In 1955, Ford responded to the Chevy Corvette with the introduction of the Thunderbird. Ford knew that its more luxurious two-seater V8 was going to attract a wider audience than Corvette’s spartan racing/performance-oriented approach to the market. The Thunderbird design incorporated Ford features found on other models to creat Ford cars as well. The universal appeal of the Thunderbird’s styling made it an instant success and the 1955 model out-sold the more expensive Corvette by 24 to 1.
Engine, chassis, and styling improvements were made to the 1955 model and culminated in 1957 with the car that most collectors recognize as the pinnacle model Thunderbird.
The ’57 Thunderbird featured a moderatley restyled body with a widened grille accentuated by a more understated front bumper, while the rear was treated to small fins complementary to the overall appearance of the car. Mechanically, the F-Series 312 ci engine was strenthened by a four-barrel carburetor and a McCulloch VR57 Supercharger, while special heads helped reduce engine compression.
The Thunderbird pictured is a splendid example of a rare and classic F-Series. Approximately 15 years ago, the car was treated to a frame-off restoration that included a complete bare-metal re-spray of the very rare and original (for the F-Series) baby blue. The engine compartment and Ford red engine block are immaculate and features a duplication of the Ford finald “okay” ink stamp numbered 259 applied prior to its factory departure. The meticulous care taken with this F-Bird is seen throughout the car.
The F-Bird, one of only 194 ever produced, is equipped with many factory options, including the Town & Country signal-seeking radio that automatically adjusts in volume proportionally to the speed of the engine. The car would make an outstanding addition to any collection.