The 1957 Ford Thunderbird bid farewell with a sense of pride, showcasing refreshed aesthetics and an array of new performance possibilities. Among these, the most remarkable was the enchanting “F-Code” supercharged engine.
Dubbed after the initial letter of the Thunderbird’s chassis number, which represented the car’s factory-installed powerplant, these endearingly nicknamed “F-Birds” boasted the Thunderbird Special 312-cubic-inch V-8 engine, equipped with a McCulloch/Paxton VR57 centrifugal supercharger, a meticulously sealed Holley four-barrel carburetor, and reinforced cylinder heads. Although the factory rating placed it at 300 horsepower, both contemporary tests and Paxton Products themselves suggested a more accurate figure closer to 400.
Such substantial horsepower commanded an additional cost of over 10% on top of the Thunderbird’s base price, thereby reserving it for the most discerning and performance-oriented clientele. While a total of 21,380 Thunderbirds were manufactured in 1957, only approximately 200 of those left the factory with the coveted F-Code engine package.