According to "Palm Springs Life" magazine, the car's final name did not came from the native American symbol as one might expect, but from an ultra-exclusive housing tract in what would later be incorporated as Ranch Mirage, California: Thunderbird Heights
Prior to naming the car the Thunderbird, Ford asked and was granted permission to do so from Triumph Motorcycles in England who had a Thunderbird model motorcycle of their own at the time.
Detroit Auto Show, February 20 of 1954
Henry Ford 2. Detriot Auto Show 1954
Henry Ford 2. & Brother William Clay Ford