195519571957 Thunderbird Model F 1957 Thunderbird Phase I SC

Image credits: © Ford.

1956 Ford Thunderbird

This was the second production year for the sport Thunderbird. The continental kit was added to the rear and portholes in the detachable hardtop. The car also has a folding convertible top. The 312 cubic inch engine was an option over the standard 292 cubic inch V8. This car is equipped with Ford-o-matic transmission.

The Thunderbird Green or Sage, was only available in 1956 and only 4% of production vehicles used this color. There were a total of 15,651 Thunderbirds built this year. Ford referred to the T-Bird as a 'Personal Car' rather than a true sports car, to appeal to the upscale customer. For 1956, the porthole top, continental kit and a 12-volt electrical system were added.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Ford first introduced the convertible Thunderbird in 1955 and continued the two-seater body style thru 1957. Its original sales triumphed over the Chevy Corvette was the result of clean styling, creature comforts, and V8 refinement. The sales volume didn't impress Ford conservative management and a four seater replacement was in the works for 1958. The engine is a 292 cubic-inch overhead valve V8 with a bore of 3.75x3.30 and developed 193 horsepower. Price new ranged from $2944 to $3408. The total number of these automobiles produced in 1956 was 15,600.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis Num: P6FH330756
Sold for $46,200 at 2007 RM Sothebys.
The two-seater Ford Thunderbird was based on a February 1954 show car and was introduced on October 22 that year. The Thunderbird was launched nearly two years after Chevrolet introduced its fiberglass-bodied Corvette. For 1955, the Thunderbird sales outpaced those for the Corvette by an astonishing 23 to 1. (16,155 Thunderbirds versus 700 Corvettes).

The Thunderbird was low-slug and of all-metal construction, powered by a 292 cubic-inch V-8 engine with roll-up windows, and a removable hardtop. The 1956 Thunderbird remained mostly unchanged, though the hard top received 'porthole' quarter-windows, the spare became a 'Continental' kit to gain trunk space, and a 312 cubic-inch 'Thunderbird Special' V8 engine as optional equipment. Even with these improvements, sales dipped slightly to 15,631.

This 1956 Ford Thunderbird was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook. It is powered by a 312 cubic-inch Thunderbird Special V8 engine capable of producing 215 horsepower. There is a three-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel power assisted drum brakes. It is finished in white with a black soft top. The optional black hardtop was also included in the sale. The interior is finished in black and the chrome wire wheels accent the cars white-wall tires. The list of options on this car includes power steering, power brakes, power windows, four-way adjustable power seat, and air-conditioning.

1956 was the first year Ford introduced a 12-volt electrical system on the Thunderbird. This improvement allowed Ford to add a myriad of optional power accessories. There are many distinguishable elements between the 1956 and 1955 Thunderbird, such as the restyled taillights and the continental kit, which had become standard.

This example was offered for sale without reserve and estimated to sell between $35,000 - $50,000. At auction, the car was sold, selling for $46,200.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis Num: P6FH 278388
Sold for $28,600 at 2007 Christies.
Sold for $40,150 at 2009 Russo & Steele.
Sold for $52,800 at 2009 Russo & Steele.
This 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible was offered for sale at the 2007 Christies auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in Fiesta Red with matched red and white interior. It has a Fordomatic three-speed gearbox, four wheel drum brakes, and a 312 cubic-inch V8 engine capable of producing nearly 200 horsepower.

The Thunderbird was Ford's response to Chevrolet's Corvette. When the Thunderbird was introduced in 1955, it outsold the more expensive Corvette by 24 to 1. The name 'Thunderbird' was derived from the god of rain and prosperity worshipped by America's South West Indians. They were versatile vehicles with European style and American comfort and power.

The 1956 was nearly identical to the 1955 version, with the addition of a rear mounted spare tire being the most obvious difference. The Continental kit was stylish and gave additional trunk space for cargo. Cowl vents on each fender side were also new for 1956.

This example was offered without reserve at auction and estimated to sell between $30,000 - $50,000. It is a clean, restored example with a tidy engine bay. It is equipped with air-conditioning, radio, and heat. One big drawback for this example is that it does not include a hard or soft top. It has been in the same ownership for twenty years. At auction, this vehicle was sold for just under the estimated value, fetching 28,600 including buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
This is a all Matching Numbers vehicle, total restoration was to factory specifications. Peacock Blue color is an original 56 color, interior Peacock Blue and White is an original reproduction.

Power is from a 312/225 Special V8 engine with dress up kit rebuilt to original specs upgraded for unleaded fuel. Power is sent to the Fordomatic transmission and turns the rear wheels.

This car has tinted glass, power seat, power brakes, power steering ceramic coated exhaust manifolds. It is one of 15,631 manufactured, list price $4,526.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis Num: P6FM17026
This 1956 Ford Thunderbird was purchased in August of 2005 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has serial number P6FM17026 and is a matching numbers car. There were 15,631 examples produced in 1956 with the purchase price being $3,322.74.

The 1956 had the port hole hardtop and the spare tire was mounted on the back bumper.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Originally conceived as a sports car, the Corvette single-handedly created a new segment of automobile, the personal luxury car. This loaded 1956 reflects the personal luxury aspect of this model perfectly. From it externally mounted rear spare, to the wire wheels and bright two-tone paint. This example has been completely restored and is powered by the stalwart 312 cubic-inch V8.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
1957 was the last year for the sporty two-seater Thunderbird. The following year the car became bigger and now contained a rear seat.

This 1957 Thunderbird is powered by the optional 312 cubic-inch Ford Special V-8 that produced 245 horsepower. A previous owner of this car was Snowden Lea, who had earlier served as an engineer with the famed Duesenberg brothers, Fred and Augie, of Indianapolis, Indiana. The car was restored in 1980 by well-known Ford and Lincoln collector Jim Schmidt.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis Num: P6FH171237
Sold for $38,500 at 2013 RM Sothebys.
The Ford Thunderbird, introduced in 1955, was targeted at people looking for a roadster with more power and room, and a higher level of luxury, than could be found on the typical two-seater. Henry Ford II described it as a 'personal car', and a new automotive niche was born.

The Thunderbird came standard with a V-8 engine, power steering and power brakes, and an optional automatic transmission. Buys had the choice of tops, complemented by roll-up windows. For 1956, the spare wheel was mounted on the rear bumper, Continental-style, a feature that would become exclusive to that year's Thunderbirds.

The current owner of this 1956 Thunderbird acquired it several years ago. It has been given an extensive body-off restoration. The body was taken to bare metal and re-sprayed in factory-correct Fiesta Red, topped with three clear coats. The interior was restored in matching red and white with a period-correct radio. The suspension was fully rebuilt. New, narrow whitewall tires were also installed.

Under the hood is the optional 312 cubic-inch V8 engine breathing through a four-barrel carburetor and offering 225 horsepower. There is a two-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission and power-assisted hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes.

The car has traveled just 700 miles since the completion of the restoration. The car is equipped with both its original removable hardtop, featuring the 'portholes' made famous by American Graffiti, as well as with a soft top added during restoration.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2013
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis Num: P6FH154693
Sold for $59,400 at 2005 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $42,900 at 2013 RM Sothebys.
This fully restored Thunderbird was originally restored in 1984. Several years later, it was given another restoration. It is finished in metallic Thunderbird Gray, which was available only in 1956. It was finished with such desirable options and conveniences as power steering, power brakes, power windows, a removable hardtop, and the larger and more powerful 312 cubic-inch V-8 engine.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2013
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Introduced by Ford Motor Company for 1955, the Thunderbird underwent some subtle changes for 1956. Still a sporty, two-seater convertible (with a removable fiberglass top), it now featured a rear-mounted spare tire. Other design changes were cowl vents on each fender and a dual exhaust routed through redesigned rear bumpers.

Factory price of the Thunderbird in 1956 was $3,151. Both six and V-8 models were available, as were numerous options. This Thunderbird is powered by the 312 cubic-inch V-8 that developed 225 horsepower.

This Thunderbird has received a complete, off-frame restoration to its as-original condition.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
This Thunderbird was the recent recipient of a complete restoration, which included several upgrades such as AOD transmission, in-dash air conditioning, tilt steering column, disc brakes, throttle body fuel injection and rack-and-pinion steering.
1956 Ford Thunderbird 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
The 1956 Thunderbird was the middle year of the first series (1955-1957) and is instantly recognizable by the one-year-only 'continental-style' spare tire installed to the rear of the trunk. The T-Bird was Ford's response to the Corvette but was billed as a 'personal luxury car' even though it has the necessary performance from Ford's familiar (by then enlarged) 312 cubic-inch Y-block V8 with 215 horsepower or more depending on the 'performance package' installed. (The very first Corvettes were only available with 6-cylinder engines.) Sales of the early Thunderbirds exceeded those of the Corvette. Thereafter, the Corvette got faster to the Thunderbird's increased luxury, and the world changed.
1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
This Ford Thunderbird was built on November 17, 1955 at the Dearborn, Michigan assembly plant. It was delivered, by rail, to Lockwood Motors in Roseburg, Oregon. The delivered cost to the dealer was $3,148. The vehicle was well equipped with the following:
- 312 CID V8 engine developing 225 horsepower
- Automatic transmission
- Town and Country signal seeking radio
- Adjustable steering wheel column
- Power steering, brakes, windows and seats
- A porthole hardtop and a convertible top
The Ford Thunderbird is an American automotive icon first introduced in 1955. During the early 1950's, military men were returning from fighting in World War II. In Europe, the style of vehicle was very different from the Detroit American car. The graceful but sporty MG, Triumphs, and Jaguar's, to name a few, had found their way into the hearts of many of these serviceman. The American automobile manufacturers noticed this trend and felt there was a strong market to support a small sportscar.

The Chevrolet was one of the first, if not the famous, of the Detroit auto-manufacturers to test the market with the introduction of their Corvette. Not wanting to be left behind, Ford entered with their Thunderbird.

Lewis D. Crusoe, Frank Hershey, and George Walker are considered the creators of the Thunderbird. Crusoe was a retired GM executive; Hershey was a designer for Ford; and Walker was the chief stylist for Ford. While Crusoe and Walker were in Paris, they saw a sports car and were instantly inspired. They convinced Hershey to create designs and the result was an open car with room for two passengers. As with all cars, deciding upon a suitable name is difficult. There were well over 5000 suggestions, with the one submitted by Alden Giberson behind selected. The name Whizzer had been seriously considered but was dropped for Gibersons suggestion, the Thunderbird.

The Thunderbird, though similar, was different in many ways to the Corvette and the rest of the small sports cars being offered. The Thunderbird was created as a 'personal luxury' car and even to the current production version, has never been designed as a sports car. Instead of fiberglass, the Thunderbird was constructed of metal. Instead of six cylinder engines, Ford upped-the-ante with a V8. To keep cost and development at a minimum, it used as many parts as possible from the other Fords of that era. The result was a two-seater with many creature comforts and impressive styling. Manual and automatic transmissions were both available. The instrument panel was home to a tachometer, clock and a 150 mph speedometer. The suspension was comprised of a ball-join in the front, offering a plush ride.

The Thunderbird was first debuted to the public at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show, though it was still in concept form. The production version varied slightly. In September of that same year, the first production Thunderbird was completed and ready for sale. It was only available as a convertible. A popular option, the removable hardtop with circular portholes was available. During its introductory year, over 16000 examples were produced.

A 292 cubic-inch V8, depending on the configuration, ranged in horsepower from 193 through 212. A year later, the horsepower rose to a base of 215 and a high of 340 from the 292 and 312 cubic-inch engines. Ventilation was improved with the addition of side vents. The exhaust pipes were moved to the ends of the bumper. By moving the spare wheel to the outside, the trunk space was enlarged and the Continental Kit was born. Production for 1956 was down just a little but still strong with over 15,600 examples being produced.

The Thunderbird received styling changes in 1957 with a reshaped bumper and an enlarged grille. In the rear, the tailfins grew in size and became more pointed. The round tail-lights also grew in size. The spare tire was again housed inside the trunk. The big news was under the hood with versions of the 292 and 312 cubic-inch engines being offered. The base engine was the 292 offering just under 200 horsepower. The top of the line configuration was the F-code 312 with the NASCAR racing kit performance package, boosting horsepower to 340. The F-code, in non-NASCAR racing kit form was popular; with the help of a single four-barrel carburetor and supercharger it produced around 300 horsepower. The E-code 312 engine option, another popular engine choice, was equipped with two four-barrel carburetors and produced 270 horsepower. In total, 1957 was a great year for the Thunderbird, both in performance and in sales with over 21300 examples being produced. The 1957 season actually had three extra months of production because the 1958 models were not ready to be sold. On December 13, 1957, the last of the first series of Thunderbirds was produced and marked the end of two-seater Fords until the 1982 Ford EXP. A two-seater Thunderbird would not reappear until 2002. In total, over 53,160 examples had been produced from 1954 through 1957.

The major complaint of many of the owners of the 'Classic' or 'Little Bird' Thunderbirds had been due to its size, mainly because there was no back seat and limited trunk space. The next version of the Thunderbird addressed both of these issues.

The second series of the Thunderbird was produced from 1958 through 1960 and are commonly referred to as the 'Squarebirds' due to their design. The designs of the Corvette and the Thunderbird went in different directions with the Thunderbird continue to further evolve into the luxury car segment. Robert McNamara, the CEO of Ford at the time, made the final decision to morph the 2-door Thunderbird into a four-door. The decision was made in an attempt to increase sales.

The square and angular design quickly made its way to the rest of the Ford model line. It was primarily the work of Joe Oros who would later aid in the designing of the Ford Mustang. The design proposed by Elwood Engel was declined but later influenced the 1961 Lincoln Continental.

The Thunderbird was now built with a unitized body replacing the traditional body on frame construction. The interior had bucket seats and a center console. The console and bucket seats were the result of an engineering problem. The Thunderbird sat very low, lower than most automobiles at the time. The powertrain needed to be revised in order to fit under the car without dragging on the ground. The result was to burrow it higher in the car and offer a center console. The center console was a welcomed amenity, allowing buttons, switches and ashtrays to be built into it. The Thunderbird was offered as a hardtop or a convertible. A retractable top was considered but after less-than favorable experiences with the Skyliner, the idea was scrapped. Lincoln and the Thunderbird were both built on the same assembly line at a newly created plant located in Wixom Michigan specifically for the development of these upscale vehicles.

Under the hood was a 352 cubic-inch V8 that produced an impressive 300 horsepower. A three-speed manual transmission was standard with overdrive or Cruise-O-Matic being offered as optional equipment. The vehicle was suspended in place with a front independent suspension and a live rear axle both with with coil springs. The combination of luxury and power seemed to be a suitable decision for Ford, as sales skyrocketed to almost 38000. The hardtop option was by far the popular choice with almost 36000 units constructed. A little over 2000 examples of the convertible option were chosen.

The NASCAR racing circuit saw the square bird racing around the track during 1959 and 1960. The vehicle was not only popular with consumers it also captured the coveted Motor Trend's Car of the Year for 1958.

For 1959 Ford began offering leather seats in the Thunderbird. Ornaments could now be found on the exterior of the vehicle. Though little was changed in regards to aesthetics, there were many new mechanical components. The coil springs in the rear were replaced with a Hotchkiss drive unit and parallel leaf springs. An optional Lincoln 430 cubic-inch V8 boosted power to 350 horsepower, while the 352 was still the base engine. Part way through the year a change to the convertibles mechanism made them full automatic. Sales continued to be strong, with over 67000 examples being produced. The hardtop was still the more popular with just over 57000 examples created. The convertible had respectable sales with 10,261 examples being produced.

1960 marked the final year for the second generation Thunderbird. A Golde Edition, named after the German company who held the patent for the sunroof, was offered which featured a sunroof. 2530 examples selected this option, making vehicle outfitted with this option very rare in modern times. Sales for 1960 were nearly 93000, 11,860 were convertibles.

1961 was the beginning of the third generation, commonly referred to as 'Projectile or Bullet Birds'. The Thunderbird was completely redesigned with sleek styling that many believe resembles a bullet. In the rear of the vehicle the taillights and fins gave the impression of a jet or rocket-ship. The chassis was carried over from the prior year with minor improvements to produce a smoother ride. Performance continued to be strong with the 390 cubic-inch V8 producing 300 horsepower being the only available engine. The interior dashboard was curved and the steering wheel was the first vehicle to feature the 'Swing Away' design.

It was invited to participate as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. John F. Kennedy's rode in a Thunderbird during his Presidential inaugural parade. Elvis Presley purchased a 1961 Thunderbird.

Though the design of the Thunderbird was controversial, sales continued to hold strong, though less than the prior year. Over 73000 examples were produced with 10,516 opting for the convertible. The following year, sales rose to 78,011 with 9,884 being convertibles.

From 1962 through 1964 a Thunderbird Sports Roadster package was available which included a fiberglass tonneau cover to be used to cover the rear seats, converting the car into a two-seater. The tonneau cover was designed by Bud Kaufman and built with headrests. The convertible could still be operated even with the cover in place. Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels and trim completed the ensemble.

Performance was improved with a optional 'M-Code' 390-cubic-inch V8 with Holley two-barrel carburetors producing 340 horsepower. Only 145 examples were produced with the 'M-Code' option. In total around 62,000 hardtops and 10,516 convertibles were produced. 1427 buyers opted for the Convertible Sports Roadster package.

A Landau model was also introduced in 1962. It was a luxury hardtop version that featured a vinyl roof. It proved to be a popular option with over 12,000 examples being purchased in 1963. Overall, sales declined in 1963 with a total of 63,313 examples being produced. The Sports Roadsters were the least popular with only 455 examples produced. The convertibles had respectable sales with almost 6000 produced. Only 55 M-code Thunderbirds, 37 being Sport Roadsters, were produced in 1963. A Limited-Edition of 2000 'Principality of Monaco' Landau model were created. These special editions were inscribed with the original owner's name and production number on a plaque.

Styling changes continued in 1964 with square features replacing many of the round items. This was the beginning of the fourth generation of Thunderbird. The mechanics remained unchanged. The size of the wheelbase and length were increased. This was the final year for the Sports Convertible option.

Disc brakes were added in 1995. A new grille was added in 1966, as was the addition of an optional 428 cubic-inch engine producing 345 horsepower. Zero-to-sixty took about 9 seconds. The 390 cubic-inch engine was standard, able to propel the Thunderbird from zero-to-sixty in just eleven seconds while top speed was achieved at 110 mph.

This generation of the Thunderbird played a staring role in the TV series 'Highlander'. A 1966 model was shown in the 1991 movie 'Thelma & Louise.'

1966 was the final year for the fourth generation Thunderbird, commonly referred to as 'Flair Birds' or 'Jet Birds'.

The fifth generation of the Thunderbird was produced from 1967 through 1971, commonly referred to as 'Glamor Birds'. The design changed considerable, now available in four doors. Part of the reasoning was to distinguish it further from the Mustang, which had been intruding on the sales of the Thunderbird. So the Thunderbird was moved upward, further into the luxury car segment.

The unibody construction was abandoned for a body-on-frame construction. The design was changed, complete with a new grille and headlight layout. The headlights were hidden until needed. The rear doors were 'suicide' with the handle positioned on the opposite side of traditional doors. The door opened backwards. A convertible option was no longer offered.

In 1968 the grille was new but the rest of the vehicle remained mostly unchanged. Ford now offered a powerful 429 cubic-inch 8-cylinder engine capable of producing 360 horsepower. 1968 also marked the first year that the Lincoln Continental and the Ford Thunderbird would be closely related, built in similar fashion. This would continue until the close of the 1990s.

The grille and taillights changed in 1969. Two taillights replaced the single units. A sunroof was offered as optional equipment.

In 1970 the Thunderbird was available as a two-door or four-door. Minor changes were made in 1971, with most of the changes occurring to the bumper and grill.

From 1972 through 1976 the sixth generation of the Thunderbird was produced. This generation grew in every conceivable way, thus gaining it the 'Big Bird' name. It grew in size, weight, horsepower, and luxury. The 429 cubic-inch was standard and the 460 cubic-inch V8 was offered as optional. The weight of the vehicle topped the scale at nearly 5000 pounds. The large engines and heavy bodies meant the Thunderbirds received poor fuel mileage. This would turn into a concern for Ford when the country entered into an oil crisis.

In 1973 dual headlights and egg-crate styled grille were placed on the front of the vehicle. The 1974 version remained mostly unchanged from the prior year.

1977 began the seventh generation of the Thunderbird which persisted for only two years, ending in 1979. The Thunderbird shrunk in size, now sitting atop of the Ford Torino platform. At almost a foot shorter, it dropped nearly a thousand pounds and the price tag listed the car for almost $2700 less than the prior year.

Most of the vehicles diet was due to a new drivetrain consisting of a small-block 302 cubic-inch V8. A 351 and 400 V8 were offered as optional.

In 1978 a T-top option was offered. The front of the Thunderbird was restyled slightly in 1979 with a new grille.

The decrease in power was attributed to increasing government and safety regulations and due to the oil shortage. Ford made the decision to continue to make the Thunderbird smaller and lighter. The engines continued to decrease in size and as a result, the fuel economy improved. The interior remained to be luxurious offering many popular amenities of the era.

The eight generation of the Thunderbird began in 1980 and persisted for just two years. It continued to decrease in size dropping another 800 pounds and shrinking by over a foot. Though gas mileage increased, the Thunderbird decreased in popularity. The design was very 'boxy' featuring many squares and upright lines. The body now sat atop of a uni-body frame. The headlights were flip-up.

There were two engines offered, both were eight cylinders. The 255 cubic-inch was standard while the 302 cubic-inch could be purchased as optional equipment. The interior was elegant with digital instrumentation and multiple trim packages available.

The ninth generation began in 1983 and continued until 1988. The car continued to become more fuel efficient, this time aerodynamics were addressed. Though the engine bay now housed a 3.8 liter six-cylinder engine, the design became sportier.

The big news in 1983 was the Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a manual gearbox. This was the first time that a four-cylinder engine was offered in the Thunderbird. The Heritage version came equipped with a 3.8 liter 110 horsepower engine and a three-speed automatic gearbox. An eight-cylinder engine producing 140 horsepower was available as optional equipment.

There were minor changes throughout the next few years. In 1985 the front grille and tail lights were new. The interior received a new instrument cluster. The horsepower improved to 155 on the Turbo Coupe. A 30th Anniversary Edition model was offered.

By 1987 the turbocharged Thunderbird was producing nearly 200 horsepower, thanks in part to an intercooler courtesy of the Mustang SVO. The Thunderbird was redesigned with larger glass and headlights that were even with the rest of the grill. The result improved aerodynamics. It was named Motor Trends Car of the Year for that year.

The Turbo Coupe was replaced in 1989 with the Super Coupe, a 3.8 liter supercharged V6 engine capable of producing 210 horsepower and nearly 320 foot-pounds of torque. Good enough to earn the Thunderbird another Motor Trends Car of the Year Award.

The tenth generation of the Thunderbird began in 1989 and produced until 1997. This brought the introduction of the Thunderbird SC, meaning Super Coupe. The Thunderbird SC was equipped with the supercharged engine, disc brakes, and ground effects. Two other versions were available, the base Thunderbird and the Thunderbird LX.

The wheelbase became longer and a new independent suspension was placed in the rear. The interior was roomy and comfortable offering many luxuries and continuing the proud tradition of the Thunderbird.

The only engines offered were the 3.8 liter V6 and the supercharged version. The normally aspirated engine produced around 140 horsepower while the supercharged version, the 3.8-liter V6 with a supercharger, provided 70 more horsepower. A four-speed automatic gearbox was standard. A five-speed manual gearbox was offered with the SC version. By 1991 a 5-liter V8 could be installed in the Thunderbird, offering 200 horsepower. In 1994 a 205 horsepower 4.6 liter V8 was offered, replacing the 5-liter option. The Super Coupe's horsepower rating improved to 230. By 1995, the Super Coupe was no longer offered.

There were little styling improvements made to the tenth generation Thunderbirds. Changes to the front end helped improve the aerodynamics. In 1994 the interior received updates. In 1996 it received an update that made changes to the head and tail lights. New wheels, hood bulge, and a few others updates gave the Thunderbird a modernized appeal.

There were little changes made to the Thunderbird in 1997, its final year of production. On September 4th, the last Thunderbird was created, until its reappearance in 2002.

In 2002 Ford introduced the eleventh version of the Thunderbird. The design was very retro with its design taking styling cues for the early versions of the Thunderbird. It was good enough to capture the Motor Trend's Car of the Year award. It sat atop a chassis that it shared with the Lincoln LS.

It was a 2-door, 2-passenger luxury sports coupe, equipped only as a convertible with a removable hardtop. The price tag was set at around $40,000, putting it in the near-luxury category. A 3.9-liter V8 engine, mounted in the front provided the power.

Throughout its production lifespan, the design was never changed but the colors offered did. Sales were never strong and rather disappointing. It stayed in production only a few years, lasting until 2005.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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