• Dec 7th 2008 at 11:02AM
  • 9

Click above for a high-res gallery of the very first Ford Thunderbird

The first of anything always has historical significance, hence an increase in value as well. Last year Barrett-Jackson auctioned off a trio of modern firsts - the Shelby GT500KR, Corvette ZR1, and a Dodge Challenger SRT8 purchased by Craig Jackson himself - all of which went for well over the standard price of each car. For the upcoming auction this January, Barrett-Jackson will be offering the very first Ford Thunderbird, built on September 9, 1954 and featuring a 292 Y-block engine, automatic transmission, power windows, power seats, and Raven Black paint. It has been fully restored it its original condition, and comes with plenty of documentation regarding its history. Hit the jump for the PR from Barrett-Jackson.

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]


One of the most significant American sports cars ever built, the first production Ford Thunderbird, will be sold at No Reserve during the 38th Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event in Scottsdale, Ariz., Jan. 11-18, 2009. The Raven Black 1955 T-Bird was produced by Ford Motor Company on Sept. 9, 1954, and represents the birth of Ford's sports car program. Hailed as "The World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions," the Scottsdale auction and lavish lifestyle events will feature a diverse mix of the world's most desirable collector vehicles. As always, SPEED will broadcast nearly 40 hours of live, high-definition coverage of all six auction days.

"We are extremely proud to offer this incredible vehicle that I've followed closely over the years," said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. "For Thunderbird enthusiasts and general collectors alike, this is a rare chance to own the first production Ford T-Bird â€" an American icon. It's been meticulously restored to original specifications and comes with plenty of documentation to tell its amazing story."

Penned by Ford designer Frank Hershey, the Thunderbird was a hit among sports car fans across America and became an instant competitor for the Chevrolet Corvette. The first T-Bird is equipped with a 292 Y-block engine, Fordomatic (automatic) transmission, power steering, power windows and power seats. The creature comforts incorporated into the build gave the debut of the first T-Bird even more sizzle.

Ford's new star was tested and featured in numerous articles upon its release, including "Testing the Thunderbird" in the Oct. 4, 1954 issue of "Sports Illustrated." The first Thunderbird has also been displayed at venues across the United States, from Ford's headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., to the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

"After Ford authenticated this 1955 T-Bird as number one, it became a superstar in the automotive world and was paraded across the country for years," added Davis. "First production vehicles have an appeal that no other car in their lineage can compete with, especially when they represent the beginning of one of the most legendary marques of the 1950s. As a result, this first production Thunderbird will be extremely valuable to collectors."

The 1955 Thunderbird will be joined by approximately 1,000 collector vehicles and automobilia to be sold at the historic Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction. Lifestyle attractions will also return to Barrett-Jackson in January in the form of luxury vendors, galas and fashion shows. Barrett-Jackson's trendy night-spot, "The Garage," will be the site of exclusive gatherings throughout the event.

About The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company

Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the "World's Greatest Collector Car Auctions™" in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Fla. and Las Vegas. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit www.barrett-jackson.com or call (480) 421-6694.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Those who've ever driven these remember the terrible seats, loose steering and nonexistent brakes, which along with the rarity, should make this a trailer queen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, the economy sucks, yet this is Barret-Jackson, so I would wager some 68-year-old semi-bald owner of a spring-n-washer business, from Akron, who he just sold to the Chinese, with a 23-year-old blond silicone queen on his arm, will fork over $435,000.

      Any other guesses everyone?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You have a problem with Akron?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Amazing lookin car !
        • 6 Years Ago
        i say she'll be 26...
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...and who cares how old she is....

        as long as she is legal and Asian!
      • 6 Years Ago
      it will sell for some absurd sum of money. maybe in 50 years we'll see the last one across the block too and wonder how these guys got so much money they can buy a car that just sits in a collection.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Actually, it will be a great moment.

      The original T-Bird was really Ford's dream machine. They should have developed it into a performance car on par with the 'vette.

      So wonderful that, in these waning days of having all of the Big 3 around, this example of the kind of imagination-grabbing car Detroit once built should surface.

      Perhaps it will inspire the Chinese. ;-}
      • 6 Years Ago
      Like, who cares? The car will never be driven much on the street...it's a show queen for collectors only. This car is truly a collector item because it's number 1, not for any usefulness.

      Is the first telephone worth something? To a museum, yes. Or to whatever some OCD booger is willing to pay to have the 'first' item.

      As for silicone queens...Governor Spitzer had it right...pay high for quality, don't marry it...that costs even more!
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