1957 FORD THUNDERBIRD "F" SERIES FACTORY SUPERCHARGED CONVERTIBLE
Chassis No. F7FH373730
Coral sand with white interior
Engine: V-8 supercharged, 312cu.in. giving 300hp at 4,800rpm; Gearbox: Ford-O-Matic; Suspension: independent front, solid axle rear; Brakes: four wheel power assist. Left hand drive.
When the Ford Thunderbird arrived in 1955, it literally blew past the Corvette in both sales and popularity, giving General Motors pause to reconsider the Corvette's future. It was the beginning of the short-lived but exciting sports car wars which revved up in 1955 and ended abruptly in 1957, when Ford Motor Company ceased production of the two passenger Thunderbird. Although its fate had been sealed, the Thunderbird went out with a bang in '57 with only 194 supercharged "F" models equipped with McCulloch centrifugal superchargers giving the cars a whopping 300hp. The T-Bird had already established itself as a more practical sports car with power windows, a choice of automatic or manual transmission, and a removable hardtop, all features Chevrolet quickly adopted for the Corvette. However, the Thunderbird had them first.
The new Thunderbird was an unequalled success and by its third season had garnered a reputation which stunned even the high aspirations of the Ford company. America was literally in love with the little Thunderbird. Its provocative styling and sporty nature was naturally chronicled in newspapers and magazines, magnified in the movies and immortalized in song.
As mentioned in the introduction to this collection, Noel had a strong admiration for the rare "F" model ever since his Father Mel had shown him the stunning performance of the supercharged model. In 1988 Noel located this original "F" model from a collection in Texas. The car had recently benefited from a frame off restoration and was an ideal addition to the collection. Photos of the restoration accompany this lot. For those interested in matching numbers, this car comes with its original factory delivery note and a detailed inventory of the components stampings from the vendor in 1988 signifying the correct numbers for a 1957 "F" model. The car was originally supplied in Raven black and the total sticker price including all the accessories was $3,702.57. When new the supercharger cost an extra $340, the Ford-O-Matic transmission $150, the power brakes and steering $74.55, electric windows $48 and the signal seek radio $79.60 to mention a few items from the original sticker invoice. Interestingly this car was delivered new to the Walker Motor Company on Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, a very short distance from where the car has resided for the past nine years.
Since joining the Blanc collection, this very fine looking example has had very limited use. In 1990 the highly respected Thunderbird specialist Jim Weatherly of Weatherly Classique Cars gave the car a thorough service and check over. Since this time the car has been carefully cared for by Bill Larzelere. This car was featured on the front cover of the Summer 1992 Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories catalogue. In more recent months, a full article appeared in the July 1997 edition of Cars & Parts. Also in April this year the car appeared in the Los Angeles Times in an atricle that was syndicated by the Associated Press and picked up my innumerable newspapers around the country.
This rare 1957 "F" model in Coral Sand is equipped with all the of the factory options including Dial-O-Matic power seat, power windows, Town & Country signal seeking radio that automatically increases the volume in proportion to the speed of the engine, and both hard and soft tops. In 1957 the last great battle of the sports cars went to the supercharged Thunderbird, the rarest (with only 194 produced) and most deirable American two-seater of the era.