19-20 January 2012

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Lot 134

1957 Ford Thunderbird

  • Chassis no. D7FH186785

Sold for $49,500

245 hp, 312 cu. in. V-8 engine, Holley four-barrel carburetor, Ford-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, semi-elliptic rear springs with live axle, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102"

• The last (and some say best) of the first generation Thunderbirds

• Fully documented and photographed frame-up restoration

• Flame red paint, with red vinyl interior and porthole hardtop

• Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels, engine dress up kit

Based on a February 1954 show car, Ford’s two-seater Thunderbird was introduced on October 22 that fall and crowned what would be a very successful year for the marque. Ford sold 1,451,157 cars in the model year, its second best year in its history.

Dubbed a “personal car” rather than a sports car, the Thunderbird was a sophisticated reply to Chevrolet’s Corvette, with its six-cylinder engine and roadster top. The T-Bird was low-slung and of all-metal construction, with a powerful 292-cubic inch V-8 and a removable hardtop. A total of 16,155 were sold that first year, as opposed to just 700 Corvettes. The 1956 T-Bird was relatively unchanged, though the top gained “porthole” windows, the spare became a “Continental” kit to gain trunk space, and a 312-cubic inch Thunderbird Special V-8 was optional.

The Thunderbird was redesigned for 1957 to produce what most observers believe is the most beautiful two-seater version. The front bumper was smoothed out and dropped in the center, the trunk extended to accommodate the spare wheel and canted fins flowed back to big round taillights. Fourteen-inch wheels lowered the car, and several high-performance engines were offered, up to a 285-hp racing special. Sales rose to 21,380, but it would be the last two-seater until 2003.

Benefiting from a fully-documented and photographed body-off restoration, the Thunderbird offered here sports the 245-horsepower, 312-cubic inch V-8 engine with a dress-up kit, a Ford-O-Matic transmission and power steering. Finished in flame red, it is very nicely complemented by a red vinyl interior, a matching porthole hardtop, chrome wire wheels and period-style wide whitewall tires. With a well-fitted interior, excellent panel fit and lovely paint and chrome, it is a handsome example from the final year of two-seater “Little Bird” production.

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

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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

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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

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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