Lot 348

Hershey 2022

1957 Ford Thunderbird


$49,500 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
US Title
  • Offered from the Estate of Bob Jones
  • Beautifully restored example finished in Coral Sand over a white interior
  • Formerly owned by Benny Bootle, AACA judge and 1995 AACA President
  • Past AACA Grand National Award-winner

Ford debuted the Thunderbird at the Detroit Auto Show on 20 February 1954. Full-scale production started shortly thereafter, with the model officially going on sale later that year in October as a 1955 model year offering. Ford planned to sell 10,000 examples of the Thunderbird in their first year. Expectations were far exceeded with 16,155 actually sold, beating the Corvette handily. Ford’s new sleek two-seater Thunderbird was advertised as “A personal car of distinction.”

The 1957 Thunderbird is considered by many to be the most desirable year for the model, as it introduced slight changes to the 1956 styling that resonated very well with the public. The rear of the body was lengthened by six inches, allowing for more luggage space and room for a spare tire, and additional engine options were also offered. It also marked the final year of first-generation Thunderbird production.

Originally delivered by King Motor Company of Huntington Park, California, this 1957 Ford Thunderbird was built with the 245-horsepower “D-Code” Thunderbird Special V-8 and was further equipped with the engine dress-up kit, a two-speed Ford-O-Matic transmission, power windows, a power seat, power steering and brakes, a signal-seeking radio, a heater/defroster, rear fender shields, and a “porthole delete” hardtop.

This was one of many wonderful cars owned by the late Benny Bootle, who built a well-deserved reputation as “Mr. Ford” during decades as an AACA judge before eventually becoming the president of AACA in 1995. Today, the AACA bestows the Benny T. Bootle Memorial Award to an outstanding V-8 Ford automobile that has completed an AACA National Tour. Mr. Bootle was exceptionally knowledgeable about Blue Oval products, and his personal collection reflected that, with numerous examples restored with exacting attention to authenticity. The restoration of this car was completed in the early 1980s. It would later go onto win its AACA Senior First in 1984 and its Grand National First in 1986.

The restoration has held up very nicely over the years and remains show-worthy today. Finished in the new-for-1957 shade of Coral Sand over a white interior, as delivered new, it rides on wide whitewall tires with factory wheel covers with color-matched wheels and rear fender skirts.