1957 Ford Thunderbird


  • Recently restored, work valued over £18,000
  • Gorgeous piece of Americana on British soil
  • Features the larger 312ci (5.1-litre) engine
  • Rare 3-speed manual transmission fitted

The Appeal

In Europe, American cars are something of an oddity, especially older models such as this beautiful 1957 Ford Thunderbird. With importation tax and paperwork to fill in, it can often be a pain to bring one over oneself. 

Fully registered and in excellent condition, this is one car that requires no work of that kind. It is a piece of Americana ready to tackle British roads in style. With the soft top down, this is a perfect motor to enjoy the final days of summer.

Ford Thunderbird-36.jpg 9.72 MB

History and Paperwork

  • Owned by American family for 30 years
  • Registered in the UK in 2016
  • Fully restored between 2016 and 2018
  • Folder full of invoices dating back to import
  • MoT exempt
  • Owner’s manual included in the sale

The Interior

  • Newly restored, in very good condition
  • Classic American style
  • Bright red vinyl seats stand out

Inside this American boat is a mint condition cabin with a vast opening to the elements. This open-top car will be perfect for anyone wishing to live the American dream of cruising down the road with the top down under the summer sun.

Beware of looks from passersby though when driving with the roof down in this Ford Thunderbird as its bright red vinyl interior is anything but subtle. In fact, just the trim surrounding the instrument cluster and running along the dashboard isn’t coated in the flashy colour. 

Everything you see inside was done by the current owner apart from the new soft top that has been recently fitted by D Class Automotive Interiors; brand new carpets and boot trim are the highlights while the original vinyl seats have also received a touch of love.

Ford Thunderbird-30.jpg 13.49 MB

The Exterior

  • Long American cruiser body style
  • Recently resprayed in a bright red paintwork
  • Welded bodywork

If the interior wasn’t red enough, the exterior certainly covers all the bases. After plenty of work done to the body panels, the entire car was resprayed by Sunbeam Spares Company in a very close to original red colour, now sparkling once again. 

In fact, many of the body panels have been welded along with new floors, new inner & outer sills, and new outriggers. Furthermore, since its restoration the car has been kept in a garage and protected from the elements. As such, it is in near-pristine shape looking almost better than it did when it left the factory. 

With its long body, flaring fins, white wall tyres and shiny chrome trim, this model is sure to stand out on UK roads.

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The Mechanics

  • Rare three-speed manual; overdrive intermittent
  • Larger, more desirable 312ci, 5.1-litre engine
  • Modified radiator for better cooling
  • Rebuilt suspension front and rear
  • Braking system rebuilt
  • Runs as it should

Sat under the bonnet is the larger of the two engines available with the car as standard, a 312ci – 5.1-litre – engine which is linked to the extremely rare three-speed manual gearbox with overdrive. This was an option fitted to just 1% of Ford Thunderbirds. Unfortunately, the kickdown overdrive works intermittently.

Elsewhere, the car should handle and stop better than ever with fully rebuilt suspension and braking assemblies whilst still keeping the car’s original ethos using the drum brakes that came with the Thunderbird as standard.

Finally, with a new exhaust fitted, the V8 should roar just as you’d imagine from an American muscle car from the late fifties.

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So much time and effort has gone into this beautiful example of a Ford Thunderbird on UK soil. Now it's its time to shine by cruising through the country with the top down in the summer sun. As the owner says, this is “open top touring at its best.”

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1957
  • Make Ford
  • Model Thunderbird
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 35,772 Miles
  • Engine size 5113
  • Town Ascot
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Berkshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
22 bids
  • br•••• £25,500 12/08/22
  • Jb•••• £25,250 12/08/22
  • Jb•••• £25,000 12/08/22
  • br•••• £23,500 12/08/22
  • be•••• £23,000 12/08/22
  • Jb•••• £22,000 11/08/22
  • th•••• £21,500 09/08/22
  • be•••• £21,000 08/08/22
  • th•••• £17,750 07/08/22
  • Wo•••• £17,000 06/08/22

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