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1957 Ford Battlebird news, pictures, specifications, and information

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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
1958 12 Hours of Sebring: Collins and Hill Escort a Red-Head Home to Victory
 In a matter of months Peter Collins would lay dying of wounds received in a violent crash at the Nurburgring during the German Grand Prix. While many would be holding their breaths and facing the cold-hard truth of another motor racing death, there would be others remembering Collins' talent harkening back to an evening in late March when he and Phil Hill would march triumphantly to victory, sharing the moment with a red-headed beauty. New regulations were on everyone's minds heading into 195...[Read more...]
SHELBY AMERICAN ANNOUNCES IT WILL END LIMITED RUN OF ITS SHELBY GT350
LAS VEGAS – July 26, 2013 – Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International Inc. (CSBI:PK), has announced that 2013 will be the last year of availability for its limited-run series of Shelby GT350 muscle cars. Shelby American will take new orders for the Shelby GT350 through December 31, 2013. Production of all other Shelby performance cars will continue. 'The Shelby GT350 is one of the world's most celebrated, iconic muscle cars,' said John Luft, president o...[Read more...]
ACURA NSX PRODUCTION SITE SELECTED IN OHIO
05/14/2013 - MARYSVILLE, Ohio Acura today announced that the all-new NSX supercar will be produced at a new Performance Manufacturing Center in Ohio, a $70 million advanced production facility encompassing 184,000 square feet to be housed inside Honda's former North American Logistics facility and located in the midst of Honda's existing R&D and production engineering operations. The site for the new production facility, which will be Honda's third auto plant in Ohio, is only a few mi...[Read more...]
Bonhams to offer the renowned Oldenburg family collection of classic automobiles at Scottsdale
More than 30 American, British and Italian cars of various vintages head to Scottsdale, Arizona Bonhams is honored to have been chosen to represent the highly esteemed Oldenburg Family Automobile Collection at its second annual Scottsdale Auction in January. The extensive collection of more than 30 cars from the prominent horse breeding family includes multiple models of the same marque, including Ferrari and Jaguar. The Italians Leading the impressive assembly are ...[Read more...]
Rodeo Drive Concours Celebrated Great Britain And Aston Martin
In celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the coming London Olympics, Rodeo Drive became decidedly British this past Sunday for the annual Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance on Father's Day with 'THE BRITISH ARE COMING!' theme. Aston Martin was this year's featured marque and Gearys Beverly Hills was the presenting sponsor in celebration of their new Rolex store opening on Rodeo Drive. Thousands of guests were joined by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, who stopped by Rodeo Drive for the annual e...[Read more...]

Arrow Right 1957 Ford models
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Ford Thunderbird
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