With all of its popularity, the flight of the two-seater 1955 Thunderbird was to be a short one. There were changes almost immediately after the car was introduced. The original design presented some problems. The cockpit needed better ventilation. Rear-quarter vision had to be improved. More trunk space was a necessity.
Design changes on 1956 models corrected these deficiencies. Flip-out side vents provided better ventilation; porthole windows enhanced rear vision and an outside tire carrier added trunk space. Standard equipment included energy-absorbing instrument panel padding, a concave safety steering wheel, safety door latches and a shatter-resistant mirror. Seat belts were optional.
Last-minute improvements, including the addition of the optional 312 CID V-8 engine, gave the second edition of the Thunderbird better handling and increased performance.
Part of the RM Auctions event in London, October, 2012.
Source: Ford press and RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel and Simon Clay