1957 Ford Thunderbird “E-Bird”

Conceived in response to Chevrolet's Corvette sports car, the Ford Thunderbird debuted in October 1954 as one of the very first models to feature Ford's new overhead-valve V8 engine. As a counterpoint to the overtly sporty Corvette, the Thunderbird offered more equipment and luxury, intending to appeal to image-conscious younger customers. Ford's product planners hit the market dead center and over 16,000 Thunderbirds were assembled in the 1955 model year, beating the Corvette hands down in the sales war thanks to its superior V8 engine and greater refinement.

A low, sleek two-seater, the Thunderbird offered amenities not found on the Corvette – initially, at least – with comfort and convenience options tailored to an affluent market. Alterations for the '56 season included the relocation of the spare wheel to the outside the trunk in 'Continental Kit' style, while a 312ci, 215bhp Thunderbird Special V8 was added to the option sheet. A more thorough re-style for 1957 featured a longer tail section with prominent fins. This provided greater luggage space while enabling the spare wheel to be relocated to the boot, thus improving handling. Performance options include the twin-carb "E-Code" and even the "F-Code" with a Paxton supercharger. Despite its success, the original Thunderbird concept was soon abandoned and a larger - and slower - four-seat version was introduced for 1958, a move that turned the early two-seater cars into collectors' items seemingly overnight.

Completed at the Dearborn, Michigan Ford plant, this 1957 Thunderbird E-Code represents the final production year of the classic, two-seat Thunderbird, featuring the larger 312ci OHV V8 engine topped with the optional twin Holley carburetors and rated for a healthy 270 horsepower. Of the 21,380 Thunderbirds produced in 1957, just 1,449, less than 7%, were ticked with the E-Code option. Its 312-cubic-inch V-8 produced an impressive 270 horsepower thanks in part to dual four-barrel Holley carburetors. Here, it is mated to a Ford-O-Matic two speed automatic transmission. The engine compartment is beautifully detailed with an under-hood dress-up kit, which includes a distinctive chromed valve covers and chromed oil breather cap, correct domed E code air cleaner, Ford script hoses, correct clamps, proper assemble markings, original style decals, and even a “tar top” battery showcase the quality of the restoration.

The sporting Ford was the recipient of an award winning full restoration by marque specialist Hill's Automotive of Racine, Ohio. The appealing livery of Dusk Rose with a Colonial White removable hardtop is the original color scheme per the car's data tag, as is the authentically restored Colonial White vinyl interior. Cabin amenities present on this example include power steering and windows and a power seat and, for entertainment, a Town & Country radio set into the engine-turned dashboard. The car features two sets of rolling stock, a gorgeous set of Kelsey-Hayes-style chrome wire wheels wrapped in wide whitewall radial tires, as well as a set of proper original steel wheels with restored wheel covers and bias ply whitewalls for show.

A frequent concours competitor, the car has been shown extensively at events around the country, including the Milwaukee Masterpiece, Meadowbrook Concours, Ault Park Concours, Keenland Concours and has achieved Senior status with the Vintage Thunderbird Club International (VTCI) as well as the Classic Thunderbird Club International (CTCI).

Although the supercharged “F-Code” Thunderbird is the rarest and most powerful model, the twin-four-barrel E-Code is considered by many to be the better driver’s car. Less temperamental and easier to drive, it offers turn-key convenience with faithful reliability. Painstakingly restored in the oh so Fifties original color scheme of Dusk Rose and Colonial White with Colonial White vinyl interior, it has been meticulously maintained. All in all, this E-Code T-Bird represents an excellent opportunity to acquire an iconic classic that is equally at home on the concours lawn or the open road.

 

Offers welcome and trades considered

 

$125,000

Stock number 7684

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