100 Cars That Changed History
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48. Ford Thunderbird 1955-1997, 2002-2005 United States
Introduced in 1955, the Ford Thunderbird would go on to create a new class of automobile known as the personal luxury vehicle. The Thunderbird was conceived as a response to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette. Like the Corvette, the Thunderbird was two-seater convertible coupe. Ford eventually decided, even though the Thunderbird was aimed at competing with the Corvette, to emphasize the difference in the two vehicles by placing focus on the Thunderbird’s comfortableness and convenient features, rather than the vehicle’s sportiness. Ford billed the vehicle a “personal luxury” car, not a sports car. Although, the Thunderbird body style did prove to be formidable in NASCAR racing. It spurred a trend of using luxury coupe as a sheet metal source on the racetrack.