No Reserve 1955 Ford Thunderbird

I was born the same year that Ford introduced their new two-seater “Personal Car.” I was just a little squirt when I saw my very first Thunderbird – a Torch Red beauty just like this one. I was smitten then, and continue to be smitten by their timeless lines some 67 years later. This one looks solid and will need some items checked off the “To Do” list, and is located in Lakewood, California. It’s for sale at No Reserve here on eBay and had a top price of $18,500 as of this writing.

The ‘Bird is being listed as a “California Car” in the ad, but the seller doesn’t share any history about the car and if it’s been in the Golden State all of its life or not. There aren’t many photos, but based on the carport pics of the front and rear, the paint looks decent as does the chrome trim and glass.It’s also wearing the Fairlane Chrome Headlight Eyebrows that you sometimes see on ’55’s. The seller shares that the trunk latch is detached and the hood catch spring needs to be replaced, The ‘Bird has both the removable fiberglass hard top in matching Torch Red and the convertible soft top (ordering both tops was the most expensive option offered in 1955 at $290).

Inside, the classic, familiar red and white Thunderbird interior has some flaws but looks clean and decent enough. The seller mentions that the seat is torn and for some reason, this ‘Bird has a 1956 steering wheel on it that’s discolored in places. (I have read that some safety-conscious  ’55 T-Bird owners replaced their original steering wheel with a ’56 since it offered a “safety, deep-center steering wheel with spokes that would flex” as part of Ford’s Lifeguard safety package.) This ‘Bird is equipped with a Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, but other creature comfort options such as power steering, power windows and power brakes were not ordered. Aftermarket black seat belts can also be seen in the interior photos.

Only one sort of dark photo of the engine bay is supplied, but it looks clean. The ‘Bird has the 292 cu-in Y Block V8 that would have generated 198 horsepower with an automatic transmission when it left the factory all spanking new. The seller describes the ‘Bird as “running okay” and says it needs a carburetor rebuild, the speedometer is broken and that it has brake fluid and oil leaks. The mileage is listed as 119,915. The seller has posted a brief video on YouTube which shows the Thunderbird parked and the engine running. You also get a glimpse inside the trunk and although there are no side views of the ‘Bird, you can see that it’s sporting blackwell tires and mag wheels. So, what do you think? As with many cars featured here on Barn Finds, there are many questions remaining to be answered by the seller. But on the surface, and with No Reserve, this could be a good opportunity to own a classic, first-year Thunderbird at a decent price. Only time and prudent due diligence will tell.


  1. Bill Potts

    I was five when these came out. My folks ended up with a 1955 Mercury Monterey. For dealership’s had a contest where you could win a scaled down version for kids,it was battery powered. I pestered my Dad to keep putting in entry slips,but never win this. Those were the days of gas station promotions,green stamps,blue chip stamps,glasses etc. Now,nothing.

    Like 12
  2. Jack Quantrill

    Liked them since ‘55, as a 15 yr old. Turquoise, top down. California dreaming!

    Like 4
  3. fran

    Might have to start looking for a nice one again, they are a bargain and al the other Fords are too much. Most other cars also!

  4. bobhess bobhess Member

    Of the “Tri Fords” the ’55 was the cleanest design in my mind. “57 was nice looking but grew into a much bigger car that got even bigger as the years went by. Big not necessarily good in this case. Nice car here.

    Like 1
  5. chrlsful

    asked my 95 y/o father for his “list of 10 cars” 20 yrs ago. This was number 5. I can see Y.
    I think “no side view” is due to no ‘port hole’ on this one?


      Port hole top was not offered in 1955 … standard in ’56, with a “port hole delete” option …

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