29 August 1999
1957 FORD THUNDERBIRD FACTORY SUPERCHARGED "F" SERIES
Chassis No. F7FH339062
Baby blue with white vinyl interior
Engine: V8 supercharged, 312ci. giving 300bhp at 4,800rpm; Gearbox: four speed manual; Suspension: independent front, solid rear axle; Brakes: four wheel power assist. Left hand drive.
In 1955 Ford responded to the Chevy Corvette with the introduction of the Thunderbird. Ford knew that the two seater V8 was going to attract a wider audience than the Corvette's racing/performance-oriented market. The Thunderbird design incorporated Ford features found on other models to create a product recognition with the hope of encouraging sales of other Ford cars as well. The universal appeal of the styling of the Thunderbird made it an instant success and the 1955 model out-sold the more expensive Corvette by 24-1!
Engine, chassis and styling improvements were made on the 1955 model culminating in 1957 with what most collectors recognize as the pinnacle model Thunderbird, due not only to the practical mechanical improvements, but also to the accentuated design of the rear fenders. The new Thunderbird was an unequalled success and by its third season had garnered a reputation that stunned even the high aspirations of the Ford Motor Company. America was literally in love with the little Thunderbird. Its provocative styling and sporty nature were continually chronicled in newspapers and magazines, magnified in the movies and immortalized in song.
The 1957 Thunderbird was perhaps the most impressive model year in the series. Its moderately restyled body featured a widened grille accenuated by a more understated front bumper, while the rear was treated to small fins complementary to the overall appearance of the car. Mechanically, the 'F Series' 312 ci. engine was strengthened by a four-barrel carburetor and a McCulloch VR57 Supercharger, while special heads helped reduce engine compression.
The Thunderbird on offer here is a splendid example of a rare and classic 'F-Series'. Approximately fifteen years ago, the car was treated to a frame-off restoration that included a complete bare metal respray of the very rare and original (for the F-Series) baby blue. The engine compartment and Ford red engine block are immaculate and even feature a duplication of the Ford final 'okay' ink stamp numbered 259 applied prior to its factory departure. The meticulous care taken with this F-Bird is seen throughout the car.
Upon completion of the restoration, further distinction was added in 1983 when the car was awarded first place honors at the AACA Nationals. Since then the car has rarely been shown or even driven. It has spent the majority of its time in a climate controlled environment where it has been maintained and attended to by skilled professional mechanic, Mr. Steve Van Duyn. This F-Bird, one of only 194 ever produced, is equipped with many factory options including the Town & Country signal seeking radio that automatically increases in volume proportionally to the speed of the engine. The rare and exceptional F-Bird on offer is far and away one of the most important of its breed and would make an outstanding addition to any collection.
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Kept under wraps for almost a century, this superb collection comes into the light with its sale at Christie's in Paris on 30 October
The theoretical physicist’s PhD thesis, key papers, wheelchair and more, offered in a special online sale at Christie's