No discussion of iconic American cars would be complete without mention of the Ford Thunderbird. Although eleven generations of Thunderbirds have existed since the car's 1955 introduction, the latest model is a two-seat convertible with rear-wheel drive. The last generation of T-Birds was produced between 2002 and 2005, with styling and power that honor the original model.
The 2005 Thunderbird delivers dynamic performance, thanks to its 3.9-liter V8 engine and 280 horsepower (hp). It travels from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 7.3 seconds. It is not especially fuel-efficient, attaining 12 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 25 mpg on highways. The 2005 model measures 186 inches in length and is 72 inches wide. It has a towing capacity of 1,000 pounds. The 2002-2005 generation was manufactured at the Ford plant in Wixom, Michigan.
Following the highly successful debut of General Motors' Chevrolet Corvette in 1953, the Ford Motor Company sought to create a similar, yet utterly original vehicle. The 1955 model had a 4.8-liter V8 engine. Its wheelbase measured 102 inches. While the Corvette was billed as a sports car, the Thunderbird was marketed a bit more modestly as a personal car. Ford expedited the design and production of the Thunderbird, and the first models were available for sale in October 1954. The T-Bird was an instant hit among buyers. Ford scrambled to manufacture more than 16,000 cars for the model year, easily exceeding sales expectations of 10,000 units. By comparison, only 700 Corvettes sold in the 1955 model year.
Through the years, the Thunderbird acquired back seats and grew significantly in size. The model was retired in 1997, a year in which luxury coupe sales yielded to those of sport utility vehicles and small trucks. Following a highly positive reception to a 1999 concept car, Ford revived the T-Bird for the 2002 model year. The models produced between 2002 and 2005 models recall the look of 1950s Thunderbirds, yet possess utterly modern technology. The 2005 T-Bird has electric throttle control and variable valve timing, both contributing to the peppy driving experience. Its AJ-35 V8 engine delivers satisfying power. For the 2003 models and beyond, Ford offered a manual shifting option to its standard five-speed automatic transmission. The car shares a platform with the S-type Jaguar and the Lincoln LS.
The Thunderbird won Motor Trend magazine's coveted Car of the Year" award in 1958, 1987, 1989 and 2002. Vintage T-Birds are prized among collectors.
... View more