2020 Shannons Melbourne Autumn Classic Auction
Lot
55

1959 Ford Thunderbird 352 V8 Coupe (LHD)

$44,000

Sold

Specifications

Engine 352ci V8
Gearbox Three-speed automatic
Body Work Coupe
Colour White & Red
Interior Red & White
Trim Vinyl
Wheels Kelsey Hayes Chrome Wire
Brakes Drums/drums

Description

This lot is no longer available

Ford's Thunderbird series was the ultimate in personal luxury cars, with the first-generation cars of 1955-1957 competing with Chevrolet's Corvette until Ford's market research indicated the two-seat configuration was hurting sales. So, the model was redesigned into a full-size four-seater for 1958, using a unibody construction technique and very different styling. The wider, longer and lower look earned the nickname "Square Birds" when the new model debuted, with notable features including a feature-laden centre console running the length of the cockpit atop the prominent transmission tunnel. The Thunderbird's standard powertrain consisted of the 352ci FE motor and a three-speed manual transmission, with the option of overdrive or the popular Cruise-O-Matic three-speed self-shifter. Independent front suspension featured coil springs and unequal length A-arms, with a conventional live rear axle and drum brakes all round. Although fans of the original T-Bird may have been disappointed by the change in direction, Ford must have felt vindicated when Motor Trend awarded the 1958 model their 'Car of the Year' and sales more than doubled those achieved in 1957. Ford made minor changes to the Thunderbird for 1959, with revised styling, new rear suspension with Hotchkiss parallel leaf springs replacing the coils used in 1958, and the option of a larger 430ci "MEL" motor.