Hershey Lodge
9 - 10 October 2014
Lot 241

1957 Ford Thunderbird 'E-Code'

Offered from the collection of Jeffrey Day


$82,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • Offered from the collection of Jeffrey Day
  • Extremely rare original “E-Bird”
  • Desirable early car with a small air breather; in its original colors
  • Concours-quality and highly detailed nut-and-bolt restoration

270 bhp, 312 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine with dual four-barrel carburetors, three-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, independent front suspension with unequal length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

The Ford Thunderbird, dubbed a “personal car” rather than a sports car upon its introduction in 1954, was a sophisticated reply to Chevrolet’s Corvette. The “T-Bird,” as it was nicknamed, was low slung and of all-metal construction, and it boasted a V-8 engine over Chevrolet’s anemic Blue Flame straight-six in the Corvette. Success was instantaneous, and a total of 16,155 examples were sold in its first year, as opposed to 700 Corvettes.

As sales of the Thunderbird increased, the 1957 model year brought about a redesign, resulting in what most enthusiasts consider to be the most beautiful two-seater version of the car. The new car was 6.1 inches longer, which allowed for the accommodation of a spare wheel at the trunk; the front bumper was smoothed out and dropped in the center; and the canted fins flowed back to big, round taillights at the rear. Fourteen-inch wheels helped to lower the car, giving it a slightly better stance. Regardless of sales topping 21,380 units for the year, the last two-seater Thunderbird was built in 1957, until 2003 that is.

The “E-Code” option, regarded by many as the most desirable option available in the Thunderbird, features the 312-cubic inch V-8, which is topped with a pair of Holley four-barrel carburetors and was graced with a larger bore, longer stroke, higher compression ratio, and an automatic choke. This engine offered more horsepower than any other small block V-8, beating Chevrolet’s fuel-injected 283 by only two horsepower. As one of four engine options available for 1957, very few were equipped as such, making the aptly nicknamed “E-Bird” rare and the car of choice for those who were looking for the comfort that the Thunderbird provided but with some extra punch.

The E-Bird offered here is believed to have been one of the first fifty built, as identified by the smaller oval air-cleaner under the hood. It was the recipient of what can only be described as an outstanding nut-and-bolt restoration to a fit and finish better than the factory ever new. The laser-straight body was refinished in its original colors of Dusk Rose over black and white vinyl upholstery, all of which is in excellent condition. The engine bay is accurately detailed and includes factory-correct hoses, clamps, wiring, and battery and polished finned aluminum valve covers.

This car is typically well optioned and equipped with a black removable hardtop, a soft-top delete, a Ford-O-Matic transmission, power brakes, power steering, a power seat, power windows, a Town & Country radio, and Firestone wide whitewall tires. It has been driven all of 25 miles since it was restored, which is evident in its beyond-reproach condition. Not surprisingly, the restoration has garnered Gold Medallion awards at two national conventions of the Classic Thunderbird Club International.

This is a wonderful E-Bird that is ready for the show field of its new owner’s choice.