Is Ford Reviving Thunderbird as an Upscale Corvette Fighter?

We thought that Ford already made a Corvette fighter with its GT? But rumors are circulating that give credence to the company reviving the Thunderbird name for an upscale rival to the Corvette. However, this would not be a mid-engine layout like its GT and, of course, the C8 Corvette.

What’s special about the Ford Thunderbird name?

2002 Thunderbird
2002 Thunderbird script | Getty

The Thunderbird name is another iconic brand like the Bronco and Mustang, and maybe even the Maverick. Well, maybe not the Maverick. Since finding success keeping those legacy names in production, Thunderbird also places right up there. 

As Ford is very mum about future plans, we don’t know at this time if this would be a two- or four-seater, and whether it would have two or four doors. We’re betting it will be a two-door coupe. So this would revive the original dynamics of its original introduction in 1955.

Was the Thunderbird conceived as a Corvette fighter?

1955 Thunderbird
The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was Ford’s first sports car | Getty

The Thunderbird arrived on the scene as Ford’s counter to the Corvette. As the Corvette progressed, it became much more of a performance two-seater. But the Thunderbird took the high road as more of a sporty luxury two-seater. That is, until 1958 when it became what some consider the first “personal luxury” car. 

It got larger, and could now seat four passengers. During the time it was in production, it was available for many years as a coupe or convertible. It even got a four-door option in 1967. The popular Thunderbird carried through mostly in that vein, getting larger, then smaller, then larger again. It finally left the automotive landscape in 1997. 

2002 Thunderbird
2002 Ford Thunderbird | Getty

Then it arrived as an anemic luxury two-seater in 2002. Once it debuted it had no pop. Because it had been shown as a concept for years, it didn’t seem new.

What would a new Thunderbird be like?

Ford GT
2021 Ford GT | Getty

As to this revived Thunderbird, Ford Authority reports that it would be more of a grand touring coupe. No mid-engine platform is expected, but that is expected with any future products, which will certainly be electrified. But this also raises questions about what platform it might share under the Blue Oval. 

That’s where the next Mustang comes into the picture. The all-new S650 Mustang arrives next year. It will offer a range of engine options with hybrid power, as well as an electric version in a couple of years. So the S650 platform is being designed for both ICE and electric propulsion. 

Could platform sharing with the new Mustang be a key?

Ford Mustang what is an S550 and what's next
2022 Mustang GT California Special is an S550 | Ford

But that platform is sliding under a car that Ford is currently selling around 50,000 units a year. So it would make sense to try and amortize the costs of development over two, or even three brands. And we think that is where the Mustang and this rumored Thunderbird collide. Well, collide is maybe not the best word to use, but you get it?

The Corvette is selling very well and that is expected to continue. GM has a solid business plan for it-you know it does. So that should also apply to Ford. If it can develop a Corvette fighter using a newly-developed platform that can pivot between ICE and electric, then it might make even more sense to produce. 

And really, an American two-seat coupe is a rare animal these days. The Corvette is it. But it acts as a halo for GM, besides a profit center. With the GT in its final days, and really being too expensive and exotic for all but a few, Ford could use something like the T-Bird as a more affordable sports car. 

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