Skip to main content

1957 Ford Battlebird news, pictures, specifications, and information
Roadster
 
Peter DePaolo Engineering was commissioned by Ford to build two experimental Thunderbirds named Battlebirds for speed records. One had a 430 Lincoln and this car, #98, ran a highly modified 312 engine.

In 1957, Chuch Daigh drove this Battlebird to a speed of 93.312 mph on the beach at Daytona in the Speed Weeks Standing Mile Acceleration Event for Experimental Cars. Daigh was reported to have taken this car over 200 mph on the Two Way Flying Mile, but was unable to back the speed up due to mechanical problems.

This Battlebird also competed in the Airport Sports Car Races where it was driven by Marvin Panch. Panch's road racing experience and the Battlebird's performance paid off when he finished second to Carroll Shelby in a 4.9 Ferrari.
There were two Ford Battlebirds created and they were the work of talented engineers in an effort to bring racing glory to the Ford nameplate and to defeat stiff competition such as the Corvette. Much was needed to be done to make the popular Thunderbird into a formidable competitor. They were heavy, suffered from under-braking, and had a suspension that did not suite it well on the race track.

Four Thunderbirds were sent to Pete de paolo Engineering, which had a history with working with other Ford racing projects. Two cars were stripped of non-essential items and material and some of its material was replaced with aluminum. The aluminum bodywork was courtesy of Dick Troutman and Dwight Clayton.

The two remaining cars were kept in nearly stock guise so it would qualify for 'stock car class' racing. These two cars were intended to perform well on straight, high speed courses while the other two heavily modified cars were destined for road courses.

The two modified cars were given the nickname 'Battlebird.' They were built by Jim Travers and Frank Coons. The Ford engine was moved six-inches towards the back to held distribute the weight - as nearly every component had been removed from the interior of the car. One of the cars was fitted with a 312 cubic-inch Y-block engine while the other was given a Lincoln 430 cubic-inch V8. After a fuel injection system, supercharger, and other modifications, the engines were estimated to produce over 400 horsepower. Since Ford did not have a suitable gearbox to handle the power and to compete with Chevy's Borg-Warner T-10, a Jaguar four-speed unit was used.

Finned drum brakes were used with the rears receiving special cooling. The suspension was improved with coil springs in the front and a seven-leaf spring setup in the rear. A Halibrand quick-change differential was installed and an additional gas tank installed in the trunk. The cars rode on Halibrand magnesium wheels with knock-offs and Firestone Super Sport tires.

The cars had some success in racing prior to the Automobile Manufacturers' Association ban on racing, which meant the cars became obsolete. The were later sold to a privateer who continued to race them for several years. The Lincoln powered car was destroyed in an accident; the Ford engined cars remains and has been restored to its original Battlebird form.

Though the cars did not compete at Sebring and rival their competitors, they were given the opportunity to race prior to the ban. Out of the two, the Ford performed better, though the Lincoln-powered car did set the Daytona record for a standing-start.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2009
Recent Vehicle Additions

2016 Land Rover Discovery

2017 Cadillac Escalade

2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

2017 Hyundai Bisimoto Santa Fast

2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept

2017 GMC Yukon
"
JAGUAR ANNOUNCES 2016 PRODUCT OFFERINGS
 ◾Two all-new models, XE and F-PACE introduced to North American customers in 2016 ◾Second generation Jaguar XF fully redesigned with new aluminum-intensive architecture and new available technology features ◾Jaguar XJ receives it mid-cycle refresh with a subtle redesign and realigned pricing ◾Jaguar F-TYPE receives new powertrain and driveline options ◾All models feature Jaguar EliteCare, an all-new Best-in-Luxury Class1 5-year/60,000 mile vehicle care and warranty program as a standard ◾Pr...[Read more...]
2014 Audi A6 TDI® Selected as Green Car of the Year® Finalist
The 2014 Audi A6 TDI® clean diesel sedan has been selected as a finalist for the Green Car Journal 2014 Green Car of the Year® award. As a finalist, the Audi A6 TDI will be honored as Green Car Journal's 'Top 5 Green Cars for 2014' and earn the magazine's 'Green Car Product of Excellence' honors. Since 2005, the Green Car of the Year® program honors new vehicles with superior efficiency and improved environmental impact. The Green Car of the Year winner will be announced at this year's Los Angel...[Read more...]
10th Annual Keeneland Concours d'Elegance Announces 50 Years of Mustangs Will be on Display
• Classic cars, muscle cars, vintage motorcycles and helicopters are among the featured exhibits
LEXINGTON, KY – In celebrating its 10th year, the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance will honor one of America's most popular cars, the Ford Mustang, on Saturday, July 20. This year more than 130 collector cars and motorcycles will be on display, competing for honors in 19 judged classes. Working in conjunction with the Bluegrass Mustang Club, the Concours' organizers are expecting 1,000...[Read more...]
427 DragonSnake Cobra coming to the Concours d'Elegance of Texas
Following the resounding success of the inaugural Concours d'Elegance of Texas last spring, organizers have announced special features and classes for its second annual event, scheduled for May 5, 2013 at the award winning La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa in Montgomery, Texas. The Concours is one of the highlights of The Houston Classic Weekend, which will run from May 3-6, also featuring Worldwide Auctioneers The Houston Classic Auction, now in its twelfth year. Weekend visitors can once again loo...[Read more...]
1959 24 Hours of Le Mans: Confirmation of a Great
When it came to success in motor racing, Salvadori was blessed behind the wheel of a sports car. Throughout the 1950s, there really weren't too many drivers more successful. However, at Le Mans, Salvadori's would be left fighting for a race finish just about as badly as he had been throughout the majority of his Formula One career. But in 1958, things would turn around in the Formula One World Championship. Could the same thing happen for Salvadori at Le Mans a year later? Just 24 hours awaited ...[Read more...]

Anglia
Bronco
Capri
Comète
Cortina
Country Squire
Courier
Crestline Sunliner
Crown Victoria
Custom Deluxe
Customline
DeLuxe
E-Series
Edge
Escape
Escort
Expedition
Explorer
F-Series
Fairlane
Fairmont
Falcon
Fiesta
Five Hundred
Flex
Focus
Focus ST500
Freestyle / Taurus X
Fusion
Galaxie
Granada
GT 350 Hertz
GT40
LTD
Mainline
Maverick
Mercury Speedster
Model 18
Model 40
Model A
Model B
Model F
Model N
Model R
Model S
Model T
Mondeo
Mustang
Pickup
Pinto
Popular
Probe
Ranchero
Ranger
RS200
Shelby Cobra
Streetka
Taurus
Thunderbird
Torino
Transit Connect

© 1998-2016. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.