Sleeping Birdy: 1955 Ford Thunderbird

After spending a few decades tucked away in a nice storage space, this ’55 Thunderbird is looking to find a new nest. Packing a manual transmission, a hardtop, and little rust, this Ford would be a great opportunity to get into a mostly solid ‘Bird. With a little over a month to go, this Thunderbird is currently bid up to $4,750. Find it here on Enlisted Auctions out of Stuarts Draft, Virginia.

Mildly dusty and dirty, the 292 cubic inch Y block V8 is complete, although untouched for several decades. In fact, this Thunderbird was last inspected in 1967. Thankfully this Thunderbird has lived indoors, and appears to be a well-kept specimen. I am a huge fan of the manual transmission, making for a fun and invigorating machine. You may notice that the engine bay is black, well, this Thunderbird began life as a Raven Black car, only later gaining this metallic root beer color.

Looking inside reveals what appears to be a mostly original interior. The front seats are split, and are due for a recover, and the door panels are rougher than I had hoped for. Fortunately the dash, and steering wheel are in very nice shape, so you would likely only need to focus on the above mention items. The Hardtop is a great accessory, making it much more useful throughout the seasonal changes. The headliner in the hardtop is nice, with only a rip located above the driver’s area.

Despite living indoors for many decades, and receiving a paint job at some point, this Thunderbird does have a small amount of rust to contend with.  There is rust over the rear wheel arches and a small amount in the rear portion of the quarters. The rockers, and the rest of this Thunderbird in general is in nice condition, with very straight lines and equal gaps.  The chrome and trim, has held up well with no obvious rust visible from the photos. In conclusion, this Thunderbird is a solid, and nice looking project with the optional hardtop, and the manual transmission.  Despite the minor rust, I suppose this Thunderbird could even be a fair weather driver for a little while before taking on body work, and paint.  What do you think this solid old ‘Bird will sell for?




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  1. Grid Member

    As a boat owner and engine tech, and a former owner of several 2-seaters, I can say unequivocally that all have holes in the bottom where the money you poured into them goes out.Financing the Presidential Inauguration festivities would be less expensive than restoring a 2-seater and hoping to turn it into a driver/showpiece.The most fun one can have driving one is trying to keep it in one lane while you drive to your podiatrist to get the burns taken care of on your feet where the heat from the left manifold scorched them. That said, girls think the Bird is sexy, and by default, ditto the driver.

  2. DJS

    Never saw one this color it it a repaint?

    • grant

      As stated in paragraph two…

  3. Art Fink

    Unfortunate to see the car in that condition. If you’re up to it, the parts are worth more then the whole car; dismantle the parts, clean and put up for sale.

  4. Blyndgesser

    Scary shut line on the passenger side door.

    • Georgemia Member

      Actually, the hardtop was standard, and the folding convertible top a $150 option.

      An original convertible top might be worth more than this car

      Parts are readily available and they are probably one of the easiest cars to restore

  5. terry

    That’s primo gasser material.

  6. flmikey

    …these cars are always going to be worth restoring…parting out would be a sin in the car world…

  7. DougS

    a two seater ‘bird is almost always worth restoring….did notice the steering wheel is not ’55….looks like ’56…or full size Ford..I always chuckle when I see the hashmarks placed as “scoops” instead of “vents”…have had a ’55 since 1974….

  8. redwagon

    forgive me father for i have sinned. it has been many years since my last confession.
    what sin are you here to ask forgiveness for my son?
    the sin of parting out a ’55 thunderbird that maybe could have, should have been restored.
    i see. that’s a rather serious sin my son.
    yes father i know. hopefully the penance will not be too tough?
    i’m sorry my son but you will be relegated to a life of corollas. cvt to be exact. and rejoice for if you had scrapped it your punishment would have been yugos!

    Like 1
  9. Ed P

    Right on!!!!! LMAO

  10. brakeservo

    I think these appeal to the same people who bought Deloreans as “investments” – not true “car guys” but they didn’t really know that.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Can you clarify that brakeservo? First gen t-birds go for decent money and I’d guess that most are owned by “real” car guys. Maybe I’m missing something here?

      • brakeservo

        Perhaps I’m wrong but – track the actual value of these things over the past 30 years or so. I doubt that they’ve even kept up with inflation. I think a lot of them were bought by people who thought they were getting sure-fire investments, just like the people who bought Bricklins and Deloreans. Now, decades later, they would have been much better off with their funds simply in an interest bearing savings account! So many seemed to be bought by friends of my parents, who generally didn’t care about cars, but seemed to think that they were “good investments” even if they’re kind of boring to drive.

    • Neil

      Wow !!!
      True “car guys” love a wide range of vehicles. My guess is you’re a ” muscle head” er, I meant muscle car guy. If you don’t think these first gen T- Birds aren’t in high demand, and bring big money, you’re sorely mistaken.
      Still one of the classiest cars on the road.

      • brakeservo

        Sorry Neil, you guess wrong! I suspect I’ve owned more Rolls-Royces and Bentleys than anyone else who reads this page

      • Don

        Just look at prices from B-J auction in Phoenix-nice drivers go for 25/30-
        Restored from 40 up to over 200-
        I’ve had a few(all drivers cause I love to drive!!) I’d say this one could be worth a good12/15 n used as a driver
        that would put it in the 25/30 bracket..

    • David Frank David F Member

      Uh, wait, what? If a person likes a powered vehicle of any kind, not just the kind you like, he’s a “car guy”, even those who like micro cars. (Sorry micro car fans!) One thing that makes the crowd at the museum great is that there are folks who love different kinds of cars. There are guys who love cars that only turn left and muscle car guys but mostly folks who like cars no matter what they are. I think people who like all cars are more car guys than those who only like only a single variety, be it muscle cars or flat fenders.

  11. Randy W

    I had a 57 bird. invested 31,000 in it after full factory specs on restore. I was told it was the last totally original 57 left in the USA. It turned out better than new from factory. Long story, however I sold it from a showroom in Clearwater, FL. for $97,000.00 Showed it 3 times and took 1st place show all 3 times. Number 1 car, shame it couldn’t be driven, or you lose the classification. the bird your featuring is worth putting in 15,000 and then drive the hell out of it. BUT, first must put on disk brakes for todays traffic.

  12. Neil

    I’m happy for you Sir. Both are beautiful automobiles. My only point was, that many ” true car ” guy’s like a myriad of different vehicles. Personally, I’ve never been a Ford guy… but always loved the 1st gen T-Birds, along with many other Ford models. I would never suggest a person wasn’t a true car lover for seeing the value of a particular car. I certainly meant no disrespect towards you. Just thought your response was a tad harsh.

  13. Rustytech Member

    These car routinely bring in the upper $30k to $40k range for a well restored car. If it’s something special they can bring $80k plus. I think this could be a good investment ( after a extensive inspection of course ). Personally I would not buy it for the same reason I would not buy a Corvette, two seats just don’t work for my lifestyle. I hope someone buys this and gives it the way past due love it deserves.

  14. roundhouse

    A very nice 55 sold for $21K earlier today at B-J auction. It was fresh and looked good. Shop around if you’re in the market, there are a lot of nice ones less than $25K.

    • Jay M

      Sound advice.
      Unless you can truly do it all yourself, you can often find someone ready to take a loss on their “investment ” before you overspend.

  15. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Early classics are not to be compared to the boxes like a Bricklen or Deloreon – not to much clay was worked over on them…..

  16. Gerry Dominguez

    Currently restoring a 1955 bird at my shop. Very nice body lines and sharp car. We cant wait to drive it soon. Frame off, so aiming for it to be ready by spring….

  17. stevee

    Lots of people buy nice things just to have them and they can afford them. Jewelry, country club membership, an old car that may or may not get driven much. I bought a 1967 Rolls Royce from a retired guy, that could not get it properly registered (reasons known but not the issue here). He would take it out of the garage, clean it up, drive it around the block and return it to the garage. Did this for 18 years! My point: do not disparage others or their cars, just because its not yours or the way you would own it! Also, there are new ‘styles’ of car enthusiasts: rat rod, steampunk, resto-rod etc. They are all brothers and sisters in the hobby!

    • Ed P

      Unless you want to make a profit, buy what you like. It is your time and money. Have fun.

  18. Jubjub

    Just noticed the pods missing off the front end laying on the passenger floor. Looks much better without them. Really kinda like the look as is. Bummer it’d have to be disturbed to fix the rust.

  19. Darrun

    As a “Real Car Guy” I like Deloreans, Bricklins and 55-57 T-birds. For that matter I like most anything that has an engine, even Rolls Royces and Bentleys. But….I would invest in the T Bird first, as 99% of the people out here would probably prefer it.

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