1956 Ford Thunderbird
1956 Ford Thunderbird
- 2 Door Convertible
- Red with Red and White Interior
- 312cid/215hp 4bbl V8
- Automatic Transmission
- Hard Top and New Soft Top
- Original Build Sheet
- Service Records
(Please note: If you happen to be viewing this 1956 Ford Thunderbird on a website other than our Garage Kept Motors site, it's possible that you've only seen some of our many photographs of the car due to third-party website limitations. To be sure you access all the more than 170 photographs, as well as a short start-up and walk-around video, please go to our main website: Garage Kept Motors.)
“More stunning in style… more thrilling in power… more luxurious in comfort” - 1956 Ford Thunderbird magazine advertisement
The advertising copy went on, almost breathlessly: “Here poised for flight, you see what many people hardly dreamed possible: a more beautiful, more powerful, more distinctive Thunderbird. The graceful contours of its long. Low lines… the unique flair of its new spare-tire mounting, the dazzling sheen of its new two-tone colors are but a hint of its newness. It is when you put the selector in drive position and nudge the gas pedal of a Fordomatic model that the Thunderbird will really take you by the heart. Beneath the hood is a new 225-h.p. Thunderbird V8, to revise your ideas of how a car should respond. Now, the interiors are richer—more beautiful than ever. Now, you get added protection of Ford's exclusive Life-Guard design. And as always, you may have optional power steering, brakes, windows, and seat. Ask your Ford dealer just how soon you can start enjoying the better things of driving.”
Offered here is a 1956 Ford Thunderbird Convertible in red over red-and-white under either a white fabric top or a white hardtop (both original to the car and included). Delivered new on August 2, 1956 at Hettche Motor Sales of Detroit, the T-Bird has traveled 103,175 miles since, or fewer than 1,600 miles per-year on average. This is a true survivor Thunderbird that has obviously benefitted from meticulous care from passionate owners. The car could not have looked much nicer on the showroom floor 65 years ago. The original build sheet, included in the sale (and presented in the photo gallery) documents an original condition, high-spec, enthusiast build, down to and including the engine dress-up kit from the factory.
The car's original red paint still shows excellent luster, no doubt the result of fastidious owner care and lack of exposure to harsh weather. Red was clearly the choice of an outgoing owner not afraid to make a statement wherever the car went. And in its day, this car would turn heads at every stop. Even the painted “Continental-kit”-style spare-tire cover (which tilts to allow easy trunk-access) retains its excellent red finish. (To best assess the quality of the paint and trim finishes, be sure to view the close-up photographs of the car in the accompanying gallery.) The '56 model design used a minimum of chrome-trim embellishment. Here, all such trim—the front grille, the bumpers (including the beautiful extension for the spare tire carrier), hood-scoop accent, wraparound-windshield surround, faux fender louvers, side mirror, door handles, and taillight accents—shows beautifully with very little patina and zero damage. Factory badging is complete and in excellent condition. The classic Thunderbird hood emblem, Ford front-fender crest, and Thunderbird-script rear-fender badges are all virtually as-new. All cabin glass (including the porthole windows on the hardtop) is clear and free of cracks. Factory 15-inch wheels with chrome wire-wheel-style full wheel covers (and Thunderbird emblem centers) are mounted with narrow whitewall tires, just as the car was originally ordered. Red rear-fender skirts are included in the sale.
Inside, white is added to the red color theme for stunning visual impact. Seat upholstery incorporates both red and white in a classic vertically pleated style. Very light wear from normal use is noted on the driver's seat cushion. Door trim is white, horizontally pleated vinyl with a stylish red padded top and angled door rest separated by a turned-metal trim piece. The same turned-metal trim graces the entire lower-dashboard area, home to an upgraded, Thunderbird-logo audio unit as well as slide-lever heat and ventilation controls. The 3-spoke original steering wheel with Ford-crest center emblem and “Ford Mater Guide Power Steering” raised lettering and chrome horn rim frames a raised half-moon-shaped, 150-mph speedometer flanked by a separate tachometer and clock. All gauges, lettering, lenses, and control surfaces are original and in excellent condition. Auxiliary gauges for voltage output, coolant temperature, and oil pressure have been added below the dash. Cabin carpeting is red and protected by Thunderbird-logo red rubber mats. The angled shift lever for the automatic transmission is floor-mounted.
Under the front-hinged hood, the 312-cubic-inch, 215-horsepower, 4-barrel V8 wears finned Thunderbird-branded valve covers and chrome air-cleaner cover, both part of the optional engine dress-up kit. The engine bay is complete with very clean surfaces throughout. The engine still wears its original engine-block paint. Viewed from below, the chassis is perfectly straight and free of damage. Component and lower-engine surfaces are remarkably clean. The properly routed dual-exhaust system is a visual focal point.
The car's original build and identification tags remain as mounted at the factory. The sale includes a sheaf of maintenance documentation.
While the more than 170 high-definition photographs and the short walk-around-and-startup video available on the GarageKeptMotors website showcase this '56 T-Bird in detail from every angle, including from below, we expect and encourage in-person inspections at our Grand Rapids, Michigan showroom. Please call to arrange an appointment in advance as our showroom is not open to the public. And feel free to get in touch anytime by phone or email if you have questions.
The next owner of this beautifully kept red '55 T-Bird will experience twin classic-car joys: the fun of driving and displaying this excellent example, and the happy responsibility of stewarding the car into the future. Who could ask for a better return on investment?