Parked in 1985: 1955 Ford Thunderbird

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An elderly gentleman recently passed away in Westlake, Ohio. When his grandson was finalizing his estate, he found that his grandfather’s 1955 Ford Thunderbird was sitting in a shed where it had been parked in 1985. With the house scheduled to be sold, the son must now part with this family heirloom. If you would like to be the next owner of this Raven Black beauty, you will find it listed for sale here on eBay. While bidding initially opened at $500, it has quickly jumped to $5,001, although the reserve has not been met.

As is often the case with cars of this type and circumstance, the car has been in hibernation longer than it was in active duty. The car was parked when it was 30-years-old and has been sitting in its current location for 34-years. There is some rust visible in the rockers, but the rest of the car looks quite encouraging. Of course, with no information or photos of the floors, that’s an area that is a bit of an unknown quantity. I’m pretty sure that I can see evidence of the car receiving a repaint in its original Raven Black at some point in its life, but I suspect that this was prior to 1985.

I believe that the interior might be original, and if so, it has survived quite nicely. Decoding the Data Plate for the Thunderbird also reveals that it is quite an early car. The interior trim code on the plate is an “A”, and this code was only used on early cars before Ford transitioned across to using the “XA” trim code designation. The interior does appear to be complete, and I would be very interested to see how it would respond to a good clean.

For motive power in this Thunderbird, you get a 292ci V8 engine and a Fordomatic transmission. Everything under the hood looks to be original, and the old battery that is still in place indicates that the Thunderbird still sports a 6-volt electrical system. Unfortunately, the owner gives us no information about whether the engine turns freely, but if the car found its way to its current location under its own power, then I think that we have the right to be cautiously optimistic.

When my own grandfather passed away, I received a pair of tire irons and a carpenter’s saw from his estate, and I still have them. If I’d found a Thunderbird, I’d still have that, too! On the face of it, this 1955 Thunderbird is an early production version, and it is remarkably well preserved. If the rust that we can see in the photos is the extent of the problems, then it could represent a fairly straightforward restoration project. If you love your blue-oval products, then this is a car that might be worth investigating.

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  1. CadmanlsMember

    I can almost guarantee that the bottom of the car is much worse than the top is showing. I used to live in northeastern Oh. and the dirt floor with the spring and fall cold and warm air draws the moisture to the cold metal something terrible. Pulled a couple cars out of dirt floor garages and bottom was a mess. Might be too late for this old bird.

    Like 2
    • kakerlak

      After staring at this a while, I’m pretty sure that’s a concrete floor, just dusty. Honestly, this looks pretty well preserved, but (as always) it’d be nice to see it pulled out into the sunlight, washed and vacuumed.

      Like 1
  2. Matt steele

    He says he writes his bid

    Like 0
    • Angrymike

      He’s not wrong about the humidity in N/E Ohio. A Chevelle I pulled out of a garage back in 08 was quite crispy, but only rust through was in the trunk. Buyer beware !

      Like 0
  3. Matt steele

    It’s a good thing I’m broke all the time..I’d have too many cars .

    Like 2
  4. art

    Wonder if the coolant was drained or full antifreeze put in, what with deep freezes in an unheated garage. Inspection would be key before bidding too high.
    Interesting way to park it, I wonder what the owner was thinking at the time?

    Like 1
    • Fred w

      Much harder to steal that way!

      Like 1
  5. TimM

    Great find!!!

    Like 1
  6. 408 interceptor

    I guess I’m the only one who removes the battery when I store vehicles and equipment.

    Like 0
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Is it me, or did this car get smacked in front? Looks as though the front bumper,
    along with the facia has been whacked pretty good. Maybe that’s the reason Grandpa parked it in ’85. All I can say is buyer beware on this one.

    Like 0
  8. Pookie Jamie

    I’m interested into what’s parked next to it….

    Like 0
  9. Gene Pantano

    Last Summer, I bought a 56 that day since about 1970.
    Took me about 4 days. Power washed it all. Top and bottom. Changed all the fluids and hoses. Fresh gas an 2 fuel filters… New battery…. Crossed my fingers after a shot of ether… Fired right up. Had to do it 3 times for the fuel to get to the carb.. Drives well…. “Radio” works !!!
    Had seat redone, black and white…. Ready……. It cost me $500. Yup 500..

    Like 1
  10. arj

    35years parked in that barn? I dont believe that. To me that barn looks younger than 35 years…. But, nice find and take the car out en show us photos of the floors and so on

    Like 1
  11. Robert White

    This car is likely a pretty good find & bet that it is quite restorable given the whitewalls & interior cleanliness overall. The engine compartment looks to be as clean as one could expect from any car that has been sitting for 34 years.

    I’d bet top dollar on this car in spite of the fact that the photo coverage is not very complete. Just on overall appearance it is a sure keeper.

    Finds like this are truly rare.


    Like 0
  12. Gene Pantano

    Looks like it was hit.. Right front.. Bumper looks pushed in like Carney said. I had noticed that immediately.. I can guarantee that after sitting in Ohio for all those years…. something will be dead meat… Bids on it are too high for a rig no one had really checked out properly..

    Like 0
  13. Gaspumpchas

    9 large and many unknowns. These can be a real dirty bird underneath plus it could be a mud queen , cant tell anything since he didn’t wash it. You can buy a real nice driver for 20 or so. caveat emptor and good luck!!


    Like 0

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