Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1955 Ford Thunderbird Roadster
Ford had only planned to build 10,000 T-Birds for the 1955 model year. Within the first 10 days after its debut in Detroit, it had over 3,500 orders. It would end up selling over 16,000 before the year was out. And that was no small task; at over $4,000 fully-loaded, the Thunderbird could be twice as expensive as a base-model Ford coupe, and as much as the far more capable Jaguar XK140. But the Thunderbird was also the first successful niche car built by one of The Big Three. It was the first time a singular model that wasn't a big coupe, sedan, station wagon, or truck rose to the top of a company's lineup and took hold of the public's imagination. You may not have been able to afford a T-Bird, or it may have been too impractical for you, but you wanted one.
For consignment, year 1 version 1 of the soon to be iconic Ford Thunderbird. And you WILL want one! Bathed in Ravern Black, it does not get any more mid 50s looking than this wonderful 2 seat bird. The entire package is very attractive, but the thing that sends this writer over the top is the early simplistic design. An overall 3 out of 5 on the judgement scale, a few items nonfunctional at this time, but all looking good and rust free. Top elite for this bird!
Starting upfront, we can see a beautiful original and mirror like bumper with mini "Dagmar" style bumper-ettes attached which take on a jet engine like appearance. Directly above is a well-preserved shiny egg crate grille and flanking this on either side is a single visored headlight. A long-scooped hood rolls its way back to the passenger compartment, which is small, and is topped with a convertible top in black, tear free and fade free canvas and sporting a clear plastic rear window. On the back small fins tip round taillights again, emulating jet age design, and another clean bumper, this time the "Dagmars" house the exhaust tailpipes. The gas cap door utilizes a crossed checkered flag with a cloisonn Ford shield just above. White whites surround chromed spoked wheels which have a central FORD badged "cereal bowl" center hub. All metal is painted in Raven Black paint, and has nicely preserved gaps with no rust seen on its exterior. From its fender skirts to the chromed venting on the front quarters to the tasteful fins and jet engine taillights, "Dagmars", and all is super snazzy. And don't forget the black fiberglass hard top that comes along with this iconic car.
The curvaceous thick door panels are wrapped in white vinyl with some black vinyl covered swooping upward long armrests, and a black padded window sill attached at the top. There is a large panel of machined aluminum through the center which is the background for the door actuator. These are nice and clean, with the aluminum showing a few dimples. This panel looks the part, as they melt into the curved dash keeping the machined metal line through the center. A fan style black background with white numbered speedometer is above on the painted metal black dash top and more black for below the machined strip of aluminum. Flanking on either side of the speedo are round gauges, one a factory tachometer, and the right a clock. Also noted an original looking radio is neatly installed in the dash center. Fronting a near perfect bench seat is a black rubber booted small shift lever well within reach of the driver on the hump. The seat is complete with black smooth bolsters and surrounds and shows with white tuck and roll inserts and some piping at the seams, and it stretches from door to door. Nice condition black carpeting floods the floors, and the black bakelite and chrome horn ring steering wheel fronts the pristine dash. A black tonneau cover is on the rear body/passenger sill and awaits to cover the top when it is in the down position. Totally delicious in this presentation. And if the weather is bad, pop on the hardtop!
A 292ci V8 engine is in a clean and shiny engine bay. It is topped with a 4-barrel carburetor, and a chromed air cleaner cover. Red is reserved for the block, and shiny turquoise Thunderbird badged horizontal ribbed valve covers add some more bling to the bay. A 3-speed automatic transmission, 3.31 Dana 44 rear axle complete the drivetrain. Just a beautiful presentation under the hood.
Just a hint of surface rust and some minor invasive rust on the rockers. The X frame and floor pans are really beautifully preserved sporting a nice undercoating of rustproofing. Independent coil springs for the front, and leaf springs for the rear make up the suspension with drum brakes all around. We note power steering also.
Not a ton of room in these early birds, but once in, they are comfy. This car fired right up and took off for the test track where it flew around in circles with ease. A strong accelerator, and good stop
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