Jim Smart
June 1, 2007

As did the Mustang a decade later, Thunderbird outsold its predictions. Ford planned to build 10,000 units for 1955 and sold 16,155. The car was so popular that Ford received 3,500 orders in the first two weeks-unheard of for such a narrow-niche automobile. And what a terrific package Thunderbird was with its 292ci V-8, a choice of stick or automatic, an auto-adjust driver seat, a telescoping steering wheel, a removable hardtop, full instrumentation, and more.

Ford's first-generation classic Thunderbirds are a study in beauty, grace, and the American spirit. They represent our postwar greatness during the '50s when America was on the rise. As Motor Trend reported, "Perhaps the most outstanding feature of Ford Thunderbird is the clever wedding of sports-car functionalism and American standards of comfort." We couldn't have said it better.

Bill and Judy will tell you their classic Thunderbird is a wonderful journey back to a time when they were much younger (both are now in their 60s). All they could do in 1955 was admire the car and dream. Today, owning a Goldenrod Yellow Thunderbird is a dream achieved.

The Details

'55 Ford Thunderbird
Owner: Bill and Judy Rodriguez, Wells, NV

Engine
292ci Y-block V-8
3.750-inch bore, 3.300-inch stroke
Cast-iron crankshaft
Mechanical-lifter camshaft
Cast pistons
Holley "Teapot" four-barrel carburetor
Open-element air cleaner
Single-point ignition
Finned cast-aluminum Thunderbird
valve covers
This 292 is factory original-never rebuilt

Transmission
Cast-iron Ford-O-Matic

Rearend
Integral carrier
3.21 gears

Exhaust
Factory dual exhaust

Suspension
Front: Conventional coil spring between control arms
Rear: Leaf-spring live axle
Master-Glide power steering (Eaton pump)

Brakes
Front: Factory drum
Rear: Factory drum
Power-assisted

Wheels
Front: Kelsey Hayes wire wheels, 15x5-inch
Rear: Kelsey Hayes wire wheels, 15x5-inch

Tires
Front: Bias-belted wide whitewall, 6.70x15-inch
Rear: Bias-belted wide whitewall, 6.70x15-inch

Interior
Black and yellow vinyl, telescoping steering wheel, Custom Autosound cassette stereo

Exterior
PPG basecoat/clearcoat urethane in '55 Ford Goldenrod Yellow