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! This one is the beneficiary of a frame off restoration which happened in the early 90's and still retains its shine and certainly curb appeal. Bathed in Thunderbird Blue it does not get any more mid 50's 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 color. It is like none other here in our vast halls of some unique inventory, and we have a few of these 55's. This one is top flite!
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 white canvas and sporting a clear plastic rear window. On the back small fins tip round taillights again, emulating jet age design, and another clear 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 Thunderbird Blue 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, it's super snazzy.
The curvaceous thick door panels are wrapped in white vinyl with some turquoise swooping upward long armrests and a dark blue green 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 and look 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 dark turquoise dash top and lighter turquoise 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 is a newer version of the AM/FM/Cassette radio 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 turquoise smooth bolsters and white tuck and roll inserts and some piping at the seams, and it stretches from door to door. Nice condition dark turquoise carpeting floods the floors, and the turquoise bakelite and chrome horn ring steering wheel fronts the pristine dash. Noted are power seat adjustments on the door. A turquoise top boot 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.
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 manual transmission with overdrive, and a 3.73 Dana 44 rear axle complete the drivetrain.
No even a hint of surface rust, and the X frame, floor pans and rockers are really beautifully preserved sporting a nice undercoating of rustproofing. Independent coil springs for the front, and black shiny leaf springs for the rear make up the suspension with drum brakes all around. A-May-Zing-Lee preserved for its ripe age.
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 stopper are also good qualities to have in such an early car
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