OTTOVILLE — The 1955 Ford Thunderbird was one of the earliest collectible cars after the war. Ford stylists had been experimenting with the concept of a two-seater before the mid-fifties, but sports car sales were minimal in the United States car market. The veterans came home and wanted European styled cars. GM introduced the Chevrolet Corvette in and Ford was quick to respond in 1955 with the Ford Thunderbird. Marketing experts billed it as a personal luxury car, putting the emphasis on the car’s comfort and convenience features rather than its sportiness. The Thunderbird outsold Chevy’s Corvette in 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold, compared to only 700 Corvettes. The Thunderbird had an elegant, fun to drive reputation, which made it the American icon it is today.
Paul Hoehn, of Ottoville, brought his 1955 Ford Thunderbird to The Lima News’ Real Wheels Cruise-In. He has owned his for 12 years. He did a complete restoration, which took him 10 years. Now he’s driving in style in his “personal luxury car.”