1957 Ford Thunderbird - Toybox

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

ford thunderbird 1 ford thunderbird 1
ford thunderbird rear ford thunderbird rear
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One of the best baby T-birds on offer in Oz


1957 Ford Thunderbird

This many decades later, it’s easy to forget just how significant the first Thunderbird series – aka the Babybird – was in Ford’s history. It did, after all, launch the company into the sports two-seater market. And it was to last just a few years.

The company’s thinking was pretty simple. While gigantic transports of delight were seen as the American way, this was a compact with a good-sized V8. That should be a recipe for happiness.

There were three yearly updates for these things – each of them fairly significant – over 1955-56-57. After this generation, the T-bird name transferred to giant four-seaters, still with two doors but totally different in character.


In the USA, last-gen Babybirds are worth really big money, particularly if they’re one of the ultra-rare performance variants.

This convertible belongs to a Melbourne enthusiast who has helped us out with numerous feature cars in the past.

The colour combo is very fifties, although the green-on-green combination is unusual and the coding on the car suggests it may have been a special order from the factory. Given these things were hugely popular in Hollywood at the time, it’s not a big leap to imagine someone famous putting in the order.

| Read next: Ford Thunderbird 1957 restoration


In any case, it’s very typical of the breed on the mechanical front, with the 245hp version of the 312ci (5.1lt) V8 matched to a three-speed auto. For its day, it would have been a quick car.

Looking after one of these things is simplicity itself, as the basic mechanicals are straight-forward. Fresh fluids and filters and regular use should be enough to keep it happy.


A close look at this car suggests it’s show-quality. It would require very little to prepare it for a concours, such is the level of presentation Where: Rocvic Auto Repairs, Tullamarine, tel (03) 9335 2407. Priced at $95,000. 

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ENGINE 5.1lt V8
POWER 182kW @4500rpm
TORQUE 450Nm @ 3200rpm
GEARBOX 3-speed automatic
BRAKES drums (front & rear)
SUSPENSION coil independent front; live axle, semi-elliptic leaf springs rear.


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