For many fans of the early Thunderbird, the ’57 is the pinnacle of evolution. Learning from the previous two years, Ford substantially revised the T-Bird, adding some small fins, enlarging the grille opening, and moving the spare tire back inside the trunk. This lovely Colonial White ‘Bird offers a quality older restoration, a rare 3-speed manual transmission, two tops, and a true ‘50s feel.
You simply can’t go wrong with white paint and a black and white interior, and this T-Bird is beautifully finished in code E Colonial White (it was originally code Q Thunderbird Bronze with a Colonial White top). Bodywork is quite good thanks to a bare-metal restoration, with straight panels and beautiful attention to detail where it matters: note how neatly the taillight end caps fit, how crisp the character line along the side of the body appears, and the incredibly tight gaps all around. Somehow the paint shop gave the modern finish a soft shine that looks straight out of the Ford factory in 1957, but with a durability that gives it long-term durability that's still in good shape. Other details, such as the turquoise-inlaid Thunderbird badges, the cool rear bumper with integrated exhaust outlets, and the stainless trim on the fender skirts have all been restored. This is a very clean car that's easy to like.
That two-tone black and white interior was restored at the same time, and it captures the original look in just about every way. Ornate door panels offer machine-turned panels that match the dash and a stylish armrest that gives the cockpit a wrap-around feel. The gauges are probably in original condition and we note that the needle on the tach has fallen off and the speedo isn't working, but the faces are in good order. The original Town & Country radio lives in the dash and still works, which is always a pleasant find in a vintage car. Correct black carpets and color-coordinated white seat belts indicate that someone cared about doing this car right, and as with the bodywork, fit and finish are nicely done. Overhead there’s both a folding convertible top stashed behind the seats as well as the Thunderbird's famous "porthole" hardtop.
In 1957, if you wanted a 3-speed manual transmission, you got the C-code 292 cubic inch 2-barrel V8, which was rated at 212 horsepower. With good mid-range punch and a flat torque curve, it’s an easy cruiser with moves more like a muscle car than a luxury car. Up top, there’s a traditional chrome air cleaner that inhales through the fully functional hood scoop, Ford Red paint on the block, and proper Thunderbird finned valve covers that are likely the prettiest ever made. For the most part, it's quite stock under the hood, with notable upgrades such as an Optima battery and a 12-volt alternator hidden down low. The exhaust system is muted yet muscular and there's a fresh gas tank hanging out back so no worries in that regard. The chassis is largely original, so it's not detailed for show, and wears a set of stock steel wheels, original hubcaps, and 205/75/14 BFGoodrich Silvertown whitewall radials.
Iconic, fun to drive, and a solid place to park some cash for a while, this ’57 Thunderbird is everybody's favorite slice of the 1950s. Call today!