Snapshot: 1955-57 Ford Thunderbirds

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ford thunderbird engine bay ford thunderbird engine bay

Put this first generation T-bird (aka the ‘Babybird’) next to its later brethren and it’s hard to believe they share a name and a lineage.

Where the cars you see here are mid-sized, a full-blown sixties version goes close to redefining the term ‘land yacht’. Both have their virtues and both were intended to leverage the relatively new market in the rising middle-class, which Ford described as the ‘personal luxury car’ segment.

The overall architecture is familiar: V8 powerplant with auto, though the first-generation went through numerous alterations in its short existence.

Classic and American Imports in SA has this impressive line-up. So, which one? Tough decision.

Ford Thunderbird

BODY separate chassis
ENGINE 5.1-litre V8 (1957)
POWER 183kW @ 4500rpm
TORQUE 450Nm @ 2700rpm
GEARBOX 3-speed auto
SUSPENSION wishbone front live axle rear



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