Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sunset Blvd T-bird

Always parked in our neighbourhood! And looks like a 1955 model with the '56 porthole windows.

The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was the world's first "personal" car, designed to compete with the Corvette. The first generation 2-passenger T-birds were considered instant classics, and became cultural icons. Not quite a true "sportscar" but marketed to the individual driver with its luxurious detailing, the model was tweaked quite a bit from this period into 1957, and in 1958 T-birds were available with air-conditioning. To me it's still such a beautiful mid-century car - sleek, minimal and modern, and stylish.

Illustration from Thunderbird sales brochure.

Dealer ad for the Ford Thunderbird (top car)

The Thunderbird unveiled at Detroit Auto Show 1954.

Frank Sinatra's 1955.

Advertising shot from the time -  the suburban dream life of the 1950's.

John Samsen worked for Ford as a designer at the time this new car was being developed, and tells the story of how the distinctive shape was modeled. He shares some of the original concept sketches and photos of the clay models in this article posted on Dean's Garage blog. His recollections are pretty fascinating. Imagine playing a part in the making of an icon?