This Thunderbird is generally credited with pushing the marque's
popularity into history.  This third generation produced some of the
fastest Thunderbirds ever made in the Sports Roadster - a triple
carbureated 390 that pushed 345 horses in 1962.  The Thunderbird
was joined in the Ford lineup by the  Mustang was that was
introduced mid-year 1964.
1955 - 1966
This Thunderbird was up until 2002 year the last two seater
Thunderbird.  These cars were produced for three model
years and the '57 version is considered the best T-Bird ever
made.  It was an indirect competitor to the two seater
Chevrolet Corvette at the time.  
The 2nd generation Thunderbird was of the first one to
have a place for backseat passengers.  It was the first
Thunderbird to win Motor Trend "Car of the Year."  Sales
grew incredibly in 1958 by nearly 200% over 1957 because
the car now appealed to a wider audience.  1958 across the
board was one of the worst years ever profit-wise for the
entire automobile industry, but this Thunderbird was flying
high.
1955-1957
1958-1960
1961-1963
1964 saw chassis improvements to the Thunderbird as well as
more luxurious appointments than the car ever had before.  This
fourth generation moved the Thunderbird further away from the
sporty performance and much more firmly directed towards
personal luxury, a busniess model that would last throughout the
Seventies.  This car led its segment in the three years it was
produced, and 1966 would prove to the last convertible for some
time.
1964 - 1966
.