This incredibly rare Ford Thunderbird 'F-Code' is heading to auction next month, where it could sell for $175,000-250,000
It says everything about the enduring appeal of the original ‘personal luxury car’ that, despite Ford’s attempts to sully the Thunderbird name with a series of clumsy barges, the image forever associated with the moniker is that of the perfectly proportioned first-generation car. When the Beach Boys penned their ode to T-Bird-related fun, fun, fun in 1963, we doubt they were thinking about the disastrously incoherent second-generation car, or its too-big-by-half successor.
No doubt there are some (a few, at least) who would take issue with the idea that the later cars failed to meet the bar set by the first Thunderbird, but the market certainly sides with us. The gleeful, neat ’55, ’56 and ’57 cars remain the ones to have, but among those collectors have a clear favourite: the ’57 F-Code.
It’s not hard to see why. A total of 53,166 first-generation T-Birds were made; between the D/F-Code cars that were handbuilt for racing and the F-Code production cars, only 211 Thunderbirds are believed to have left the factory with a modified and supercharged 312ci V8 engine capable of kicking out a full 300bhp.
The performance package added $340 to the base price of the ’57 Thunderbird ($2944), but that was a small price to pay for those who stoked the fires of America’s horsepower wars. One such was the original owner of this beautiful car, which is today resplendent in Thunderbird Bronze following a well-executed restoration. Quite apart from the blown V8, it features every desirable option going, including the three-speed manual ’box with overdrive, so its estimate of $175,000-250,000 is warranted, particularly in light of the recent sale of a similar car for $247,500 – a sum, we should point out, that is still some way shy of the $319,000 achieved by an F-Code back in 2006.
Click here to see the full description for this F-Code Ford Thunderbird offered by Auctions America
Whether this example sells for a vast amount of money or merely a small fortune, the ascent of the ‘ultimate’ Thunderbird ought to serve as a reminder that Ford’s riposte to the Corvette was a special car – and that for those not fixated on 0-60 times, a run-of-the-mill first-generation T-Bird represents pretty stupendous value.