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  1. 1957 Ford Thunderbird 'E-Code' Roadster

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Lot Number

1957 Ford Thunderbird 'E-Code' Roadster
2017 Scottsdale Auction

Offered Without Reserve
ESTIMATE: $90,000 - $110,000
• Multiple National-level concours award winner| Stunning color combination; well-maintained and serviced
• Rare limited-production, dual-carbureted “E-Code” Thunderbird
• Stunning restoration by marque specialist Phil McCurdy
• Exceedingly rare in trim-tag-original Coral Sand paint color
• Complete with both a convertible top and “porthole” hardtop
• Beautifully presented and highly equipped with desirable options
• Limited test and sorting mileage since completion
• Offered from a well-known and discerning Northwestern collector

312 cid “Y-Block” V-8 engine, twin Holley four-barrel carburetors, 270 HP, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 102”

First shown at the February 1954 Detroit Auto Show and available that October, the two-seat Thunderbird convertible crowned the second-best sales year in company history. Conceived as a sporting, stylish and well-equipped “personal car” rather than a harder-edged sports car, the Thunderbird was a decidedly more sophisticated alternative to Chevrolet’s early and somewhat haphazard Corvette. Low, clean, and of all-metal construction, the T-Bird included a powerful 292 cubic-inch V-8, removable hardtop, and a host of standard and optional features. A total of 16,155 were sold for 1955, versus just 700 Corvettes that year. The 1956 Thunderbird was mildly updated, although the hardtop gained round porthole-style rear-quarter windows, the spare tire repositioned with external “Continental” mounting for additional trunk space, and the enlarged 312 cubic-inch ‘Thunderbird Special’ V-8 engine was optional.

Further refined for 1957, the final two-seat Thunderbirds are considered by many to be the most beautiful and desirable of all. The front bumper was smoothed out and dropped down low at the center, the trunk extended to accommodate the spare wheel now housed inside, and a pair of tasteful canted tailfins flowed back to jet exhaust-style taillights. Smaller-diameter 14-inch wheels visually lowered the car. Engine choices for 1957 ranged from the 212 horsepower, 292 cubic-inch Thunderbird V-8 with two-barrel carburetion and 312 cubic-inch Thunderbird Special V-8 delivering 245 horsepower with a single Holley four-barrel carburetor to the 270 horsepower “E-Code” Thunderbird Super V-8 engine with 9.7:1 compression sporting twin Holley four-barrel carburetors, a 285 horsepower racing special, and even a McCulloch-supercharged, 300 horsepower unit. Sales rose briskly to 21,380 for 1957, but it would in fact be the final model year for the two-seater Thunderbird until 2002. Of all Thunderbird variants, the “E” Series or “E-Bird” was particularly rare, with some experts citing production of as few as 1,499 for 1957. Today, the original Thunderbird remains an automotive and cultural icon, recently celebrated by the U.S. Postal Service as part of the “America on the Move: 50s Sporty Cars” commemorative postage stamp issue.

This “E-Code” 1957 Thunderbird was acquired in 2009 by the current owner/collector, who commissioned a complete, frame-off restoration to concours standards by Northwestern 1955-1957 Thunderbird specialist Phil McCurdy. Striking in its factory-specified Coral Sand, as confirmed by the firewall data plate, this Thunderbird is one of the rarest of all with only 1.7 percent so finished for 1957. Features and options include a three-speed transmission with overdrive, power-operated brakes, steering, and windows, back-up lights, a Classic Town & Country radio, Dial-a-Matic seat, fender skirts, and both tops including a “porthole” hardtop.

Following completion of the restoration work in 2012, the Thunderbird was shown with great success, winning Gold and Senior Status at the Memphis CTCI (Classic Thunderbird Club International) National event in 2012. At the 2013 National event in San Jose, this Thunderbird garnered the Gold Medallion and Excellence in Authenticity award, with the latter award granted only to those few cars scoring in excess of 290 out of 300 points on the CTCI judging platform. In addition, the judges at San Jose noted this Thunderbird’s engine compartment was “perfectly prepared.” Since then, the Thunderbird’s only showing was at the 2014 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance, where it was First in the Thunderbird class and the winner of the prestigious President’s Award. Strictly limited mileage has been covered since the restoration was completed and this extremely rare Thunderbird remains ready for continued showing at the most desirable concours events in judged competition. A high-specification, first-generation two-seat Thunderbird from the final 1957 model year, this example is simply one of the most desirable today and certainly one of the finest available.

1957 Ford Thunderbird 'E-Code' Roadster
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