Thunderbird is the legendary car of the fifties and sixties. Among his fans you can find truly iconic figures. For example, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who included 50 brand-new cars in his inaugural cavalcade. The movie star Marilyn Monroe possessed a Thunderbird in pale pink.
Translated from English by Thunderbird “Thunderbird”. It has its roots in the mythology of the American Indians. This bird was a totem of some tribes and at the same time a folk character. The wonderful bird was considered the messenger of the gods, she ruled the sky and helped people to preserve the harvest. Traditionally, it is depicted with a sharp bent beak, a crest on the head and wings spread out to the sides. Since its debut on February 20, 1954, to this day, all Ford Thunderbird cars have been adorned with one or another version of an Indian totem. Elden Giberson, a young employee of a promising design studio, proposed the sports model of the company, and designer William Barnett embodied the idea in metal.
The advent of Thunderbird is Ford’s response to the release of the General Motors Chevrolet Corvette. And it’s worth recognizing the answer is successful, because only in the first 10 days of sales 3500 applications were received from those who wanted to buy a car.
Thunderbird was sold only with an open body, but was equipped with an easily removable hard plastic top. The driving force was a V8 engine with a volume of 4.79 l / 198 hp, the power of which with a compressor reached 300 hp
Everyone liked the car so much that they were forgiven for minor inconveniences, for example, a small trunk, which caused the spare wheel to be mounted on the rear bumper with a special bracket.
For two seasons, Thunderbird has been released with virtually no change.
When preparing the 1957 model, the rear of the body was lengthened, thereby increasing the volume of the trunk, and fashionable tail wings were also more clearly indicated. The front end, dashboard and interior design have slightly changed. Specially for the 1957 model, a radio receiver was developed that automatically increased the sound volume in proportion to the speed of the car.
The two-seater Thunderbird 1957 is replaced by a model of a less sporting plan: a larger, more refined and already four-seater “Square Bird”. From a commercial point of view, the four-seater option was more successful than the double. He was on the conveyor for three years, and the demand for it was much higher.
Models from 1958-1960 were offered in two versions: open and closed. There were no special differences between the models of different years: only the number and configuration of the trim on the sides, the location of the name, the shape of the cut-out of the air intake in the front bumper and the number of taillights changed.
The next model change occurred in 1960. Thunderbird was now equipped with a 6.3-liter 300-hp engine.
The 1967-1969 model was an amateur car. The power of the seven-liter engine reached 345 hp.
In 1974, another Thunderbird appeared – Big Bird with a new radiator grille design, fanged bumper and a less powerful engine. But he worked on unleaded gasoline, and his exhaust was cleaned with a catalyst.
In 1983, the streamlined Ford Thunderbird Coupe, a work by Jack Telnak, appeared. The Turbo Coupe modification was equipped with a 4-cylinder engine with a turbocharger of 140 hp. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km / h – 9.6 seconds.
Further, the story developed in such a way that from an elegant two-seater sports car Ford Thunderbird turned into an ordinary four-seater car of the 90s, and its original concept was completely lost.
In 1997, due to a catastrophic drop in demand, the latest version of Thunderbird was discontinued. It was equipped with a 205 hp V8 or a 6-cylinder engine with a turbocharger rated at 230 hp
But the history of the model did not end there. After 45 years, the style of this car was repeated, interpreting in the spirit of our time and in full accordance with the achievements of the most advanced technologies, as well as modern fashion. The stylistic reconstruction was carried out so carefully that such trifles as brand name, round headlights, metal lining, a rounded hood, characteristic fog lights, rear nozzles and, finally, a Thunderbird signature plate with a turquoise insert were not forgotten. At the same time, of course, modern Thunderbird is still different. On its body there are no rear fins and massive chrome bumpers, and everything else has been preserved, but as if rejuvenated.