1957 Ford Thunderbird


  • Excellent example of a desirable D-Code car
  • In good highly original standing
  • Facelifted 1957 model
  • Final year first generation two seater Thunderbird

The Appeal

One of the most iconic cars of the 1950s, the Ford Thunderbird was an impressive presentation of an upscale luxury convertible and rival to the Chevrolet Corvette. Unlike its market competitors of the time, namely the Corvette, the Thunderbird, or T Bird as it would affectionately come to be known, was not marketed as a performance piece, and whilst giving respectable figures on that front, it was uncompromised and focused on being a quality luxury cabriolet, a job it performed impeccably well.

The example we have here is a wonderful presentation of the model and a rather rare car. Hailing from 1957, it's a facelifted first generation Thunderbird and one of the later examples produced before the four seater second generation cars were ushered in, and being equipped from the factory with the desirable D-Code engine it lends itself rather well to continued preservation in its highly original state as wonderful evocation of a true 1950s automotive icon.

The History and Paperwork

  • Manufactured 1957, the final year of the first generation Thunderbird
  • Imported into the UK circa 2011
  • Fully UK registered
  • Accompanied by a selection of period Thunderbird owners literature
  • Manuals present for the upgraded audio system
  • Selection of previous MOT certificates present
  • Due to the cars age, it is both tax and MOT exempt
  • V5 registration document present with the vehicle

The Interior

  • Good quality interior space in desirable red colour scheme
  • Presented in highly original standing
  • Spacious two seater layout

Draped in sumptuous deep red upholstery, the cabin of this particular Thunderbird is in notably good standing and has clearly been well cared for and preserved, presenting in highly original form.

A two tone red and white bench style seat takes precedence within the cabin, clearly having seen limited and rather careful use throughout its time, exhibiting with very limited signs of age or wear. This sits proudly alongside two well upholstered door panels, effortlessly mixing more red and white upholstery with contrasting chrome and metal finish embellishments and door furniture, yet again presenting smartly with just light signs of patina commensurate with age.

Continuing the quintessential 1950s, bold, curved styling approach at the front of the cabin, the beautiful red panel is in fine fettle and boasts a quality collection of switchgear and trim pieces all of which are of a great, highly presentable standard. The bold instrument cluster, unique to the 1957 first generation models, mirrors this high quality and a wonderful red three spoke steering wheel with chrome insert resides just in front and works well to complete the look.

Plush red carpeting is used throughout the cabin floor and comes protected with original red rubber protective Thunderbird floor mats all exhibiting with a light patina, expectant of a car nearly 70 years old. At the rear we find a clean and simple, well sized boot area which houses the full size spare wheel.

The Exterior

  • Facelifted first generation model
  • Contrasting white soft top roof
  • In good original standing from an aesthetic perspective

A masterclass in automotive design, the first generation Thunderbird was undeniably a handsome car and today, sings of glorious 1950s nostalgia. Finished in a desirable bright red hue, the car we have here today is a good, presentable, and impressively original example of a facelifted first generation car that with some light attention, could become a real stand out show piece.

Gleaming in the summer sunlight, the car's paintwork is of a great standard and drapes its way across the excellent, sculpted body lines of the Thunderbird. There are some light areas of patina and some minor markings but in its current state this car would be more than at home on display at a show. The typically 1950s lashings of chrome trim are in fine fettle and of a similarly high standard to the rest of the car's exterior with just a light with just a light pitting and patina in places. The external lighting, badging and glass work are also presented in great overall form.

The folding soft top roof, finished in a contrasting white hue, is what would benefit from some attention to be brought up to the standard the rest of the car sits in. Whilst the mechanical functions of it are in great order, operating quickly and smoothly, the upholstered top presents with a notable rip to the rear screen and thus would likely want recovering if the new owner wishes to drive the car with the top up.

At ground level we find four smart wheels with decorative Ford trim coverings and white wall tyres. A fifth full size wheel resides in the boot of the car as was the factory choice on the later first generation cars to improve handling.

The Mechanics

  • In great overall mechanical order
  • Factory D Code car
  • Excellent blend of refinement and performance

Fitted from the factory with the rarer and desirable D Code 312 cubic inch V8 engine, as denoted by the D in its vin plate, this T-Bird is certainly one of the avid Ford collectors.

Presented in good, clean mechanical order, the Thunderbird fires into life quickly comfortably and provides a great overall driving experience. Excellently blending refinement and luxury with respectable V8 performance, perhaps the reason it so strongly outsold the Corvette when new.


The Ford Thunderbird is one of those cars that just personifies the 1950s. Exuberance and luxury in abundance in an impeccably styled package, its an automotive hall of famer with an esteemed legacy behind it.

Well suited to fun weekend enjoyability and display as a stand out show piece, this factory D Code, face lifted first gen example is primed and ready for a continued life well preserved in highly original standing, perhaps as part of a collection.


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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1957
  • Make Ford
  • Model Thunderbird
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 53,749 Miles
  • Engine size 5000
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Marlborough
  • Location Wiltshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
1 bid
  • steve-a•••• £5,000 24/09/23

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