Franklin Q. Hershey, formerly with General Motors, was hired by Ford in the early part of 1952. Soon after Chevrolet introduced their Corvette, Ford introduced their Thunderbird which had styling courtesy of Mr. Hershey. It was given the name 'Thunderbird' after the god worshipped by Southwestern Native Americans as bearer of rain and prosperity. It was introduced at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show and it would become a sensational success throughout the years. It had European styling with American comfort, convenience and power in an attractive sports car body. During its first year alone, it outsold the Corvette by twenty-fold.
This particular Ford Thunderbird has spent its entire life in Sonora, California. It is a rust-free example that has just two owners over its 53 years of existence. The current owners acquired the car in 2000 and soon embarked on a comprehensive restoration that was completed in September of 2007. It is powered by a 292 cubic-inch V-8 engine with Single 4-Barrel carburetors producing 193 horsepower. There is a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
This car is one of the last 25 cars produced for the 1955 model year. It was shown at the 2007 Classic Thunderbird Club International (CTCI) Regional Concours in Ontario, California, where it received Senior Status and won the Concours' Gold Award and the People's Choice Award.
In 2009, this Ford T-Bird was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was expected to sell for $50,000 - $70,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for a high bid of $63,800 including buyer's premium.