Ford Authority

1957 Ford Thunderbird E-Code Convertible For Sale: Video

Debuting in 1955, the Ford Thunderbird was The Blue Oval’s answer to the Chevrolet Corvette. The performance of the Corvette, along with its build quality, was so poor since its 1953 introduction, that Chevy had trouble getting them sold. The Thunderbird arrived just as GM executives were considering giving the Corvette the axe. Power improved greatly for the 1955 model year when the Corvette got the Chevy Small Block, but it took the Thunderbird to save the Plastic Fantastic. Upon seeing Ford’s new personal luxury car, GM brass determined they had to improve the Corvette and keep it in production. And like that, Thunderbird wound up saving its direct competitor.

When the Thunderbird arrived, it was far better equipped than the Corvette. From the start, it had a V8, could be had with either a manual or automatic transmission, an optional hard top, engine dress-up kit, wire wheel-style hubcaps, and more. The Thunderbird gave the guys at Chevy an ambitious target for the Corvette.

Today, our feature Ford Thunderbird is a beautifully kept example that has spent much of its life in the desert. It has covered just 11,539 miles from new and has been the subject of a fastidious nut-and-bolt restoration.

This Thunderbird is one of 1,499 E-Code cars, meaning it is powered by the 312 cubic-inch V8 topped with dual four-barrel carbs producing 270 horsepower. It’s backed by a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission. The Thunderbird is finished in Thunderbird Bronze Metallic paint over a Copper vinyl interior. It is optioned with both hard and soft tops, power steering, power brakes, and under-dash air conditioning.

The Thunderbird Bronze finish on this Ford Thunderbird shows considerable time, effort to prep and application. The chrome bumpers, trim, and the Kelsey Hayes chrome wire wheels all sparkle under lights, and the well-polished stainless just gleams. The glass is crystal clear. Dual exhaust exits through the back bumper. The iconic porthole hardtop is finished in Colonial White, and the soft top is a bright white vinyl.

Inside, this Ford Thunderbird is finished in a handsome Copper. The vinyl-covered bench seat shows no appreciable wear. Sweeping, flowing lines arc from the dash down either door panel. A aftermarket air conditioner has been mounted beneath the dash, and auxiliary gauges are just below and left of the steering column. The radio is a later model unit.

Under the hood, the Ford Thunderbird’s 312 cubic-inch V8 has been well detailed. The engine compartment is nearly spotless, as one would expect from a car with fewer than 12,000 miles. All the finishes and components appear to be correct to factory standards.

This stunning 1957 Ford Thunderbird is being offered by Ellignson’s Number 1 Classic and Collectible Cars for $119,995. The video below shows what it’s all about.

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  1. Lee

    Dang son, that’s tasty and a heck of a lot more fun than than some battery operated, polluting, unsafe piece of junk, soulless EV.

  2. Joe

    Attractive Tbird!

    Question: Back in the day, if one wanted a/c in the 1st gen Thunderbird how would one go about getting it? Factory installed? Dealer installed? 3rd party installation? I know 1955 was the first year for factory installed, integrated HVAC to be offered in the full size Fords.

    1. Bill Howland

      Does look like a typical aftermarket ’60’s air conditioner unit.

      The writer is incorrect in stating that “…components appear to be correct to factory standards…..”

      No American car Period had an alternator in 1957. Especially Ford. They were the LAST automaker to adopt them in the states. As far as I know the only automaker to lag behind Ford was VW. Of course, VW didn’t even have 12 volt systems until 1967.

  3. Bill Howland

    So the question is… Why get rid of a perfectly fine Generator in a car with only 11,500 miles? Unless it was deemed necessary for the slightly increased load of air conditioner blower, which I wouldn’t have done for that. The Fully transistorized radio draws a lot less juice anyway, but most car makers for the 1957 model year had Hybrid Radios which used a 2 transistor audio section and used only 1 amp more than an equivalent fully transistorized model – that is if you’re talking about the energy-inefficient GM Delco radios from the early 60’s.

    Interestingly VW Bugs were the cars that went fully transistorized before others, since they only had 6 volt (120 watt or later, 180 watt electrical systems). Hybrids would not work on 6 volts, and tube models used 1/3 of the entire output of the 20 ampere, generator. So the incentive was there to make the radio much more energy efficient. So the US bound cars got either Bendix (about 2 amperes), or BlauPunct (BluePoint) (under 1/2 ampere) radios.

  4. Dave Mathers

    Looking at that engine reminds me of the permanent scars I still have on my knuckles from setting the valves on my 57 Ford 300 312/245 HP. And that was 58 years ago!! LOL


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