1955 Ford Thunderbird Roadster

The name “Pro-Touring” was first coined in 1998 by then Chevy High Performance editor Jeff Smith, discussing one of GM engineer Mark Stielow’s ’69 Camaros. He said, “Pro Touring is about killer acceleration, brutal brakes, and corner-bending capability combined with cross country comfort. Toss in occasional jaunts to the drag strip, a slalom, or a top speed contest, and you have the makings of a car for all reasons- Pro Touring”. Three basic key ingredients define a Pro-Touring car- better acceleration, better handling, and better braking. The emphasis isn’t on being a trailer queen with saran wrapped tires, although many of these cars are car show trophy worthy, but rather their emphasis is on being driven, and often driven hard. Thx to Speedtechperformance.com

For consignment, year 1 version 1 of the soon to be iconic Ford Thunderbird. And you WILL want one! Bathed in Raven Black, it does not get any more mid 50s looking than this wonderful 2 seat bird. The entire package is very attractive, but the thing that sends this writer over the top is all the custom work that has been added in to create the pro-touring machine before you. Suspension…check, brakes.check, drivetrain…check, tons of custom touches…check.


Starting upfront, we can see a beautiful mirror-like bumper that has been cut 3″ and tucked to the body with its dagmars and bumperettes removed. Directly above is a custom billet grille with custom stainless garnish and flanking this on either side of the extended and smoothed nose is a single frenched in Oracle Angel Eye headlight. A long-scooped hood, with a 4″ extension on the scoop and custom billet bezel, rolls its way back to the passenger compartment. Flanking this hood are the smooth fenders with their functional airboxes and down below twin portholes for the open exhaust option. Moving down the side we encounter smoothed doors and on the back small fins tip round taillights, emulating jet age design, and another clean cut and tucked bumper. A smoothed rear deck leads back to the smoothed trunk lid then down to the gas cap door all smooth, black, and clean. Staggered width blackwall rubber surrounds highly polished Billet Specialties wheels finishing off the look and do so just swimmingly. All metal is painted in Raven Black paint and has nicely minded gaps with no rust seen. As a note, this car does not have either the soft top or the hardtop, it’s totally open air touring here.


The curvaceous thick door panels are wrapped in black leather with some turquoise leather covered swooping long armrests, and a black padded window sill attached at the top. There is a large panel of machined aluminum through the center which is the background for the door actuator. These are nice and clean, with the aluminum showing a few scuffs. This panel looks the part, as they melt into the custom curved dash keeping the machined metal line through the center. A fan style turquoise background with white numbered speedometer is above on the padded black dash top and turquoise below. Flanking on either side of the speedo are round gauges, one a tachometer, and the right a clock both courtesy of Classic Instruments. Just below in the swoop down of the reshaped and reformed 1959 Thunderbird console is the controller for the Vintage AC & heater. This console races between the custom seats with cup holders, billet power window switches, and the polished ball topped shifter arm. Speaking of the seats, how about a pair of narrowed and shortened 1968 Thunderbird buckets, refinished in soft black leather with a peppering of turquoise thrown in for some extra good looks. Not only are these seats comfortable but they’re also power actuated. Nice condition black carpeting floods the floors, and an Ididit tilt column and Con2R custom steering wheel fronts the pristine dash. Add in an AM/FM/6 CD changer stereo with a USB port and we’re in touring heaven.


A 347ci Ford stroker V8 engine, making a consignor stated 425hp is in a clean and shiny engine bay. It is topped with ProComp aluminum heads, a ground and epoxied polished Barry Grant 6 shooter intake with 3-2bbl Barry Grant carbs on top along with a custom airbrushed air cleaner assembly. Black is reserved for the block, and the shiny black Thunderbird airbrushed valve covers add some more bling to the bay. A Tremec 5-speed manual transmission and a 3.55 Posi Dana 44 rear axle complete the drivetrain. Our eyes are drawn all over the engine bay with one hit coming after the next. We note a polished aluminum radiator, 2500cfm cooling fan, custom smoothed firewall, chrome plated hood releases, and a modified splash pan to name a few. Just a beautiful presentation under the hood.


Just a hint of surface rust on a few untreated components but all else is solid. A custom Progressive narrowed frame with a modified X frame provides the backbone for the flawless steel floor pans and suspension. A Mustang II style front end is on for the front, and a 4 link for the rear make up the suspension all being assisted with Air Ride Technology Shockwave airbags. We note 4-wheel power disc brakes, power steering, and a heavy duty front sway bar. Also, we see a narrowed fuel tank to accommodate the larger rear wheel tubs.


Not a ton of room in these early birds, but once in, they are comfy. This car fired right up and took off for the test track where it flew around in circles with ease. A strong accelerator, a great handler and a good stopper, all the qualities you want and need in a pro-touring ride. All functions were working at the time of our drive and I can’t get over how modern this car feels while retaining many of the classic Baby Bird styling cues.

All in all a wonderful example that has been modified into a pro-touring driving machine. Ready to handle any highway or backroad you can throw at it or maybe even a parking lot SCCA race then drive home with the radio playing and the A/C keeping you icy cold. Add in a write up in Street Rodder magazine, and a Best Ford in A Ford award at the 16th annual PPG Syracuse Nationals and you can focus on the show circuit. Either way you can soar through town, screech the tires, and turn some heads…all the way around!



P-292ci V8


F-Dearborn, MI Assy Plant


114109-Sequential Unit Number

Price: Auction

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Seller's other items: classicautomall

Location: Morgantown, Pennsylvania, United States