Skip to main content

LOT 33

1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible with Hardtop Registration no. not UK registered Chassis no. P6FH301716

Sold for £45,885 inc. premium
Lot 33
1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible with Hardtop

1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible with Hardtop
Registration no. not UK registered
Chassis no. P6FH301716

*Iconic American classic
*Restored in California in 2015/2016
*Automatic transmission
*Offered with optional hardtop and tonneau
*Imported in 2016 (duties paid)


Conceived to challenge Chevrolet's Corvette sports car, the classic Thunderbird convertible debuted in October 1954 for the 1955 model year and was one of the first models produced with Ford's new overhead-valve V8 engine. The latter displaced 292ci (4.8 litres) and produced 193bhp in its original '55 Thunderbird configuration, while the 'Ford-O-Matic' automatic transmission equipped versions were more powerful still. Introduced in two-seat 'personal car' form, the Thunderbird was intended to appeal to image-conscious younger customers, beating the Corvette hands down in the sales war thanks to its superior V8 engine and greater refinement. Its success took Ford by surprise: 16,000 were sold in the first year when a total of only 10,000 had been expected, and the production run over three years exceeded 53,000. Despite its success the original concept soon was abandoned and a larger - and slower - four-seat version introduced for 1958, a move that turned the early two-seater 'Little Bird' models into collectors' items almost overnight. Today the 1955-'57 Thunderbirds are among the most desirable and sought after of post-war American automobiles. They enjoy cult status like many American cars of this period and are very popular in the Middle East.

A truly outstanding example, this California-resident 'Little Bird' has the 312ci (5.1-litre) Thunderbird Special V8 engine and automatic transmission, a combination that came with a maximum power output of 225bhp. The car was fully restored in California in 2015/2016 by a Thunderbird specialist, and in November '16 was privately imported into the UK from Atascadero, CA (all duties paid). We are advised that the chassis, engine, body, electrics, suspension, brightwork, and running gear have all been restored, and that the car has been fully re-trimmed, boot included. In addition, this car comes with the rare classic 'porthole' hardtop and optional tonneau cover (new), while the only departures from original specification are an Edelbrock performance carburettor and modern electronic distributor. Accompanying documentation consists of a copy of the State of California title, an MoT certificate valid until December 2017 (MoT no longer required), an Owners Manual and Factory Sales Brochure for the 1956 model year.

An iconic American design, the two-seater Thunderbird's cachet evokes an excitement few cars can match. This is a fine example, well worth considering.

Own a similar item?

Submit your item online for a free auction estimate.

How to sell

Looking for a similar item?

Our Collector Cars specialists can help you find a similar item at an auction or via a private sale.

Find your local specialist


  • 18 March 2017, 09:00 - 17:30 GMT
  • 19 March 2017, 09:00 - 13:00 GMT

Additional information