Saturday, October 25, 2014

San Mateo Street Sighting - 1957 Ford Thunderbird

When I was a kid I adored the 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird. They were just infinitely cool. I had a Hot Wheels '57 T-Bird from their "Gleam Team" series, a strange release with a plastic body molded in gold-chrome with geometric patterns. I also had a larger, probably 1:43 scale red '55 T-Bird coupe with opening doors, which was one of my favorite childhood toys until I accidentally broke it into several pieces. Oops! My childhood love of early T-Birds stuck with me and I still really like them today.

The original formula for the Ford Thunderbird called for a stylish new body on a shortened Fairlane chassis, with a 292 V8 sourced from Mercury. The car was a two-seat roadster with a removable fiberglass hardtop or (also removable) folding soft top. Thunderbirds are considered the first personal luxury car, competing with the Chevy Corvette which was sportier (particularly with the V8 new for 1955), but cruder than the T-Bird in its materials and amenities. The '57 Thunderbird was a little more exaggerated in its styling than the '55-56, with a larger trunk and a new 312 cubic inch V8 with optional Paxton supercharger.

I can't say what motivates this striking black roadster, but the Hurst four-speed on the floor suggests the owner likes to do more than just cruise the boulevard. I've seen relatively few of these cars in black with red interior, and it looks amazing. Speaking of amazing interiors, I'm a complete sucker for machine-turned aluminum, and it appears to possibly have factory air conditioning as well. The red pinstriping running from the tail forward to the fender trim and back around above it is an interesting touch. Wire wheels, wide whitewalls and period-correct license plates complete the package. It's awesome.

1 comment:

  1. Stunning! Without a doubt, one of the most beautiful designs to come from FoMoCo.