1955 Looking at one for purchase

photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
Good evening!

I’m new here, found a 1955 locally that’s pretty interesting to me. Looking for some opinions from you experts.

1955, 73k miles, California car, a repaint 30 years ago, some signs of minor orange peel in some spots, passenger door doesn’t appear original (interior panel color brighter than rest of interior), temp. gauge runs hot but is false reading? Dealer measured temp around 185 degrees. Radio doesn’t work, clock will work momentarily if you tap it, hardtop very good condition, soft top won’t close completely, dealer believe it shrank a little over time. Engine cranks right up and runs strong, transmission shifts good. didn’t notice any leaks after test drive. No rust, evidence of some body work (have to look closely for it).

Overall it’s in good driver condition, not close to showroom, goes down road very good, veers a little to right, paint shines, tires ton of tread not sure of date though.

Plenty of owner notes up til’ 1990. $34k asking price.

Any of your 2 cents is appreciate. I will have it inspected, if it gets that far!

Thank you!
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Last edited by a moderator:
photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
Doesn’t need repaint, was painted about 30 years ago. I understand though. Really appreciate the link!!

Thanks
 
4VE
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1955
My 2cents. I would look seriously at the money pits. Is it still 6volt? Has it been rewired? If so, was it rewired then? Has it been modified (resto-mod) such as 4w disk brakes, new lines, matching master cyl to calipers? Fan still 3 blade? Does it have a lot of upgrades? Power windows/seats/AC/Supercharger/Dual quads/...? Wheels look like hubcaps, are they Kelsey Hays wire wheels? Oil filter kit and air cleaner changed out? Front suspension; ball joints, pitman, idler, rod ends, rubber throughout replaced? Seals around windows, roof, ragtop? Seal on trunk & doors replaced? Carb rebuilt to deal with alcohol? Gas tank okay? (they all rust inside due to H2O condensation as does the brake master, and wheel cylinders). Carpet? (the clock is $500) Do the wipers work? They were vacuum driven originally and that worked, 'til it didn't. Did they upgrade the ignition system to electronic (I wouldn't). Shocks? New springs front and back? How about sway bar (not original but to enjoy the car at high speeds which it will do quite easily, you need 4Wdisk+rear anti-sway bar) Do the doors close easily? Do the numbers match for the chassis, engine, tranny, rear end, etc? Is the paint code correct to the vin plate on the firewall? Is the jack, spare and related hardware there? I could go on but I already did...
 
photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
My 2cents. I would look seriously at the money pits. Is it still 6volt? Has it been rewired? If so, was it rewired then? Has it been modified (resto-mod) such as 4w disk brakes, new lines, matching master cyl to calipers? Fan still 3 blade? Does it have a lot of upgrades? Power windows/seats/AC/Supercharger/Dual quads/...? Wheels look like hubcaps, are they Kelsey Hays wire wheels? Oil filter kit and air cleaner changed out? Front suspension; ball joints, pitman, idler, rod ends, rubber throughout replaced? Seals around windows, roof, ragtop? Seal on trunk & doors replaced? Carb rebuilt to deal with alcohol? Gas tank okay? (they all rust inside due to H2O condensation as does the brake master, and wheel cylinders). Carpet? (the clock is $500) Do the wipers work? They were vacuum driven originally and that worked, 'til it didn't. Did they upgrade the ignition system to electronic (I wouldn't). Shocks? New springs front and back? How about sway bar (not original but to enjoy the car at high speeds which it will do quite easily, you need 4Wdisk+rear anti-sway bar) Do the doors close easily? Do the numbers match for the chassis, engine, tranny, rear end, etc? Is the paint code correct to the vin plate on the firewall? Is the jack, spare and related hardware there? I could go on but I already did...
Thank you a ton! I know of the usual items to look for, but you’ve added a few specific to the T-Bird. Also, not a restomod, hasn‘t had any major upgrades.

Much appreciated!
 
4VE
Joined
Aug 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1955
Don't be concerned about originality. They came with 1955 technology. Think about safety, comfort and fun. The value of the vehicle is now and then. Then is the future. Then they will want all the safety, comfort and technology available. I am putting a state of the art radio/cam/gps/ etc in mine. I put a steering wheel from a '57 because it is smaller in diameter. I put in leather seats (true to color). Look into Wilwood for brakes. And if you are familiar with Excel, I have a spread sheet with all of the vendors and all of the parts that I wanted/got listed and where, and how much with part numbers and hot links to their catalogs/websites.
 
photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
Don't be concerned about originality. They came with 1955 technology. Think about safety, comfort and fun. The value of the vehicle is now and then. Then is the future. Then they will want all the safety, comfort and technology available. I am putting a state of the art radio/cam/gps/ etc in mine. I put a steering wheel from a '57 because it is smaller in diameter. I put in leather seats (true to color). Look into Wilwood for brakes. And if you are familiar with Excel, I have a spread sheet with all of the vendors and all of the parts that I wanted/got listed and where, and how much with part numbers and hot links to their catalogs/websites.
Here’s the ad for the 55’. If you prefer to navigate without link, just google Druk Auto Sales in Ramsey, MN. Price is now $32k.

If you’re willing to share the spreadsheet…I actually love working on my vehicles, it’s needed therapy. My main concern would be overpaying for this 55’, just from the test drive and looking it over for quite a bit today, it’s a good car. Yes, I would like to upgrade for safety and comfort. Seems this is overpriced as biddle mentioned.

Thanks
 
C

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
I am not sure where the $500 price for the clock rebuild comes from. I have had several worked on for less than $125 that work flawlessly when done. The car would not have had a white top on a red body in 1955. A dealer could have swapped it from a white car. I prefer the stock car. I understand that it is 1955 technology, but hat would be my preference. Yes, you can convert to 12 volt, put in a stereo that will knock the windows out two blocks away, disc brakes, updated power steering, rack and pinion, dual master cylinders, maybe a 350 Chevrolet engine to give you more HP. The bottom line is that it is your car and you should be able to modify it any way you want to satisfy YOU! If you are looking for the ride and feel of a new car, you can spend a fortune and never achieve that.
 
photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
I am not sure where the $500 price for the clock rebuild comes from. I have had several worked on for less than $125 that work flawlessly when done. The car would not have had a white top on a red body in 1955. A dealer could have swapped it from a white car. I prefer the stock car. I understand that it is 1955 technology, but hat would be my preference. Yes, you can convert to 12 volt, put in a stereo that will knock the windows out two blocks away, disc brakes, updated power steering, rack and pinion, dual master cylinders, maybe a 350 Chevrolet engine to give you more HP. The bottom line is that it is your car and you should be able to modify it any way you want to satisfy YOU! If you are looking for the ride and feel of a new car, you can spend a fortune and never achieve that.
Right now, I really just want a solid 1955, that I can slowly work on as a project, and keep for a number of years. I really like this local one, just seems overpriced, we’re at $32k now, the link is in my above response, if you’d like to offer your opinion. Not looking to spend a fortune upgrading, just a nice looking and driving classic is my desire.

Thanks
 
C

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
Every used car is unique. You have to look at the pros and cons of each vehicle. Without inspecting the car, I can only give you a guess. I would say that $30,000 would be top dollar unless there is something special about the car. I also expect these models to be flat as far as appreciation. They appeal to an older crowd and that crowd is diminishing rapidly. That being said, I have owned my 1955 since 1969 and would not trade it for the world. does this car has power windows? Power brakes? You have both tops, which is a plus. Have the mechanics of the car checked out and drive it like it is an almost 60 year old car. I would not spend a dime updating brakes, steering, etc, but that is ME. If you are going to purchase this car for your enjoyment, and plant to keep it for a long time, then spending a few extra dollars will not be the end of the world. Have a mechanic and body man look at the car, if it is solid, has the features you want, then buy it.

The plus of this car is that there are many parts available for this model. It is much easier to get them than for many other collector cars. Join a club, drive it on weekends, or on a special occasions.
 
photoguy

photoguy

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2022
Thunderbird Year
1955
Wow! Since 1969!

I realize it’s difficult to form a solid opinion of the car from afar, it’s nice hearing multiple points of view, extremely helpful.

Thank you!
 
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