1957 Factory Air...?

Joined
Oct 12, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
Just purchased this nice little nugget at RM Sotheby's auction last Friday. My question here is per the attached picture, is this how factory air came in the 1957 birds...? Your thoughts are appreciated...!


Capture.JPG
 

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
There was NO factory Air for the 1955-57 Thunderbirds. Ford did NOT offer a kit to add it. Any air conditioning on the early Thunderbird is an aftermarket add on unit.
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
Yes the air conditioning unit is an after market unit but looks like it was well excecuted. Not a knock as they are well supported and often added in hot climates.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

cokefirst

Active Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1955
no argument on the added comfort air conditioning adds. My comments were for the record that there was no Ford kit to add the air conditioner to the Thunderbird and there was no factory installed unit. Any A/C unit on those cars is either a later model unit that was made to fit that car. or a period correct unit that was made to be added to the car. None of the last two options were ford kits and were likely made by ARA or one of the several other aftermarket producers of add on air.
 

jack-in-sac

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1957
Just purchased this nice little nugget at RM Sotheby's auction last Friday. My question here is per the attached picture, is this how factory air came in the 1957 birds...? Your thoughts are appreciated...!


View attachment 19258
I have the same unit I installed in 1997. If you look under the hood it will likely have a Sankyo style rotary compressor. that Compressor did not exist in the 1950s or 1960s. As other have told you there was no factory air for Thunder birds in 1957. Only passenger cars had that option in 1957. Not until the square Birds of '58 - '60 did AC become an option and it doesn't look anything like this.
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
I have the same unit I installed in 1997. If you look under the hood it will likely have a Sankyo style rotary compressor. that Compressor did not exist in the 1950s or 1960s. As other have told you there was no factory air for Thunder birds in 1957. Only passenger cars had that option in 1957. Not until the square Birds of '58 - '60 did AC become an option and it doesn't look anything like this.
Never knew A/C was available in any of the cars at that time. Interesting info for those who have Fairlaines or other cars at that time. The day is not waisted when you can learn something new.
 

jack-in-sac

Active Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2018
Thunderbird Year
1957
Never knew A/C was available in any of the cars at that time. Interesting info for those who have Fairlaines or other cars at that time. The day is not waisted when you can learn something new.
I was surprised myself as My parents had a new '57 Fairlane fordor hardtop with added AC as we lived in Phoenix AZ at the time. I had a friend in High shool that had a '57 Chevrolet with factory AC. That is the only one I recall actually seeing as OEM. I have seen a '57 Ford Ranchero with factory AC. That is the only one I have seen in person. The ducts went to the windshield base, not the best location.
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
Well I think there was a good reason. The brake booster had to be moved to the fender and I think the engineers told the sales dept. 'there is no more room in these little cars'.
There's room. If there wasn't people couldn't do it now. I've even seen AC installed in one using one of those big old square york compressors in the same spot as people put the Sanden's today.
 

Ward 57

Active Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Thunderbird Year
1957
There's room. If there wasn't people couldn't do it now. I've even seen AC installed in one using one of those big old square york compressors in the same spot as people put the Sanden's today.
That may be true. How they shoehorn those in there is beyond me. Apparently the engineers had the ability but I also wonder if the design team had something to do with it.
I have a feeling they were not keen on the idea of square registers under their smoothly flowing dash and that they could incorporate this newer technology into the new designs. Plus the argument 'It's a convertible, who needs A/C?' Just speculation but nobody really knows why they did the things they did as it was business privacy.
 

CSPIDY

Active Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Thunderbird Year
1957
It is my understanding that you had an option to have air conditioning installed by the dealer.
All the ones that I have seen resemble the one in the picture.
Perhaps someone can confirm this?
 

jimntempe

Active Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2021
Thunderbird Year
1957
There were some AC systems in 1957 where the unit in the passenger compartment looked similar to that, the Mark IV comes to mind. Any original system from 1957 that was a dealer installed ford system would have the square style compressor under the hood originally although it could easily have been replaced with a modern rotary style in the intervening years. I don't think Ford made any systems back then which looked like the Mark IV though, the ford systems usually had four round vents in front.

R.365ab822298e3de68b08595e836c7de4


80-air_conditioner_7cbbac688ff3df9248d7ff9ddccc9295fc17bb5f.jpg
 
Top