Minter collection sees rare F-code Thunderbirds up for auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Minter Thunderbirds Azure Blue cover Minter Thunderbirds Azure Blue cover
Minter Thunderbirds Azure Blue engine Minter Thunderbirds Azure Blue engine
Minter Thunderbirds Custom Phase 1 Minter Thunderbirds Custom Phase 1
Minter Thunderbirds Dusk Rose rear Minter Thunderbirds Dusk Rose rear
Minter Thunderbirds Sun Gold Minter Thunderbirds Sun Gold

The world’s premiere specialty Thunderbird restoration shop are culling their incredible fleet

Since 1969, Amos and Justin Minter’s Dallas-based restoration shop has earned the reputation of the world’s most skilled and respected specialty restoration shop for ’55-’57 Thunderbirds.

Luckily for fans of the Ford Thunderbird, a select fleet of Minters’ personal cars are heading to Mecum’s Indy auction from May 14-19 – nine of them being rare and collectible F-Code cars.

The first-generation Ford Thunderbird arrived in 1955, as a response to Chevrolet’s Corvette.

The two cars would eventually diverge ways after a few years, with the Thunderbird subsequently going upscale and up-market.

Though before the Thunderbird swelled in size and luxury, Ford sent off the first-generation baby-bird with an optional supercharged, 300hp F-code V8.

Minter-Thunderbirds-Azure-Blue-engine.jpg

Just 196 were built, all in 1957, and remain the most desired and collectible of the baby-birds – frequently fetching north of USD$200,000 at auction.

While Ford’s F-code V8 made more power than the Corvette’s fuel-injected V8 in its day, the introduction of the Paxton-supercharged performance pack actually was for NASCAR homologation than simple brand rivalry. The option added USD$439 to the Thunderbird’s USD$3,408 list price – or USD$719 when combined with the Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission – rendering it prohibitively expensive in many cases.

Minter-Thunderbirds-Sun-Gold.jpg

Of the nine rare F-Birds on offer; two of them are the only documented examples in existence – one finished in Azure Blue and another in Sun Gold (both estimated to fetch between USD$300,000-$400,000). One of four Torch Red examples are also up for grabs, this one being an AACA National First Prize winner.

Minter-Thunderbirds-Dusk-Rose-rear.jpg

Another, in Dusk Rose, represents just one of five in existence (estimate: USD$250,000-$300,000), and another Gunmetal Gray example (an AACA Junior and Senior winner) represents just one of nine, and is estimated to fetch between USD$200,000-$250,000.

A number of other non-F-Code cars are up for grabs, including a rare 1957 Ford Custom Phase 1; one of four Phase 1 Customs known to exist. It’s estimated to fetch between $150,000-$200,000.

Minter-Thunderbirds-Custom-Phase-1.jpg

All cars are fully restored by Minters, and most have covered double-digit mileage since.

As our resident Thunderbird specialist, and Art Director Angelo enthuses: these cars are the cream of the crop for Fomoco Thunderbird fans, and present virtually undriven and better than factory!

Minter-Thunderbirds-Sun-gold-interior.jpg

See them cross the block at Mecum’s Indy auction, May 14-19.

 

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