Mystery solved: Pick of the Day ’55 T’bird was special edition

Pick of the Day
1955 'Fairbird' was a Pick of the Day in October

Back in mid-October, one of our Pick of the Day selections was a 1955 Ford Thunderbird that appeared to have distinctive chrome trim, much like that on the 1956 Ford Crown Victoria.

We couldn’t find reference to such a vehicle and there was considerable debate among those commenting on the car and its trim.

But now the mystery has been solved, thanks to an email from Alex Soultania, concours judge and keeper of the KdFregistry, a website which is dedicated not to Thunderbirds but to the 1938-1944 KdF-Wagen Beetle.

“I had judged 55-57 T’Birds at Hershey and never heard of this version (with the Fairlane type trim) before until a well-known jazz musician friend of mine drove his over for me to check out,” Soultania writes. 

“He told me the ‘Fairbird’ story and I looked into. The ‘Fairbird’ name doesn’t appear on the (Ford) brochure and I’m still not sure if that was a nickname or what, but pretty interesting I thought. 

“It’s possible that the ’55 cars were designed to have this trim then they just scraped this idea. Much the way the earliest 1950 Buick Roadmasters first started out with straight trim but most had the more ornate sweep spear side trim.”

Soultania attached a copy of the Ford advertising brochure for the “Fairbird,” which we’re sharing here. And those with any interest in the early years of the beloved Volkswagen Beetle will want to check out the KdFregistry website.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Thanks for the great article on the TBIRD. Being a senior I can appreciate that info. O now own a o5 Aniversary edition Torch Red…fun to drive..

  2. The only 55 Bird I have ever seen pics of was Louis Caruso’s car. From my understanding it was a styling idea that did not fly.

  3. It would be SO COOL if Ford does a Reissue, 55,6,7. Unlike the 2003 etc. Version that was an embarrassment for T Bird owners.
    The SUV/Crossover trend is going to bite Detroit in the butt.
    A retro Bird, 450ish HP, V8, under 50k, guaranteed that coupe will have a waiting list.
    Or even better, an E.Bird!!!!

    • When I was working for AT&T in Van Nuys. California (a suburb north of Los Angeles) in the early 90’s i use to drive by a home with a black 1955 "Fairbird" parked in the driveway everyday. I thought the Fairlane chrome strip was an option for the Thunderbird.

    • My information on what was known as the "Fairbird" is that the trim was a dealer-installed option. There’s one here in the Marion, IN area. That particular car that I’m speaking of has a continental kit which does not look good at all.

  4. I have seen the brochure on the internet and I thought through what I have read that Caruso and H Ford II were 2 that got the car but nothing was said about dealer installation or others being produced. Interesting article. I don’t like the top on the cover pic or it without skirts.

  5. In Ray Millers 1973 book entitled THUNDERBIRD, an illustrated history, he debunks this Fairbird story. Yes, there were a few early ads published but only 2 prototypes were ever produced, 1 white and 1 black. None sold to the public.The book includes enough photo’s that somebody could try and duplicate one. There were subtle differences between the car above and the actual prototypes indicating that the above car is indeed a fake, designed to boost its value. The serial number alone would be enough to debunk this story.The roof is a custom fake as well. .
    Charles ODonnell


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