The Ford Thunderbird was first built in 1954 as a direct competitor to the all-new Chevrolet sports car, the Corvette. Ford unveiled it’s first two-seat convertible on February 20, 1954 at the Detroit Auto Show to much fanfare. After much anticipation, it went on sale to the public on October 22, 1954 as a 1955 model where after only 10-days over 3,500 orders had been taken. The first generation Thunderbirds were produced as 1955, 1956 and 1957 models as the first Ford two-seat automobiles since 1938, and the only two seat Thunderbirds ever built.
Dennis Pruitt acquired his immaculate 1957 Ford Thunderbird this past December. It was built on May 13, 1954 at the Ford Dearborn Michigan Assembly Plant. After assembly it was shipped to Jack Anderson Motors in Elgin Texas, just outside of Austin with a sticker price of $ 3,382.87. Today it has only 58,000 original miles and at first glance, this 62-year old automobile appears as if it just rolled off the assembly line. The car’s interior, the trunk and even the engine compartment are as clean as the car’s exterior shiny gloss black paint.
Pruitt’s T-Bird is factory equipped with the Ford Y-block 312 cubic inch V8 engine with a factory equipped Holley 4-barrel carburetor rated at 245 horsepower. It has the factory ‘Fordomatic’ 2-speed automatic transmission. It also has both the convertible rag-top as well as the fiberglass hard-top with porthole windows.
Compared to the 1955 and 1956 models, the 1957 T-birds had a new bumper and a larger grill, as well as larger tail-fins and tail-lights. It also had a redesigned and lengthened trunk which allowed the spare tire to be mounted vertically inside the trunk. The previous two model years had the spare tire mounted above the rear bumper outside the trunk lid. The 1957 Thundebirds were the last of the first generation T-birds built. There were 21,380 T-birds built in 1957, and a total of 53,166 two seat T-birds built in the three model years.They were also the last Ford two seat automobile until the 1982 Ford EXP Sports Coupe.