1955 Ford Thunderbird
• Ford’s first two-seater since 1938
• One of 16,155 examples made in 1955
• 292 CID OHV Y-block V-8 engine with dual exhausts
• Ford-O-Matic two-speed automatic transmission
• White exterior with red and white interior and a white fiberglass hard top
• Power steering and power seat
Ford made the biggest splash of the 1950s when it pulled the wraps on the Thunderbird at the Detroit Auto Show. First year T-Birds are becoming harder and harder to find; the two-seater laid the groundwork for personal luxury cars of the future. This car is being brought to us by a local consigner who is thinning his collection.
This example was made on July 21, (prod code G21) 1955 and was the 160th vehicle made that day at Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan factory (VIN code F). It was delivered to the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (code PI) sales area.
The car’s white paint and trim are in overall very good order. The car’s body is straight, its engine bay is very tidy and there’s an AC Delco battery that appears new. The chrome bumpers overall are in good shape.
This T-Bird rolls on wide whitewall tires mounted on steel wheels topped with wire wheel covers. The wheels are in very good order while the tires are in good, original order.
Under the forward-hinged hood is Ford’s 292 CID Y-block V-8 engine the breathes through dual exhausts. Backing up the motor is a Ford-O-Matic two-speed automatic transmission. Driver convenience features include power steering.
Inside, the car’s red and white interior is a great contrast to the exterior. The seats are in overall great shape, as is the red carpeting. The two-spoke steering wheel is in satisfactory shape, along with the inner door liners and dashboard but there is some chips on the dash. A driveshaft-mounted shift lever is between the seats. A factory AM radio completes the interior.
Ford unveiled the Thunderbird at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. The first production car came off the line on September 9, 1954 and went on sale on October 22, 1954 as a 1955 model and sold briskly; 3,500 orders were placed in the first 10 days of sale. While only 10,000 were planned, 16,155 cars were sold in 1955. This Thunderbird is a great driving car but has some needs: the speedometer is inaccurate, wipers and tachometer are inoperable, fuel gauge is stuck at full and the blower motor does not engage.
The Thunderbird came with fender skirts and a removable fiberglass top as standard equipment, with a fabric convertible top as a commonly specified option. The exhaust pipes exited through twin bumper guards bolted to the rear bumper.
The car used existing chassis and suspension design and off-the-shelf Ford mechanical components. It was constructed using a body-on-frame technique utilizing a version of the standard Ford design cut-down to a 102-inch wheelbase. The engine was paired either with a Ford-O-Matic automatic or manual overdrive transmissions, and the car featured four-way powered seats and pushbutton interior door handles. Other unique features were a telescoping steering wheel and a tachometer.
Ford’s two-seater outsold its primary Detroit competition, Chevrolet’s Corvette, for at least three reasons, despite launching two years later – Ford offered V-8 power from the start; the Thunderbird had roll-up side glass and exterior door handles and it was finished in traditional sheet metal. By the mid-50s, when the Corvette became a serious threat, Ford decided to go in a more profitable direction for 1958 but that’s another story.
Ford fans and Thunderbird aficionados should stop by to review this prime piece of Ford’s crowning ‘50s achievement, carving out a new vehicle class for others to imitate for the next 30 to 40 years. Stop by MotoeXotica Classic Cars today!
This car is currently located at our facility in St. Louis, Missouri. Current mileage on the odometer shows 81,071 miles. It is sold as is, where is, on a clean and clear, mileage exempt title.
GET OUT AND DRIVE!!!
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