The 1956 Ford Thunderbird is one of those designs that never goes
out of style, and remains an instantly-identifiable icon of the
50s. Beautifully styled, comfortable, and with enough performance
to keep almost any gearhead happy, they are perhaps the best
combination of early styling and functionality.
This beautiful Fiesta Red example received a quality restoration in 2002 and still looks great. Code K Fiesta Red is this car's original color and it's particularly handsome on the '56 Thunderbird. Solving some of 1955's problems, the spare tire was moved out to the rear bumper to improve trunk space and simultaneously gave the 'Bird a long, lean look that is easy to recognize from a distance. Up close, this is a nice 'Bird, and even though it has been driven over the past few years, it still presents quite well, which speaks highly of the restoration work. Fit and finish are good and thanks to modern paint materials, the shine is far deeper than the original lacquer might have been. Chrome and brightwork are dazzling, from the egg crate grille up front to the unique rear bumper with the exhaust ports in the outside corners. And yes, the fender skirts fit well and there are no signs of trouble in that area, a common problem for early T-Birds.
Code XB red and white is the car's original interior and it was accurately re-created when the car was restored. The red is almost exactly the same color as the body, making for a spectacular look that makes people stop in their tracks when they see it. The engine-turned panel that runs across the door panels and dash is like jewelry, and the seat cover design makes the bench feel like separate buckets. There are none of the usual (and sometimes questionable) upgrades that many early 'Birds have these days, and even the original Town & Country AM radio is still in the dash. The only notable exception is an aftermarket cup holder setup on the transmission tunnel, but it comes right out for shows so nobody will notice. It also comes with a matching red porthole hardtop as well as a white vinyl convertible top, just in case. And thanks to the spare tire moving out onto the bumper, there's a good-sized trunk with a correct rubber mat.
Powering all Thunderbirds in 1956 was Ford's Y-block V8 engine, now displacing 312 cubic inches and generating an impressive 225 horsepower thanks to a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhaust. The engine bay was detailed when it was restored and while it shows a few signs of use today, the engine runs even better than it looks. From the Ford Red paint on the block to the beautiful cast aluminum Thunderbird valve covers with simulated turquoise inlays, it looks every bit the part of Ford's personal/luxury car. The undercarriage is clean and solid with no surprises, with optional power brakes plus a Ford-O-Matic 3-speed automatic transmission and a 9-inch rear end with 3.00 gears inside. The exhaust features both original-0style mufflers and a set of resonators, so it has the right OEM sound that never gets annoying. Standard 15-inch steel wheels with chrome hubcaps are wrapped in modern whitewall radials so it rides and handles better than most of its siblings.
These Thunderbirds are wonderful performers on the road, and are just as fun to drive today as they were in 1956. If you've been searching for a quality 'Bird with no stories, you've just found it. Call today!
Owned and driven for years by the iconic Hollywood star, the car could be bid multiple times higher than the auction’s estimate
Pick of the Day driven less than 80,000 miles since new
Car is being sold because owner lost its indoor storage spot
This is the sixth vehicle in the 30-day Countdown to Barrett-Jackson’s 47th annual Scottsdale auction.
The “square-bird” four-seater models that replaced Ford’s iconic Thunderbird roadsters are considered the original “personal luxury” cars.
Barrett-Jackson auctioned off in Scottsdale the impeccable silver-gray 1956 Ford Thunderbird that the legendary Frank Sinatra drove around Palm Springs, California, when he was not off with the rest of the Rat Pack.
Strikingly elegant was the thought that popped to mind when this triple black 1966 Ford Thunderbird appeared as I clicked through candidates for Pick of the Day.
The first-generation two-seat Ford Thunderbird is always a favorite among classic and collector car owners, which sometimes leaves the second generation largely overlooked.