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1958 Thunderbird

1958 Ford Thunderbird

It was the year that the King of Rock-and-Roll, Elvis Presley, joined the ranks of the United States Army. The Cold War had a new face as Nikita Khrushchev became the first premiere of the Soviet Union. Young Bobby Fischer became a modern-day David-and- Goliath hero by defeating Russian chess champion Boris Spaskey - and America was about to experience a car like no other.

Ford brought the fight to Chevrolet and their new Thunderbird line was set head-to-head against the Corvette. In its first year the Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by 2000%!!!

This was the year that the TBird roadster model was converted to a full, four-seat "Personal Luxury Car", with expanded passenger and cargo room. A fully automatic folding top was introduced ... and the love affair with the Thunderbird was underway.

Motor Trend Magazine made the Thunderbird its 1958 Car of the Year.

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1959 Thunderbird

1959 Ford Thunderbird

Americans experienced great gains in 1959, along with great losses. Alaska and Hawaii officially became the 49th and 50th states of the Union - expanding our nations overall size by almost 20%. It was also the year that teenagers around the world mourned on "The Day The Music Died" - Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper were lost in a tragic plane crash on February 3rd.

In the world of the Thunderbird, this was the first year that full leather seats were added to the line. Models were available with a 352 or the enormous 430 V8 engine. Sales continued to skyrocket.

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1960 Thunderbird

1960 Ford Thunderbird

The Sixties began with great changes as the Vietnam conflict loomed dark on the horizon. Seeds of the Sexual Revolution where sown when the Food and Drug Administration approves "The Pill". Cold War tensions reach new heights when pilot Gary Power and his U-2 spy plane are shot down while spying on the Soviet Union. Presidential elections are in full swing and for the first time the Republican candidate - Richard Nixon and Democrat John F. Kennedy debate live on TV.

Sales of the beloved TBird continue to soar as Americans hit the road in their favorite Personal Luxury Car. A fully functional "Slide Roof" was introduced to the line along with new triple-unit tail lights, fashioned after the Chevy Impala. The massive 430 V8 engine continues as a customer favorite.

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1961 Thunderbird

1961 Ford Thunderbird

The age of Camelot begins as American welcomes its new, 35th President. Amidst the fanfair of the Presidential Inauguration, the extremely popular, newly redesigned 1961 Thunderbird is prominently featured in the parade.

This was also a year of great turmoil with the official beginning of the Vietnam war, the Freedom Riders for Civil Rights, Cuba's turn to Communism under Fidel Castro and the infamous Bay of Pigs fiasco.

Throughout all of this, Americans' love affair with the Thunderbird grew as their personal luxury car underwent a full redesign, including rounder lines, eased-back fins and a pointed nose. This was the year that the "Swing Away" steering column was introduced.

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1962 Thunderbird

1962 Ford Thunderbird

As the story goes, our new president asked his secretary to place a personal order for "as many Cuban cigars as you possibly can". He recieved a shipment of over 1200 of the finest Cuban cigars just hours before placing Cuba under a full Trade Embargo.

This year saw many exciting breakouts in areas ranging from sports to comic books. It was the year that Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a single basketball game. The comic book world was turned on its head with the introduction of the "Marvel Universe" with such unstoppable heros as the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and the Amazing Spiderman. Johnny Carson started a legacy with the Tonite Show and Marilyn Monroe ended hers with a bottle of pills.

The Thunderbird line continued to expand with both hardtop and convertible models, new 390 V8 engines and the introduction of a new piece of hi-tech equipment ... the AM/FM radio.

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1963 Thunderbird

1963 Ford Thunderbird

The face of America continues to change as the 60s move into high gear. Martin Luther King gives his "I Have a Dream" speech and Civil Rights becomes a movement of change in America. The Cold War enters a new phase as the President declares "Ich Bin Ein Berliner!" while encouraging Americans to build bomb shelters. The comic book world continues to evolve with the introduction of Iron Man and the Amazing X-Men.

This was also the year for one of the most dramatic terrorist acts on American soil as the President of the United States is assassinated in front of a crowd of thousands. American mourns the lost of its leader and Jacqueline Kennedy announces an end to Camelot.

For the Thunderbird, this was the year that crushed vinyl interiors were introduced and a Limited Landau model was released. The Thunderbird line continued with Hardtop and convertible options and more and more Americans hit the road.

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1964 Thunderbird

1964 Ford Thunderbird

As the dark cloud of an assassinated President looms heavy over our country, 36th president Lyndon B. Johnson enters office. His handling of foreign affairs and the Vietnam war, along with a fantastic string of PR and media gaffes, causes him to be widely despised and taunted by the "Yippie" generation. While there was no love lost for "LBJ", America welcomed a new form of foreign relations - the British Invasion. Beatlemania hits the United States like a force of nature and teenagers across the country crave the new music of the Beatles and Rolling Stones.

This was the year that the "Jet Bird" brand of Thunderbird was presented to America. This was a full-body makeover, accompanied by a significantly lengthened chassis. The Sports convertible line was dropped during the redesign phase. It was the first year for manual-crank vent windows and window switch lockouts.

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1965 Thunderbird

1965 Ford Thunderbird

It was the year that the New York Jets put their money on a rookie quarterback from the University of Alabama - named Joe Namath. President Johnson made his "Great Society" State of the Union speech. The Beatles were on fire as their "65" album shot straight to Number One and stayed there for nine straight weeks.

The TBird's "Jet Bird" line was again restyled with a new front end. Sequential turn signals were introduced this year. It was also the first in the line with power front disc brakes.

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1966 Thunderbird

1966 Ford Thunderbird

1966 saw a further escalation of the Vietnam war as US troop involvement exceeds a quarter-million soldiers. As American involvement in Southeast Asia escalates, so does the Anti-War movement, with tens of thousands of protestors marching in front of the White House and rallying in front of the Washington Monument. President Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act - and UFO fanatics go wild. It was the year that The Beatles held their last-ever live concert and the Doors hit the stage with their premier, self-titled album. Science Fiction television went where no man has gone before with the debut of "Star Trek".

The Thunderbird model underwent a full-body redesign from the Jet Bird. Restyling included a new grille and tail-light unit and the introduction of the 428 V8 engine (optional).

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