D-Code 312 V8/3-Speed! 1957 Ford Thunderbird

The Thunderbird was a monumental success for Ford Motor Company, introduced in 1955 and lasting for ten generations before it took a break after the 1997 model year.  The first-generation cars were two-seaters and manufactured from 1955 through 1957, and when the T-Bird made a brief comeback for the eleventh generation between 2002 and 2005, it was retro-styled to resemble the earlier models.  While the retro car was a pretty cool effort, nothing beats an original, and if you’ve been in the market for a first-generation model this 1957 Ford Thunderbird would definitely be worth a look.  The car is located in Clovis, California, and can be seen here on eBay, but with a more thorough description here.  A buy-it-now price is set at $30,000.

The owner of this Thunderbird describes it as a very solid California car with nothing missing and no evidence of rust, with body panel alignment described as typical for this year.  The paint is said to need polishing and detailing to bring out the luster.  All of the trim is said to be in good shape, as is the glass, although the rear bumper shows some minor pitting.  The original California black license plate comes with the car.

Inside, things have a very good original appearance, with the dashboard and steering wheel said to be in good condition, though it would have been nice to see what the latter looks like without that aftermarket laced cover over it.  Everything inside is stated to function as it should, and the dash still retains its original Ford Town & Country radio.  There’s also working air conditioning with a new compressor.

The Thunderbird is a D-Code car, meaning it is equipped with a 4-Barrel 245 horsepower 312 cubic inch V8, which is said to start right up and have a good sound.  Shifting duties are performed by a 3-Speed manual transmission.  There’s no word on whether or not either has ever had a rebuild, and the mileage on the odometer cannot be substantiated by the seller.

There are no photos provided of the underside, but the condition underneath is said to be typical of a California car with no rust and no visible leaks or damage.  There is a photo with the trunk open, and everything we can see inside looks to be satisfactory.  Also, if you catch the seller on a good day, there’s the option to submit your best offer for consideration.  What are your thoughts on this 1957 Ford Thunderbird?


  1. Glenn Hilpert

    I’m surprised the car has not sold by now. Been on the market for awhile. Appears to be oil all over the driveway for unknown reasons and maybe there are other issues as well. Nice looking car though and a 312 V-8.

    Like 1
    • Todd J. Member

      A guy once told me, “Oh, the oil’s not from the car. It’s from the UPS truck, we get a lot of deliveries.”

      Like 10
  2. ArtyParty

    Forgive my ignorance, but weren’t these fitted with wheel covers over the rear wheels, or was that a “tick” option?

    Like 1
  3. Stan

    Should move out real nicely. 3 by the knee 👍

  4. tiger66

    It’s a 3 speed manual with overdrive, which was the manual offered with the 312. The non-overdrive 3 speed was offered only on the 292.

    Like 1
  5. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    It does have nice options; 312 3 speed manual, a/c and rust free. These cars are currently going for $20k up to around $50k, so $30k sounds reasonable.

    God Bless America

    Like 3
  6. Frank of Eden

    I have always wanted one. I rode in one… one time. But that is as close as I got. The blue looks good, but would rather have one of the “special” colors. At least no one has painted it Red, White or Black… most popular colors for cars now days Someone is always painting these old beauties, Red.. no mater what color the original paint was. “Make it red, put in a small block Chevy… etc. etc. I have seen three speed models with a “replacement” automatic… and believe it or not… with the clutch pedal wired to the firewall, Cheap way to get it out of the way. It’s just amazing what crazy ideas that folks think “improves” these old beauties. This one looks like it was loved for what it was… thank goodness.

    Like 1
  7. Cadmanls Member

    I like, the manual transmission with 312 . Always liked these without the skirts and a set of dog dish caps. Price is dropping on these cars. Not a fox Mustang or an SS Monte. Collectors are changing.

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