Ford Thunderbird 1955
Ford was caught off guard when Chevrolet introduced the Corvette in 1953. Although the Corvette was a commercial failure and didn’t earn any money for GM, the model proved extremely successful for promotional purposes. It was also valuable as a halo car for all of General Motors. So Ford wanted their own version to capitalize on the trend.
So, in 1955, Ford introduced the Thunderbird. Even though Ford tried to present it as a sports car, it was clear the Thunderbird was not one. The car had two seats and sporty looks, but it rode on a standard platform with a comfortable suspension. Ford filled the interior with all the creature comforts. The Thunderbird was Ford’s first personal luxury car with others to follow it later.
Ford may have missed the mark with the Thunderbird by failing to introduce a proper sports car to rival the Corvette. However, they created a sales hit because the T-Bird outsold the Corvette easily. It went on to become one of Ford’s best earners in the late 50’s. This sealed the fate of the Thunderbird, so Ford turned it into one of the biggest personal luxury legends of the American industry.