Amelia Island

9 March 2013

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Lot 105

1956 Ford Thunderbird

  • Chassis no. P6FH171237

Sold for $38,500

225 bhp, 312 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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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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

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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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

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

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

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Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

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Indiana, United States

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Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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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

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more