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1957 Ford Thunderbird Phase One D/f Supercharged 1 of 15 Built. No Reserve


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Somebody with better reading comprehension show me where they say is documented as one of the 15.   Do we want to guess what it sells for?

 

https://www.mecum.com/lots/SC0521-462390/1957-ford-thunderbird-phase-one-df-supercharged/

 

Estimate

$225,000 - $275,000

Highlights

 

1 of 15 hand-built for Ford Competition at Ford Headquarters, 1 of 8 known to exist today

Hand-built with a production date of January 25, 1957

Professional restoration completed by Amos Minter using original components

Scored 300/300 points at CTCI National Concours in 2014

Original drivetrain

McCullough VR57 Phase One Supercharged system

Heavy duty Borg Warner 3-speed transmission prepped for racing

Factory color combination of Colonial White with Red interior

Soft top only

Power windows

Turbine style wheel covers

Wide Whitewall tires

 

This splendid 1957 Ford Thunderbird is one of the rarest cars ever produced by the Ford Motor Company. While it has long been a matter of record that Ford produced approximately 195 1957 Thunderbirds with the F-Code Paxton-supercharged 312 CI 4-barrel V-8, it was not always common knowledge, even among T-Bird faithful, that prior to that production run, 15 Thunderbirds equipped with that racing-purposed engine package were hand-built at Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters on January 25, 1957.

All were built for NASCAR and other competition purposes under the direct authority of Ford Division General Manager Robert S. McNamara, who on November 26, 1956, issued a letter to the Ford Executive Committee on behalf of the Ford Engineering Office describing an internal engine development program “deemed essential to the maintenance of the Ford car and Thunderbird performance reputation.” Responding to Chevrolet’s continuing fuel-injection development program, McNamara’s directive recommended “the installation on the 312 CI 4V carburetor engine of a new design McCulloch supercharger for use on the Ford car and Thunderbird … which would provide operational characteristics equal to or better than any fuel injection system at present day development. The supercharger option would carry a rating of 300 HP.”

The 15 Thunderbirds built under the resulting Ford Motor Company Supercharger Program all incorporated the specified 312 CI single-carburetor engine, McCulloch VR57 Phase 1 supercharger, a race-prepared heavy-duty BorgWarner 3-speed manual transmission, seat belts and a fiberglass hard top. The formula proved itself at Daytona, where one of the Phase 1 Thunderbirds set a new American production sports car record with a speed of 138.755 MPH, surpassing by 6 MPH the previous year’s record set by a Zora Arkus-Duntov-prepared Corvette.

That success led to the 196 regular production versions of the racing T-Birds known as F-Birds for the letter in the serial number denoting the supercharged engine option. It is important to note then that although identified within Ford as the “Phase 1 Supercharger Thunderbirds," the supercharged racing version’s use of the single-carb engine resulted in its lasting popular identification as the “D/F Bird.”

Of those 15 hand-built D/F Birds, only eight are known to exist today, one of which is this magnificent example being offered from the John Lucey Collection. Professionally restored by Amos Minter using original components, it retains the original factory drivetrain, maintains the factory color combination of Colonial White with a red interior, and includes the soft top only, power windows, turbine-style wheel covers and wide whitewall tires. A restoration by the world-renowned Mr. Minter practically guarantees the highest honors in any judged event; in this case, this exactingly detailed and authentic Phase 1 scored a perfect 300 points at the Classic Thunderbird Club International’s National Concours in 2014. There is simply no better example of the historically significant and incredibly exclusive factory-built racing Thunderbird.

T-Bird-White-F.jpg

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It does say in the last paragraph that it is one of the 8 D/F T-Birds still known to exist. That was confirmed, I am sure, by the factory invoice (which CTCI has) and the build date. I will say it is a bit strange to see one of these with power windows, fender skirts, full wheel covers, white wall tires, radio and heater. Most of them were stripped except for a soft top.

Nice car,

Lew Bachman

1957 Thunderbird 

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Posted (edited)

Cool car with good documentation. The question is how many people today have 200k plus for a T Bird.........regardless of how special the package is.  That’s ten times the money on a plain Jane driver. I have no clue to cars changing hands in this world......and category. That said 250k for a toy offers one almost unlimited choices post war......and pre war. 
 

Im not undercutting the value or importance of the car.......but 250 in the hand can buy a bunch of fun cars. Factor in that this car looks the same to us uneducated T Bird guys as a 25k car...............it will be interesting to see if it changes hands.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Edinmass,

You pose an interesting philosophical question. Would you get more satisfaction out of owning the actual Mona Lisa or a picture of it? Either one could be hung on the wall and probably provide the same visual satisfaction viewing. Of course one is priceless and the other not. I am in your camp. Interestingly enough, my '57 is the same color combination as this car. It even has power steering which this car doesn't. Even if I had the money I would never spring for this car because I like to drive mine and I would be afraid to drive this one except on and off of the closed trailer I drove to the show. There is not much fun in that, at least not to me.

Lew Bachman

1957 T-Bird Colonial White/Flame Red Interior 

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What Ed is forgetting is the natural inclination for guys to "Climb the Mountain".   That is why prewar Packard is so popular.  You can get a cheap starter Packard for 10k, and work your way up the mountain to a four million dollar Dietrich.

 

In this case,  we have found the top of the T-Bird mountain.   I expect it do do VERY well,  especially since it is no reserve.

 

As far as the Mona-Lisa discussion,  having real things is important to me,  even if nobody else ever gets to see them.

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

Cool car with good documentation. The question is how many people today have 200k plus for a T Bird.........regardless of how special the package is.  That’s ten times the money on a plain Jane driver. I have no clue to cars changing hands in this world......and category. That said 250k for a toy offers one almost unlimited choices post war......and pre war. 
 

Im not undercutting the value or importance of the car.......but 250 in the hand can buy a bunch of fun cars. Factor in that this car looks the same to us uneducated T Bird guys as a 25k car...............it will be interesting to see if it changes hands.

 

To the guy who buys this car, $250,000 is little more than pocket change and he isn't missing out on other opportunities--he can buy whatever he wants, regardless of cost. It's like one of us normal guys deciding whether to get a chocolate or vanilla milkshake at McDonald's.

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1 hour ago, 1957Birdman said:

Edinmass,

You pose an interesting philosophical question. Would you get more satisfaction out of owning the actual Mona Lisa or a picture of it? Either one could be hung on the wall and probably provide the same visual satisfaction viewing. Of course one is priceless and the other not. I am in your camp. Interestingly enough, my '57 is the same color combination as this car. It even has power steering which this car doesn't. Even if I had the money I would never spring for this car because I like to drive mine and I would be afraid to drive this one except on and off of the closed trailer I drove to the show. There is not much fun in that, at least not to me.

Lew Bachman

1957 T-Bird Colonial White/Flame Red Interior 


 

Im not into fakes, rebodied cars, 8 to 12 swaps, ect. Just in the case of some cars......like this T Bird.....if you don’t open the hood, how can you tell it’s something special. In my opinion Matt is incorrect on the guy buying a T Bird for 250 and having unlimited money.........that usually applies to the Ferrari crowd and similar. I have never seen a muscle car guy who would step up on a car that isn’t instantly recognized as a special from the outside. I’m sure there may be a few, but I have never met them. A Yenko is identifiable without opening the hood.

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:


 

Im not into fakes, rebodied cars, 8 to 12 swaps, ect. Just in the case of some cars......like this T Bird.....if you don’t open the hood, how can you tell it’s something special. In my opinion Matt is incorrect on the guy buying a T Bird for 250 and having unlimited money.........that usually applies to the Ferrari crowd and similar. I have never seen a muscle car guy who would step up on a car that isn’t instantly recognized as a special from the outside. I’m sure there may be a few, but I have never met them. A Yenko is identifiable without opening the hood.

I think the value of any collector car is reduced if you have to explain it.  At a show, people would say “nice T-bird” and you’d have to tell them the rarity, as they walk away, bored.

 

I own a car like that. 1927 Dodge Brothers cabriolet, first convertible coupe made by the company, and only made for three months in 1927.  There are maybe 6 or 7 survivors.  Super rare, not valuable, and halfway through the explanation of how rare it is, people’s minds are wandering and looking for the next car in line...

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On one hand, I agree with you.   Having to explain why you paid 10 times the perceived market for something seems annoying.   Basically true of 90% of the musclecars.   A "J" in the vin on a 68 Mopar is a big deal.

 

On the other hand,  if you are a T-Bird guy, in to the club, etc,  you don't need to explain it to your T-Bird buddies.   You are king of the hill.

 

I expect this car to go for lots of money.   175K plus.

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35 minutes ago, alsancle said:

On one hand, I agree with you.   Having to explain why you paid 10 times the perceived market for something seems annoying.   Basically true of 90% of the musclecars.   A "J" in the vin on a 68 Mopar is a big deal.

 

On the other hand,  if you are a T-Bird guy, in to the club, etc,  you don't need to explain it to your T-Bird buddies.   You are king of the hill.

 

I expect this car to go for lots of money.   175K plus.

 

 

Well.........one thing is for certain. No reserve will determine its current and true value. Not knowing what others have done in the past, and this seems to be a great example.........a bunch of people will either be happy or crying in their soup. 

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Mecum sells the F birds for 200k+ routinely.  They sold the only yellow one for $290k in 2019.  White might hold it back, though. 
 

if you are a three or four comma guy, and want a 57 t-bird, this is what you buy.  Pop the hood and a factory supercharger is on display.  
 

I think it appeals to t-bird guys, Ford guys who otherwise would not own a t-bird, and even some muscle car guys.  
 

There is a black with red leather one around me with black walls and dog dish caps. He drives it to the local grocery store.  I doubt he cares if anyone thinks it is a d bird. 
 


when touring his collection, he gets to pop the hood and tell you about Ford’s response to the duel cabs of the corvette.  
 

 

 

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