For what would be the Ford Thunderbird's final year as the "Baby Bird," subtle design changes were made to enhance the elegant styling.
Editor’s note: This is the second in a 10-day series featuring cars to be sold April 8-10 at Barrett-Jackson’s 2016 Palm Beach Auction.
For what would be the Ford Thunderbird’s final year as the “Baby Bird,” subtle design changes were made to enhance the elegant styling. The car also underwent some mechanical refinement.
Widely accepted to be the best model year example for the series, a total of 21,380 Thunderbirds were produced in 1957. Of these, 212 cars had 312-cubic-inch V8s fitted with a 4-barrel carburetor and centrifugal supercharger, making them F-code, sometimes called the “F-bird,” and they have become the rarest and most desirable among collectors.
The F-code engine elevated the performance of a standard Thunderbird from a reasonable quick cruiser to a dedicated quarter-mile contender with an output of 300 horsepower. To ensure the car could drive on regular pump gas, a special cylinder head was fitted to these engines to keep the compression ratio at 8:5:1.
Offered at Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction with a reserve is Lot 386, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird F-code convertible. This particular car features a Holley 4-barrel carburetor, McCulloch Paxton VR57 supercharger, automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. Additionally, a majority of the F-code cars were white or black, making this one finished in Flame Red unusual.
The Thunderbird also has memory seats, power windows, a Town & Country signal-seeking radio, rear deck antenna, both porthole hardtop and soft-top assembly, a tonneau cover, fender skirt shields, back-up lights and tinted glass.
Another element that makes this particular car unique is that is was restored to be competitive on the concours field and as a result has been awarded First Place Gold at every CTCI event it entered. In preparation for the AACA show circuit, the restoration of this Thunderbird was freshened up and has since done phenomenally well, earning an impressive collection of awards that continue to grow.
For information on becoming a bidder, including absentee bidding, follow the link to www.Barrett-Jackson.com/bid. The 14th Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction will feature 19 hours of live television coverage on Velocity and Discovery.
BARRETT-JACKSON LIVE U.S. Broadcast Schedule (All Times ET):
Friday, April 8: 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM on Velocity
Saturday, April 9: 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM on Discovery Channel, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM on Velocity
Sunday, April 10: 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM on Velocity