Ford Thunderbird 1957 Convertible


Introduced at the 1954 Detroit Motor Show, the Ford Thunderbird was marketed as a personal luxury car rather than an out-and-out sportster. Nevertheless with its standard fit 265 cu in (4.3 litre) OHV V8 engine and power assisted steering / brakes, the newcomer stole sales hand over fist from the Chevrolet Corvette. Indeed, such was the impact of the T-bird on the marketplace that GM hurriedly re-engineered the 'Vette. Built around a perimeter frame chassis equipped with independent coil and wishbone front suspension, a 'live' rear axle and hydraulic drum brakes, the stylish two-door Ford sported a glassfibre bolt-on hardtop as standard (though, a convertible roof was a $290 option). Known as the 'Littlebirds' to distinguish them from the 1958 onwards four-seater 'Bigbirds', the '54-'57 T-birds were progressively developed and improved gaining the option of larger V8 powerplants and 12-volt electrics etc. For 1957 the model received a new dropped front bumper and slightly extended tailfins, plus the 312 cu in (5.1-litre) version of the Y-block V8 was standardised, giving some 245bhp and a reputed top speed of more than 120mph as well as 0-60mph in 9.5 seconds. The '57s became the best-selling of the early Thunderbirds, accounting for a record-breaking 21,380 units.

Finished in red with red upholstery, this particular left-hand drive example was manufactured at Ford's Dearborn plant during 1957. Reportedly restored by the Classic Car Studio of Richmond Heights, Missouri, the Thunderbird was officially imported to the UK in 2007. A striking looking machine that presents very well, its specification includes Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission and a glassfibre 'porthole' hardtop

Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions

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