1956 Thunderbird – Professionally Restored
1956 Peacock Blue Thunderbird –
Restored to Perfection
This Thunderbird is perhaps the nicest we have seen: restored as a show car by the renowned restorer of “Baby Birds”–Prestige Thunderbird, Inc.–in California in 2003 and babied (forgive the pun) ever since. This is a car that currently would be equally at home on the show fields or in a museum, but instead it has been meticulously maintained and regularly enjoyed by an avid collector of fine automobiles.
The 1956 Thunderbird—the 2nd year of the 3-year series–represented some significant improvements over the introductory 1955 model:
- the more powerful 312 V-8 in this Thunderbird became available as an option, producing 225 hp;
- the 1956 model featured a 12-volt electrical system, replacing the ‘55’s 6- volt system;
- the spare tire was moved from the trunk and into a continental kit, thereby freeing up space for luggage and other cargo;
- air vents were installed behind the front wheels to provide better ventilation in the cabin (although this car is air conditioned for use on even the hottest days); and
- the “port hole” windows were offered as an option for the removable hardtop to improve visibility.
A Beautiful Restoration
As noted, this T-bird was the subject of a professional restoration in 2003 and has traveled just over 15,000 miles since the odometer was reset at its completion. The car looks and runs much like it did when it left the showroom back in 1956:
- Great Finish
The car is refinished in Ford’s Peacock Blue, complimented by a contrasting White top, and the quality of the paint rivals show car standards. An excellent paint job tends to show a car’s every flaw, but there are few flaws to see on this Thunderbird.
The underside of this Thunderbird reflects the quality of the restoration and is virtually free of rust and corrosion.
- Like-new Interior
The blue and white interior is in like new condition from the padded dash to the back of the seat—and everything in between. A custom-made color-keyed removable console with cup holders adds a convenience not originally offered by the factory. Matching floor mats complete the interior.
- Lift-off Hardtop
The “port hole” White hardtop is in impeccable condition—inside and out—enabling 4-season driving in comfort—heated in the colder months and air conditioned in the warmer months. To facilitate the interchange of tops, the car comes with a lift that attaches to your garage’s ceiling.
- Convertible Top
The convertible top is in excellent condition and the rear window is clear and free of any discoloration.
- Mechanically Excellent
The car is powered by the Thunderbird 312 cid V-8 that was introduced as an option in 1956 and made the standard engine for the 1957 model year. The car starts right up and runs the way you would expect. When you open the hood to the engine bay on this Thunderbird it, it looks much the same as it did on the showroom floor in 1956: bright and clean.
This T-bird is equipped with Ford’s automatic transmission: the Ford-O-Matic. The transmission shifts properly, allowing the driver to enjoy the day’s outing, particularly when confronted with the increasing amount of traffic in most urban/suburban areas.
- Safety and Luxury Equipment
All of the safety equipment works properly (lights, signals, horn, wipers), as do the gauges, warning lights, tachometer and speedometer. The car has 4 almost new (1,500 miles) mounted radial whitewalls and a new, mounted spare for AAA’s use should the need arise. Seat belts have been installed for additional safety.
The luxury equipment includes:
- Ford’s Master Guide power steering
- Swift Sure Ford power brakes
- Power windows
- Telescoping steering wheel
- Cold aftermarket air conditioning
- Radio with cassette player, together with ‘50’s tapes
- Working clock!
- Service and Records
The brakes, electrical and fuel-delivery systems have been serviced in the last 18 months, including a new alternator, battery and mufflers. Included with the car are service and parts manuals, as well as recent service records.
Provided with the car are:
- The ceiling-mounted manual lift to remove the hardtop
- A custom-made car cover
- A color matching tool bag for the trunk
- The framed original build/order sheet
Back to the ‘50s in Style
Ford Motor Company called the Thunderbird a “personal vehicle”, and made the car into a luxurious way to go to the country club, out to Saturday night dinner or even to the grocery store. There is perhaps no other car that is more representative of the ‘50s and the start of the automobile revolution than the Thunderbird. During the three years of these “baby birds”, there is none more memorable than the elegant and refined ’56 T-bird.
Whether on the show fields, on tour or re-dedicated to its original purpose: an absolutely wonderful personal driving experience, this Ford is for you!