CHASSIS NO: E7FH348628
• Rare 'E-Code' 272 HP, 312-cubic-inch V-8 engine
• Two four-barrel carburetion
• Convertible soft top and removable hardtop
• Final year of the original two-seat Thunderbird
This lot is available for online bidding at Proxibid.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com
312 cid OHV V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, 270 HP, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 102”
The Ford Thunderbird, dubbed a “personal car” rather than a sports car upon its introduction in 1954 for the 1955 model year, was a sophisticated reply to Chevrolet’s Corvette introduced in 1953. The “T-Bird,” as it was nicknamed, was low slung and of all-metal construction, and it boasted a V-8 engine over Chevrolet’s anemic Blue Flame straight-six in the Corvette. Success was instantaneous, and a total of 16,155 examples were sold in its first year, as opposed to 700 1955 Corvettes, which finally offered a V-8 engine option that same year.
As sales of the Thunderbird increased, the 1957 model year brought about a redesign, resulting in what most enthusiasts consider to be the most beautiful two-seater version of the car. A Ford advertisement from 1957 proudly proclaimed, “Thunderbird performance, the famous standard for fine-car power, has soared to still more brilliant heights. In fact, the sizzling "GO" it delivers at a touch of your toe is something extra special." The new car was 6.1 inches longer, which allowed for the accommodation of a spare wheel at the trunk; the front bumper was smoothed out and dropped in the center; and the canted fins flowed back to big, round taillights at the rear. Fourteen-inch wheels helped to lower the car, giving it a slightly better stance. Regardless of sales topping 21,380 units for the year, the last two-seater Thunderbird was built in 1957 - until 2003, that is.
The “E-Code” option, indeed a highly desirable option available in the Thunderbird lineup, features the 312-cubic-inch V-8, which is topped with a pair of Holley four-barrel carburetors and graced with a larger bore, longer stroke, higher compression ratio, and an automatic choke. This engine offered more horsepower than any other small block V-8, beating Chevrolet’s fuel-injected 283 by only two horsepower. As one of four engine options available for 1957, very few were equipped as such, making the aptly nicknamed “E-Code” rare and the car of choice for those who were looking for the comfort that the Thunderbird provided, but with some extra punch.
This factory Starmist Blue Thunderbird, is one of these highly desirable E-Code models, known to be one of only 1,499 built with the E-Code 312 engine. It not only has the dual-quad powerplant, but also is equipped with a three-speed manual transmission, an engine dress-up kit, Master Guide power steering, factory tachometer, clock, gauges, dual outside mirrors, power seat and AM pushbutton radio. Other important highlights on the car include the beautiful two-tone blue upholstery, fender skirts, wide whitewall tires, a convertible soft top, and a removable hardtop.
The rare T-Bird offered here has a laser-straight body and was refinished in its original colors of Starmist Blue over blue and white vinyl upholstery, all of which are in excellent condition. The engine bay is accurately detailed and includes factory-correct hoses, clamps, wiring, battery, and polished finned aluminum valve covers. It has been driven carefully since it was restored, which is evident in its striking condition inside and out. The 1957 Thunderbird was the last two-seater. Timeless and iconic, they are highly regarded by collectors for their unique design, abundant creature comforts and the performance of their Ford V-8 engines.