First Production Thunderbird – Barrett-Jackson

The first production Ford Thunderbird will be sold at no reserve during the 38th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 11-18, 2009. The Raven Black 1955 T-Bird was produced by Ford Motor Company on September 9, 1954, and represents the birth of Ford’s sports car program.   

“We’re extremely proud to offer this incredible vehicle that I’ve followed closely over the years,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “For Thunderbird enthusiasts and general collectors alike, this is a rare chance to own the first production Ford T-Bird – an American icon. It’s been meticulously restored to original specifications and comes with plenty of documentation to tell its amazing story.” 

Penned by Ford designer Frank Hershey, the Thunderbird was a hit among sports car fans across America and became an instant competitor for the Chevrolet Corvette. The first T-Bird is equipped with a 292 Y-block engine, Fordomatic (automatic) transmission, power steering, power windows and power seats. The creature comforts incorporated into the build gave the debut of the first T-Bird even more sizzle. 

Ford’s new star was tested and featured in numerous articles upon its release, including “Testing the Thunderbird” in the October 4, 1954 issue of “Sports Illustrated.” The first Thunderbird has also been displayed at venues across the United States, from Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  

“After Ford authenticated this 1955 T-Bird as number one, it became a superstar in the automotive world and was paraded across the country for years,” added Davis. “First production vehicles have an appeal that no other car in their lineage can compete with, especially when they represent the beginning of one of the most legendary marques of the 1950s. As a result, this first production Thunderbird will be extremely valuable to collectors.” 

The 1955 Thunderbird will be joined by approximately 1,000 collector vehicles and automobilia to be sold at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. 

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[Source: Barrett-Jackson]