Grandpa’s D-Code 1957 Ford Thunderbird

There’s not much more iconic than a white 1957 Ford Thunderbird. Just ask any viewers of American Graffiti! This one belonged to the seller’s grandfather and is up for sale due to their passing. It’s listed for sale here on eBay and has a buy it now of $25,000, while bidding has not yet met the reserve at $19,500. The car is located in Eads, Tennessee.

The car has been owned by the seller’s family for 60 years and so far has been driven 108,324 miles. It’s a heavily-optioned car with the Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, “Master Guide” power steering, “Swift-Sure” power brakes, a 4-way power seat (which works) the Town & Country radio, a “Magic Aire” heater and the original full wheel covers. Wide whitewalls really set the look off as well.

I have never seen one of these original “Lifeguard Design” decals before — have you? The seller reports a little rust in the driver’s side lower quarter panel but does not show a closeup of it. Would you leave the porthole hardtop on, or go with the topless look?

The underside of the car looks every bit as nice and driver-ish as the top side. This looks like a car to drive, not restore, and the seller does report that it runs and drives, although they suggest checking the car over before driving it much as it’s been stored for a while.

Just hop right in and drive!

The car is equipped with the “D-code Thunderbird Special” 312 cubic inch V-8 which was originally rated at 245hp with the four-barrel carburetor. It looks like there may be an extra one in the trunk that might be worth asking about. The engine looks nice with the factory chrome engine dress-up kit and would look even better if it were detailed. I sure like the look of this car as a candidate to be a driver — what about you?

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  1. TimS

    I wonder if that trailer belonged to “Grandpaw” or the flipper. Who tells people that the trailer is the ideal setting for these shots?

    Wait. It’s probably the same people who tell them to take two blurry photos and ask $100,000 for some cars.

    Like 21
  2. Turbo

    I would clone it into a GTO.

    Like 5
  3. Weasel

    I’ve never seen the frame of one of these before…wow…BEEFY!

    Like 5
    • David

      The frame strength was needed because this car is really a convertible, in spite of the ‘hard top’. It makes it more difficult to work on; almost impossible to remove an automatic transmission without taking the engine out first.

      Like 2
  4. Tom

    yes he is a flipper look at his feedback got to make a living

    Like 5
  5. Ian McLennan

    Just bought a 57 T-Bird that had been sitting in a storage unit for the last 5 years. My very favorite of the baby Birds.
    These are beautiful cars, it amazes me how different they look with the hardtop on and off – almost like 2 different cars.

    Like 7
  6. Vance

    My Brother bought one of these after he had been hired by Ford after serving in the Army. Being good looking, single, and gainfully employed, he used his T- Bird to his advantage. He also snaked his way onto Ford’s test track so he could get this thing really moving. Unfortunately, he snaked something else into a blond, and had a son in 1963. She didn’t like him having this car, and forced him to sell it. This was such a sore subject for him, he never forgave her for making him get rid of it. If I wanted to piss him off, I just waited till he had a few beers and would mention it. It was mean but fun.

    Like 16
    • Stan Marks

      Two words described her…. Jealous & insecure.
      I would have traded her in, before I got rid of the Bird.

      Like 3
  7. Ken Jennings

    If this really was someone’s Grandpa’s car, and in the family for six decades, why would you sell it? Either a heartless SOB of a grandson or a story by a flipper. Either one makes me want to puke.

    Like 15
    • Weasel

      Aren’t all cars someone’s grandparents when they get to a certain age? Maybe the grandchildren have physical, emotional or geographical issues that prohibit purchasing this vehicle. Or, maybe gramps wanted too much cash for it. It’s kinda endless on the circumstances for grandchildren not buying it. My theory is that this whole story is a farce. Sorry I’m critical, I’ve been in the US too long maybe.

      Like 10
    • Bob Mck Member

      Ken, I have a collection of what I consider phenomenal cars. None of my relatives have any interest in any of them except the “new” Raptor. It makes me sad, but they will all get sold after my passing.

      Like 6
    • Stevieg

      I am pretty sure it is a flipper selling it. I don’t see what is wrong with that, but since I used to own a used car lot, I wouldn’t lol. My used car lot allowed me the finances to collect the collection of cars I have been selling off.
      As long as the previous owner (grampa?) Got what they wanted out of it, and as long as the buyer get the car they want for the money they want to spend, I think everyone won! Don’t let that make you sick Ken, think of it as a reason to be proud you live in America!
      If the story were real, which I doubt lol, maybe the kid has some financial issues & grampa would want him to sell the car and take care of the money problems. Maybe the kid would have no interest in vintage cars, and grampa would want him to sell the car to someone who would appreciate it.
      I wonder what will happen to my toys once I am toast. I will probably just sell them before I kick the bucket. If I don’t, I am sure my boys will sell them for me and buy tuner Hondas lol. Idiots lol!

      Like 1
    • triumph1954

      Darn Flippers and Pukers. They ruin everything.

      Like 1
  8. William Fox

    Jamie, a minor correction: The T-Bird Susan Somers drove in “American graffiti” was a `56, not `57. Just an FYI.
    Nice Bird! Looks solid and stands out in all white!

    Like 3
    • Stan Marks

      You’re correct, Bill. I should know. I drove that ’56 T-Bird, while filming “American Graffiti.

      • Rob

        you drove it??

    • Rob

      AHHHHHHHHHHH! you noticed it too! Big fan of that “George Lucas biographical flick. I have all the Graffiti cars, except they are only 1:18 scale

      • Stan Marks

        Yes, I drove that. Also the yellow ’32 ford Deuce coupe, the ’55 & ’58 Chevy, just to name a few.
        There were many others we used, in driving sequences, cruising along the street. Same cars were also parked at Mel’s Diner.
        I drove the bronze Formulas in Rockford Files. The red/white Torinos in Starsky & Hutch. Police cars in Adam 12. We used a red Dino Ferrari in Switch, Columbo’s Peugeot 403 convert., just to name a few.

        Like 4
  9. frozenbird

    There are two problems with these cars: 1) with the hardtop on they are best suited for people 5’10 and under 2) Ford didn’t put wheel wells in them so all the dirt/mud/rain would get thrown all the way back to behind the door hinges. So one can figure out what happened from there. A very important area to check before purchase.

    Like 3
    • david

      Not a real problem in States that don’t salt their roads in the winter.

      Like 1
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I’ve always liked these cars, but as a youngster I watched Route 66 on tv so the corvette was my dream car. Then years later I had the opportunity to drive both and soon realized the bird was a much more comfortable car. I have been burdened with short legs and arms and long torso so driving small cars has never been a problem. If any of you remember the newspaper comic strip Henry perhaps you can imagine what an odd looking body I have. Standing 5’8″ tall I kind of look like Mr. Potato man. Yet sitting in a car like this my long torso makes me look taller than I really am, therefore I would love to own a car like this. Unfortunately I’m not financially able to do so.
    God bless America

  11. Mike

    I had one just like this but triple white. I inherited it from my father. It was the car he lusted after as a young married man but didnt buy as he was starting a family. Three kids and 30 years later he finally got one after we were all out of college and married. He loved this car but soon realized it looked better than it drove. He was 6 ft and took the top off the day he bought it. The convertible top wasnt much better. Fortunately we lived in So CA so it still got driven often, always topless. I inherited it and kept it for 20 yrs but his passion wasnt mine. Finally sold it for a convertible I could drive anywhere, anytime with the top up (I’m 6’2″). Never regretted letting it go when I found a beautiful Lexus SC 430 to take its place!🤓👍

    Like 1
  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $25,109.

    Like 2
    • Rob

      Wish it was me! 6 little numbers

  13. Bob Mck Member

    Loved your story until you said you bought a Lexus. If that makes you happy I am sure your Dad would be happy.

  14. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Stan Marks, sounds like you had a great job. I envy you sir. Do you currently have any classic cars of your own? I have a 64 Buick Riviera that was bought new in Gardena, California by the Reese family. I’ve been a car guy my entire life (now 73) mostly owning Fords, but my first car was a 55 Buick Suoer so I’ve also had a great affinity for Buicks.
    I’d love to hear more of your story.
    God bless America

    • Stevieg

      I’m with you John. I would love to hear more too!

    • Stan Marks

      John, it was a great job. It was a lifetime ago (70s).
      Long hours you wouldn’t believe. Especially shooting on location.
      You could sit there for hours, for a 2 minute shot.
      I recall an all nighter, on the Santa Monica Pier. Talk about cold.

      Moved from Philly to L.A. & surrounding areas, from ’62-’83. Moved back to western Pa.37 years ago, this month. I still fly out, once a year.

      I never got into classic cars. Although, I just got rid of my 2000 silver 6 cyl. Accord, EX coupe last Dec. It had 136,000 miles & in mint cond. One of the best cars I’ve ever owned.
      I’m retired & 76.

      Like 2
      • Stan Marks

        BTW.. Many friends have told me, I should write a book.

        Like 2
  15. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Sorry that’s supposed to say 55 Buick Super.

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