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Ford Thunderbird - SOLD

Details

1957 Ford Thunderbird - 312ci V8

  • Frame off restoration to original specification
  • Matching numbers 
  • Supplied with 'Porthole' hard-top
  • Power Steering / Brakes and electric seat options

Description

The Ford Thunderbird began life in February 1953 as a direct response to Chevrolet's new sports car, the Corvette which had been publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month earlier. In just over a year, the car went from idea to prototype with the car being shown to the public at the Detroit Auto Show in February 1954. With its two-seat design, optional detachable glass-fibre hard-top and a folding fabric convertible hood, the Thunderbird (or T-Bird as they're often known) went into production shortly afterwards and with its sleek design, hood scoop and 150mph speedo, the Thunderbird hinted a higher performance nature that no other Ford possessed. Mechanically the T-bird could trace its roots to more mainstream Fords with its initial 292 cubic inch (4.8 litre) Y-block V8 coming from Fords Mercury division and though inspired and positioned directly against the Corvette, Ford billed the Thunderbird as a 'personal car' putting a greater emphasis on the car's comfort and convenience rather than its inherent sportiness.

The T-Bird sold exceptionally well in its first year, out-selling the Corvette by a ratio of 23-to-1 and over the course of the next 2 years, the Ford Thunderbird saw a number of design changes: cooling flaps in the front wings; 14" and 15" wheel designs; a stretched boot to allow spare wheel storage; power upgrades; the popular 'port-hole' design to the hard-top and introduction of the 'fin' to the rear wings.

By 1957, Ford had produced some 53,000 examples of the first generation of the Thunderbird and although the car remained in production until 2005 in a larger 4 seat format, classic car fans will always visualise these classic T-birds as the true reflection of classic 50's Americana.

Built on the 23rd Nov 1957 at the Dearborn plant this torch red T-bird is one of the last Thunderbirds produced as production ceased in early December '57. With her colonial white hard-top, pleated 'flame' vinyl interior, 312 cu in (5.1 litre) 4v engine (225bhp) engine and 3 speed Ford-o-matic gearbox, this matching numbers car is real beauty and it's wonderful to see that she is finished as per her original build specification

Prior to being imported into the UK from the highly regarded Classic Car Studio dealership, St Louis, in 2007, we understand that the car was subject to a frame-off restoration, with work being carried out to a concourse winning standard. With a real attention to detail and having only cover 5800miles since the rebuild, the car remains in spectacular condition and this is evident in the collection of trophies we have from the American Auto Club UK (Best in Show), US Summer Nationals (Car of the Show), Americana (Best Thunderbird), Classic Americana (Best in Show), plus numerous other trophies and rosettes.

Mechanically the car is in first class order and opening the bonnet you're greeted by a highly detailed engine bay. The 312 cubic inch Y-block engine starts on the button and with a custom built 'Custom Chrome Racing' exhaust system, the car has a wonderfully intoxicating V8 rumble and we simply love the way the exhausts exit through the rear bumper. The 3 speed Ford-o-matic gearbox shifts smoothly and with 225bhp and 315lb/ft of torque, the car pulls crisply to a comfortable cruising speed.....ideal for roof down motoring!

Finished in torch red, the Thunderbird looks stunning especially with her optional wire wheels and white-walled tires and walking around the car you can't help but be 'wowed' by her beautifully crisp lines, perfect panel gaps, bright and flawless chrome and quintessentially 50's styling cues. Opening the doors and the quality continues, the flame red interior looks like new and we just love the turned aluminium dash and the way this flows into the door-card inlays. With the 'as new' hood stowed behind the sleek bench seat (with optional electric seat-o-matic adjustment), large wrap-round screen, the T-Bird is quite possibly one the coolest cars to 'cruise' in and it's no wonder she's such a show stopper with style akin to a 50's Riva Tritone speedboat.

She comes with a large collection of trophies from the shows she's won so far, owners manual, recent history and importantly also comes with her original colonial white hard-top. We feel this Thunderbird is quite probably one of the nicest examples in the UK and this '57 T-Bird is an absolute must for any classic car aficionado looking to add the ultimate in classic Americana.

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Quick Contact

"I write these words with a large childish smile still beaming across my face after driving through the Kent countryside, roof down, summers warmth on my face as ‘il Polita’ my beautiful '82 Fiat Spider 2000. This is now June but the story starts in 2018 February at the London Classic Car Show

Glass of fizz in hand with Paul; very good friend of mine. Gazing at auto-erotica, he spots the 82’ Fiat spider 2000 on the stand of ‘Absolute Classic Cars’, with the team greeting us too look closer. A truly stunning example and honestly priced. The conversation flitters between us, the cars of the show, and the possible purhcase of the Spider!

Days later, I call to make a further enquiry to purchase the Fiat Spider. Excitement in my voice is then inadvertently quelled as I find out that the early bird has truly got the worm. Paul has got in before me and struck the deal! All's fair in love afterall. . . 

After carrying out a detailed service and additional works the call comes to collect the Spider and on a damp cold March morning we travel up to Lincoln, where we're kindly picked up at the station. Moments later, after a warming coffee, everybody’s happy! The sale's completed and Paul’s in the 'new owners' hot seat of the Spider raring to go. Myself? Navigators seat, perhaps with the slightest of sighs. 150 miles later, we’re home but the drive South has encouraged me to make the call for Absolute Classic Cars to commence the search for another model. This time, most definitely with my name on it! 

Over the next month myself and the ACC team discuss cars in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, with the Mark and Carl casting their ever professional ‘laser pin point’ eye over several models. Each time highlighting why that may not be the example for me. Rest assured these guys know their onions and you’re in very safe hands; candid and sincere.

Just when I was beginning to feel the summer would pass without a ‘Spider’ for my own Italian passions, I get a phone call from my friend Paul. Whether it was a hint of guilt or just that he had run out of space for his car collection? .....“Would you like to buy the Spider from me”....I think they were his words, as I interrupted with a ‘yes definitely’ before the sentence was cast from his lips!  

I inform ACC to call off the search, the Spider has fund its true home! – ‘Perhaps it was just meant to be‘  he wryly says.

From that champagne fuelled car show, meeting Carl and Mark, the roundabout route of having my perfect car in the garage & now chasing summer horizons. I can honestly say it’s been a pleasure both meeting and finally getting ‘the car’ through the Absolute Classic Cars. 

As they say in Italy – ‘Le Dolce Vita’ "

Steve Calver, Kent

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