1956 Ford Thunderbird

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Offer Price: $66,000 US

Specifications: 215bhp, 312 cu. in. Thunderbird Special V8 engine, Holley four-barrel carburetor, three-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with solid rear axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel power assisted drums. Wheelbase: 102"

The introduction of Chevrolet’s Corvette at the 1953 Motorama forced Ford to move its own sports car project onto the front burner. Ford’s project took shape in a brief period in 1953, and was essentially a ‘crash program’ for an open, two-seat body style. It was intended to retain basic Ford design concepts while maximizing the use of production parts, including the Interceptor V8 engine, for a top speed of over 100 miles per hour.

With an emphasis on ‘personal’ rather than ‘sports’ car, the Thunderbird was wisely equipped with glass wind-up windows, a removable hard top and such options as power brakes, steering, seats, and windows, all of which helped it outsell GM’s Corvette by a ratio of 20:1 in 1955. Additionally, its stout five-liter V8 engine was an added improvement over the Corvette’s Blue Flame six-cylinder engine.

For 1956, the Thunderbird was the first to receive a 12-volt electrical system alongside a myriad of other optional power accessories. Easily distinguished from the 1955 model, it featured restyled taillights and a Continental Kit, which had since become standard.

Sold new in Tucson, Arizona, the 1956 Thunderbird presented here was treated to a meticulous, frame-off restoration by Butch Dobson of Dobson’s Classic Cars in Hollow Rock, Tennessee. A matching tote bag residing in the trunk contains detailed pictures of the restoration, which was conducted to Amos Winter’s world-famous standards. It is one of the few 1956 Thunderbirds to have originally received the Sage Green/Colonial White color combination (a Thunderbird only color option found only on 1% of cars that year). The seats are upholstered in white leather with green piping, and the interior features original-style carpeting. Items of note include Kelsey-Hayes wire spoke wheels with green inserts, as well as power steering, brakes, windows, and seat. Air conditioning, hard and soft tops, and an optional Town & Country radio are also present.

Raced at Daytona Beach’s Speed Week, the 1956 Thunderbird is part of an outstanding model year praised by Motor Trend as the Car of the Year for “progress in automotive safety”. With less than 100 miles accumulated since its professional restoration, this particular example is truly an exceptional automobile, well equipped with an attractive color combination.