Lot 133

Amelia Island 2023

1957 Ford Thunderbird 'F-Code'

Offered From The Terence E. Adderley Collection


$224,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
US Title
  • Offered from the Terence E. Adderley Collection
  • Ultimate iteration of the first-generation Ford Thunderbird, the supercharged “F-Code,” wearing a stunning restoration
  • One of approximately 200 F-Code Thunderbirds produced for 1957
  • Powered by a 312-cu. in. V-8 engine fitted with a McCulloch/Paxton VR57 centrifugal supercharger turning out a reported 300 hp
  • Cloaked in its factory-correct finish of Raven Black over Flame pleated vinyl upholstery with a matching black hardtop
  • Kept in climate-controlled storage for the past decade

The first-generation Ford Thunderbird went out in 1957 with its head held high, thanks to refreshed styling and a host of new performance options. The most impressive of these was the magical “F-Code” supercharged engine. So named for the first letter of the Thunderbird’s chassis number signifying the car’s factory powerplant, “F-Birds,” as they affectionately became known, sported the Thunderbird Special 312-cubic-inch V-8 engine fitted with a McCulloch/Paxton VR57 centrifugal supercharger, pressure-sealed Holley four-barrel carburetor, and reinforced cylinder heads. Questionably factory-rated at 300 horsepower, period tests and even Paxton Products themselves put the figure closer to 400.

All that horsepower added over 10% to the Thunderbird’s base price and was thus reserved for only the most discerning, performance-minded customers. While 21,380 Thunderbirds were produced in 1957, only about 200 of those were delivered with the F-Code engine package.

Confirmed by both its “F” chassis prefix and copy of its original Ford factory invoice, this F-Code Thunderbird checks all the right boxes. It presents just as it left Dearborn, in sinister Raven Black over Flame red pleated vinyl upholstery. Originally delivered to Fortner Motor Company of Los Angeles, this example is a true Southern California car, with no soft top and only a matching Raven Black hardtop to withstand the elements.

Factory options listed on the dealer invoice include the F-Code supercharged V-8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, tinted glass, signal seek radio, and rear fender skirts. A 3.70:1 rear axle, the highest gear ratio available, rounded out this F-Bird’s performance persona.

Well known in the Thunderbird community, this car has passed through the ownership of several noted F-Code enthusiasts including Jim Weatherly, Robert “Bo” Cheadle, and Amos Minter, whose noted Dallas, Texas restoration shop’s stickers are still present on the car.

Please note the car has been kept in climate-controlled storage for the past decade.

Representing less than one percent of total production, any F-Code is a rare bird indeed, but this factory Raven Black over Flame, hardtop-only F-Code surely stands above the rest.