Featured Thunderbird for February 1997

1957 / Exterior: Gunmetal Gray / Interior: Red / Engine: 312 cid, automatic
Owner: David Leonhardt, Green Bay WI USA

When the Thunderbird was introduced in 1955 I was a first year University student, poor but with aspirations of success and very impressionable. The impact that the little T-Bird made on me was very strong indeed, as the desire to own one as always stayed with me. My wife, even I did not know her at the time, was equally enchanted by the '55-'57 T-Birds.

In July 1996, I finally found the car that satisfied that old desire of mine for a little Bird. The '57 Gunmetal Gray Bird looked showroom fresh and in perfect condition, the odometer showing only 236 miles. It was professionally restored over several years being completed in 1986. Since then, it was trailored from show to show, both in the U.S. and Canada winning a number of national awards from CTCI, AACA, and VMCCA e.g. preservation, best of show, grand national, first place, junior and senior and a golden award of excellence. If any of you remember the car or have pictures of it, I would like to hear from you as I am trying to trace and record its history.

Even with so few miles on the odometer, years of not being driven has taken its toll on many "look like new" parts, especially seals, gaskets, hoses, tires and the exhaust system. Since we intend to drive the car on occasion, the last few months have been spent getting the car mechanically ready to operate as it did when it left the factory. All this was completed just as the snow started to fly here in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Now that the car runs as good as it looks, we have to wait again, but this time not forty years, just to spring.

Some of the car specifications are:

Built Oct.16, 1956 Inv. Price $3403.76
Gunmetal Gray (only 3% of the cars were this color), with Red interior
Eng. 312 cid /dress up kit, FordOMatic Trans., Power Steering, Power Brakes, Power Windows
T & C Radio, Seat Belts, Both Tops, H.T. with Port Hole, Tonneau Cover, Heater and Def.

David Leonhardt

Copyright © 1997 by David Leonhardt

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