Ford stylists hit a home run when they added a large porthole to the removable hardtop of the Thunderbird roadster. The optional feature further set the sporty cruiser apart from the crowd, including arch-rival Corvette.
And just remember how gorgeous Suzanne Somers looked driving a white ’56 Thunderbird with a porthole top in American Graffiti.
The Pick of the Day is a spectacular-looking 1957 Ford Thunderbird, an E-Code model restored in Gunmetal Gray with a white interior and a white hardtop with those signature portholes.
The T’bird was restyled for 1957, with changes to the grille, bumpers, rear lights and tail fins, which became slimmer and more pronounced, among the revisions. The optional porthole top was introduced for 1956.
Much acclaimed for their iconic styling, the Thunderbird roadsters had a three-year run before they were replaced in 1958 by a larger 4-seat model in coupe and convertible versions, which resulted in the originals being called Baby Birds. While the up-size revamp was widely criticized by roadster fans, the bigger Birds produced a strong sales bump for Ford.
This ’57 Thunderbird looks like an exceptionally nice example, restored well enough to earn a Gold Medallion from the Classic Thunderbird Club International with a score of 295.5 out of 300 in 2006, according to the private seller in Wichita, Kansas, advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. The seller adds that it has been driven just 900 miles since.
The Thunderbird also scores as a high-performance E-Code model, its 312cid V8 fitted with a pair of 4-barrel Holley carburetors and producing 270 horsepower. This one is backed by a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission.
The photos with the ad show that the paint, body and interior of this Thunderbird look fresh and straight after 15 years, and still ready to win awards. A set of chrome Kelsey-Hayes knockoffs complete the picture, with the seller noting that the factory wheels and hubcaps also come with the car.
These Fords are a marvelous representation of mid-century styling and one of the most alluring cars of their day, although they were not nearly as sporty as they looked, rightfully considered boulevard cruisers.
This lovely Thunderbird is priced at $122,900, which is within the range of a Baby Bird in excellent condition, according to the Hagerty value guide.
To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.