THE GENESIS OF THE THUNDERBIRD
Three men are generally credited with creating the original Thunderbird: Lewis D. Crusoe, George Walker, and Frank Hershey. It all begin when Crusoe and Walker, who had met in France in 1951, were walking in the Grand Palais in Paris. At that point, Crusoe identified an European sports car and asked Walker: ‘Why can’t we have something like that?’ And the Thunderbird was on its way!
HISTORY OF THE THUNDERBIRD
Manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States from 1955 through 2005, the Thunderbird included eleven model generations, and is renowned for creating its own automobile market niche, known as the personal luxury car.
Entering production in 1955 as a sporty two-seat convertible, Ford then added a second row of seats in 1958. Over the next few generations, the vehicle became larger until the line was downsized in 1977, again in 1980, and once again in 1983. By the end of 1997, the production of the T-Bird was ceased. However, in 2002 production of the Thunderbird started again, with a revived 2-seat model. But in 2005 Ford once again stopped production of the Thunderbird.
From its introduction in 1955 to its phaseout in 2005, Ford produced over 4.4 million Thunderbirds.
FUN SIDE NOTES OF THE T-BIRD
The Beach Boys elevated the Thunderbird to pop- culture-icon status in 1964 by including it in the lyrics of their hit single “Fun Fun Fun” (“she’ll have fun, fun, fun ’til her daddy takes the T-Bird away”).
President John F. Kennedy included 50 Thunderbirds in his inaugural procession in 1961
The 1973 cult movie classic “American Graffiti” prominently featured the T-Bird
First generation (1955–1957)
Second generation (1958–1960)
Third generation (1961–1963)
Fourth generation (1964–1966)
Fifth generation (1967–1971)
Sixth generation (1972–1976)
Seventh generation (1977–1979)
Eighth generation (1980–1982)
Ninth generation (1983–1988)
Tenth generation (1989–1997)
Eleventh generation (2002–2005)