When Ford first started producing the Thunderbird, it had a major problem – the car was almost ready, but the company hadn’t managed to find a proper name for it. After scrapping around 5,000 names, one of the car’s creators, Louis D. Crusoe, offered a $250 suit to anyone who could find a good name for the new car. That’s when Ford stylist Alden Giberson suggested they go with Thunderbird – and so they did.
Ford’s two-seater first appeared at the Detroit auto show in February 1954. That same year, in September, the first Thunderbird would roll off the production line at the Dearborn Assembly Plant. The model was born out of Ford wanting a sporty vehicle in its lineup, a car with an Interceptor V8 engine and balanced weight distribution that would accelerate “better than the competition” (the Corvette).
This first-generation model packs a 312ci Y-Block V8 engine that’s paired with a three-speed automatic transmission. Rocking metallic silver paint, the car went through a body-off refurbishment during current ownership.
It brings along a suede-lined removable hardtop and many chrome accents, such as the 15-inch Coker wire wheels, front bumper, and egg-crate grille, as well as the dual exhausts that exit through the rear bumper. The car also features power steering and four-wheel disc brakes.
Inside the cabin, there’s a black leather-trimmed bench seat, matching black Thunderbird-branded floor mats, along with a leather dash pad. The stunning aftermarket steering wheel frames the vintage-looking (although shiny) dashboard, which includes a 120-mph (193 km/h) speedometer.
If you look closely, you’ll see 235 miles (378 km) on the odometer, all of which are from the current ownership, but the car’s total mileage is unknown.
A photo album documenting the refurbishment, a rolling hardtop stand, an Edelbrock dual-quad intake manifold, and some spare parts will be offered to the winning bidder of this Bring a Trailer auction. At the time of writing, this 1957 Ford Thunderbird E-Code is valued at $48,000 and has about two days and a few hours until it’ll meet its new owner.