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AutoHunter Spotlight: 1957 Ford Thunderbird

Featured on AutoHunter, the online auction platform driven by ClassicCars.com, is this 1957 Ford Thunderbird.

The Thunderbird had a long gestation period, with the original idea for a new sporting Ford being considered as early as 1952. This idea for a Ford sporting car was to compete with the new Corvette. The Thunderbird was officially greenlit by Henry Ford II after he returned from the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1953 where he saw the initial design of the car. The Thunderbird project progressed very quickly, especially for a brand new design, with the Thunderbird being unveiled about a year later on February 29, 1954, at the Detroit Auto Show and the first cars delivered on October 22 of that same year. The car was a hit from the start with Ford selling 16,155 in its first year. The Thunderbird would evolve in the next two years which culminated in the final first-generation Thunderbird in 1957. Ford would sell a total of 21,380 1957 T-Birds.

The 1957 Thunderbird featured here is located in Gladstone, Oregon and is painted in Colonial White and equipped with a black convertible top over a black and white vinyl interior.

The seller describes this Thunderbird as a car that was originally finished in Coral Sand and equipped with a Colonial White removable hardtop (code ZE). During the restoration in 2013, the reportedly rust-free exterior was finished in Colonial White. The original hardtop is not included. Features include chrome bumpers, a chrome grille, a fender-mounted antenna, a hood scoop, manual cowl vents, a black manual convertible top, body-color rear-wheel skirts, and rear bumper-exit exhaust outlets. The selling dealer states that the original stainless trim and the brightwork are in good condition. The car rides on a set of 14-inch black steel wheels with full hubcaps wrapped in whitewall radial tires.

The interior of the car is stated to be originally equipped with an all-Colonial White vinyl interior (code XK), the cabin currently has a power bench seat upholstered in Raven Black and Colonial White vinyl surrounded by matching vinyl door panels and trim. Features include power windows, power steering, an updated vintage-look radio, a floor-mounted automatic transmission shifter, and nonfunctional aftermarket air conditioning. Instruments include a 140-mph speedometer, a 5,000-rpm tachometer, a clock, and gauges for the fuel level and coolant temperature located ahead of the driver.

Mechanically this Thunderbird is powered by its original D-code 312cid V8 and backed by the original Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, according to the selling dealer. Engine bay features include finned aluminum valve covers and a chrome air cleaner lid. A safety inspection was recently completed.

The most interesting thing about the 1957 Thunderbird is just how eligible the car is for top tier vintage driving events. A 1957 Thunderbird can take you on the Colorado Grande, the California Mille, and even if you are lucky the most prestigious vintage driving event in the world, the Mille Miglia in Italy. This is possibly because a driving team of Francois Smadsa and Anna Raselli drove a 1957 Thunderbird in the 1957 running of the Mille Miglia, finishing 137th.

I addition to being eligible for all these amazing events, the very nature of a 1957 Thunderbird makes it one of the most comfortable and reliable way to attend these events, with power steering, an automatic transmission, a comfortable interior, and American reliability all coming together to make a 1957 the ‘easy button’ for these events. In addition The 1957 Thunderbird has to be the most inexpensive car available that is able to attend these events, adding to its benefits.

The auction for this 1957 Ford Thunderbird ends Tuesday, December 5, 2023, at 12:45 p.m. (MST)

Visit the AutoHunter listing for more information and photo gallery

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