Frick’n Cool: 1957 Ford Thunderbird

1957 Ford Thunderbird

This may not look like anything special, but according to the seller, this T-Bird was hotted up by the famed Bill Frick. Bill was a car dealer known for shoving Cadillac engines into lesser cars. There was a Fordillac, a Studellac and even a Bill Frick Special. You can read more about those cars on Kustomrama. This Thunderbird doesn’t have a Cadillac engine, but there is something special under the hood. Take a look here on Hemmings and let us know if you think it’s the real deal. Either way, it is Frick’n cool!

Hood Dimples

The first clue that this car is special can be found on the hood. Can you spot those tear shaped dimples? Apparently, they were pounded out to make room for the Paxton McCulloch supercharger that once resided underneath it. The supercharger was pulled off and replaced with carbs at some point, but the owner was refunded $500.

Shifter And Gauges

Inside there are more clues that this isn’t a standard Thunderbird. It would be interesting to know if the shifter and auxiliary gauges were added at the time of the conversion or after. No mention is made in the listing about whether this car has been restored or not.

Pontiac V8

And there it is! That’s a Pontiac V8 and supposedly the first owner was a drag racer who didn’t want to get passed by anyone. So he had Bill work his magic. It’s balanced with forged pistons and two 4-barrel carburetors. A lot of other modifications were done to make it all work and apparently there were two other T-Birds given a similar treatment. You can read a letter here that explains what all went into the conversion. For all we know, that letter was addressed to the then future owner of this very car!

Continental Kit

Wow. Just look at that Continental Kit! That thing is serious. Without it you’d probably knock a second off your 0-60 times. Heck, that’s probably the real reason why they had to drop a hot engine in it. This is quite a catch, but I would like to see some paperwork to prove its pedigree. That might make the price easier to swallow, but after a test drive it probably wouldn’t matter anyway. Thanks goes to Derik L for tipping us off to this one!

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Comments

  1. Fred W.

    Anyone else read the letter and catch the speed shop’s labor rate in 1959? A whopping $5 an hour!

  2. Mitch

    If I wanted I could buy this car right now, but A) I don’t want to spend that kind of $ & B) I found out being behind the wheel of a 57 with a stick that the seats don’t go far back enough to work the clutch as I’m a bit tall.

  3. piper62j

    This is a cool car and IMHO, very collectible.. Connie Kits just don’t do it for me anymore..

    Great find and great car..

    • Joe Btfsplk

      Just think of it as a chrome park bench that goes where the T-Bird goes.

  4. Chris

    Don’t suppose any of the previous owners would be Charlie Youngbird?

    • Pleiku Pete

      Don’t know, Chris, But I do remember this car in the mid sixties. I used to hang out at Jack and Al’s Esso in the evening while my friend worked late shift pumping gas.

  5. ROAR

    My guess is that the owner wanted to taunt other hot rodders with a “poo poo all flash no go” Bird and then blow them off badly! WHAA! you were blown off by a T Bird!?

  6. erikj

    yea I saw the labor rate @ $5.00 per hour with plenty of drive testing. boy those where cool times

  7. Howard A Member

    Never really cared for the 2 seat T-bird’s, even though they embody what a T-Bird was originally intended for. Quite frankly, the continental kit looks ridiculous. Some, like on Rambler’s, look ok, but this is too much. I suppose the rest of the car is pretty cool. It sure is different.

  8. JW

    I love the look of this T-Bird in black but I would lose the continental kit, it takes too much away from the car.

  9. wagon master

    People love to buy stories. Just watch a Barrett Jackson auction, the masters of hype. Am I missing something here? Looks like a well executed hot rod mod, but proof of pedigree is suspect, to me. Imaginative auto dealer hyperbole!

  10. Jay

    I always wanted a first gen T-Bird…until I got the chance to drive a restored 55 at a car show.
    What a disappointment.

  11. Keitho

    I may be mistaken but I thought that the porthole and continental kit were only offered in ’56

  12. Randy W

    Here it is! I restored a 57 bird with all the factory papers. #1 the 57 bird model (E)
    option was 2 quad carbs, also you could get with a supercharger (100 extra H.P.)
    This bird is a model F. The quad carbs were bought and added to this 312 V/8 later.
    No conny kit on mine. Had $51,000 invested and sold to a man in Spain for get this,
    $97,000. Not through an auction site either. Mine was original colonial white with red interior.

  13. Jim Norman

    I loved the 55-56 T-bird style. 57? barely acceptable. That continental kit is just about the ugliest tumor I’ve ever seen growing out of any car.

  14. Ed P

    Continental kits were cool in their day but, that day is over. The 55-57 T-Birds are the coolest ever, but the ’57 tailfins did nothing good to the styling.

  15. Derik Lattig

    Derik Lattig says this one jumped out at me online. Wonder what that shifter is made out of? Resin?

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