Book of the Ford Thunderbird from 1954


The full definitive history of Ford’s iconic Thunderbird sports car from 1950s dream, through to a year-by-year analysis of the production models. The American automotive scene was changed forever when Ford launched its legendary 1955 Thunderbird. Half a century and innumerable facelifts later, the Thunderbird still manages to capture the heart of American car enthusiasts with its sporting character and bold styling. This book covers the full story of the Thunderbird, from concept, the various yearly changes, ...

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2007-05-30 Hardcover New BRAND NEW. FREE UPGRADE TO PRIORITY SHIPPING (Within the US). Please check my feedback. I've been a full-time bookseller for over 10 years. I grade ... accurately, pack securely and ship quickly. All of my packages include tracking numbers to let you know the status of your shipment. I am not a dropshipper. All books listed are in stock and ready for immediate shipment. Read more Show Less

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The full definitive history of Ford’s iconic Thunderbird sports car from 1950s dream, through to a year-by-year analysis of the production models. The American automotive scene was changed forever when Ford launched its legendary 1955 Thunderbird. Half a century and innumerable facelifts later, the Thunderbird still manages to capture the heart of American car enthusiasts with its sporting character and bold styling. This book covers the full story of the Thunderbird, from concept, the various yearly changes, through to its demise in the 1990s and rebirth in the new millennium (and its subsequent exit from the Ford line-up), looking at the model’s numerous competition exploits along the way. Written by an acclaimed motoring historian with full co-operation form the factory this is an extremely comprehensive reference. In addition, it is illustrated throughout with over 400 contemporary photographs, brochures and advertising and has a range of useful appendices meaning this is the only book on this subject you will ever need.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
American Car World, October 2007, UK magazine

If you’ve ever wanted to read a definitive guide to Ford’s sportscar of over 50 years, this is it. At first the price might be off-putting, but when you start to flick through the pages you can appreciate why it is set so high, and how much of a bargain that really is when you consider the material within the 256 pages.

Author Brian Long is a motoring historian and has written nearly 40 books, and his authority shows throughout the book. Brian was given full co-operation from the Ford Motor Company and his T-bird book could be considered a bible, being the only book you’d probably need on the subject.

The book has year-by-year coverage of production models, with special variants also covered, some 500 pictures, most of which are color and include some fascinating rare prototype shots. In addition to the photographs, advertising and brochures have been used throughout, to further enhance the nostalgic appeal of the book. There’s even a full listing of production figures.

This really is everything an enthusiast would want to know in one book.

American Car World rating: 5 stars

The Automobile, September 2007

The Thunderbird was Ford’s personal two-seater answer to the more overtly sporting Corvette launched a year earlier in January, 1953. While the GM product had started life with a straight-six, the T-bird came in with a V-8, to which Chevrolet responded the following model year with the small-block V-8. Both set out to knock the British sporting imports.

Despite the fact that this has been written in Japan, where Brian Long has lived for many years, such are the wonders of modern communication that it could well have been compiled in Detroit, so complete is the information. It is fully illustrated with drawings, photographs and brochures model year by year from conception in October 1952, to the 12th generation at the end of 1997. Retro appeal brought the name back for the short-lived 13th generation from 2002-05, bringing the combined total to just over 4.4 million units in 47 production years. Its most popular model, averaging 319,000 a year, was the 8th generation of MY1977-79, when the car lost weight and departed from the short-wheelbase Lincoln appearance it had gradually acquired. Prior to that, production had averaged 60,000 or so, small beer in Detroit terms but relatively exclusive. Perhaps surprisingly, the annual numbers weren't affected by the arrival of the Mustang, which, to European eyes, was a fairly similar car, but in America it was half the T-bird's price, and not exclusive.

The author manages to present year-on-year changes without reading like a series of brochure updates by justifying the improvements with engineering reasons and enough comparisons with market rivals to keep it interesting to more than just T-bird lovers. You get to know what Ford was doing with its other models, too.

New Zealand Classic Car, September 2007 - New Zealand magazine

Surely one of the most attractive US cars since WWII is the original 2-seater Ford Thunderbird, produced from 1954 to ’57. The car immortalized in 'American Graffiti'.

Over four million Thunderbirds were sold in total and reading about the various versions in this excellent book is almost like a tour through US car styling of the past 40 years. Thunderbirds won Car of the Year awards a few times, many of the models were well written-up by US magazines, and the racing versions did well in NASCAR for a good few seasons.

This is the most comprehensive book, with hundreds of photos and lots of reprinted brochures (including some fascinating ones from Japan where the author now lives). Long also fits each year’s Thunderbird into US auto market developments at the time.

If you have or want to own or restore a ‘Bird, there’s every detail change for each year – including paint and upholstery colors. Well written and well illustrated, this is how a model ‘autobiography’ should be presented.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781904788478
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing PLC
  • Publication date: 5/30/2007
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Coventry, Brian Long trained as a mechanical engineer, and became heavily involved in the classic car scene at an early age. He turned to writing by chance, but has now had over 40 books published since his first was released in 1990. He now lives in Japan, although his passion for motorsport, old cars and all things mechanical remains as strong as ever.

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Table of Contents

Introduction and Acknowledgements     6
A Brief History of Ford     8
The dawn of motoring     8
The Ford Motor Company     9
The legendary Model T     9
The vintage years     10
WWII and the immediate postwar years     12
The First Generation     17
Origin of the Thunderbird name     21
Birth of the Thunderbird     17
T-Bird engineering     23
A new era begins     24
Birth of the Thunderbird     29
The 1955 model year     29
Flight of the Thunderbird     34
The 1956 model year     35
The 1957 model year     42
Chassis & body codes     51
The Second Generation     52
"Family car with sports psychology"     53
The 1958 model year     55
The 1959 model year     62
The 1960 model year     68
Chassis & body codes     75
The Third Generation     76
"A real change...for the better"     77
The 1961 model year     78
The 1962 model year     84
The 1963 model year     88
Chassis & body codes     93
The Fourth Generation     94
The T-Bird matures     94
The 1964 model year     98
The 1965 model year     102
The 1966 model year     107
Chassis & body codes     112
The Fifth Generation     113
Finding a clear concept     113
"A flight of fantasy"     114
The 1967 model year     116
The 1968 model year     120
The 1969 model year     125
Chassis & body codes     129
The Sixth Generation     130
Another new concept     130
The 1970 model year     132
The 1971 model year     136
Chassis & body codes     138
The Seventh Generation     140
More of the same     140
The 1972 model year     143
The 1973 model year     149
The 1974 model year     152
The 1975 model year     158
The 1976 model year     160
Chassis & body codes     161
The Eighth Generation     163
T-Bird goes on a crash diet     163
The 1977 model year     165
The 1978 model year      169
The 1979 model year     172
Chassis & body codes     178
The Ninth Generation     179
"The Thunder's still there"     179
The 1980 model year     181
"Happy silver anniversary, 'Bird"     182
The 1981 model year     184
The 1982 model year     188
Chassis & body codes     190
The Tenth Generation     192
Reinventing the T-Bird     192
The 1983 model year     194
The 1984 model year     202
The 1985 model year     206
The 1986 model year     208
Chassis & body codes     209
The Eleventh Generation     211
Evolution of the species     211
The 1987 model year     212
A year full of awards     214
The 1988 model year     216
Chassis & body codes     217
The Twelfth Generation     318
Project MN12     218
The 1989 model year     220
The 1990 model year     223
The 1991 model year     225
The 1992 model year     230
The 1993 model year     237
The 1994 model year      239
The 1995 model year     245
The 1996 model year     246
The 1997 model year     249
Chassis & body codes     252
The Thirteenth Generation     254
Back to the future     254
A new age mechanism     258
"Thunderbirds are go!"     259
The 2002 model year     262
The 2003 model year     267
The 2004 model year     273
The 2005 model year     275
Chassis & body codes     280
Appendix     281
Index     285
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