Automobiles of Arizona

18 January 2008

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Lot 118

1956 Ford Thunderbird

Sold for $66,000


Specifications: 215bhp, 312 cu. in. Thunderbird Special V8 engine, Holley four-barrel carburetor, three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with solid rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel power assisted drums. Wheelbase: 102"

The introduction of Chevrolet’s Corvette at the 1953 Motorama forced Ford to move its own sports car project onto the front burner. Ford’s project took shape in a brief period in 1953, and was essentially a ‘crash program’ for an open, two-seat body style. It was intended to retain basic Ford design concepts while maximizing the use of production parts, including the Interceptor V8 engine, for a top speed of over 100 miles per hour.

With an emphasis on ‘personal’ rather than ‘sports’ car, the Thunderbird was wisely equipped with glass wind-up windows, a removable hard top and such options as power brakes, steering, seats, and windows, all of which helped it outsell GM’s Corvette by a ratio of 20:1 in 1955. Additionally, its stout five-liter V8 engine was an added improvement over the Corvette’s Blue Flame six-cylinder engine.

For 1956, the Thunderbird was the first to receive a 12-volt electrical system alongside a myriad of other optional power accessories. Easily distinguished from the 1955 model, it featured restyled taillights and a Continental Kit, which had since become standard.

Sold new in Tucson, Arizona, the 1956 Thunderbird presented here was treated to a meticulous, frame-off restoration by Butch Dobson of Dobson’s Classic Cars in Hollow Rock, Tennessee. A matching tote bag residing in the trunk contains detailed pictures of the restoration, which was conducted to Amos Winter’s world-famous standards. It is one of the few 1956 Thunderbirds to have originally received the Sage Green/Colonial White color combination (a Thunderbird only color option found only on 1% of cars that year). The seats are upholstered in white leather with green piping, and the interior features original-style carpeting. Items of note include Kelsey-Hayes wire spoke wheels with green inserts, as well as power steering, brakes, windows, and seat. Air conditioning, hard and soft tops, and an optional Town & Country radio are also present.

Raced at Daytona Beach’s Speed Week, the 1956 Thunderbird is part of an outstanding model year praised by Motor Trend as the Car of the Year for “progress in automotive safety”. With less than 100 miles accumulated since its professional restoration, this particular example is truly an exceptional automobile, well equipped with an attractive color combination.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more