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Danville, California, United States
More Information1957 Ford Thunderbird F-Code
• 1 of 196 F-Birds produced
• 1 of only 5 known F-Birds finished in Dusk Rose according to the F-Bird Registry
• Approximately 57 test miles since professional frame-off restoration
• Delivered to Talarico Ford in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania July 22, 1957
• Supercharged 312 CI V-8 engine
• Rare 3-speed Racing transmission
• Power accessory delete for performance
• Ford's 32 NF Power Punch battery
• Ford's Accessory Back-up lights
• Safety package B
• Fender skirts
• Turbine style wheel covers
• Whitewall tires
The Ford Thunderbird was initially designed as a response to the Chevrolet Corvette, but it almost immediately burnished its own place in history to become a recognized American icon. The Thunderbird was marketed from the beginning as an upscale personal vehicle rather than a sports car. This turned out to be a wise decision on Ford’s behalf, as it gave birth to an entirely new market segment known as the personal luxury car. The success of the Thunderbird was recognized immediately through tremendous sales right from start. It was the styling of the Thunderbird, which carried a unique American expression, that appealed to younger customers. The Thunderbird pioneered use of the Ford overhead-valve V-8 engine, which was updated with a 12-volt electrical system for 1956. The following year, a thorough restyling of the Thunderbird saw the adoption of a longer tail section and more prominent tailfins. These changes are beautifully displayed on this rare Dusk Rose 1957 Thunderbird. The beneficiary of a professional body-off restoration, this Thunderbird is one of five F-code Thunderbirds known to exist in this striking Dusk Rose paint scheme according to the F-Bird Registry. Under the hood, the Y-block 312 CI V-8 is assisted by a Paxton-McCulloch supercharger to deliver a robust 300 HP. Behind this, a rare 3-speed racing transmission gives the driver complete control over everything this Thunderbird has to offer. Accessory back-up lights, Safety Package B, Town and Country radio, fender skirts, wide whitewall tires, a pristine white interior and a black canvas top further improve the overall attractiveness of this exceptional car. The original 1955-57 Thunderbirds are widely recognized as being among the most desirable and sought-after postwar Fords. This F-Bird has a mere 57 miles on the clock since its restoration, and it looks much the same as it did when it was delivered to Talarico Ford of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, in July 1957 according to a copy of the original 1957 factory invoice.
AMOS & JUSTIN MINTER
Established in Dallas in 1969, Amos and Justin Minter’s Thunderbirds 55-57 restoration shop has unquestionably earned its reputation as one of the most skilled and respected specialty restoration outfits in the world, and when it comes to Thunderbirds built from 1955 through 1957, their shop sits right at the top. Luckily for bidders at Dana Mecum’s 32nd Original Spring Classic this May, the Minters are set to offer a selection of some of the finest Thunderbirds they’ve touched, and amazingly, nine of them are the elusive F-Birds.
Amos Minter didn’t always plan to get into the restoration business. In the early days, it was more of a side-gig and hobby, while his day job paid the bills. Amos began full-time restoration work in 1969 after leaving his position at Ross Perot’s Electronic Data Systems.
By 1970, Amos said the shop was attracting out-of-state customers, though the local Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio areas certainly made up their base. ”The town of Fort Worth probably had more early Thunderbirds than any other area, because Fort Worth was an oil town, and the people in charge were fairly affluent,” Amos explained. “This little car was terribly expensive in the mid-‘50s; comparable to the Corvette or a Series 62 Cadillac.”
Amos’ son, Justin, has been regularly exposed to these cars since birth, noting that his father would drive him around in one as a baby. By his teen years, Justin was just as swept up in the passion for cars as his father. His first car at age 15 was a 1965 Mustang convertible that had been in a house fire. Justin was tasked with restoring the car, and he finished it in the shop by the time he turned 16. By 17, Justin was painting cars for the business, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Minter Thunderbirds dealership and restoration facility covers more than an acre and boasts a top-rated service facility dedicated to the servicing of only those ‘Birds bought from the Minters. They claim to offer the world’s best selection, specializing in Southwest dry-climate examples with myriad options, accessories and more available for buyers to choose from.
The list of awards and accolades that Minter Thunderbirds has achieved is formidable, to say the least. Minter-restored 1955-57 Thunderbirds have consistently been among the highest-dollar examples at public auctions for virtually every year of the last decade, and their cars have even caught the attention of celebrities, like the Kardashian kids who purchased two Minter Thunderbirds as Christmas gifts—one for their mother, Kris Jenner, and one for their grandmother, Mary Jo Campbell.
As a virtually fully in-house operation, Minter Thunderbirds does almost everything from engine and transmission assembly to brakes, exhaust, suspension, paint and interior—chrome may be the only element for which the group outsources. As Amos explained, “that’s the only way we’ve found it to be consistently the same quality, is to have the same people with the same passion for doing top-level work.”
Many of the Minters’ employees have been with them for more than three decades, including several of their master mechanics and their upholsterer Dee Hooper. Amos explained that the shared passion and dedication among staff members is one of the things that sets their shop apart from others. He noted that it is not at all uncommon for someone like Hooper to tool up and manufacture his own parts in the pursuit of perfection, as some of the parts available on the market are simply not up to the standards that the Minters’ shop upholds. While they have the capability to produce their own parts, they don’t do so for resale, save for convertible tops and steel wheels; the focus of Minter Thunderbirds is always the restoration work.
“The thing about being in the parts business,” Justin explained, “if you go into selling and dealing in parts, that really takes away from the restoration side of it. I mean, all this started off as Dad’s hobby, and all of us still enjoy it, and that’s how we treat our jobs—we all really enjoy doing our jobs here.”
While every Thunderbird touched by the Minters is a special one, Amos and Justin are set to offer an especially desirable group of ‘Birds this May in Indianapolis. This awe-inspiring assemblage of one of the most iconic cars of the 20th century is one that must be seen in the flesh to be fully appreciated. The quantity of cars is attention grabbing, but the quality is what causes enthusiasts to stop and stare. And while their statuses as specially equipped, highly optioned and best-of-breed Thunderbirds makes them a desirable bunch in themselves, it’s that magic Minter touch that puts them truly over the top.
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