The Ford Thunderbird started production late 1954 for a 1955 launch. Ford executives and designers had been toying with a ‘European’ style model for the Ford line-up for some time. To a degree the Thunderbird was also a response to Chevrolet’s new Corvette, but Ford positioned the T bird, not as a sports car, but a personal luxury car (and in the process, created a new marketing segment). This meant a focus on luxury and comfort over speed and performance. The Thunderbird started life as a two seat convertible and got progressively bigger through the generations until the personal luxury car market collapsed in the late 1970s.