Back in the 1950s, there was one type of car that dominated not only the American road system, but also the American psyche, and it was enormous. Whatever it was, it was huge, and the bigger the better. When the 1955 Ford Thunderbird was introduced, it was literally in a class all its own – well, OK, maybe with the Chevrolet Corvette – and brought a taste of fresh air to a market stuck in its ways. The Thunderbird wasn’t really a sports car, although it was pretty fast: it’s handling was approximate, and the ride too soft, but compared to its contemporaries, it was a regular Formula One car! What really made an impact was its understated styling, and while it still sported plenty of chrome, it was tasteful, its fins were restrained and its bumpers and overall lines, clean.
A choice of two V8 engines was available to Thunderbird buyers; the most powerful one, a 5.1-liter V8, produced 225 horsepower. It was enough to propel this ‘personal luxury car’ to a top speed of 120 miles per hour, and accelerate to 60 in a hair over 10 seconds.
Of course, nothing lasts forever. The 1955 Ford Thunderbird survived in its original form until 1957, when Ford couldn’t help themselves, and replaced it with a much larger model, with an enormous front grille. Unsurprisingly, the model years 1955 to 1957 are the most collectible ones!