1957 Ford Thunderbird in Rancho Sante Fe California
The 1957 Ford Thunderbird
The public got its first glimpse of the new Thunderbird in February 1954 at the Detroit Auto Show. This mock-up was close to what would eventually end up in production. It drew rave reviews from both the Press and the public. On September 9, 1954 the first production Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line in Dearborn.
The 1955 was an instant success being priced around $3500 for a nicely equipped model. Unlike the Corvette, it was powered by a V-8 with either a manual or automatic transmission, had an adjustable steering wheel, roll-up windows, tach, clock, 150 mph speedometer and a ball-joint front suspension. It was marketed as a "personal luxury" car and not a sports car. The Thunderbird never was then or ever meant to be a sports car.
The 1956 model used the same basic design but added a standard Continental Kit which allowed for increased trunk space. The now famous "Porthole Window" was added to the hardtop optionally and side vents were added to improve ventilation.
1957 saw a marked change in styling with the addition of small fins and a completely different front end treatment. Engine and transmission choices also grew to include the standard 292 & 312 V-8's ranging from 212 to an astonishing 340 horsepower Supercharged version! The 1957 model is easily the most popular of the Little Birds.
Ford also sent modified versions to the races with excellent results and setting a record speed in timed running-mile competitions.
The last Little Bird rolled off the assembly line on December 13, 1957. Combined production for all three years was 53,166 with a fairly high survival rate estimated at over 30% (as distinct from the average collector car survival of 10%). All of these cars are highly collectable as an American Classic and will command high dollars in pristine condition.
NOTE: 1957 Thunderbird Bird Nest "Rumble Seat" was a rare accessory, great for parades.
The Ford Thunderbird was a car manufactured in the United States by the Ford Motor Company. It entered production for the 1955 model year as a two-seater sporty car but, unlike the similar Chevrolet Corvette, the Thunderbird was never sold as a full-blown sports car. Ford described it as a personal luxury car, a description which named a new market segment. In 1958, the Thunderbird gained a second row of seats. Succeeding generations became larger until the line was downsized in 1977 and again in 1980. Sales were good until the 1990s, when large 2-door coupes became unpopular; production ceased after 1997. In 2002, a revived 2-seat model was launched, which was available through the end of the 2005 model year.
1957 Ford Thunderbird Rancho Sante Fe
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