Written by Barbara Toombs
When Amos Minter brings a Thunderbird to auction, people sit up and take notice. For nearly 50 years, he has been restoring top-quality early Thunderbirds to exacting standards – so exacting that close to 50 of them have set world-record sales at auction, many of those on the Barrett-Jackson block.
Minter was first smitten with early T-Birds when he was just 12 years old, leading a parade in a small, rural Texas county. He was riding his favorite horse and carrying the American flag, but his attention was focused on the Starmist Blue and Dusk Rose 1957 Thunderbirds following behind him. He told his father on the way home, “Dad, if I ever make anything out of myself in life, I’m gonna have me one of those cars.” To which his father replied, “Son, those cars are $4,000. No one in our county could afford one of those cars.”
But by 1966, not long after he married wife Amy, Minter was driving one home. By 1969, he decided to leave the information technology path he was on and focus on restoring those early Thunderbirds he so loved. Today, the family-run Minter’s Thunderbirds – which specializes in Southwest dry-climate-owned T-Birds – has developed a reputation as one of the best in the business.
Minter has been selling and buying through Barrett-Jackson since the early 1970s, so it comes as no surprise that he would restore a very special Thunderbird specifically for the 2018 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. And it’s a rare beauty indeed.
This particular 1957 Ford Thunderbird convertible (Lot #1057) is an E-code, regarded by many as the most desirable option available in the T-Bird world. In addition to the new-for-1957 styling, the big news that really caught buyer’s attention back then was the choice of four power plants – with the optional 312ci E-code variant being at the top of the list that produced 270 horsepower through a modified Holley dual 4-barrel setup borrowed from the 1956 Lincoln. Just over 21,000 Thunderbirds rolled off the production line in 1957, and – according to the Classic Thunderbird Club International – only 1,449 of those were E-codes.
Minter and his small team of equally passionate people labored for nearly a year to get this car just right. It has been restored to Concours 2 class standards, with glamorous touches like wire wheels, mirror-deep base coat/clear coat, paint, and top-show triple-nickel chrome.
The car’s interior is done in Ford’s XK-code – original Colonial white. “There are no wrinkles, no sags,” reports Minter. “My upholsterer has been with me now for 34 years, and he’s got a passion for doing this, just like I do.”
This E-code collectible is fully loaded with every power accessory available from Ford in 1957, including Master Glide power steering, Swiftsure power brakes, 4-way seat and power windows. It also has an engine dress option, garbage-can fuel filter, linkage, a chrome air cleaner and Town & Country signal-seeking radio. The T-Bird has been restored to data-plate specifications, with Minter involved in every step of the process – although he admits that his favorite part is doing the final polish and detailing, along with the final test drives.
Look for this exceptional E-Bird when it’s on display at the Scottsdale event prior to making its way across the block on Friday, January 19, at No Reserve, and chances are good that you’ll find Amos Minter standing alongside it, ready and willing to answer any questions. “We take pride in what we do,” he says adamantly. “This is a gorgeous piece.”
For up-to-date information on this vehicle, click HERE.