2015 marks a special occasion for a forthcoming venue that’s sure to get the attention of hot rodders here in the States. Hemmings Motor News, the collector car firm that’s grown exponentially over its 61 years of business, is throwing its ninth annual Concours d’Elegance show this year. The event is known for attracting glossy, top-notch rides from yesteryear to convene in the Saratoga Spa State Park in Saratoga, New York, right next to the prestigious Saratoga Automobile Museum.
This year, Hemmings wants to pay homage to one of the most iconic cars to come from Detroit: the Ford Thunderbird, now at its 60th anniversary. First produced in 1954 as a 1955 model year, the Thunderbird marked Ford’s first true attempt at a sports car. Envisioned as a competitor with European rivals, the car touted all the styling and performance cues that the market segment demanded, and then some.
From its 292ci V8 motor to its airplane-inspired tailfins, the T-Bird fit right in with the 1950s spirit of American automobiles. Both the public and the media were quick to notice the car’s potential as a competitor with the relatively new Chevrolet Corvette as well. Such status was amplified all the more by the addition of a McCulloch/Paxton supercharger, first offered as an option in 1957 in the F-Code models; only 211 were ever made, however.
As the years passed, Ford tamed the Thunderbird more and more, turning it into an upmarket four-door by 1971, the end of the fifth generation. That’s also the cutoff year for entrants to the show, which is set to take place Sunday, September 27th.