- Fine bodywork and paintwork throughout
- 312-cubic-inch V-8 power and automatic transmission
- 12-volt electrical system and AM/FM radio
- A highly-optioned example
Inspired by the success of the Corvette, Ford took a slightly different track and billed the 1955 Thunderbird as a personal luxury car, putting a greater emphasis on the car's comfort and convenience features rather than its inherent sportiness. Designations aside, the Thunderbird achieved its goal and more, outselling the Corvette by an amazing twenty-three to one ratio for 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold against just 700 Corvettes. Ford pressed on with their foot on the gas and made plans to continue that success in 1956.
With the 1955 T-Bird to be considered a financial success, few changes were made to the car for 1956. The most notable changes were moving the spare tire to a continental-style rear bumper in order to create more storage room in the trunk, a 12-volt electrical system, and functional vents in the front fenders. The 312-cubic-inch engine, featured in this car, was an option over the standard 292-cubic-inch V-8 in 1956, as was the new porthole hardtop. There was a total of 15,651 Thunderbirds built in '56, selling for $3,408 plus any options.
The bodywork on this Thunderbird remains excellent, with fine panel gaps and fit, and the paint is also in very nice condition, with only very minor imperfections. Likewise, the white porthole hardtop looks great, with no scratches to be found. The front and rear chrome bumpers retain a great shine with no major scratches or corrosion, and the trim looks good with only a few spots showing some early signs of pitting. Inside, the bench seats, door panels, and carpet all look clean, with some typical minor wear but no flaws. It is obviously a Thunderbird that has lived a good life and been well-cared for, with only honest wear showing from its careful use.
The incredible T-Bird dash still looks amazing, and all gauges are in good working order except for the original clock. The headlights and taillights, turn signals, two-speed vacuum wipers, and horn all work well. The previous owner installed an aftermarket AM/FM radio that retains the classic look of the rest of the dash and sounds great. The data plate indicates this is an original 312-cubic-inch V-8 car with four-barrel carburetor and three-speed automatic transmission - exactly what powers it today. The V-8 runs strong and sounds great through the dual exhaust system that exits through the rear bumper. This car runs on a 12-volt system, and the engine bay is in clean overall condition, with no visible rust to be found. It was undercoated some years ago and can easily be described as clean and lightly used. On the road, the car has plenty of power for modern highway speeds and shifts smoothly. Adding to its drivability and comfort, this example is equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat and aftermarket air-conditioning. The Michelin P215/75 R15 whitewall tires have good tread life left, and they look great with the 15-inch wheels and wire hubcaps.
Thunderbirds continue to sell well, show well, and drive well, so consider bidding on this one that will open a whole new world of classic car enjoyment. This 1956 Thunderbird is ready to enjoy, whether it is at local car shows, Thunderbird tours, car club outings, or simply taking a nice long country cruise.