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Two seat '57 Thunderbird bodied by Pininfarina in Italy? Did I dream this?


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Maybe 20 years ago I had a picture, glossy print about 4"high, 6" wide , black and white

from Pininfarina, the car design company and coachbuilder in Italy and it showed either a '55, 56 or '57 T-bird that looked very close to what Ford made.

But now when I check Pininfarina history on the internet I can't find metnion of it. Didn't Budd Company in Detrit made the T-bird bodies? Is there a chance they would have gone to Pinin Farina (they spelled it as two words before 1961) to have a prototype made? Since it's black and white picture, I can't tell you the color of the car but it wasn't white or black. So either I am imagining it or such a car was built. If so, I wonder where it is today. I wish I had it so I could point out styling differances but as I remember it looked stock. One explanation I could theorize is that they bought their own Thunderbird to see how American sports cars are built but if it was a '57 why bother when Ford already had the four seater Bird in the pipeline for '58....

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Hi HistoryBuff,

You didn't dream this, however the reality wasn't that special. I have a picture of the car in a T-Bird book. It looks like Pininfarina got a '56 T-Bird and did a Cal-custom job on it. They put wire wheels on it, removed the continental kit, removed the side trim (Ford emblem, chrome louvers) and removed the headlight bezels. I can't tell the color since it is a black and white photo and am not sure what they might have done to the front and back because the picture is a side view. The Budd Company did produce the bodies in white for the early T-Birds. I seriously doubt that Pininfarina had anything to do with Budd and the production of the bodies.

Just another interesting footnote in the T-Bird saga.


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