Bird Beginnings: 1955 Ford Thunderbird

Cam VanDerHorst
·2 min read

⚡️ Read the full article on Motorious

Chevrolet's Corvette may be America's Sports Car, but for a time, Ford's Thunderbird offered serious competition for that title.

The Corvette has always been a sports car to some degree. Even when it dabbled in luxury touring in the late 1970s, it never fully divorced itself from its sporting roots. The same can't be said for the Ford Thunderbird.

Image Via GR Auto Gallery
Image Via GR Auto Gallery

The Thunderbird has been everything from a sports car to a luxury coupe, and even did double duty in the 1980s and 1990s as a forced-fed, muscle-bound stoplight warrior and NASCAR champion.

Most would agree, however, that the purest form of the Ford Thunderbird is its first generation, which ran from the 1955 through 1957 model years. During this time, it was neck-and-neck with the Chevrolet Corvette in the fight for American sports car supremacy.

Image Via GR Auto Gallery
Image Via GR Auto Gallery

It was one heck of a fight. In 1955, Chevrolet finally gave the Corvette some real horsepower with the introduction of the venerable small-block V8. That same year, Ford introduced the Thunderbird, powered by a similarly-sized Y-block V8.

From the beginning, though, Ford focused on luxury. The Thunderbird was marketed as a "personal car," and many were equipped with high-society add-ons like the classic rear bumper-mounted "continental kit" spare tire.

Image Via GR Auto Gallery
Image Via GR Auto Gallery

The Sky Haze Green 1955 Thunderbird seen here retains most of its original two-tone interior, while the body was repainted in the original color at some point. The 292 cubic inch Y-block V8 was upgraded with a newer carburetor with electric choke, while the transmission was rebuilt in the last two years.

It's being offered by GR Auto Gallery of Grand Rapids, Michigan right here on Motorious. After spending the last quarter century with a collector, it can now be yours for just $21,900.

Sign up for the Motorious Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.