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

2017 Buick Cascada

2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport

1905 Oldsmobile Model N

1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

1951 Oldsmobile Super Eight-Eight
"
JAGUAR CLASSIC ANNOUNCES XKSS LAUNCH AND LIGHTWEIGHT E-TYPE RACE PLANS
◾Jaguar Classic confirms limited edition continuation XKSS to make world debut in North America in 2016 ◾Lightweight E-type chassis #15 to make racing debut at Le Mans Classic (10-12 July 2016), driven by presenter and journalist Chris Harris (Oxford Road, Coventry, 5 July 2016) – Jaguar Classic today announces that the hotly-anticipated continuation Jaguar XKSS will receive its world debut presentation in November this year in California, North America. The presentation will coincide...[Read more...]
FIRST 25TH ANNIVERSARY PANOZ ESPERANTE SPYDER DEBUTS AT STANDING-ROOM ONLY CELEBRATION
Panoz LLC also officially dedicates its new 10,000-sq.-ft. exhibition featuring interactive displays showcasing the storied Panoz sports car and racing history Hoschton, Ga., April 04, 2014–Hundreds of Panoz fans, followers and owners were on hand as Panoz LLC executives unveiled the very first25th Anniversary Edition Esperante Spyder. The first example of the exclusive two-seat sports car featured a radiant red exterior, carbon fiber accents, a supple yet sporting tan leather i...[Read more...]
Shelby Performance Parts Introduces Highly Anticipated Wide Body Kits For 2010-2014 Mustang
 Las Vegas – June 6, 2013 – Shelby Performance Parts (SPP), a division of Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI.PK), has now introduced the highly anticipated Shelby Wide Body Kit for 2010-2014 Mustang and Shelby models. The Shelby Wide Body package was unveiled on the 2013 Shelby GT500 Super Snake at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this January, and was recently released for 2005-2009 Mustang and Shelby cars. Shelby Per...[Read more...]
Original 1966 Batmobile Sets World Record
'Kustom Kar' Legend George Barris Parts with His Most Famous Creation After 47 Years The Original 1966 TV series Batmobile, one of the most recognized and popular pieces of entertainment history worldwide, sold for $4,620,000 and set the world record for the highest price ever fetched for a TV/Movie car, at the 42nd annual Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale. The unique vehicle was offered as part of Barrett-Jackson's spectacular Salon Collection on January 19, 2013. Barrett-Jac...[Read more...]
Mazda Raceway Teams up with Comedian and Car Buff Adam Carolla
Comedian Adam Carolla will bring his unique brand of humor to the Monterey Peninsula Friday, August 17 in a special performance. Carolla returns to Monterey to compete in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Carolla may be best known for creating and hosting 'The Man Show,' but he is also an avid sports car enthusiast, recently hosting The Car Show on Speed TV and is the current host of Carcast, a weekly podcast that covers everything from hot rods to super ca...[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.