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Rare 1957 Supercharged Thunderbird Fetches Top Dollar

A 53-year old American classic beat all contenders at the Meclum Kansas City Auction that grossed more than $9.3 million in sales of high-quality classics and muscle cars.

The three-day auction, which took place Dec. 2-4 at the Kansas City Convention Center/Bartle Hall in Kansas City, Mo., featured nearly 650 vehicles for sale and had a 70 percent sell-through rate. Mecum's top seller was a multiple award-winning 1957 Ford Thunderbird F Code Convertible - one of 212 factory supercharged models produced for 1957. It scored 299.5 points out of a possible 300 and sold for $186,000. Another 1957 Supercharged Thunderbird sold for $137,500 at the 2009 Barrett Jackson auction.

According to a history of Thunderbirds at, the 1957 Thunderbird was the third year the model was produced, in direct response to the introduction of the Chevy Corvette. Even though it was only two years into production, “the 1957 Thunderbird was significantly restyled with a more chiseled body, a larger front bumper around a larger front grille, a redesigned trunk lid and more pronounced, sharper-edged tail fins.” The 212 factory supercharged models represented about 1 percent of the 21,380 sold that year. Those models packed a lot of wallop under the hood for the times. According to Edmunds, “A few Thunderbirds were also sold with a Paxton centrifugal supercharger heaving into their Holley four-barrel carburetor to make a thrilling 300 hp.”

"A crowd of eager bidders and motivated sellers packed our Kansas City sale, delivering a high-energy event that had outstanding growth over last year's auction," said President Dana Mecum. "We were able to offer 160 additional cars compared to last year, selling an amazing 130 of those. The top-performing vehicles were an eclectic mix of rare Thunderbirds, Corvettes, a Boss 429 Mustang and more."

The Top 10 Kansas City Sales (all sales reflect hammer prices) were:

  1. 1957 Ford Thunderbird F Bird Convertible (Lot S64) at $186,000
  2. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback (Lot S78.1) at $175,000
  3. 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Big Tank Coupe (Lot F221) at $141,000
  4. 1957 Ford Thunderbird E Bird Convertible (Lot S74) at $132,000
  5. 1969 Shelby GT500 Fastback (Lot F198) at $105,000
  6. 1968 Dodge Hemi Charger R/T (Lot S79) at $90,000
  7. 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (Lot S53) at $80,000
  8. 1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible (Lot S126) at $69,000
  9. 1970 Dodge Challenger RT Replica (Lot S141) at $65,000
  10. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (Lot T188) at $63,000