D-Bird! 1957 Ford Thunderbird with D-Code V8

The Ford Motor Company’s decision to add a rear seat to the 1958 second-generation T-bird forever diverged it from the Chevrolet Corvette. That move also granted “instant classic” status to the first-generation Thunderbird. As a young crumb-snatcher, I remember the mystique of the early “porthole” Thunderbird. This 1957 Ford Thunderbird in Anaheim, California, like so many California classics, has never been restored. The top choice D-code 312 cid V8 adds power and value to this sweet Ford. After growing up in northwestern Pennsylvania where cars show rust bubbles in their second year on the road, seeing cars like this in California, running, driving, taking people to work and fetching groceries, seems like Hollywood magic. This Golden State classic seeks a new owner here on craigslist.org where, apparently $1.00 will make it yours. In addition to the obtuse price, the listing features pictures of several other vehicles that are not mentioned in the listing. Read further along and you’ll see an asking price of $19,000, reduced from $19,500. Appealing to shoppers in the sub-$100.00 category can only makes prospective buyers wonder what other tricks will be played before the sale. Caveat emptor of course, but let’s talk about the car.

The two-tone interior compliments the Starmist Blue exterior in a pleasant and glamorous way that still looks sharp today. Speed-sensitive volume adjustment on the “Speed Seek” radio suits top-down motoring perfectly, increasing the volume to compensate for speed-induced wind noise. The new-for-’57 instrument cluster makes this a single-year offering. Check out the space-age finned steering wheel column! The automatic transmission handles gear changes.

According to the original sales brochure, the standard hard top with port holes could have been body color, black, or white. Like many cars of the model year, the Thunderbird brought fins to the party for 1957. The listing invokes one of the most overblown phrases of modern car salesmanship, “100% original.” Does that include the hoses and clamps? While only three pictures accompany the description, the white wall tires and “Ford” hub caps certainly look original. Though not depicted, the 245 HP four-barrel 312 “runs good.” I like the idea of walking out in the morning and twisting the key on a 63 year-old car that’s never been restored and driving away. Is that worth $19,000 to you?

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  1. Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Nice one, Todd! I love that they have a sunshade in the windshield, that’s a good sign in my world.

    Like 8
  2. TimM

    Nice original car that looks like it just needs to be freshened up a bit!! As for the price well at least it runs and drives and all the parts are there!! We have all seen rollers that go for that price and in need of extensive body work!!

    Like 3
  3. Bob S

    I’d buy it.

    Like 2
  4. Gord

    The D code 312 was the most common engine in the 1957 Thunderbird. The E and F code performance engines were the rare option

    Like 6
  5. ccrvtt

    Being one of my all-time top 3 or 4 favorite cars I’d love to have it. $19K seems like a lot given the recent market for 2-seaters but where are you going to find another one in this apparent shape?

    If the Hoosier Lotto finally comes through I’d buy this and fix the dents and dings and have it repainted in the original Starmist blue. The color really is a bit effeminate but I’ve always liked it. And it’s okay to like it now that I’m too old to worry about my masculinity.

    Like 10
    • The One Member

      I know where there’s a cherry one with cont kit for 27K

      Like 1
  6. tiger66

    Interesting street — looks like a ’56 Packard Caribbean vert parked in front of the pickup truck in the third photo and of course there’s a Packard parked in front of the T-Bird.

    $19k might be a little steep as you can find a ’55 or ’56 in much better shape for not much more but the ’57s are more desirable and bring considerably more money. Unknown if this car actually drives — ad only says that it runs. As for rust, we don’t know how long it’s been in CA — no license plate that would offer a clue is shown though the rust on the upper surfaces could be a result of Southwestern desert sun.

  7. grant

    I call BS on the originality claim. That interior has been redone at some point. As for the 1.00 asking price, sellers who do that irritate me just as much as the ones that list every make and model of car they can think of as “keywords” to spam search results.

    Like 5
  8. Ric Goudsward Member

    It’s a fake add. Beware. The phone number is a google number.
    You’ve been warned.

    Like 1
  9. The One Member

    Ok news to me. In 1957 Ford produced 190 supercharged T-birds to beat the Corvette, Vette produced 283 HP Supercharged 312, 366 HP
    I have recently seen a mint version, worth 200K.

    Like 3
  10. Ruede Mcgriff

    Couldn’t they have just included photos of the one car in the ad ??

  11. Chas358 Chas358 Member

    Are they all for sale?

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