Garage Find: 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

Deteriorating health forced the owner of this 1957 Thunderbird Convertible to park the car in his garage 5-years-ago, and after sitting dormant for nearly half a decade, it is time for this classic Ford to find its way to a new home. It is a nice looking car, and the indications are that it might not take a lot of work to get the T-bird back on the road once again. It is located in Katy, Texas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $17,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The Thunderbird has led the sort of life that a classic car can only dream of. The current owner purchased the car in 1978 and has always kept it in his garage. It spent its early life in California before finding its way to its current home in Texas. All of those factors add up to a car that should be as solid as a rock, and the photos tend to indicate that this might be the case. There are no external signs of rust, and the owner makes no mention of any issues with the car’s underside. Under his stewardship, the Thunderbird has undergone a repaint in its original Colonial White. It is also fitted with a matching Colonial White hardtop, but there is no mention as to whether the T-bird also has a soft-top. The overall presentation of the car is very positive, and I get the impression that a wash and polish would have it looking a million dollars.

If you think that the interior presents well, then this is for a very good reason. Prior to the car being parked, the owner treated it to new FMC upholstery and dash. This is not the original interior color, as the tag indicates that the original trim color was White. I don’t mind this though, because it does add something to the overall presentation of the car. The trim and carpet all look good, with no signs of any rips or tears. There is an aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted into the dash, but I don’t think that the dash has been cut to allow this. The interior also features power windows, an option that would have added $70 to the cost of the car back in 1957.

Under the hood are a 312ci Y-Block V8, a 3-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission, and power steering. It appears that prior to it being parked, the T-bird was in good mechanical health, and was running and driving fine until that point. The engine bay looks clean and dry, so there is a pretty reasonable chance that the car might be able to be coaxed back to life with relatively little effort. Of course, it would require a full check before it would be considered to be roadworthy, but the signs seem to be very positive.

The 1957 model was the last 2-seat Thunderbird to be built, with Ford choosing to enlarge the car to a 4-seater in the subsequent model. This one looks like it is a good one that could be returned to active duty with little work. Hey, the weather is getting colder, so this might be a good Winter project. When the weather turns warmer once again, you could be the owner of the perfect car to enjoy some fun in the sun. It’s certainly worth thinking about.


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  1. Will Fox

    Nice car. `57 was the only year T-Bird offered a SOLID white interior; door panels, seats AND dashtop as well as steering wheel. I would be inclined to do that much if it were mine. Over all, not bad. I don’t see any major rust or damage; this car has been treated to a garage it appears most of its life. Hope the skirts are in the trunk. Oh–reproduced factory wheel covers are available too, if a person didn’t opt for the snazzy Ford wire wheels so many “baby” Birds have these days.

    Like 3
  2. PaulG

    I’ve often wondered if Suzanne Somers owns one of these…If not, here’s her chance!

    Like 5
    • Howard A. Member

      Hey Paul and Tim, pretty dang close, if it had a continental kit. You know, that movie literally defined our youth, it seems that is fading fast. It was a great time to be a young person, if you didn’t get drafted, that is. This was a great scene.

      Like 3
  3. Miguel

    I don’t think it is necessary to put Convertible in the title when talking about a 1957 T-Bird.

    Like 2
    • Bob McK Member

      Many do not have the convertible tops.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        Every 1957 Thunderbird is a convertible.

        If they have the hardtop attached, that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a convertible.

        Like 7
  4. Del

    Before the Bloat started.

    Very nice car

    Like 2
  5. moosie moosie


    Like 2
  6. Bob McK Member

    But some do not have the convertible tops.

    Like 1
    • 86_Vette_Convertible

      Are you saying the 57 didn’t come with a soft top or the removable hardtop? Your statement implies to me the 57 was a true ‘roadster’ car (no top at all), but that’s something I hadn’t read before but then again I wasn’t looking for it either. Far as I know, I thought every 57 had a soft top on them at a minimum.

      Like 1
      • Miguel

        Can you imagine Chevrolet selling a Corvette convertible with no soft top on it?

        I don’t think they would sell very many of them.

        Like 1
  7. Bob McK Member

    I have been following these for years. I cannot say if they came with the soft top or it was an option. But I have known of many that do not have the soft top and if you have one they bring big bucks. Perhaps they got lost in time. There must be someone in BF that knows for sure.

  8. moosie moosie
  9. Andrew Franks

    I have been following as well, and as soon as I have room I’m going to buy another one. I was dumb enough not to keep the one I had. An old story.
    Bless BarnFinders.

    Like 1
    • Dutch 1960

      The gaps and seams on the trunk lid, gas cap door, right rear taillight bezel, and the hood seem all off and wonky. I know the tolerances weren’t that close back in the day, and things can get out of adjustment on a reassembly after repainting, but I would take a close look before buying. This bird may have had a hard landing in its past.

      Like 3
  10. moosie moosie

    @ Miguel, RE: Corvette Convertible , C1’s
    Auxiliary Hardtop (419)

    An optional hard-top that replaced the standard convertible top.
    Although the Auxiliary Hardtop is shown as an option, customers could swap the convertible top for the auxiliary hard top at no additional cost. Of the 5,481 Corvettes sold with this option, 1,695 of them were the result of this substitution.

    Like 2
  11. TimM

    Reminds me of American Graffiti!!! Great car looks like a driver and not a restoration project!! Nice to see them once in a while!!!

    Like 2
  12. Kenn HIldebrand

    I agree with Dutch 260 – I would check the frame for sure. And, removable hard top or folding soft top, both result in “converting” the car to an open-air vehicle. So, the description of “convertible” is correct IMO.

    Like 1
  13. Derik Lattig

    @DerikLattigCats says the gaps on the trunk worry me, the hood looks like it is open and not down all the way. Fender skirts missing, engine with 90+thousand miles on it would soon need a rebuild. Paint on engine cowl should be white and is primer. I would estimate this bird while appears nice has had some work.

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