Black ‘Birds of a feather?

The Pick of the Day is a 1957 Ford Thunderbird

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Pick
Pick of the Day is this 1957 Ford Thunderbird

A few years ago, as part of the filming of a National Geographic special Driving America, I spent time in Traverse City, Michigan, where Hagerty opened its garage and car collection to the television crew. 

As part of the project, I drove a 1915 Ford Model T, a 1963 Chevrolet “split-window” Corvette, a 1960 Porsche 356 Speedster, a 1956 Ford Thunderbird, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS, a 1962 International pickup truck and a 1966 Jaguar E-type roadster.

Each of the cars triggered different responses as I drove. At the end of the day, I realized that were I taking my pick of them for a cross-country drive, I’d pick the T’bird, which was black, a color that would have made it stand out against the sea of pastel-painted Thunderbirds.

Which brings me to the Pick of the Day, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, black like the one I drove in Traverse City, but this one with a white convertible top. The car is being advertised on ClassicCars.com by a private owner in Sparta, New Jersey.

The asking price is $22,500.

“The car is outfitted with its original 312 (V8) engine rated at 245 horses, and will you be pleased to see how easy her 3 speed transmission shifts,” the seller reports. 

“This vehicle was well-maintained and loved by its owners. Engine was rebuilt in the ’80s, and about 7 years ago the block was professional boiled out. To this day it still maintains strong oil pressure.

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“The paint surprisingly makes the car stand out in a crowd compared to all the other restored birds. Black lacquer was applied in the ’70s, and the paint shines very well, however with it being old lacquer, it is showing crazing and cracking (as pictured).  This is a feature that actually most love about the car as it shows its character and tells a story yet to be heard.”

The car’s interior has its original dash pad and Town and Country radio, but it has 1960s-vintage Stewart Warner gauges, got new interior door panels when the exterior was repainted, and the bench seat has been reupholstered.

During the seller’s 7-year ownership, the car has undergone a front-end rebuild with tie rods, bushings, ball joins and grease seals; new shocks at all 4 corners; brakes and brake lines; fuel pump, tank and lines; exhaust from the manifolds back; rebuilt carburetor; BFG bias-ply tires.

“Now is your time to own a car that defined the 1950s automotive scene,” the seller suggests. 

“This car is in good working condition as well as mechanically sound, but with some extra TLC could make this car create lasting memories for another 63 years.”

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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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 ClassicCars.com, 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.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Never did care for this style Thunderbird, But I never saw one in black with the rims like that, Their baby blue or white. This is kind of roadster looking.

  2. I think the first 3 years of the birds looked better than the corvettes. Got to ride in a black, red interior 57 when it was 3 years old. One of my mothers former students came for visit. There is even an old photo of me sitting in the driver’s seat. Still cherish that moment.

  3. At age 20, while working at the Armco Steel Company, I purchased a black 1956 T-Bird complete with the continental kit and port holed hardtop back in the day (1964 ). Unfortunately, I allowed a friend to drive it and he did right into the side (Tboned) a Plymouth.
    I ended up putting 1958 Chevrolet dual headlights turned upside down and a 1954 tiger tooth grill in the front end rebuild. Custom job. Traded even for a 1955 T-Bird with a 427 engine 4 speed with the fender skirts and all. Blew the engine up going too fast.
    Fast forward to 2019:
    Purchased a 1956 T-Bird with the Boss 302 complete with the Hurst top loader 4 speed maroon with a black vinyl port-holed hardtop complete with the convertible top, fender skirts and continental kit at age 74.
    I guess what goes around comes around or I just like T-Birds of this era ( 1955-1957 ) but I never wanted a 1957 – I liked the 55 Bird best.

  4. My first ride in a “performance” car was a 1956 black T-Bird, back in 1960, when I was 6 years old. The owner was a friend of my parents. I remember the roar of the engine, as it accelerated. From what I’ve learned, that car maybe still be around, somewhere north of Boston.

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