Two years after Chevrolet introduced its hot new Corvette convertible at the GM Motorama car show, Ford responded with the 1955 Thunderbird. Unlike Chevy’s roadster, the Thunderbird was a sporty convertible designed for cruising and personal transportation with no pretensions of being a sports car . . . at least at first.
In 1957, Ford Thunderbird customers could choose from four V8 engines, beginning with a standard 292 cubic inch motor that produced 212 horsepower and ending at the top of the line with a supercharged version that churned out a whopping 300 horses.
This striking Ford Thunderbird offers a documented history from the day it left the dealership in 1957. Here’s the story from the current (second) owner:
The person I bought the car from was Sara S. Rubin, in October of 2017. Sara was the original owner; she received the car as a gift from her father Walter Sterling. Walter was working as an engineer for Cleveland Cliffs Hanna Mining Co, living in Hibbing, Minnesota and working on the iron ore range. Walter is noted as the inventor of the taconite iron ore process. As a result, Walter was made the CEO of Cleveland Cliffs Hanna Mining Co. and had to move to Cleveland, Ohio.
Sara didn’t want to move to Cleveland, so her father told her he would buy her a new Thunderbird if she agreed to move to Cleveland. She agreed, and Walter bought her a new 1957 Thunderbird from Range Motors in Hibbing, Minnesota in either April or May of 1957. The car had an original invoice of $3,310.37. It was without power brakes, which were installed at the dealer. When I bought the car, it had 75,576 original miles on it.
This lovely TBird has been meticulously and lovingly maintained by both of its owners with every invoice included with the car. We have a binder with copies of all service work completed, as well as the original title and window sticker from the selling dealer in 1957. Records show what service work was completed each year since new, including an engine rebuild at 62,000 miles.
The 2017 restoration included:
All glass and gauges are original, and all electrics work. This may be the best original Thunderbird we’ve seen. As evidenced by the undercarriage pictures, there has never been rust on the frame or body. Body panels and fit are exceptional, just the way it left the factory. And, chances are, you will not see another Gunmetal Gray Thunderbird, since 1957 was the only year this color was offered.
This striking classic has obviously been well-maintained its entire life and will give the third owner many years and miles of driving pleasure. Given its history and condition, it’s ready to show and drive today.