Four 1957 Thunderbirds were officially sanctioned by Ford Motor Company to be race prepared by Peter DePaolo Engineering Company.
Two of the Thunderbirds were built to compete in the experimental class and were highly modified. The other two retained their stock bodies. The highly modified cars had Aluminum doors, hood, and trunk lid. They also had aluminum heads, tail light door housings as well as aluminum side vent doors and a fairing behind the drivers for streamline purposes.
This particular car has a Ford 312 CI engine, while the other experimental car had a modified Lincoln engine. This particular car placed third in a standing mile acceleration test with a speed of 93.312 MPH at Daytona Beach in 1957. Marvin Panch also drove this car to a second place finish on the sports car road course in 1957.
In 1957 the Automobile Manufacturers Assoc. made the decision to pull support from the factory racing teams, so the cars ended up in private hands. The two stock bodies' cars are in a private collection while this is the only remaining car of the two experimental cars built in 1957.
This #98 Battlebird was powered by a highly modified Hilborn-injection 312 Ford Y-Block V8 with magneto ignition. It was mated to a Jaguar four-speed manual gearbox sourced from an XK-120. It had a Halibrand Quick-Change rear end and lightweight aluminum body panels. Weight distribution was improved by moving the engine back six inches and placing it four inches lower.
In 2010, the car was offered for sale at the Sports & Classics of Monterey presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $275,000 - $375,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $280,500 inclusive of buyer's premium.Also photographed at :