37¢ Ford Thunderbird
America on the Move Booklet Stamps
Issue Date: August 20, 2005
City: Detroit, MI
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10.75
When Chevrolet came out with Harley Earl’s Corvette, Ford designer Frank Hersey began to develop a competitive model. A painted clay model of the Thunderbird was ready four months after Corvette’s January 1953 debut.
The Thunderbird came to market in the fall of 1954. It had a convertible top, plus a removable fiberglass hardtop, roll-up windows, and a powerful V-8 engine – all features that the first Corvette had lacked.
The 1955 Thunderbird delivered 193 horsepower through a three-speed manual transmission, with automatic transmission optional. A 4.8-liter Mercury V-8 propelled it to 115 miles per hour.
The first production car rolled off the assembly line in September 1954. It went on sale on October 22, 1954, and received 3,500 orders in the first ten days of sale, at a base price of $2,695. The American public purchased 16,155 Thunderbirds that first year.
For amateur racers, there was a tachometer and an elapsed-time clock, but Ford did not promote the new Thunderbird as a sports car. Instead, Ford marketed the car as a personal luxury car with radio, heater, power brakes, and power steering. A Ford ad described the 1955 Thunderbird as “Seventh Heaven on Wheels.”