Ford Thunderbird - SOLD
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
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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Earlier this year (2018) I had the pleasure of doing business with Mark and Carl at Absolute Classic Cars (ACC) as they had an amazingly rare low mileage 1989 Porsche 911 SSE Coupe for sale, or as I have come to call her, 'The Mona Lisa'.
Knowing how rare this model is and seeing a few examples for sale at Porsche specialists / established classic dealers around the UK I took my time to see all the cars in market place and after visiting the ACC premises a few times, talking to them at length at how they would prepare the car, what they could do for me and getting a 'feel' for them and their business I knew Absolute Classic Cars were the right people.
In the weeks leading up to delivery I spoke with Mark on an almost daily basis; updates on the detailed Porsche specialist service they'd arranged, refurbishment of the Fuchs alloys to factory 'as new' condition, fitting new Continental tyres, refurbishment of the fan/housing, detailed wax-oil and so. When she was finally ready Mark and Carl delivered the car in person within their fully enclosed trailer and once unloaded, joining other classics in my collection they then covered her with a tailored car cover they arranged for me.
A few days after the delivery I was advised by my insurance company that due to the value of the car would need a Tracker fitted and on phoning Mark for some advise, he suggested that they might be able to help further. Less than 24hrs later they had arranged for an approved specialist to make the journey from Lincoln to my home (250 mile round trip) and I could rest easy knowing that everything was sorted.
As an classic car enthusiast, many years the senior of Mark and Carl, I have meet many dealers in my time and for the most they are just that, dealers. In approaching Mark and Carl at Absolute Classic Cars it is a real pleasure to have meet and dealt with two gents whose passion happens to be their business; their knowledge, enthusiasm, detailed professional approach sets them apart and I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone considering a classic car purchase.
Mr Braithwaite, Cumbria