This 1955 Ford Thunderbird has both tops, V8 power, and the kind of color coordination that has the same appeal as a tuxedo. So if you like distinguished vintage motoring, read on.
You’re looking at the first-ever Thunderbird. 1955 was the debut of this icon, and it was Ford’s personal statement. They let the designers take their time to develop a long and sleek machine that was equal parts sporty and luxury. It looks quite handsome in an upgrade to black paint later in life. That means you get a more modern clearcoat luster. We love these first-year T-birds for all the little details, including the hood scoop, sporty side louvers, bright/smooth wheel covers, fender skirts, and jet-inspired tailfin. And the chrome bumper design was awesome. Up front is a bold dual-bullet style, and the rear had similar inserts, but those were actually for the tailpipes. You have the choice of a smart-looking black folding roof, or the iconic porthole hardtop is in a contrasting white that makes the whole package look like formalwear.
Of course, a first-year Thunderbird is meant to be open to the world, and so they gave you the same black and white appeal inside. There’s a sporty feeling with the machine-turned panel that flows from the dash seamlessly to both doors. Because this is a personal luxury cruiser, you get some features that are a true rarity for the time, like the power seat. You’ll love slipping behind the artful factory steering wheel and looking at the cool plexiglas speedometer. It has some driver-oriented upgrades like the Stewart Warner tach in the dash and auxiliary readouts cleanly installed below. You might also spot the well-integrated AM/FM digital tuner w/cassette upgrade. It means you get to listen to the more modern tunes in this very vintage ride.
Under the hood are some interesting upgrades. The V8 is now Ford 289 cubic-inch unit. This hardy powerplant is the base for decades of Ford performance, and so there are plenty of speedy upgrades available if you so desire. The electric system is now running 12 volts with an alternator, so this one is far better for modern driving. In fact, the V8 fires up nicely, runs strong, and you have a three-speed automatic transmission. So it makes for a nice cruising total package.
Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States
See listing: 1955 Ford Thunderbird Convertible, Classic Vintage Collector (from April 20, 2020)