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Automotive of the Week: A Jaw-Dropping 1957 Ford Thunderbird Is Heading to Public sale

Automotive of the Week: A Jaw-Dropping 1957 Ford Thunderbird Is Heading to Public sale

In the early 1950s, the American auto industry saw a clash of the titans, with General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler duking it out to gain market share among a middle class eager to enjoy some well-earned prosperity following World War II. GM had just wowed Motorama showgoers with Chevrolet’s new-for-1953 Corvette, setting a trend with the fiberglass marvel that would become known as “America’s Sports Car.” By the 1955 model year, the Corvette got a proper V-8 engine, and Ford responded with the Thunderbird, unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in December of 1954.

“When Ford introduced the Thunderbird convertible for the 1955 model year, it was a big leap of faith for the Blue Oval,” says Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of automotive auction house Barrett-Jackson. “Ford’s risk paid off. With its powerful V-8 engine and contemporary styling, the Thunderbird quickly became America’s favorite roadster.”

The fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird crossing the Barrett-Jackson auction block on January 26.

Barrett-Jackson

Priced at just under $3,000 and marketed by Ford as “a personal car of distinction,” the Thunderbird model sold more than 16,000 examples in its first year of production. The 1956 version was offered with Ford’s 312 ci “Y-block” V-8, and featured the famous porthole windows on the removable hardtop roof. The 1957 model is generally considered the best looking of the “Baby Birds,” and is notable for its tidy tail fins and sleek profile. By 1958, the T-Bird had gained weight, grew in size, added rear seats, and became an altogether different car.

The Ford V-8 engine inside a fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

Ford’s 312 ci V-8, which makes about 245 hp, is mated to a three-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission.

Barrett-Jackson

“The 1955 through ‘57 Thunderbirds have become a blue-chip car for most collectors,” continues Jackson. “The 1957 model crossing our block is from the legendary Amos & Justin Minter Thunderbird Collection, which has earned a reputation for extraordinary cars. The rare Willow Green is a remarkable example of a body-off-restored 1957 Thunderbird that’s not only a great collectible vehicle, but fun to drive.”

The interior of a fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

The car is finished in the correct Willow Green over a Colonial Creme interior.

Barrett-Jackson

Ford’s 312 ci V-8 engine makes about 245 hp, and was offered with either a three-speed manual or three-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, as equipped on this example. As mentioned, the car was the recipient of a professional Minter body-off restoration, and is finished in the correct Willow Green over a Colonial Creme interior. It also has a Willow Green underbody atop a gloss-black frame and suspension.

The vehicle is fully equipped with power accessories available for the 1957 model year, including Ford Master Guide power steering, Swift Sure power brakes, power windows, a Town & Country signal-seeking radio, an accessory backup-lights system, and the engine dress-up option. Minter also fitted new, correct Thunderbird wire wheels and Diamond Back “smoothie” radial tires. Details of the restoration included a tan canvas replacement convertible top, as well as a Willow Green “porthole” hardtop.

A fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

This Thunderbird also comes with a tan canvas convertible top, in addition to the removable hardtop roof.

Barrett-Jackson

The car is selling as part of Barrett-Jackson’s 2024 Scottsdale Auction (lots include Sammy Hagar’s 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari) on Friday, January 26, at WestWorld. The auction itself will run from January 20 through 28. This concours-quality standout is offered at no reserve, though similar top-tier T-Birds are valued north of $80,000. The fact that it’s had a fresh restoration, and its combination of colors, make this a particularly desirable example.

See Also

Click here for more photos of this 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

A fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

The fully restored 1957 Ford Thunderbird available at Barrett-Jackson’s 2024 Scottsdale auction.

Barrett-Jackson

Source: Robb Report

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