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1-of-15 McCullough Supercharged 1957 Ford Thunderbird Comes Out to Play and Stun

If we disregard the later versions and the strange-looking (and unsuccessful) revival of the early 2000s, we can easily say the Thunderbird is one of the most beautiful cars Ford ever made. And in some cases, it was also a monster on the track.
1957 Ford Thunderbird 21 photos
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Initially spanning for ten generations, from 1955 to 1997, some of the model’s incarnations are extremely sought after pieces of engineering on the present-day collector’s market.

There are quite a few early-years Thunderbirds floating around, but the one we have here is something truly special. It comes from 1957, and along 14 others, it has been hand-built with NASCAR and other competitions in mind.

That year, Ford made some 195 Thunderbirds, and most of them had an F-Code Paxton supercharger on top of the 312ci (5.1-liter) engine. The one we have here, just like the 14 others of its breed, has a McCullough VR57 Phase One system that pushed the horsepower rating up to 300 hp. Even more, the engine was tied to a race-bred 3-speed transmission.

What did that mean for the car? They were faster than the Corvettes of that age, topping at 138.755 mph (223.304 kph) and for a while holding the record for fastest new American production sports cars, set at Daytona.

The Thunderbird you see here uses the McCullough supercharger, and is one of just eight of its kind believed to still exist today. It is listed for sale by Mecum during the Indianapolis auction in May.

The car was subject to a restoration process performed at the hands of first-generation T-Bird expert Amos Minter, using mostly original components. The T-Bird comes in Colonial White over a red interior (the color combination it had on when it exited the factory doors), is a soft top, and packs turbine-style wheel covers shod in wide whitewall tires.

Mecum does not say how much it expects the car to fetch, but for reference Minter’s far less unique projects often go for high five-digit sums.

Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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