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I don't know about GM's model lineup in Canada, but in the US GM already had the Cadillac Eldorado, Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Toronado, and Pontiac Grand Prix personal luxury coupes. Therefore, it is a stretch to assert that Chevrolet copied the Thunderbird when GM's other four US passenger car divisions already had their own entries. Based on this fact alone, it is equally likely that Chevrolet joined the club to which its upscale siblings belonged.

This also ignores the status of the Thunderbird in the Ford lineup during the 1960s. Despite its Ford badge, the 1960s-era Thunderbird rose above its lesser Ford stablemates. I cannot conceive of it competing against entries less than Pontiac. If you insist that its primary GM competition for the Buick Riviera, then I would have no issue. The 1969 Chevrolet Monte Carlo was a very nice car, but it was neither a copy of nor competition for the Thunderbird.
Grand Prix et. al. - B Body, Oldsmobile Toronado et. al. - E Body. FWIW.
 
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