If I were flush with cash, allowed to own only one classic coupe in my lifetime, and I couldn’t get my hands on a Continental Mark II, it would be the 1955-1957 Thunderbird. Whereas I’d prefer the Conti in as original condition as possible, the T-Bird I’d commit all kinds of car-nal blasphemy with. Nothing that would get a person thrown in prison, ex-communicated from a religious community, or excluded from a will, but exiled… Yeah, I’d say for sure it could get a person exiled to the Island of Auto Desecrators. A horrible place beyond imagination. A mountainous place where only single-speed bicycles were allowed. A place without bacon. I have to stop talking about it, I can’t possibly go on.
But still, even at the risk of exile to an exclusively bicycled, bacon-free island I’d still do a bit of subtle hot roddery, more like moddery to one of these beauties. Again, not extreme but surely enough to make the purists gather unto one place with one accord and shake pointy sticks at me, yelling “Doooooommmm!” I don’t know where I get these images in my mind, but there they are, and now you can’t unsee it either. Or unread it. Whatever, you know what I mean.
I didn’t really grow up around any Thunderbirds of this vintage. The earliest examples I saw in my semi-rural Hudson River Valley town were from the late 1970’s. You know, the kind with the huge long rectangular hood and the foldy headlight covers. Later on in 1996, Dad bought a T-Bird. Yeah, we won’t talk about that car other than to say, I honestly didn’t even remember him having one until I wrote the previous sentence.
Now that I think about it, the weird thing about that car was when you let off the gas pedal to coast, it was like it was completely freewheeling. But not just freewheeling, it was almost like it would speed up when you let off the gas. I don’t know how that’s possible but that’s what it felt like. Not like any other car I’ve ever driven. Which in this case, is a good thing, as I always found that unsettling. My car, on the other hand, had a clutch, and even when I put the clutch in going downhill it didn’t do that. Weird and unexplainable. But that Thunderbird was nothing like THIS Thunderbird in any way, except regrettably in name.
But I have an acute fondness for the 1stgeneration Thunderbird. It was just today I was sitting on the patio at my favorite breakfast place that I saw 2 different 1stgen T-Birds of this vintage go by and I thought, “yeahhhh buddy!” I’d love to have one of those. I find myself doing that with a lot of cars, because I’m car crazy. But I really mean it in this case. Really. No, really!
So when I came across this baby this afternoon, I knew I had to write about it. This particular example lives in the higher altitude part of Arizona. Not so high that it gets snow very often, but high enough that your brains won’t bake on exiting your house between the months of June and October. Which means that this car has a pretty easy environment to live in; ideal for preserving it’s natural beauty. And well preserved it is.
This one owner (!) ’57 E-Code included the optional 270 HP 312 cubic inch (5.1 liter) V8 with dual Holley 4-barrel carbs and auto transmission. Note that only 977 of these were produced. Of those, I’d suspect that this is one of the finer examples. In fact, with this particular car, I’d forego the mods and just leave it as it is. It shows as if new in the photos, and it has everything in all the right places.
Seller states that this black and white over black and white ‘Bird was repainted in 2015, has been meticulously maintained with an open checkbook, and always stored inside. The car has a clean title and all maintenance records since the early 1980’s transfer with the sale.
To find out more about this mid-50’s beauty queen click HERE to take you to the listing on craigslist. If you wake up one morning with this car in your garage, there will be no cause to fear the men with pointy sticks. It’s wonderful as is. Who says you can’t have your bird and bacon too?