In 1976, Jim Wiedmann moved his family from North Dakota to Arizona as a District Manager for Steiger Tractor. While traveling the West, Southwest and Hawaii, he developed many relationships in the farm equipment business, and it wasn't long before he recognized the need for better sun protection on tractors. Developing a lightweight fiberglass canopy that attached to the tractor's roll bar, Jim began assembling and selling the sunshades out of his garage in 1983. As orders from dealers began to grow, Jim and his wife Pam chose the name "Firebird" for their new company, a name representing the mythical Phoenix bird after which their hometown is named. With a vision that the new company would rise from it's humble beginning to be strong and vibrant, Firebird Fiberglass Products, Inc. was incorporated in 1989. It was the first after-market canopy company to provide sturdy, reinforced fiberglass construction and to custom-design the roofs with matching color options and secure mounts.
In the mid-nineties, a division called Roadside Relics was created, and a long line of nostalgic products was developed. Jim's oldest son Matt was key in promoting this line which included replicas of old gas pumps, vending machines, ice chest coolers, neon clocks, and many other items. The products were marketed through several product licenses including Mobil, Fender,Texaco, Harley Davidson, Shelby, John Deere, Pennzoil, Chevrolet, Ford, and more.
n 1997, a devastating fire burned the manufacturing plant to the ground, and the company moved to a larger facility in Glendale, AZ. "Firebird" literally lived up to its name, rising from the ashes to become more successful than ever. By the time the business celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2009, Firebird Fiberglass Products, Inc. had become one of the leading manufacturers of tractor canopies in the US. It was the only fiberglass canopy manufacturer with full North American distribution and was the supplier to many of the largest tractor manufacturers in the world, among them New Holland, CaseIH, Kubota Tractor, and Kubota Tractor of Canada.
WHY THE NAME CHANGED FROM "FIREBIRD" TO "THUNDERBIRD”...
The “Firebird” brand, as it is called, was built from the ground-up by Jim Wiedmann over a 25-year span. In 2011 the business was sold, but after a series of circumstances, Jim and Pam realized they needed to get back in the canopy business to protect their former distribution and to service their customers, old and new. The old location with new proprietors kept the original brand name and product designs and we no longer affiliated with them in any way. In order to avoid being confused with that company, our new company became "Thunderbird."
WORD FROM JIM:
"With our new company, we've retained the experience, expertise and passion that we’ve always had. We’ve totally redesigned and retooled every canopy we offer, and we’ve gotten our distribution back to basics. Don’t be confused! We’re hands-on owners and managers, and we’re at work every day! We just have a different name and location. We know the tractor business, we can pull rows, laser-level fields, set plows, mount and adjust implements, and we know roll bars! As always, we are constantly monitoring applications, designing new canopies, making constant mounting kit adaptations, taking care of you and your customer, and we’ve gotten prices back to reasonable. With a 30+ year foundation of experience, Thunderbird Arizona Products, LLC is committed to offering the best fiberglass sunshades on the market at the best price!"
UPDATE 2019 - Since Jim's passing, his children Jodi, Matt, and Jake, have joined Jim's partner Brent in taking over operations to continue their dad's legacy of quality and service. Please see personal message from the owner below.