Live Auctions

BF AUCTION: 1955 Ford Thunderbird Last Call!

Sold For: $1,675

UPDATE – Dan has received a few requests for photos of the engine and engine bay, so he sent additional photos over to us. You can find them down in the photo gallery, so be sure to take a look at this Dual Quad equipped Packard V8! There’s still time to bid, so don’t let this one get away.

Reader Danger Dan has shared some pretty interesting finds with us over the years and he’s got another one for us! This time it’s a 1955 Ford Thunderbird that has had some pretty extensive modification work done to it, more on that in a moment. He found it in a backyard in San Francisco where it had spent the past 30 years. It’s said to have been one fast machine, but unfortunately, the work to get it there left it without a firewall or VIN. Since it lacks a title and is pretty rough, Dan asked us to auction it off as a no reserve parts car. So, be sure to take a closer look and if you have any questions for Dan, please leave them in the comments below.

From Dan – This ’55 T-Bird was recently exhumed from a backyard in San Francisco where it sat for more than 3 decades. The T-Bird was modified with a Packard engine and transmission featuring (2) four-barrel carburetors. Local lore pegged it as the fasted thing on wheels in the area. The VIN plate was removed when the firewall was modified to accept the Packard engine and is presumed lost. The seller has looked for the frame stamps but has so far been unable to locate any.

Input from Barn Finds Readers on frame stamp locations would be appreciated and followed up. The car is being sold for parts on a bill of sale. The condition of the engine and transmission are unknown. There is rust throughout the body of the vehicle however the frame appears solid and has no thru-rust or rot. There are no keys and as of now, the trunk has not been opened. The tires hold air and the car rolls easily, however, there is no foot brakes or handbrake. The Tbird can be loaded on a trailer however international shipping will be entirely on the buyer.

If only this Thunderbird could talk, I bet it has some pretty incredible stories that it could share! Do any of you happen to remember seeing it prowling the streets of San Francisco? If so, please share. And if any of our T-Bird experts out there know where Dan can find some type of identification number of the frame, he sure would appreciate it. I for one sure would love to see it saved, rather than parted out, but without some type of identification, you won’t ever be able to get it licensed to use on the street.

  • Asking Price: No Reserve Auction!
  • Location: Emeryville, California
  • Tile: Sold With A Bill of Sale Only

Bid On This Vehicle

Sold for: $1,675
Register To Bid
Ended: Oct 13, 2019 11:02am MDT
High Bidder: nickwho
Buyer Premium: 5%
    nickwho bid $1,675.00Oct 13, 2019 4:59pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,610.00Oct 13, 2019 4:54pm
    nickwho bid $1,580.00Oct 13, 2019 4:49pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,560.00Oct 13, 2019 4:44pm
    nickwho bid $1,540.00Oct 13, 2019 4:39pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,520.00Oct 13, 2019 4:30pm
    nickwho bid $1,500.00Oct 13, 2019 4:29pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,375.00Oct 13, 2019 4:24pm
    nickwho bid $1,355.00Oct 13, 2019 4:19pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,313.00Oct 13, 2019 4:14pm
    nickwho bid $1,285.00Oct 13, 2019 4:05pm
    5plymouth7 bid $1,255.00Oct 13, 2019 4:04pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $1,185.00Oct 13, 2019 4:04pm
    nickwho bid $1,165.00Oct 13, 2019 3:58pm
    nickwho bid $975.00Oct 13, 2019 3:43pm
    5plymouth7 bid $952.00Oct 13, 2019 3:13pm
    nickwho bid $731.00Oct 13, 2019 4:46am
    nickwho bid $711.00Oct 13, 2019 4:46am
    peterpaw bid $691.00Oct 13, 2019 4:24am
    ke4isr bid $670.00Oct 12, 2019 4:20pm
    Darryl bid $650.00Oct 11, 2019 11:55pm
    peterpaw bid $601.00Oct 11, 2019 11:05pm
    Thomas bid $576.00Oct 11, 2019 9:17pm
    Crazy bid $475.00Oct 9, 2019 10:50pm
    Darryl bid $375.00Oct 8, 2019 10:31pm
    Crazy bid $260.00Oct 8, 2019 6:50pm
    Bootjackspecial bid $110.00Oct 8, 2019 5:38pm
    Crazy bid $10.00Oct 6, 2019 4:53pm

Do you have a classic car that needs a new home? Consider listing it here on Barn Finds!


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    … and what was the best looking one of the trio. Too bad.

    Like 2
    • Terry R Melvin

      “If it could talk”? “Somebody, please send me to the crusher”

      Like 1
  2. Steve R

    This was parked next to the other rusty T-bird hauled out of a backyard which was featured on this site a few weeks ago. It can be seen in several pictures and looks like the best of the three.

    Without a pink slip, I’d contact the DMV before purchasing unless I considered this nothing more than a parts car.

    Steve R

    Like 5
    • Danger Dan

      Car is not in the DMV records. Family was glad to see it go.

      Like 4
  3. Gord

    am i seeing a top frame and handle in the one pic or only just a hardtop on this car?

    Like 1
    • Danger Dan

      Yes sir the soft top and frame is there, thanks-

      Like 3
      • Gord

        can i email you directly, have a few ?s ty

        Like 2
      • Danger Dan

        Not sure how that goes
        Is it okay to post an email address jess? Questions here are welcomed

        Like 1
      • Danger Dan
  4. Classic Steel

    Three locations

    But since it not original just see a state trooper to get a new vin #

    But if you feel lucky and its not rusted or cut off then here

    Like 3
    • Danger Dan

      Hello sir, I read this same thread and couldn’t find the stamps. A new Vin would be cool but these stamps got to be here!

      Like 1
    • ke4isr

      how much cost to deliver in ky

    • the one

      or CHP

      Like 1
  5. d s

    just trace the license plate, you can get the registration and VIN if it was for that car

  6. jerry z

    That’s one rough helmet!

    Like 1
  7. PacificCoast2

    Should be able to get a copy of the registration from California BMV, since it still has plates on it, they could cross the number to the registration and ultimately get the VIN # there.

    Like 1
  8. Don Diego

    Could the VIN be found by tracking the DMV info about the license plate ?

    • Danger Dan

      Great suggestion! I’ll have Ken Leek at peninsula registration services look into it.

      Like 2
  9. TimM

    Rough but something to start with!! Get out the rotisserie for this one going to need lots of work!!!

    Like 2
  10. Gaspumpchas

    upside pics of the mill??

    Like 2
    • Danger Dan

      From under the bird facing up sir? Tell me and I’ll do my best. DD

      • Jimmuh

        Think he is asking for motor pix from the top ( under hood shots) Me too! Pix of the motor please! TIA

        Like 2
    • Terry R Melvin

      why? The thing is more frozen than Antarctica

  11. Jalopy Jim

    Very curious about what transmission is in it ?

  12. Bob McK Member

    Somebody must know where the VIN is stamped on this car. I had a VIN issue once and the Police knew where the stamped VIN was. Maybe the Police will know. I once owned a 57 Pontiac in Colorado that had a State issued VIN. Maybe your State can issue one, if the stamped one can’t be found.

    Like 3
  13. Davekoepke

    Is there a motor pic you can post?

  14. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    As most know the motor was the place prior to 1959 in most states – and with the rust situation just not sure the numbers are going to show any way on the frame…but good luck with that.

    Make it three – that want to see the motor or an old photo if there is one.

    So the family was glad to see it go ? Guess the place is in make ready to sell.

    • Norman Wrensch

      Actually I believe that was 1954 and older, this one would not be using motor number.

      • stillrunners stillrunners Member

        They used motor # at least to 55 – lucky my paper route Stude still had it’s original motor – cause – that’s what was on the title and not the door post the buyer checked after he handed the money over.

  15. Little_Cars

    Wow, this must’ve been something when it was first built. Wonder if it appeared in any magazines at the time? You can just about smell the musty odor from the dried vinyl interior from here. Wonder if the trunk would reveal some other custom goodies? Good luck on the auction, DD.

    Like 1
  16. Danger Dan

    From a few good sources I feel confident in saying that this was Studebaker Steve Williams Packard powered Tbird that raced at Fremont dragstrip and also spent time racing in Hawaii while the man was in the service.

    Like 6
    • 71FXSuperGlide

      Interesting. Nothing turns up on web searches for this, please post something if you can.

      Like 1
      • Danger Dan

        Look up Studebaker Steve Napa Ca. Apparently he was a well liked individual with a large stash of Stude & Packard parts

        Like 1
  17. Lance Koltes

    All Classics need to be restored with no vin it could be used as a car for the drag strip dont need a title there, I would bid but have no way to haul it nor money to bid , hope someone puts it to good use.

  18. Kelly Breen

    US rules are a bit much. While I totally see a need to prevent vehicle theft, the current law does nothing to combat chop shops while it prevents unique cars that ought to be saved from being restored. They get crushed instead.

    Maybe Leno should have a look at this one.

    Like 1
    • Don H

      Is there at least one day that Jay Leno s name is not brought up 🤔

      Like 5
      • TimM


        Like 2
  19. MICK George.

    i live in Australia and own a 57 T Bird and its chassis number is stamped on the front left side of the will have to clean it up to find it so use degreaser not hard sand paper . a green scourer from the kitchen is good the numbers are not stamped that chassis no is D7FH115508 The 55 should start at D5 THIS SHOULD GET YOU STARTED.

    Like 1
    • Danger Dan

      Thanks mick, the passenger side area towards the middle of the motor was modified and I looked under the car where your wallet would be in the passenger seat but came up with nothing.

      Like 2
      • Danger Dan

        Are you saying drivers side or passenger side please sir? Greetings and I lived in Oz for a year as a youngster. Love the place

  20. MICK George.

    left hand side / drivers side you will have to clean a foot of the chassis to find the no.dont do it rough a wire brush is ok to get started but from then on kid gloves or you will lose it. the no is on the side of the chassis not top or 57 is still LHD. 312 D Code Auto Thunderbird Bronze in colour White roof.

    Like 2
  21. Danger Dan

    I don’t know how the Engine pics got left out but I submitted them to the guys. Thanks guys I hope you can add them soon. Dan

    Like 2
  22. Classic Steel
    Its a 57 comment but maybe …
    “Look on the passenger side down to the frame in the engine compartment. It should be visible. I think I had to move the rubber shield a little bit to find mine. I’m referring to the rubber shield at the upper control arm shaft.”
    This talks of passenger side looking down

    The rest talk of top of frame

    • Danger Dan

      Thank you sir, I read that one too. DD

      Like 1
  23. Jack Quantrill

    Who knows what lurks in the backyards of the nation? “ The Shadow knows”!

    Like 3
    • Ralph

      Code enforcement knows…..

      Like 3
  24. moosie moosie

    What is the setup with the master cylinder and booster ? with another master cylinder mounted on the firewall, ? is one of them for a hydraulic clutch ?
    Way back in the early-mid sixties we put a 413 Chrysler and torque flite in a ’56 T Bird, the drive shaft wasn’t more then a foot long, that Bird flew .

    Like 3
  25. cold340t

    Looks a lot better in person. Still rusty but, very cool. Went by this am. Hope it finds a good home.

    Like 2
  26. Jcf

    WHOA! Rust bucket! Stay away, stay far away……

    Like 1
    • Danger Dan

      I guess you’ll be bidding then? See you Sunday lolz

      Like 1
  27. Kenn

    Stamp your own VIN on the chassis, take it to the DMV and get a new title. Since there is no record – apparently – of he original number, this should do the trick.

    Like 1
  28. benjy58

    Line up for a tetanus shot you will need it if you buy it.

  29. Jf85tr99

    Looks like the rust worm got this one good in the damp environment behind that shop, hopefully not. Bet it was fun in its day, probably turned alot of heads too. I really like the look of those wheels on it, they probably suited it nicely when it was on the road. I think its still artwork even in its current state. Hope someone finds a good place for it. Glws.


    Like 1
  30. Bootjackspecial

    Was there an air cleaner? Just curious if rain made it in the front carb through the hood vent

  31. Danger Dan

    Thanks for the comments, questions and bids. Some have asked if we can store the car. The answer is yes, 30 days is no prob as long as it’s paid for. I have some shipping contacts if needed. Thanks again- DD

    Like 1
    • nickwho

      Hi Dan, new to here, i wasnt sure who to contact and all that or thought it was only through the site and all that… My friend Neal was contacting you as well for shipping cost to Landing NJ 07850, but its likely i will be coming to pick it up… How would you like to be paid? I would need a little time to schedule off from work to get out there.. My email is, ph is 225-206-0765 call/text is fine as well, I dont have messenger.. Im at work at the parts store right now but can answer as needed.. Thank You, Nick

  32. Wayne

    I can’t believe that I am saying this.
    It looks like an excellent start for a Rat Rod.
    Very cool, but the salt air did not do it any favors.

    Like 1
  33. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    Looks like we have a little bidding war going on!

  34. Maureen

    Can you post shipping contacts? Recently purchased this 55 T bird from this site with a friend. Need it shipped to NJ..

  35. Del

    Never saw so much talky talky about a 1700 parts car 😂

  36. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Dang…please put us out of our misery going on two weeks now with this xxxxx….AND…

    We shouldn’t have had to ask – for a motor picture – after all – that’s the big selling point.

  37. Reidhall

    It sounds like to me this was stolen, back in the day,at some point,these days, people just wast time,taking off vin.,plates.Although,if you do your homework,and checkout,those,somewhat,desiriable,Cal.,Black plates,you will find somthing,l would think.Just keep in mind if title paperwork,is lost or misplaced, you might recover it and get back.Otherwise,you have parts car,and or just,and old racecar without a title.

  38. George t.Brew Member

    The vin # is stamped on the frame on the right topside rear where the X crossmember meets the rail you would need to lift the body to access it .
    Not an easy restoration but a lot of good parts !

  39. Jimmuh

    Congrats to DD & BF! (if the car actually sold and you get paid!)
    Fun to watch (even with a few complainers! (woulda liked to snag that intake….but too rich for me….)

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