No Reserve: 1957 Ford Thunderbird

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Decisions, decisions! If you walked into this garage, which classic would you choose? The Corvette would be tempting because it sets new standards in handling and performance for an American sports car. However, it isn’t an option. The story with the 1957 Thunderbird is different because it needs a new home. If you find it almost irresistible, the seller’s decision to offer it with No Reserve might move it from “almost” to totally! It is listed here on eBay in Puyallup, Washington. Bidding has raced to $14,100, and with No Reserve to consider, the new home for this T-Bird is only days away.

The First Generation Thunderbird proved that Ford knew how to back a winner, and a sales record during 1957 of 21,380 cars cemented the badge in the company’s product range. This Thunderbird presents beautifully in Flame Red with a Colonial White hardtop. It appears there is no soft-top, although the mechanism is present for the new owner to source and install one. The paint shines beautifully, with no apparent issues or problems. It covers panels that are as straight as an arrow. However, the best news is that the T-Bird has been garaged its entire life. This makes its rust-free status unsurprising. The trim and original hubcaps are flawless, as is the glass. The seller claims the trunk houses the original spare tire, although I probably wouldn’t use it due to age.

Lifting the hood reveals the most confusing aspect of this Thunderbird, although it appears we can unravel the mystery. The seller claims the engine bay houses a 292ci V8 but later says it is an E-Code motor. That means it should sport a dual-quad induction system and matching air cleaner. Since it doesn’t, that takes that option off the table. They also reveal it is numbers-matching, and if that is correct, what we see is a 312 that produces 245hp. It sends those ponies to the road via an automatic transmission, and while it definitely features power steering, I can’t spot the booster for the claimed power brakes. Ford didn’t market the T-Bird as a sports car, using this badge to create the Personal Luxury Car market segment. Considering that focus, the car’s ability to cover the ¼ mile in 16.4 seconds signifies it is no automotive slug. It should be capable of matching that time today, with its V8 clocking less than 1,000 miles since being treated to a $14,000 rebuild. The car runs and drives perfectly, opening the possibility that the winning bidder could fly in and drive it home.

The Thunderbird’s interior is trimmed in the Code XA combination of Raven Black and Colonial White. Like the rest of the vehicle, it is hard to fault its condition. The upholstered and painted surfaces show no wear or damage, with the same true of the dash and pad. The gauges feature clear lenses and crisp markings, and there are no aftermarket additions. The seller states everything works as it should, including the Town & Country radio.

Apart from the confusion surrounding its engine, this 1957 Thunderbird seems to offer potential buyers no nasty surprises. However, if it is genuinely numbers-matching, that should remove some doubt surrounding its specifications. Its presentation is almost perfect and guaranteed to turn heads and attract attention for the right reasons. Considering what we know, I expect the bidding to comfortably top $30,000 before the hammer falls. By how much is speculation, but are you willing to guess? Or would you rather join the bidding so you can drive it out of the garage and into your life?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Big C

    When the owner can’t figure out what engine and options are in his own car? I question their motives. But maybe he just bought the ‘Bird as a quick flip, and never bothered.

    Like 3
  2. Connecticut mark

    14k for a rebuild seems insane

    Like 6
  3. Craig Baloga Craig Baloga

    I’ll take the C8!


    Like 4
  4. Andrew

    I maybe wrong, but I would have thought the door lock screws would not be painted from the factory. In both open door photos they are painted over, suggesting it’s had a re paint. What do others think ?

    Like 1
  5. Bunky

    My spidy sense is tingling. Too much conflicting information. Be vewy vewy careful- as Elmer would say.

    Like 1
  6. jetfire88

    The ’55-’57 T-Bird brake booster is a remote unit. It would be mounted to the left inner fender in front of the battery, with the single brake line from the master to the booster unit, and another line from the booster to the brake distribution block on the frame. There is not one on this car, nor can I see the 4 bolt holes where the mounting bracket would have been on the apron.

    Like 2
  7. Paul S

    Why would the battery be disconnected just to take a picture?

    Like 0
  8. Paul S

    I don’t like the rust behind the seats, and I guess the parking brake doesn’t work with a wheel chalk in front of the r/rear tire. I think the car had a repaint and for the most part it looks good but I question some areas. If I could go and see the car i would take a magnet with me to see how much bondo it has.

    Like 0
  9. Frank Sumatra

    Apparently the front end of an orange C8 would look like a carved pumpkin at night.

    Like 0
  10. ray Sebesian

    14000 for a rebuilt 312, He got bent over pretty hard on that one. Beautiful T -bird though.

    Like 0
  11. 64 Bonneville

    D7FH is the start of the posted VIN. “F” bird was supercharged, nope, D was a 4 barrel 312. I don’t believe the 292 was available in 1957. Pretty much a basic T-Bird, manual windows and seats, and brakes. It does have power steering, so seller is sort of kind of maybe close to correct, I think, maybe. Bidding is at $25,200 so it might hose somebody up to $30K. BTW, $14000 for rebuilding a 312, was the shop labor rate $500 an hour?

    Like 0
    • Paul S

      292 was standard @ 212 hp 312 was an option @ 245 hp (for 1957)

      Like 1
  12. DN

    I always ask “is the car photographed next to it included in the auction / asking price?” Why do they feel the need to show off what else they own? Weirdos.

    Like 1

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