RARER THAN RARE! 1957 PHASE ONE FACTORY SUPERCHARGED THUNDERBIRD This 1957 Ford Thunderbird is much more than one of the rarest Fords produced in the post-WWII era, for while outwardly identical to production models, its origins and history set it apart as almost singularly unique as one of the group of fifteen hand-built for competition and one of just eight that survive today. Much rarer than the “F' birds the Phase I D/F Thunderbirds were built 5 months before the “F' bird production. In 1957 NASCAR relaxed its engine rules to allow the use of enhanced induction systems including fuel injection and supercharging, both the subject of development programs by Detroit manufacturers. In a November 26, 1956 letter to the Ford Executive Committee, Ford Division General Manager Robert S. McNamara described an internal engine development program “deemed essential to the maintenance of the Ford car and Thunderbird performance reputation.' Citing Chevrolet"s ongoing development of its fuel injection system, McNamara recommended on behalf of the Ford Engineering Office “the installation of the 312 cu. In. 4V carburetor engine of a new design McColluch supercharger for use on the Ford car and Thunderbird...which would provide operational characteristics equal to or better than any fuel injection system at present day development. The supercharger option would carry a rating of 300 horsepower.' McNamara proposed an initial production run of one hundred vehicles to meet NASCAR homologation requirements, and targeted the week-long Daytona Beach Speed Trials scheduled to begin on February 3, 1957 for their competition debut. Thus was born the Ford Motor Company Supercharger Program. All fifteen Phase I Thunderbirds were all hand-built at the Dearborn Assembly Plant . All fifteen Thunderbirds were built on January 25, 1957, incorporating the specified 312 CI single carburetor engine, McCulloch VR57 Phase 1 supercharger, a heavy duty three-speed manual transmission, and seat belts. The formula proved itself at Daytona, where one of the Phase 1 Thunderbirds set a new record for American sports cars with a speed of 138.755 mph, a 6 mph improvement over the previous year"s record set by Corvette. The Daytona success prompted Ford management to approve a version of the racing ‘Birds for regular production, which began in June 1957; only one hundred ninety four units were built, making them exceedingly rare today. These became known as “F-Birds' for the letter in the serial number denoting a supercharged engine. It is important to note that although identified within Ford as the “Phase 1 Supercharger Thunderbirds, the supercharged racing version"s use of the single-carb engine resulted in its lasting popular identification as the “D/F Bird.' The accompanying documentation alone distinguishes this Thunderbird from its peers. It includes a copy of the internal Ford Motor Company Executive Communication from Robert S. McNamara to the Executive Committee outlining the Ford Motor Company Supercharger Program, described by the owner as the “birth certificate' for these cars and probably the most significant document in the historical record. Professional Body off the frame restoration with test miles only. Exceptional condition prior to its restoration. Copy of Jan. 25, 1957 Original Ford Factory Invoice to Oscar Maples Inc. of Torrance California. This restored Phase I Thunderbird earned the C.T.C.I. Senior Gold Award and Hershey AACA Senior Awards. The exceptional rarity of the surviving Phase I Supercharged Thunderbirds surpasses that of almost any other American factory built competition vehicle, especially in the case of this historically significant, superbly restored and extensively documented example.