1957 THUNDERBIRD CONVERTIBLE
This two-door T-Bird convertible was produced during the last year of the first generation Thunderbirds. What started out as a competitive car to Chevrolet’s Corvette, had become very well accepted by the customers.
Selling cost was $3,800 – with options, the price could easily come to $4,600. Optional: Fordomatic automatic transmission, power brake, and power steering. This Ford had just two enamel colors for the convertibles – Bronze Metallic and Dusk Rose (pink).
This 1957 Thunderbird has two roofs. All the original T-Birds were convertibles, and our restored one has a fiberglass hardtop with “portholes” – the canvas retractable top was actually an option a few years earlier.
When our T-Bird was new in 1957, it had a fiberglass roof and that year the addition of optional circular “portholes” in the fiberglass roof - they eliminated some serious blind spots in the car. There were also new vents in the front fenders to bleed off heat before it “cooked the driver’s and passenger’s feet into hams in Florsheims”. Vent wing windows were also new.
In 1957, Thunderbird was significantly restyled with a more chiseled body, a larger front bumper around a larger front grille, a redesigned trunk lid and more pronounced, sharper-edged tail fins. The new trunk lid allowed the spare tire to move back inside, but aftermarket firms still sold Continental Kits to those T-Bird owners who liked the appearance of the external spare. Inside, the instrument panel from the standard ’56 Ford was transplanted into the Thunderbird with an engine-turned-insert adding distinction.
The 312 c.i.d. V8 was now standard on the Thunderbird with output pegged at 245 hp. A version of that engine topped by to four-barrel carbs was optional and rated at 270 hp or 285 hp when equipped with a special “racing kit”. A few Thunderbirds were also sold with a Paxton centrifugal supercharger heaving into their Holley four-barrel carburetor to make a thrillling 300 hp.
With such a broad range of options, and such an attractive updating of the styling, Thunderbird sales grew to 21,380 units during 1957. That may have seemed like a lot compared to the two previous years’ sales, but it was only a hint of what was to come.