Menu is loading please wait
Racing Champions Contents
RIO Info


1956 Open


1956 Coupe


Coming Soon

RIO Information


Information on leaflet included in Box (in 4 Languages) 
(my comments in Bold)

The paternity of this two-seater may be ascribed to Mr Lewis Crusoe, the Ford General Manager who, coming back from Paris Motor Show, realizes with disappointment that his production is lacking in a model of sports car to be set against the several Jaguar, Mercedes, Ferrari cars and, most of all, the Chevrolet Corvette that has already been produced for two years.

  • I don't think your timing is quite right here, guys ? 
    That would mean the Corvette was being produced in 1951
    And were Ford really concerned about Corvette production of 700 cars a year?

He makes up for this deficiency very soon and, in 1955, a new Ford model is presented at the absolutely competitive price of US $ 2.944. Though openly derived from the Corvette, it immediately proves to be a sensational and unexpected success, taking away almost all the potential buyers from its rival.
(It will be enough to consider that, in 1960, 87.000 Thunderbirds, to only 9.000 Corvettes, are sold).

  • I thought we were discussing the 1956 ?

In addition to this, our T-Bird bears comparison with many of the other fast cars.

  • Like the Jaguar D Type XKSS ? or the Ferrari 250S

Under its bonnet there is a new 292 cubic inches engine developing 202 H.P. and, for what it concerns transmission, a hand lever gearshift is adopted following the European example.

The 1956 model, here reproduced, slightly differs from its forerunner: the body corresponds exactly except for the new position of the spare wheel, which, being completely external, gives further refinement to its line. The same year sees also the advent of the famous Hard-Top endowed with side port-holes.

  • Fender Vents ? 

It is now possible to choose between two kinds of motorization: the 292 cubic inches with its 202 H.P. and hand lever gearshift; and the 312 cubic inches with hand lever gearshift or Overdrive (225 H.P.), or else equipped with Fordomatic (215 H.P.).

  • Jaguar XKSS = 250 H.P.
  • Ferrari 250S = 240 H.P.

In contrast with the Corvette, its dashboard is extremely simple: the board is straight, with a large dial in front of the driver and a few gadgets.

Unfortunately, in 1958, the two-seat model is replaced by a four seater which will never be able to renew the charm and the success of the first unforgettable T-Bird

 This site has no connection in business with RIO and Information is provided for non-commercial use only

18 August, 2003