1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible  Chassis no. P5FH104939
Lot 362
1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Chassis no. P5FH104939
Sold for US$ 35,200 inc. premium
Lot Details
1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Chassis no. P5FH104939
292ci OHV Y-block V8 engine
Single Holley four-barrel carburetor
193bhp at 4,400rpm
3-speed manual transmission
Front independent wishbone and rear live-axle leaf spring suspension
4-wheel hydraulic drum brakes

-Subject of a frame-off restoration
-Rare, manual transmission
-Once part of the John 'O'Quinn Collection
-Well optioned, both tops
-'50s motoring at its finest

The Thunderbird

Conceived to challenge Chevrolet's Corvette sports car, the classic Thunderbird convertible debuted in October 1954 for the 1955 model year and was one of the first models produced with Ford's new overhead-valve V8 engine. In '56 Thunderbird configuration, the latter displaced 292ci (4.8 liters) and produced 200bhp, while the optional Special V8 displaced 312ci (5.1 liters) and delivered 215bhp. Introduced in two-seat 'personal car' form, the Thunderbird was intended to appeal to image-conscious younger customers, beating the Corvette hands down in the sales war thanks to its superior V8 engine and greater refinement. Its success took Ford by surprise: 16,000 were sold in the first year when a total of only 10,000 had been expected, and the production run over three years exceeded 53,000.

Apart from mounting the rear wheel on the trunk and adding porthole windows to the hardtop, Ford left the 'T-Bird' fundamentally unchanged for 1956 before a more thoroughgoing restyle for 1957 saw the adoption of a longer tail section featuring prominent fins. This alteration provided greater luggage space while enabling the spare wheel to be relocated in the trunk, a move that greatly improved the handling. Despite its success, the original concept soon was abandoned and a larger - and slower - four-seat version introduced for 1958, a move that turned the early two-seater cars into collectors' items almost overnight. Today the 1955-'57 Thunderbirds are among the most desirable and sought after of post-war American automobiles.

The Motorcar Offered

This Goldenrod Yellow T-bird left the Dearborn, Michigan factory on March 10th, 1955. Its early history is unknown, but by the mid-1990s, the car belonged to a gentleman in St. Louis, Missouri. It was the subject of a frame-off restoration and an engine rebuild. In February of 2002, noted Thunderbird enthusiast Amos Minter of Dallas, Texas acquired the car. Minter went through the car to top-and-tail it to his lofty standards before eventually selling the car to another well known Texan, the late John O'Quinn, in June of 2005. The current owner acquired this 'bird from Bonhams' Greenwich three years ago.

Still carrying its original color scheme and well optioned, electric windows and 4-way power seats add comfort and convenience. A rare, 3-speed manual transmission and white sidewall tires add a level of sportiness not often seen in Thunderbirds. Both tops are included. A nicely presented and fun to drive (especially with the manual transmission) T-bird!
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Contacts
  1. Samantha Hamill
    Auction Administration - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
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    Work +1 212 461 6514
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  2. Eric Minoff
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
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    580 Madison Avenue
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    United States
    Work +1 917 206 1630
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  3. Evan Ide
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work Boston,
    United States
    Work +1 917 340 4657
  4. Rupert Banner
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Bonhams
    Work
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, 10022
    United States
    Work +1 212 461 6515
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669