Some cars are just universal in their appeal. No matter if you're a Ford guy or a Mopar guy or a Chevy guy, there are some cars that transcend barriers, cars that just about everyone can agree are great cars. I'd argue that the 1955-57 Ford Thunderbird is such a car. Great looks, decent performance, instantly recognizable, it all adds up to a beautiful car that everyone sees as something special.

Some T-Birds are more special than others, however, and Ill argue that this '55 is one of the nicest we've seen lately. The recipient of a recent frame-off restoration from top to bottom, it is in outstanding condition throughout. The car comes with a thick restoration manual from the Classic International Thunderbird Club, and I have to assume that the details it specifies have been followed throughout, making this a very correct car as well. NOS and date-coded parts were used wherever possible, and even the original date-coded glove box lining is included (although a replacement is currently installed in the car). The code E Snowshoe White paint is absolutely beautiful, applied over those classic T-Bird curves. Whenever I think of an early 'Bird, I always picture this color combination because it is quintessentially Thunderbird. The sheet metal work was excellent, and if there were any traces of rust, they have been thoroughly and permanently excised from the cars skin. Panel gaps are above average, although you can tell from the photos. I guess that must be endemic to Thunderbirds, because this car looks even better in person than it does in photos, just like the Thunderbird Blue one sitting next to it on the showroom floor. At any rate, the doors open and close with precision, the forward-tilting hood fits extremely well, and the trunk lid, including the pass-through for the fuel filler, fits well. The paint has obviously been cut and buffed, because the gloss is fantastic.

Trim throughout is uniformly high quality. There are a lot of original pieces that have been restored, including the bumpers and grille, as well as a bunch of NOS items that look exactly the way they did 55 years ago, sitting on the showroom floor. The windshield is the original date-coded piece, which is in extraordinary condition and is a good indicator of the gentle life this 'Bird has had. The complex rear bumper that includes exhaust outlets in the bumper guards is fully restored to better-than-new condition, and all the bulbs and lenses are fresh. Heck, even the weather stripping is NOS, which tells you how attentive to details the restorer really was.

Under the hood you'll find a nicely detailed 292 cubic inch Thunderbird V8, which when attached to a 3-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission, generated a reasonable 198 horsepower. This one is loaded up with power steering and power brakes, both of which are fully functional of course, and it has all the correct pieces and parts. Up front there's a correct chrome 3-blade fan, which may not be great for moving air, but looks awesome, and it matches the chrome air cleaner that draws air from the functional hood scoop. The block and heads are coated in proper red paint, and the cast aluminum Thunderbird valve covers are a beautiful addition. Authentic coatings, colors, and finishes have been used throughout, save for the exhaust manifolds which have been coated to keep them looking like new forever (the originals tended to rust before they were even out the factory door). Details like the hoses and clamps are correct reproductions, as is the wiring harness. Finishing it off is a reproduction battery and washer fluid bag.

Underneath, you'll find that the entire frame has been treated to a correct satin black paint job before the body was reinstalled. The floors are as glossy white as the body panels and it creates an awesome background for the details that are found throughout. Brakes and suspension are rebuilt, hardware is correct and finishes are accurate wherever possible. The exhaust system is a reproduction dual setup that duplicates the original and appears to be coated for long-lasting durability. Lines and hoses are all new, and there's a fresh gas tank hanging out back. 15-inch steel wheels topped by Thunderbird wheel covers ride inside a set of 6.70-15 Firestone Champion wide whitewall bias ply tires for a 100% authentic look and feel.

The interior is a real treat. As I said, whenever I think of a '55-57 T-Bird, I always envision a white one with a red interior, which is exactly how this one is spec'd. The code XB red and white vinyl seat has been as beautifully restored as the exterior, and features new foam underneath for all-day driving comfort. You'll notice that the 4-way power seat is joined by optional power windows, which is somewhat rare on these cars. The instruments have been fully restored and look gorgeous in that jet-age instrument panel that is framed by engine-turned metal appliqués that run from end to end. The dash pad and carpets are also new reproduction items that fit well and look correct no bizarre off-brand carpets inside this 'Bird! A correct AM radio still lives in its original location right above the restored shifter for the automatic transmission. Overhead, a black canvas top provides awesome contrast to the white paint, and it is freshly installed and fits extremely well. The trunk features a new mat and a matching wheel and Firestone wide whitewall tire.

I mentioned the detail manual that comes with this car, but it also comes with an original shop manual, a 1955-1957 Thunderbird parts manual from the Classic Thunderbird Parts Club, an original Ford Trim and Sealer Manual, and an original wiring diagram. If you ever need to work on this car or have questions about authenticity, the answers are all right here!

Many T-Bird enthusiasts think that 1955 is the best-looking of all the early 'Birds, with no external spare tire like in 1956, and no extended trunk and mini tailfins like the '57. Instead, the purity of the original design that wowed crowds at car shows remained pretty much intact. Restored to spectacular condition inside and out, this particular '55 T-Bird is on that you can drive and enjoy, or trailer to a show and bring home trophies; it all depends on your mood. Sure, there are some T-Birds that have been changing hands for crazy money at auction lately, but this isn't one of them. Instead, it's a car where you're getting an awful lot of restoration for not a lot of money, all surrounding a gorgeous, highly-collectable car that will always have an eager crowd of admirers around it. Like I said earlier, there's almost nobody who doesn't think an early Thunderbird is a great car. If you've longed to put one in your collection, I submit this as an excellent candidate. Call now!

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1955 Ford Thunderbird

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