Classic Cars A to Z

Ford Thunderbird History (1957)

Article by Mark Trotta

A restyle for the 1957 T-bird included a larger, reshaped front bumper and grille, larger tail-lamps, and sharper-edged tail fins in the rear.

1957 Ford Thunderbird

The standard 312ci V8 produced 245-horsepower.

1957 Ford Thunderbird history

Optional was the high-performance "E-code" 312 engine, fitted with two four-barrel carburetors and rated at 270-horsepower.

Paxton Supercharger

The "F-code" option gave the buyer a 312ci motor with a Paxton-built McCulloch supercharger mounted to a single four-barrel carburetor. Ford conservatively rated the F-code motor at 300 horsepower, but historians believe the figure was more in the 340-360 horsepower range, depending on the camshaft installed. Just 211 Ford Thunderbirds were fitted from the factory with Paxton superchargers in 1957.



Both of the E-code and F-code performance options would be dropped after February 1957, as Ford and the A.M.A. (Automobile Manufacturers Association) agreed to end Detroit's "horsepower war".

Continental Kit Issues

Complaints of the additional weight of the Continental spare causing steering issues led to a trunk lid redesign, allowing the spare to be moved back inside. Although no longer available from Ford, aftermarket companies continued to sell Continental kits for those who liked the appearance of the external spare.

1957 Ford Tbird with continental kit

With production starting on September 17, 1956 and ending on December 13, 1957, a total of 21,380 cars were built this year. This longer than normal production run was largely due to delays in the introduction of the all-new 1958 models.


Articles of Interest:

Ford Thunderbird (1955)
Ford Thunderbird (1956)
Ford Thunderbird (1958)
Cars of the Fifties