Specifications: 225bhp, 312 cu. in. overhead valve V8 engine, four-barrel Holley carburetor, two-speed automatic transmission, independent wishbone front suspension and four-wheel power drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102"
Credit for the Thunderbird’s name goes to Alden “Gib” Biberson, a young automotive stylist at Ford, whose suggestion was chosen from 5,000 other names. Biberson received a $95 suit and an extra pair of slacks from Saks Fifth Avenue for his contribution. Meanwhile, the attractive new Thunderbird entered production on September 9, 1954, generating immediate public excitement
Despite having been introduced just the previous year, Ford’s Thunderbird underwent significant improvements for 1956 in the way of performance and convenience. The steering was adjusted and the rear springs were softened slightly for a better ride and improved weight distribution. Visibility was improved on the hard top by adding a porthole, now a classic Thunderbird design feature, while convenience features included a 12-volt electrical system, much needed fender vents for interior cooling, and more trunk space thanks to the stylish Continental kit. Safety concerns did not fall by the wayside either; honored by Motor Trend, Ford’s company-wide safety initiative introduced such concepts as a padded dash, a concave steering wheel, safety door locks, and a shatter-resistant mirror.
The 1956 Thunderbird presented here underwent a complete frame-off restoration at RM Auto Restorations and was subsequently shown at the New York Concours d’Elegance. It is presented in factory-correct Peacock Blue with a matching hard top, white soft top, and a two-tone blue and white interior with original style patterns and carpeting. Extensive options include power steering, fender skirts, a Town & Country radio, wire wheel covers, and Firestone wide whitewall tires. It should also be noted that this car was featured in two separate publications – American Cars and The Ultimate History of American Cars, both by Fred Winkowski and Frank Sullivan.
Benefiting from an excellent high-point restoration and remaining in outstanding driving condition, this Thunderbird has been shown just once and is an ideal candidate for continued appearances at respected national events. Instantly recognizable, it is an icon of 1950s design and would make an exemplary addition to any collection.