Unlike today, vehicle options were pretty limited half a century ago once the Ford Thunderbird first required flight. There have been sedans, coupes, station wagons and convertibles, but basically a Ford would be a Ford -- straightforward versions on the common design. Using the 1955 T-bird, however, Ford introduced the idea of the sporty "personal luxury vehicle" -- a detailed-combined two-seater with V8 energy, a cushy ride and stylish styling. Additionally, it had the straightforward construction and reasonable cost of the Ford.
Silky-smooth V8, cool retro styling, relaxed yet capable handling, available bolt-on hardtop.
Lacks trunk space, lackluster interior design, no manual or automanual transmission offered.
Now in its second year, the Thunderbird gains 28 more horsepower and 25 more pound-feet of torque, bringing the totals to 280 and 286, respectively. The bump in power is due to new electronic throttle control and variable cam timing. All-speed traction control comes standard, and heated seats are now available as options. The instrument cluster has been revised, and new exterior and colors brighten up the palette. Finally, a new saddle interior package makes its debut with full saddle-style leather for the seats, steering wheel and shift knob.