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1957 T-bird body plate decode


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I am looking for a decoder or if anyone knows the codes for the late 1957 Thunderbird models. I've found them for the early 57s but the later body plates are different in information and style. Any help with the codes will be appreciated.

below are the codes that I am trying to decode.

Body Color Trim Date Trans Axle

40 EE XA OY E 3 1

Serial #

D7FH283079

Thanks in advance.

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40 = Thunderbird Convertible

EE = Colonial White/Colonial White (Exterior Paint)

XA = PLEATED RAVEN (black) VINYL AND PLEATED COLONIAL (white) VINYL (Interior Trim)

OY & E = Production Date Code - This should be two numbers and a letter (07E = 7th day of May)

3 = Fordomatic 2-speed

1 = 3.10:1 standard rear axle (not limited slip dif)

Serial Number (VIN):

D = engine code = 312-cu in V-8

7 = 1957

F = Dearborn Assembly Plant

H = the Body Series Code Identification = Thunderbird

283079 = Consecutive Unit Numbers begin at 100001 for Ford cars, 400001 for Lincoln cars, 500001 for Mercury cars, and 700001 for Edsel cars at each assembly plant (where those cars were produced). This number represents the scheduled sequence order. When a car was ordered, it was immediately assigned a VIN with a Consecutive Unit Number. It was then assigned a scheduled production date based on availability of trim, parts, other components, and taking into account downtime and production workloads at the assembly plant.

A scheduled production date was very often out of sequence with the Consecutive Unit Number. And more often than not, the actual production date (the day the car rolled off the line) was earlier or later than what was originally planned. Therefore, a Thunderbird with a Consecutive Unit Number of 105678 may have actually been produced and ready for shipping before a Thunderbird with a Consecutive Unit Number of 105432. The Consecutive Unit Number should be considered to be a unique identification that shows when the order was received and when it was planned for production.

Hope this helps. - Dave

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I want to offer two small adjustments to what Dave said. First, the automatic transmission is a 3 speed Ford-o-matic. All automatic transmission early T-Birds were 3 speeds. Second, the EE in the color code means that the car was delivered with Colonial White paint and that it has a Colonial White hardtop. It may also have been delivered with a soft top, but we can't tell that from the data plate. A car delivered with soft top only would have had a single "E" for the color.

Regards,

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Yes, that is correct. For all three years the hardtop was standard. If a soft top was also ordered there was an extra charge of $290. If the soft top was ordered in place of the hardtop there was an extra charge of $75. What you will find is that a lot of the cars delivered to California have the hardtop and no soft top. They would be driven with the top off most of the time since it is dry a lot of the year. They put the top on during the rainy season.

By the way, if you are new to T-Birds, I would suggest that you join the Classic Thunderbird Club International and one of the local chapters before you buy a car. You will learn a lot and it may save you many dollars in the long run if you don't buy a bad car. There are many purveyors of junk out there.

Regards,

Lew

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That is actually interesting information. I am not entirely new to Thunderbirds but I was looking for detailed information on a car that we have out here at McPherson College that is going to be restored. It is a documentation project that documents the authenticity of the car. While some things I immediately recognized as not authentic to the car (or missing for that matter) there were some other things that I was not too sure about. Is there a way that I can tell whether the car had a soft top? If the car had one I don't see any indication that it did. It does have a Tonneau cover though. Also did all of them have dual exterior mirrors? I have seen them both ways. If you are interested we have another 57 T-Bird that is going to Scottsdale Barrett Jackson in January that is being put back together at the moment.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 1957Birdman</div><div class="ubbcode-body">First, the automatic transmission is a 3 speed Ford-o-matic. All automatic transmission early T-Birds were 3 speeds.</div></div>

Then the code is a "C" and not a "3". I'm going by genuine Ford Motor Co. Patent Plate documentation:

PatentPlate.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

The only way to tell whether the car had a soft top originally is to get a copy of the original factory invoice. Those are available through a chapter of the Classic Thunderbird Club International. The tonneau may or may not be original. Some were added at the dealership. Once again, that would be on the factory invoice. As for the mirrors, there was only an outside drivers side mirror. Any on the right hand side of the car have been added later.

By the way, the patent plate information listed in the parts manual is incorrect about the 3 speed automatic. On the T-Bird patent plate it is a 3, which for that car is a three speed automatic.

Regards,

Lew

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just some added info about the club with the factory invoices for the 55-57 T-birds. It's The American Road Thunderbird Club based in the Detroit, Michigan area. As far as I know, you must be a member of CTCI in order to order a factory invoice from TARTC. TARTC usually posts their ad in the March/April issue of CTCI's publication but they also have a website that can be accessed thru CTCI's website and you'll find their ordering info there.

Since 84transam is doing a restoration project with that 57, it's really worth his while to join CTCI and take advantage of the publications that club has put out for their members, including an authenticity manual that gives correct colors for parts, nuts & bolts, etc...

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Hi MBird,

The answer to your question is as follows:

1. You may not have the "kickdown" lever adjusted properly.

2. You may not have ever "floored" the accelerator pedal from a standing start.

3. You may not have the correct original transmission in your car.

In regular driving the Ford-o-matic will start in second gear and shift to high. If the accelerator pedal is pressed to the floor the transmission will "kick down" to low and then shift normally to second and third. This is all written up in the owner's manual. If you don't have one they are available from the T-Bird parts suppliers or CTCI. Most likely your car is not adjusted properly.

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