Hershey Lodge
8 - 9 October 2015
Lot 218

1956 Ford Thunderbird


$44,000 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
  • Offered from the Jim Miller Estate
  • A wonderful, original, unrestored Thunderbird
  • Only 47,293 actual miles
  • Numerous factory accessories

225 bhp, 292 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine with four-barrel carburetor, two-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, independent coil-spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension, and power-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

After a hugely successful first season for its new “sports car,” Ford saw fit to change the Thunderbird only slightly for 1956. The optional removable hardtop was now fitted with round rear quarter-windows, soon to be dubbed “portholes” by enthusiasts, which were intended to increase rearward visibility for the driver. Customer complaints about the spare taking up too much room in the trunk were answered with a rear-mounted one, which was a variation on the Continental kit that was popular as an accessory in the ’50s. The spare could be unlocked and swung away from the car to access the trunk. This would be a one-year-only feature, with the spare relocated back to the trunk for the “Little Bird’s” final season in 1957.

The majority of extant 1956 Thunderbirds are either older restorations or modern trailer queens. This 1956 Thunderbird is the exception. Originally sold in California, it has what is strongly believed to be the original Sunset Coral finish, with correct stampings and markings visible inside the panels, as well as its original interior aside from the carpets. The seat has obviously been used over the years but remains in good shape with no signs of rips or tearing, while the soft top is the original as well. Outside, the chrome trim is in excellent shape, with light pitting visible only upon close inspection. All panels close well with the exception of the driver’s door, which could use minor adjustment. Under the hood is completely original but well presented and matches the character of the rest of the car.

As far as accessories and options, the car has most of the available features, including power windows, a power seat, an AM radio, power steering and brakes, and an automatic transmission. It has recorded 47,293 actual miles at the time of cataloguing.

This is one of the few unrestored, original 1956 Thunderbirds in the world—a treasure for the “Little Bird” enthusiast who wants one just as the factory built it.