Cheap Project! 1955 Ford Thunderbird

A lot of people have probably walked past this 1955 Ford Thunderbird without even knowing there was a vehicle under the mass of leaves and debris. Located in Hayward, California, the car was unearthed after years of sitting and is still salvageable. It can be found here on eBay with an asking price of only $1,999! At that price, this may be more of a parts car, but let’s check it out and see what you think.

Here it is after it was pulled from its resting spot. I bet everyone was surprised when this classic first saw the full light of day. Overall, it is very rough and will probably be more conducive to a parts car, but a dedicated owner could restore it. The car was parked on gravel, so it sunk under its own weight over the years.

It is clear the interior has seen years of weather, vegetation, and critters. In fact, the ad states that a skunk ran out from under it when it was moved! All that weather has taken its toll on the sheet metal. The seller says the floor is 80% gone, but the frame looks okay. It is unclear if the engine is original to the car, but the ad says that the original T-bird valve covers and carb are present.

The trunk edge is gone. Apparently the trunk, hood, and steering are all locked up. The tires are flat (of course) and there is no title with the sale. The owner may have been a collector since there are also two other cars on the property. They are not included in this sale but may be available separately. What do you think of this car? Do you think it will ever be restored?


WANTED 1972 Yamaha G7S (80cc) These are now referred to as “cafe racers”, although we never heard of such a term in 1972. Contact

WANTED 1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird Looking for an original 400 convertible, 3 or 4 speed preferred. No restomods. Contact

WANTED Caterpillar Any Wanted Caterpillar , in any condition running or non running for restoration project parts machine Contact

WANTED 1965 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible Looking for the rear seats or bare frames. Must be from a convertible which are smaller. Contact

WANTED 70 to 73 Dodge cuda or challenger looking for a driver , small fixer upper if required Contact

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  1. Chuckster

    Cover it back up

    Like 53
    • Patrick Farmer

      Amen Brother,

      Like 3
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    I think I’ll try not to think about this car….

    Like 23
  3. JerryDeeWrench Member

    A bird that died in it’s best. May it rest in rest in oxidation.

    Like 20
    • JerryDeeWrench Member

      Correction nest

      Like 8
      • Dave

        How much for the skunk?

        Like 12
    • Steve Bush Member

      The skunk was right-run from this!

      Like 24
    • Glenn Schwass Member

      Lawn art and almost not that. Put plants in it and let it continue on its “back to dust ” journey. ( unless there are any parts some poor person needs for theirs)

      Like 4
  4. sir mike

    Is it April Fools Day already??? First the Jag and now this.Nothing of value left to use.

    Like 14
  5. Gordon

    Interesting engine compartment with dual 4 bbl carbs and twin coil arrangement.
    Hardly anything useable on any of them

    Like 4
  6. LARRY

    Dig a big enough hole for this and the jag…put the bird on top of the jag and crush it

    Like 9
  7. b-rad jeepster

    Send it to Amos Minter and he will restore it and sell it at BJ foe half a mil

    Like 2
  8. Doyler

    Ran when parked?

    Like 6
  9. Steve R

    I live nearby. Someone parked that car decades ago. This a very dry area, 30 year old cars that have never seen the inside of a garage are usually 100% rust free, unless there is a leak allowing water to pool in the interior or trunk. Recently a friend bought a 1956 Ford F100 that sat uncovered on a cement patio since 1981, the only rust on the entire vehicle was on the rain gutter above the drivers door. It’s a shame, I’d wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t a nice car when stashed behind that house.

    Like 7
  10. local_sheriff

    So this is it? Have all buildable projects been picked then? First the E-type and then this – will it lead to BF being re-branded as BBF (Behind Barn Finds)…?

    Like 6
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      UBF (UNDER the Barnfinds)?!?

      Like 8
  11. Tom Member

    Hate to say it but this car is better than the blue one next to it!

    Yikes. How would you like to have this guy living next door. I LOVE old cars but to have a mini junk yard going in front of the house is NOT cool.

    Love the Bird “nest” comment. Again, said and totally NOT understandable how a car like this is let to fall into neglect and ruin.

    Like 7
    • Steve R

      Look again, picture #8 shows them parked in the back yard. They were not visible from the street. Hayward has an abatement program, these cars were not stored in front yard of the house.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  12. Tom

    Wow. Not worth the effort to remove the vegetation.

    Like 2
  13. Stephen Sharp

    take anything off usable and scrap it, 1,999? yea right

    Like 3
  14. 86_Vette_Convertible

    The guy must have at least 3 55 or 56 T-Birds from what I’m seeing. This one, another red one with a black hardtop on it and an aqua one. You might be able to assemble the majority of one from all three if you are very lucky (which I doubt in this case). Thing is, looks like the seller is salting the pictures in the ad with a mix of all three.
    The main one for the ad doesn’t even qualify as Junk IMO.

    Like 2
  15. Fred H

    The price should be $1.99 ))

    Like 8
  16. Sal

    I would like to point that the author misspelled the word ‘hoarder’.. when they said “The owner may have been a collector…”

    Only people with some sort of hoarding or compulsion issue would store a car in such a manner. It drives me nuts that we allow people like this to be called a collector. (no offense to the author meant, that was more of a attack on society in general)

    Like 9
    • James

      Very sad to let a car like this just rot…I will NEVER understand it!

      Like 2
  17. James Schwartz

    Always sickens me when I see this happen to really great old cars (or any cars for that matter). I can almost guarantee that the car was at least “decent” when parked and dozens of people inquired over the years about purchasing it, But the owner would say “IT’S NOT FOR SALE…..I’M GONNA FIX IT UP SOMEDAY!!!”.
    I’ve seen it (and been a party to it) many many times. It should almost be criminal that people do that to these classics (A sort of law against sheer stupidity).
    In high school I tried buying a ’67 GTO from a friend’s dad who had parked it in his yard about 10 years prior. But the answer was “no”, he was gonna fix it up someday. Tried again whenever I ran into his old man, every couple years for almost two decades. That poor GTO (having been sinking into the ground for 40 years) is now half in the earth, completely gone and un-savable. Just sad.

    Like 13
  18. Carl H.

    Check out Jonathan Winans of A-1 tow in You tube. He gets worse to run and drive….

  19. Firemarshal Bill

    I don’t usually reply to posts, but this has got to be an exception. In 1999 I began looking for a classic BMW Isetta 300 to restore and actually found TWO of them (owned by the same guy) within 10 miles of me. I tried everything I could think of to try and convince him to sell me one. He kept saying “someday I’m gonna restore them for my grand kids”. That was 20 years ago, but sitting outside in our Pacific NW weather, they have both now rusted away to absolute wasted junk! Has anyone ever written a concise, logical article on how to approach people with old classics that their “treasure” might have the potential to be restored before its too late?

    Like 4
    • John B

      Usually the old codger heads off to the rest home or dies before the heirs finally have to make decisions about possessions. Seen the situation a number of times…

      Like 5
      • Dirt Track Doug

        If you’re really lucky and play your cards right,.. someday maybe you’ll get to be a ‘old codger’ too

        Like 2
      • John B

        I’m 60 now and have certainly “played my cards” right, so it will not be long before I happily earn the codger label! My old stuff is not outside rotting either.

        Like 3
  20. Lance Nord

    When is the funeral? I ran across the very same scenario in Nebraska in 1983. A farmer had five 50’s era T-birds in his windbreak. They were sinking into the ground. They weren’t as far gone as this ‘bird, but they were getting bad. I spoke with the man. He wasn’t going to part with them because they were “his retirement fund”. He wouldn’t listen to reason.

    Like 5
  21. John Oliveri

    How much is the owner gonna pay someone to haul it away

    Like 3
  22. Chris Fischer

    Looks like the Enterprise rammed the Borg! 1st pic, lol

    Like 1
    • Chief

      I was going to type “Looks like the USS Enterprise crashed into a forest” when I noticed your post. Live long and proper!

      Like 1
  23. robert lewis

    worth what ever scrap-metal is going for that day

    Like 1
  24. waynard

    Junk. Not worth more than $150.00 as is. Plus you gotta haul it away and take it apart for what it’s worth. That’s time and money too. People with stuff like this are plain nuts.

    Like 3
  25. David G

    Sad that people let them get so bad like this. The Skunk, however, can be de-scented. They make great pets.

    Like 3
  26. Lynelle Nowlin

    I agree with all others and especially with James Schwartz.We all have our own stories about how one got away from us but I would really like to know the cars’ history and how in the heck it got that way.(Maybe elderly person who’s son or daughter left home and just didn’t care 60 years ago)?Hey maybe BF could take an extra step to get the owners of any listing to include the vehicles history.I know it’s done occasionally but this one really deserves to have it’s history revealed to us.Shameful pitiful waste of one of our iconic and representative examples of U.S. car manufacturing designership and technology.Just a complete insult. Doesn’t the owner have the nerve to just give it away.(That was a joke!)The owner is trying to redefine iconic to mean,junk,trash and whatever descriptive term that we can use so the owner can absorb how all of us commentators feel about what’s happened to this car especially those of us who were around to be part of its historical heyday.It hurts just to look at the photos.Can’t say any more.

    Like 5
    • Steve R

      The seller is a flipper, he is not the one who put it in the backyard to rot. Look at his other eBay listing, I doubt he’d give any comments son this site a second thought.

      Steve R

      Like 3
      • Danger Dan

        I prefer treasure hunter Steve R. Always enjoy your comments. Have a great weekend

        Like 5
      • Steve R

        Thanks Dan, treasure hunter it is, though I don’t consider the term flipper to be derogatory on face value.

        Have a good weekend too.

        Steve R

  27. Jack Quantrill

    Throw the leaves back on, let it R.I.P!

    Like 3
  28. Mike

    I see a couple rat rod projects….. I’d go 200 bucks for all three cars.

    Like 1
  29. Danger Dan

    I pulled em out. The house was disgusting it sold for 960000
    In the horde:
    5 engines
    428 CJ
    401 nailhead
    +3 sbf
    1 fiber jet dune buggy
    3 rovers 1969
    3 55 tbirds
    1 motorhome
    All for $500.

    Like 12
    • Patrick Farmer

      I hope you got a cheap wrecker to pull all of it.

  30. rpol35

    “The trunk edge is gone. Apparently the trunk, hood, and steering are all locked up. The tires are flat (of course) and there is no title with the sale.”

    But other than that…….

    Unfortunate really as it looks like a dual quad engine model.

    Like 1
  31. Del

    Just finnished my laffing at the Jag and this POS shows up.

    No need to go to the Comedy Club when access to Barn Finds is even funnier

    Like 9
  32. Fran

    I can hear the owner say 30 years ago, “ nah I don’t want to sell it I going to fix it and keep it” just like the 68 GT 500 in the next town from me.

    Like 2
  33. Keith

    Wow! if it was a Mopar it would be worth at least 17k! Just saying?

    • Fran

      What 55 mopar is worth 17K?

      Like 4
      • Keith

        To the Mopar freaks it is! Just read the past Barnfind posts.

        Like 1
      • On and On On and On Member

        1955 Chrysler C 300 is worth a lot more, but of course not a buried one. No car is worth that in that condition. IMO

        Like 1
  34. 71Boss351

    No title, no sale! Need to cover this one back up quickly.

    Like 1
  35. Frantastic

    You would be better off with a restored Thunderbird done!

    Like 1
  36. Bill McCoskey

    This could be a good deal IF that dual quad carb setup is sitting on an original 1957 T-bird dual quad motor. Someone should check the block serial number and contact T-bird experts who can identify what version of the Ford V8 it is.

    The former owner may have set this car aside specifically because it had an original 1957 dual quad engine. That drive train could be worth more than the asking price for the car.

    Like 2
    • Dirt Track Doug

      After looking at all the fotos in the eBay ad, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say those definitely are NOT Ford Y-block valve covers… -more likely they are mounted on a circa 1962 -66 394 Oldsmobile engine. The dual quads are Rochester 4GC carbs -for sure.

      Who’s a bettin’ man ? ;-)

      Like 1
      • Bill McCoskey

        Dirt Track Doug,

        I’m a bettin’ man!

        I betcha it’s not an Olds big block, the intake manifolds on the 394 had a water distribution port at the front end, from the thermostat to both heads. this manifold does not appear to have any water ports.

        Like 1
      • Dirt Track Doug

        Ya got me there Bill… ;-) What then ? A Caddy? Remember the RottenChester 4GC’s there.?
        –so I’m thinkin’ its gotta be something GM…-eh?

      • Bill McCoskey

        It’s NOT the Ford E-code engine as I initially thought.

        Of all the Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, & Buick V8 cars of that vintage, I can’t think of a single one that didn’t have the water distribution ports in the heads/intake manifold, so I suspect it’s actually a Cadillac Eldorado motor. At this point I’m 99% sure that’s what’s in this T-bird. Probably a 331 from the mid 1950s.

        I had a Cadillac Fleetwood 60s with the Eldo dual quad engine, and I can tell you that 331 would propel that big and heavy sedan quite well, so I can imagine that little T-bird would be scary-quick with that engine!

        Today that Cadillac Dual Quad setup is worth almost what the guy paid for the entire car. If the batwing air cleaner is to be found in the trunk, that alone is worth about $1,500 more.

      • Dirt Track Doug

        I think you’ve solved the mystery there Bill. I recall that Cadillac’s WERE a very popular choice for engine swaps back in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s… You’ve good sharp eyes and detective skills there brother. Congrats..!

        I agree with your assessment too, of the ‘values’ you mentioned… What has the world come to, when scrap like this brings such big dollars ???? I bought a freshly re-painted good running ’56 Olds Super 88 2 door hardtop back around 1965 from a HS classmate for around $400…

        What HAS the world come to ?

        Like 1
      • nickwho

        I will take that bet, how’s $500 sound? Hint. 55-56, not gm. Wanna shake?

  37. TimM

    Never saw a 55 T-bird planter before!!! Was that a pot plant growing out of the trunk or did he smoke it already????

    Like 2
  38. Bob McK Member

    This is the FIRST time that this group actually agrees on a car. Seller…take note! This is a rare moment.

    Like 3
    • Danger Dan

      I’ve been around here. Check dans discoveries 1 & 2

  39. Dirt Track Doug

    nice faux patina job !

  40. chrlsful

    SteveR – “PNW”, “Nebraska” some have said-
    This is Hayward, CA:
    18 inches of rain a yr, 40 – 70* temps thru that time…

    I like Nevada, Utah, Az, NM, Tx for the car searches….but I’m a New England/MidLantic guy…

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      We get our rain between late-October to mid-May, then nothing. There is low humidity and no ground fog.

      Cars parked in the open, but on cement, can easily go decades without substantial rust. I have a 2001 Silverado that has never seen the inside of a garage, the only “rust” it has is on the unpainted driveshaft. It’s true surface rust, something that could be wiped away in a few minutes with some steel wool.

      In many neighborhoods you can still find 60’s cars parked in a driveway every block or two, even in neighborhoods close to high tech companies, where every house changes hands for well over $1,000,000. That doesn’t even include cars that are stashed in garages, of which there are many. This area had up to 7 or 8 dragstrips, dozens of speed shops and several Ford and GM manufacturing plants. There is a lot of stuff still floating around.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • Dirt Track Doug

        what town are you speaking of my friend ?

        Like 1
  41. Patrick Farmer

    This thing sold for just under $2,000. I knew of a horder that had a whole lot of uber rare Mustangs, Cougar, Camaro, Firebird, Torino Cobra, Montego, Chevelle, GTO, Buick GS, 442 and on an on. He ran a junkyard and all these cars where behind a fence just outside of the office. He would not sell anything off them or the cars themselves. I pulled up one day in my Can Am looking for a front fender for my 1972 Cougar. The guy at the counter said that we might have one and He said jokingly I know we have it behind fence. I told him yes I know and I don’t blame him for locking them up and it would make a great retirement fund and I would not feel right asking to buy any parts from his stash. So I went in the back looking for the fender and I didn’t find one. I was walking into the office, dejected, when the counterman stopped me and he said follow me and he opened the gate to the horde. He took me to a parts car and said you can pull this one. I said are you sure and he smiled and said the boss heard what I said that I wouldn’t feel right about asking to buy a part from his collection and I was the first one to say anything like that. I got the fender, shocked my friends by getting a part from the collection. About six months later the owner had a stroke and died. His family hated the junkyard and the hired a car crusher and crushed every car in the yard including the 100 rare project cars. I was sick and I wasn’t alone. The point here is get it built right now or it will rot away or you will kick the bucket and the cars will be destroyed anyway. You have to see the car in their eyes and appeal to them on their terms. You can get them to sell the car. Then again car could be own by a blue ribbon, grade A, butthole.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey

      Thant junkyard owner was probably more interested in OWNING the cars, than in their future. His situation is quite common among the older “junkyard” owners. Older generation scrappers were typically only interested in getting an item, not in preserving it. Over the last nearly 60 years of visiting the old style junkyards, I’ve met many junkyard owners who said the same thing; “It ain’t for sale”. I’ve even seen cars marked all over the body – “NOT FOR SALE” or “NO parts sold off this car”.

      If he cared about the cars, he would have made arrangements for their future once he was gone. It’s very likely he knew how his family felt as well. He didn’t care once he was gone.

      What he said about overhearing the comment about understanding that the cars behind the fence were part of a collection, reminds me of what happened to me back in the 1980s. I was visiting with a VERY [and I mean VERY] WEALTHY client in a far-away country, who had a private restoration facility with over 25 employees to work on his 900+ vehicles. Meeting him in person for the first time, I decided to share photos of my own substantial [but nowhere near his] collection. He started asking about prices of the cars in my photo book, as he didn’t see any $ figures.

      I explained that these cars were my own, and not for sale. I just thought because he was so gracious in letting me see his entire collection [WOW!], I would show him photos of my collection. That simple act ended up forging a lifetime friendship [he passed away about 15 years later]. He remarked that in many years of his collecting, ALL of the “visitors” to his collection tried to sell him vehicles.

      My “friend” would call me in the middle of the night [mid-day for him], and we would talk for hours on the phone [his “dime”], When he did want another vehicle, he would tell me exactly what he wanted, and I would do my best to find the best example available [cost was never a concern, as long as I was not ripping him off].

      His son said his father once said that “Bill was more interested in the cars and the owners, than the money”. He was so right.

      And yes, as far as I know, the family has continued the collection, but it’s a very private collection, known only to a very few outsiders. Nothing is ever for sale or trade. Once a vehicle is in the collection, it will never be sold.

      Like 4
  42. Eigil

    Looks like time has come to close down the comment field, all this pms’ing.. Can’t be positivt, then shut the **** up!!
    Take a dump truck, put a thick tarp in the box, fill with water, 5-10 boxes of washing soda, connect a big welder to annode and car and lower the car into solution , let sit for a week, voala: a clean and bare body, ready to electro-plate with zink, reversing the process.

    Like 1
  43. Chris

    This is way too expensive, bought my running and driving 82 z28 with no rot for $1500, brakes don’t work yet but still.

    Like 1

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