Huge Parts Collection! 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird

It’s not exactly Amos Minter’s ’55-’57 Thunderbird restoration business, but it’s an impressive collection of Baby-Bird parts and partial cars, nevertheless. As the seller states, “Almost enough parts to complete several project cars“. That being the case, let’s see what we have here. This treasure trove of 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird parts and bodies is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and is available, here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $45,000.

The first generation of Ford’s Thunderbird is an interesting tale as the production run barely got started before it ended with an entirely new car that still bore the Thunderbird name, and seemingly, little else. Where some may say that it was a competitor to Chevrolet’s recently introduced Corvette, it really wasn’t. The Corvette was billed out as a sports car, whereas the Thunderbird was more of a two-seat personal car that emphasized refinement, power, and an upscale bearing. It one-upped the Corvette by being strictly a V8 engine-equipped car which the ‘Vette wasn’t in ’53 and ’54 and only moved to a V8, as an option, ostensibly due to the arrival of the Thunderbird for ’55. The story goes that Robert McNamara, a Ford executive at the time, and later company president, was concerned about the marketing limitations imposed on the Thunderbird as a result of it not having a backseat so a redesign commenced, with the bigger “Square-Bird” debuting in February 1958. Was it a make sense move? If you’re a real car guy or gal, you’d probably say no. But from Ford’s perspective, sales jumped from 21K in ’57 to almost 38K (81%) in ’58 – and that was a shortened model year, so yes, it did. Nevertheless, of the eleven generations of the Ford Thunderbird, many hold generation one, the ’55-’57, as the true, essential Thunderbird.

The generation one Thunderbird production volume rang up a total of 53K copies, so rarity is not the case but true to form there were differences from year to year so parts for one model year may not necessarily fit the next. So having a wide selection of components available is a definite help regardless of the scope of repairs or restoration being attempted. And considering that 1957 was 64 years ago, it’s amazing to find such a cache of parts still available for the beloved ‘Bird. The seller adds, “The package includes engines, transmissions, hardtops, soft top assemblies, doors, windshields, windows, seats, dashboards, front and rear bumpers, hoods and trunks, front and rear quarter panels, fenders, large red open trailer included in the package. Many other parts, too many to list“.

There are about eight rolling chassis included so there is the fundamental basis here to build something greater. Looking at the ’57 Thunderbird, my favorite of the three years, a completed car, in reasonably nice shape, sells for about what the seller is asking for this parts inventory. We always look at synergy and consider the whole to be greater than the individual components, but sometimes with older cars, especially valuable cars, the reverse can be true if one is in possession of rare or hard to find items.  It’s not indicated if the seller has a categorized inventory of everything shown here, but that can be ascertained with an inquiry. Trim, engine parts, fender skirts, wheels, suspensions, convertible tops, the more you look, the more you find!

The first time that I can recall seeing a generation one Thunderbird, I was fascinated by it and always looked closely the next time that I spied another – it was never the same way for me with generation two. So, here’s to keeping all of those Baby-Birds up and running, and who knows, if you can’t find exactly what you want, maybe you can build it yourself, right?

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Comments

  1. Fred W

    Since no one who is interested in this “collection” is likely to be near Ft. Lauderdale, the logistics involved to move it all somewhere will be huge. One thing I’m sure of, this stuff will go to a single guy!

    Like 8
  2. flmikey

    I would think the Minters would be high-tailing it to Florida to pick up every part from this collection…from the pictures, it does look semi-organized…

    Like 11
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      My thought exactly!

      JO

      Like 5
  3. fran

    Looks like Bob Dunn’s stuff. He was great to deal with, great guy.

    Amos will never go for that stuff unless he can steal, opps I mean get if for about 10K…..LOL

    Bob was the King for great used parts, to which are way better than the repro stuff.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I actually spoke to Amos Minter by e-mail, you’re correct it is Bob Dunn’s inventory. Amos said he was “good to go” in the parts arena.

      JO

      Like 1
      • Luke L

        Does anyone have a contact number?

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Luke:

        I think this is it: (954) 491-6652. You can just send an inquiry, too, via the BF listing and include your number, you’ll get a callback.

        JO

        Like 2
      • Luke

        Jim the number is disconnected

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        Try the email listing inquiry.

        JO

      • Luke

        I am not a member of barn finds so the computer kept saying I am spam

      • Jim ODonnell Staff

        OK, I’ll reach out and give them your email address and have them contact you and you can take it from there.

        JO

    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Yep…..missed Amos last month at Pate – he sets up across from me and always proudly displays – for sale – a 55/56 Mark II hub cap he thinks he stole from me…..I made plenty off it though.

      Like 2
  4. Kenn

    I can think of no better way to spend time than building completed cars from this collection. Numbers matching? Nope. Original mileage? Nope again. But the joy in bringing a few more of these great cars to fruition, and watching folks enjoy owning and driving them, as well as making a nice profit, would be on my bucket list for sure.

    Like 4
    • fran

      @45K it all is a steal! Amos knows it! Yeah, they are not as valuable as they used to be, but that’s cheap.

      I think, one would put a frame, with a body, a body with both tops, an engine/transmission, interior. Then list each one on flea bay or flee bay however you want to spell that farce. Each car might bring 7 to 10K BANG! There is your money, then take the next year listing every part….Can you say $$$$$$$$?

      Like 1
  5. Luke

    Thank You Jim!

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Done! Let me know if you hear from them.

      Thx,

      JO

      Like 3

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