Bargain Buy: 1957 Ford Thunderbird

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The seller of this 1957 Ford Thunderbird purchased the car from the estate of the original owner. It has undergone a partial restoration in the past, and now it only requires a bit of fine tuning to return it to its best. Located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, it is being offered for sale with a clean title. If this Thunderbird sets your pulse racing enough that you would like to own it, then you will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist.

While some of the historic time-lines on the Thunderbird are a bit blurred, we do know that the car underwent a partial restoration at some point in the past. At that point, the car underwent a repaint. It then looks like the car had little use before the original owner passed away. The car certainly presents well. I may be alone in this, but I’ve seen a few of these fitted with the Continental Kit. I’m glad that this car has avoided that because it makes the rear of the car look heavy, and destroys the natural lines of the car. The Thunderbird appears to be free of rust, and it comes with a hardtop, a soft-top, and a tonneau. While all of the glass is present in the car, the windows in both doors are cracked, so should be replaced.

The Thunderbird came fitted with a 292ci V8 and a 3-speed manual transmission. Both of these are still present, although the engine is not wearing its original carburetor or intake. The good news on that front is that the original items will come with the car. Also included is a complete spare engine, along with an assortment of parts, and a lot of documentation, including receipts and notes. When the car underwent its repaint that I previously mentioned, the engine was removed and underwent a rebuild. Since the rebuild, the car has only covered about 400 miles. The owner says that the car starts and runs, but this is the area of the car that will require some fine-tuning before the car hits the road.

When the rest of the car was getting the treatment, the interior wasn’t spared in the process. It has undergone a re-trim, and it does present quite nicely. The only deviation from original was that the original owner had factory-style air conditioning installed while the restoration was being undertaken.

This Thunderbird is a nice looking car, but only a personal inspection will confirm whether it is as good as it appears in the photos. If it is, then it could well be one of the really good buys of the year. Considering the claimed work that has been performed on the car, combined with the catalog of parts that are to be included in the sale, an asking price of $26,750 seems to represent great value for money.

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  1. Arthell64

    The 55-57 T-birds are a lot cheaper than they were 10- 20 years ago. Nice car

    Like 9
  2. Mark

    I certainly agree about the Continental kits, I don’t have any idea why someone would ruin classic car by installing 1 of those! Even back when the cars were new I don’t understand somebody doing it, if you want to Continental look by a continental! Don’t buy something else and modify it to look like a continental.

    As stated previously this car looks very good shape and if everything checks out its price is quite reasonable. Obviously a few little tweaks here and there would make it even better and nothing is required appears to be anything that would be a significant cost.

    Like 8
  3. stillrunners

    One my dad wouldn’t loan me the $1500 on – a non-runner 1957 – but it had a nice black body for the day….about 1978…..he didn’t see the up side.

    Like 4
  4. saltydog

    Did you mean a Continental kit on a ’57? It was standard on the ’56, then deleted for ’57, as the trunk was made larger to accommodate the spare. The ’55 had the spare in the trunk, with room for little else.

    Like 6
  5. Santa Fe Steve

    Price is a bit high for the condition. In the last three years the 55 – 57 T-Birds have dropped in value unless it is an e-code (dual 4 barrels) or an f-code (supercharger) car (which this car is not).

    Like 3
  6. Vintageant

    Only the ’56 T-Birds had the Continental kit. Not on ’55s or ’57s.

    Like 3
  7. Rick M.

    This is epitome of the original two seater T-bird and the car that underscores why the last attempt failed. It had NO TAILFINS!

    Could have gotten one in 1978 for the same price.

    Like 1
  8. Mountainwoodie

    At least its not a slushbox. Though is that not the ugliest shifter set up? Kind of overpowers the design.
    I had the opportunity to buy a nut and bolt restoration of a ’55 i think in the prettiest avocado like green back in the eighties.
    The seller wanted 11K and I thought it was too much. I’m really cheap. I’ve gotten to the point as the generation that owned many of these cars dies, and their values drop, that I’ve lost any rational way to appraise their value to me.
    So I’m left thinking what other cars can you buy for 25 K (arguendo you have that laying around) and look at it that way.

    Like 2
  9. Morley Brown BrownMember

    In the 1960s, every magazine had an engine swap article for these cars. Hemis, , Nailheads, Big blocks etc. If it was a big engine, it got stuffed into one of theses T-birds. Soooo–where are all those cars.I would love to find one of those–and old Y block will not do it.

    Like 0
  10. Wrong Way

    Someone should jump for sure! If everything checks out, I see this as a bargain price!

    Like 1
  11. Phillip Tenney

    The standard engine in these was I believe the 312 not the 292. If it has the offy 3 carb intake and not the edelbrock the offy was one of the very worst 3 carb intake you could put on a Y block. Ted Eaton did a carb test and I think it was down over 20 horsepower from the edelbrock.

    Like 2
    • Norman Wrensch

      I have to agree on the offy, had one on a SBC, it would run fine until you got over 4500 then it would start leaning out #4 & #5 and they would start barking back. Messed with it for about 6 mo before pulling it and putting a four barrel on it, ran great then. But I had a lot of good luck running other brands 3×2

      Like 0
  12. Alfred

    Stupid question. Are the early birds fiberglass. ?

    Like 0
  13. Phillip Tenney


    Like 0
  14. FRED D

    where’s the ac compressor

    Like 0

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