Monday, July 13, 2009

1959 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

"For glamour and individuality, there is nothing in the world to compare with the new Thunderbird convertible. Seen on the open road, America's most advanced prestige car glows with the vivid personality of an expensive sports car. Its automatic, power-operated top accordions, flips and disappears -completely disappears- into the spacious trunk. The marvelously long, distinctively sculptured rear deck becomes flush with the rear seats, forming one long, uninterrupted sweep of pure Thunderbird beauty. It makes the car look even lower, even more dashing, even more agile! The new Thunderbird convertible is, in a word, spectacular."

And a spectacular beauty it is, this Ford Thunderbird, even coming fresh from the paint shop, and with some of it's chrome-trim still missing. Introduced for 1955, the Thunderbird was Ford's answer to the Chevrolet Corvette and one of the first genuine american sports cars. Originally designed as a two-seater with rather compact proportions, Ford decided to make it a fullsize four-seater in the second generation, which started in 1958. The enthusiasts were embarrassed, but the sales-figures proved that Ford's decision was right: in 1959 Ford sold as many Thunderbirds as all 1955-1957 Ford and Chevy two-seaters together!

Part of the tremendous success was the 4-seater practicability, but technically, the Thunderbirds were also up-to-date. A monocoque-body made the car very low in stance and powerful V8 engines with as much as 430 cubic inches (7,1 litres in metric units) displacement made it quite agile. Or, as the advertisement summarized it: "Thunderbird's 'GO' matches its glow."

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