F Stock – Souped-Up 1955 Ford Thunderbird Gaps 2019 Taurus SHO in Unlikely Drag Race
The first-generation Thunderbird is a completely different car. A more compact two-door convertible, it was designed as a luxury car (despite Ford’s initial attempt to aim it toward the Chevrolet Corvette). The Thunderbird was a low-volume seller, fitted with a 4.8-liter Y-block V8 engine rated at up to 198 horsepower.
On paper, the 1955 Thunderbird is no match for the 2019 Taurus SHO. However, this Tbird is by no means stock. You’ll quickly notice that it rides on drag-spec wheels (skinny up front, meaty to the rear), and the exhaust note gives away the presence of a beefed-up V8 under the hood.
The face-off unveils the wild performance of the classic coupe. The Thunderbird driver loses the first race due to a really poor start, but demands a rematch and sets the record straight. The veteran Ford takes off the line in pure dragster fashion with the front wheels up in the air and blasts through the quarter-mile, struggling to maintain grip with every shift change.
The Thunderbird crosses the line after 12.09 seconds, about 1.5 seconds ahead of the Taurus SHO. With a trap speed of 114 mph (183 kph), the Tbird is also notably faster than the modern sedan, doing only 100 mph (161 kph). It was an unexpected result based on the cars’ model years, but far from surprising upon hearing the Thunderbird roar.
Fun fact: while the Taurus and Thunderbird were never related as automobiles, they did share engines at some point. Although it never recaptured the glory of its early versions, the Thunderbird lived on until 1997, and it was revived again from 2002 to 2005 with a retro-inspired exterior.