Amelia Island

9 March 2013

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Lot 105

1956 Ford Thunderbird

  • Chassis no. P6FH171237

Sold for $38,500


225 bhp, 312 cu.in. overhead valve V-8 engine with four-barrel carburetor, two-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs, and power-assisted hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 102 in.

  • Highly sought-after first generation Thunderbird
  • Only 700 miles since extensive body-off restoration
  • Porthole hardtop and soft top


Introduced in 1955, Ford’s Thunderbird was targeted at people looking for a roadster with more room and power, as well as a distinctly higher level of luxury, than could be offered by the typical imported two-seater. Henry Ford II decided to call it a “personal car,” and a new automotive niche was born.



The Thunderbird met buyer aspirations, offering a standard V-8 engine, power steering and power brakes, and an optional automatic transmission. Refinement was epitomized with a choice of tops, complemented by roll-up windows, and styling that was exciting yet tasteful. For 1956, the spare wheel was mounted on the rear bumper, Continental-style, a feature that would, as it turned out, be exclusive to that year’s Thunderbirds.



The present owner of this immaculate 1956 Thunderbird acquired it several years ago, after it underwent an extensive body-off restoration. The body was taken to bare metal and re-sprayed in factory-correct Fiesta Red, topped with three clear coats, while the interior was restored in matching red and white with a period-correct radio. The suspension was fully rebuilt, and new, narrow whitewall tires were installed. Equipped with the original, optional 312-cubic inch V-8 and automatic transmission, the car has covered only 700 miles since the completion of the restoration, and it recently underwent further freshening by Peggy Craft Restorers, of Tennessee. Notably, the car is equipped with both its original removable hardtop, featuring the “portholes” made famous by American Graffiti, as well as with a soft top added during restoration.



The first-generation two-seat Thunderbird had an exclusivity all its own, produced for only three years before being replaced with a four-seat model. They are always popular, always desirable, and always valuable. This is an opportunity to acquire a very fine example.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more