increase, sales were still good till the 90s. Personal luxury cars lost of significance more and more.
The last series (2002-2005) was a reminiscence to the original Thunderbird, which is considered to be one of the most legendary vehicles in the world.