Ford built over 20,000 “Baby Birds” in 1957, their final (and arguably best) year, but even with that kind of production finding a truly special example today can be a challenge. But fear not as the ’57 before you is not another one of those reconstituted rust buckets or hastily restored auction block queens- it is indeed a special ‘Bird from the remaining flock.
A factory black, D-Code car with the optional Ford-O-Matic transmission and factory hardtop, a desirable combination to be sure, but more impressive is its history and originality. Why? This is a one-family owned from new and completely unrestored 1957 Thunderbird that has just come to me from the original owner’s daughter.
If you’re familiar with Baby Birds you know their Achilles heel is rust, and this one has no such issues. It is amazingly rust-free and solid, retaining a majority of its original paint and original finishes throughout. Panel fit and body integrity are as-new. Note the underbody photos showing the exceptional condition and none of the common T-Bird issues, not to mention being completely damage-free as well. However it should be noted that along with this great originality comes almost 60 years of patina as well. The paint, while still nice and glossy, has numerous chips, scrapes and touch-ups. This car has not been a museum piece but rather has provided many decades of fun and has the honest patina to prove it. And clearly as the years clicked by so did the original owner’s accuracy in parking as there are some scrapes on the left side where it is clear his garage jumped out and touched the car.
The interior is completely original as well, the only modification being a newer aftermarket AM/FM radio but the original is included. There is patina present in here as well, the original carpet is worn and some of the chrome and gauge lenses are showing their age- all easy fixes if one wishes but I chose to leave it alone and keep the car honest.
The 245HP 312CID “Y-Block” engine was previously rebuilt and runs exceptionally well. It has a later Holley 4 barrel carb replacing the troublesome original one and performs admirably. The Ford-O-Matic shifts as it should and the car drives just as it should with no issues. Under the hood is very original as well with many original inspection stamps and finishes, and overall it is very clean and tidy.
In addition to the factory hardtop there is also an aftermarket convertible top and frame in excellent condition.
My shop has just fully serviced this fantastic ‘Bird including going through the entire fuel, braking and cooling systems, changing all fluids, and installing a new set of Coker “American Classic” bias look radial tires in the correct size to give a more modern driving experience while retaining the right vintage look. The car starts, runs, and drives just as it should and I wouldn’t hesitate to hop in and drive it anywhere. Well, if it isn’t snowing. I am in the Midwest after all.
If you’ve been looking for a great, honest and highly Thunderbird that you can jump in and use without worry this car deserves a hard look. It is priced at less than half of a “shiny one” yet, in my opinion, is twice as good based on its history and originality. As we all know you can’t restore that into a car, no matter how hard you try.
- Price: $ 37500
- Year: 1957
- Mileage: 60,000 mi
- VIN: D7FH185692
- Condition: Charming Unrestored
- Exterior Color: Black
- Interior Color: Black and White
- Transmission: Ford-O-Matic
- Final Drive:
- Engine: 312 CID 245HP
- Drivetrain: RWD