I love the styling of the 1955 Thunderbird, its first year in production. The first generation of the Ford Thunderbird was a two-seat convertible produced by Ford for the 1955 to 1957 model year, the first 2-seat Ford since 1938. It was developed in response to the 1953 Motorama display at the New York Auto Show, which showed the Chevrolet Corvette.
In 1958, the Thunderbird was transformed into a four-seat car. It had much boxy lines, a wide-pillar roof, and was cleverly used the term personal luxury car, thus creating a new class of cars. This model was named Motor Trend Magazine’s Car of the Year.
From 1964-1997, the Ford Thunderbird morphed many, many times in both engine size and in body shape. The underwhelming 1997 model stopped production of the Thunderbird until 2002. That year, Ford introduced a 2002 Thunderbird that featured designs closer to the iconic 1950’s style and earned itself the Motor Trend Car of the Year. Ford produced the Thunderbird until July, 2005.
Here is a great overview of the changes to the Thunderbird with images throughout the years.