/ /

1957 Ford Thunderbird Unrestored California Time Capsule

Make: Ford
Model: Thunderbird
Type: Convertible
Year: 1957
Mileage: 59000
VIN: D7FH125581
Color: Red
Engine: 312
Cylinders: 8
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Automatic
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: White
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clean
Item location: Three Rivers, Michigan, United States

1957 Ford Thunderbird Additional Info:

California Time Capsule

This Flame Red 57' Thunderbird was built in Dearborn, MI on October 20, 1956 (just 13 days into Ford's 1957 Thunderbird production run) and was immediately shipped to Los Angeles where it would spend its next 60 years in Southern California.

In 1958, Leona Riley purchased this car from the original owner. Leona lived and worked in Los Angeles until relocating to Rancho Mirage in the early 2000's where the car has been in in peaceful slumber in her garage. Sadly, Leona passed in 2004 and her car remained stored until her family made the difficult decision to find its new owner. In 2017, with just 59,000 miles clicked off the odometer the car (records indicate less than 1,000 miles since 1974) has come full circle and has returned to its Michigan birthplace. It needs a little TLC, but it's Southern California heritage should bode well for its preservation.

Since its arrival back in Michigan in June, 2017, we have installed new tires (wheels were painted the original “Flame Red” and features dog dish hub caps (original hub caps are still with the car), replaced a leaky brake line, rebuilt the Holley carburetor and repaired the charging system. Leona's family had a new gas tank and brakes installed and replaced the water pump and fuel pump prior to selling the car. The car spent July of 2018 to July of 2019 in theGilmore Car Museum"barn find" exhibit with great reviews.

This is one of those rare original cars that needs everything, yet needs nothing....meaning that due to its California heritage, great metal and originality it is a perfect candidate for a Concours restoration or conversely is a great candidate to just maintain, drive and enjoy. In its current unrestored, original state, my experience is this car draws a lot of attention at car shows...way more than restored cars. As they say, "they are only original once.

Major Spec's: 312, automatic, 50's era dealer installed A/C (not working but complete and under dash unit fan still works), power steering, power brakes, power seat, power windows, heavy duty battery, tinted glass, porthole hardtop (no soft top), town and country radio. I have the original factory invoice showing all the original spec’s and documenting CA delivery and have many of the records documenting Leona's ownership.

The good: complete, unmolested, original and unrestored, runs and drives very well all lights, power windows, power seat work. The steel on this car in terms of floors, trunk floor, rockers, etc. are fantastic and the doors and rockers still have the original factory drain holes. Porthole top (white) is complete and original with no tears in the headliner.

The needs: needs new tach cable and speedo cable, Transmission kickdown lever seal leaks (a $4.00 item), engine has an oil drip (looking in inspection cover does not appear to be rear main seal), power steering ram cylinder has a drip and needs to be resealed. Drivers door glass is cracked diagonally. Cigar lighter missing. T&C Radio is complete but not working, seat cushion is deteriorating from storage. The passenger rear quarter has a small rust area (see pics) where it looks like water may have gotten trapped between panels...a relatively minor issue and as mentioned, the remainder of the steel on this car is exceptional.

Please ask all questions you have and specific photos can be provided on request. As this is an unrestored, unmolested, original car it is sold as-is with no warranty. Actual mileage unknown due to age of car. Buyer is responsible for shipping but I will help with loading. Please contact me at269-365-5350with additional questions.