Clipped Wings: 1956 Ford Thunderbird

left front

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1955 to 1957 Thunderbirds are popular cars and nice examples can sell for crazy money. The $9,000 asking price for this project for sale on craigslist in Roseville, California reflects those prices. The seller has done a lot of work, including having the engine rebuilt, and lots of parts are included, many new. The seller has provided lots of pictures, 5 pages in great detail. This project appears to be a case where the light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t getting any brighter. He has likely sunk a lot more than $9,000 into this T-Bird.


The interior looks mostly complete and ready for door panels and upholstery.


What you can see of the underside looks pretty solid.


It’s going to need lots of bodywork. $9,000 seems like a lot of money for this car, but compared to this one listed on Craigslist for $4,200, the price doesn’t seem so high. If you didn’t include your labor, (and did all the body and paint work yourself) could you restore this for $10,000? Would you leave it stock or add things like bucket seats and a modern front end? What do you think this old bird is really worth as it is? I look forward to seeing your comments?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rick

    Looks like it has a front bumper and headlight fender extensions off of a ’57 T-Bird

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  2. Leo

    you might get there for another 10k… Might.. Paint materials will run 3k if you want to use quality materials (i can hear the comments already claiming the materials wont run more than $500) and to that ill roll on the floor laugging. Use cheap stuff and you will be redoing it in a couple of years so pay now or pay later. Chrome… Another 3k. Interior? 3k.. Getting close to that 10k!

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    • JW454

      I agree on the paint cost. I just got my car back from the paint shop last Saturday. The paint alone was over $1600.00. That’s no reducer, primer, sand paper, masking tape, nothing but the paint itself was over $1600.00. The painter gave me the invoices from the paint supply house to keep for my records so I saw the actual cost. WOW!

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  3. JW

    I spent 15K on paint & bodywork on our Mach1 and 5K for paint / labor alone, I really like this era of Thunderbirds so if I had the time and more money I would attempt to get it back to it’s glory days of looking cool.

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    • Bruce

      @JW. I hear ya. I am 20k into body and paint on my 70 MACH 1. If you are able to do a majority of work yourself you will save a lot.


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  4. MG'zer

    One of my favorites, I’m a fan forr keeping it O. I do all my own work. If its something I don’t know how to do I may have to redo it a couple of times. But I enjoy my time in the shop. When my son was younger wr spent a lot of quality time in their.

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  5. John.H

    The 55-57 tbirds that bring the money are mainly the ’57 F code ( supercharged) and E code (275 HP) cars. 55’s didn’t have that much power and only engine options, so there has to be some other rarity to drive the price on one of those.

    You can still get a run of the mill, good driver for less than $30K. Unless this car is somehow unique, I personally would pass.

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  6. Wayne Thomas

    Old Fords like this just beg for an EcoBoost restomod update. Classic looks with modern power and efficiency that engineers at the time of this car’s construction could only dream about.

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  7. Randy W

    I restored a 1957, bought for 12,000 running car. E code, put in 39,000 total of 51,000. 3 years to restore, Sold in one month for 93,000. Couldn’t drive because it was classed as # 1 car. Would lose to much money if driven and lose classification. Car was better than factory. Needless to say I was happy with price. I was told if I sold it In united kingdom I could get well over 100,000 for it. A man from spain bought it and didn’t even hesitate on price. Standard restore on this 56 would be around 15,000+ This is a good buy!

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