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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale August 17th – 19th, 2017 at Russo and Steele’s 17th Annual Monterey, California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
Based on a show car debuted in February 1954, Ford’s sleek two-seater Thunderbird was introduced during October 22, crowning a very successful year in which Ford sold nearly 1.5 million cars, marking the second-best model year in company history. Conceived as a sporting personal car rather than as a sports car, the Thunderbird was a sophisticated alternative to Chevrolets somewhat haphazard fiberglass Corvette, with its weaker 6 cylinder engine and flapping side curtains.
Low slung and of all metal construction, the T-Bird came with a powerful 292 cubic-inch V-8, removable hardtop, and plenty of standard and optional features. A total of 16,155 examples were sold for 1955, as opposed to just 700 Corvettes. The 1956 Thunderbird was relatively unchanged, though the hard top gained porthole windows, the spare tire was changed to an external Continental mounting to gain trunk space, and a 312 cubic inch Thunderbird Special V-8 was optional.
Curiously, sales dipped slightly to 15,631. Redesigned for 1957, the final 2 seater Thunderbirds are considered by many today as the most beautiful of all. The front bumper was smoothed out and dropped down in the center, the trunk extended to accommodate the spare wheel re positioned inside, and pair of tasteful canted tailfins flowed back to the big round taillights. Smaller diameter 14 inch wheels lowered the car and several high-performance engines were offered, up to a 285-hp racing special.
Sales rose briskly to 21,380 for 1957, but it would in fact be the final model year for the 2 seater Thunderbird until 2003.
Benefiting from a by the book concours caliber, frame off rotisserie restoration performed to Classic Thunderbird Club International standards, this outstanding 1957 Thunderbird now stands ready to compete in the Excellence in Authenticity category at any showing. Spanning a four-year period, the Thunderbirds restoration was performed by the professionals by AMS, which is located in Phoenix, Arizona at the former Cragar Wheel facility. Duffee Motor Sports, working in consultation with John Mummert, the Ford Y-Block engine expert, restored the 312 cubic-inch engine to the factory-optional E-Code 285-hp specification. A T-85 3-speed overdrive manual transmission and 4.11:1 rear gears send the power to the road.
Highly desirable features and options include the Engine Dress-Up Kit, power brakes, and true Kelsey-Hayes wire-spoke wheels, plus a heater, radio, and black soft-top. The porthole hard top was professionally restored.
Having traveled less than 100 miles since completion and accompanied by complete documentation and photographs of the restoration process, this 1957 Thunderbird is a simply stellar example from the historic final year of 2 seater Little Bird production.