Final Thunderbird Comes off the Assembly Line at Wixom
Ford Press Release
Employees of the Ford Wixom (Mich.) Assembly Plant escort the final Ford Thunderbird off of the line recently. Find out more about the Thunderbird at fordvehicles.com.
WIXOM, Mich. -- It was a bittersweet moment Friday as the last Thunderbird was driven off the assembly line at Wixom Assembly Plant.
"We're sad to see this car go," said Larry Fisher, dealer relations manager at Wixom Assembly Plant. "But I, along with all the other employees here at the plant, am tremendously proud to have been part of the revival of this American icon."
The Thunderbird has come full circle since it was first introduced in 1955. Back then, it was a two-seater designed to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette. In 1958, the T-Bird was reconfigured to seat four people; it remained that way until production ended with the 1997 model year. In 2002, the Thunderbird was reborn with a retro look that harkened back to the early days of the automotive classic.
More than 4 million Thunderbirds have been sold in the last 50 years. The last T-Bird was the 1,160,827th one to roll off the line at Wixom.
Fisher said that the Thunderbird will always be a car that touches an emotional chord with people. The car elicits memories of the '50s and the movie "American Graffiti," which featured the classic automobile.
"I identify with the Thunderbird because it reminds me of simpler days," he said. "For me, it brings back thoughts of the post-war times. America was a growing country. Everybody strived to create the 'American Dream' -- a house, kids, a dog, and a new, distinctive automobile parked in the driveway. It represented a time of great opportunity and an era of automotive personal freedom."
Thunderbird collectors from across the United States and Canada recently attended a "Fifty Years of Thunderbird" event at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. And many of the people in attendance had their own special memories to share.
"When my first son was born, our doctor had a 1955 Thunderbird, and we just loved it," said Bendetta Farr, a T-Bird collector from Belleville, Mich. "That's the reason we always looked for one and when we had the opportunity, we bought one. You go down with the street in it, and everybody gives you high-fives. It's just a car that everybody really enjoys."