Car Catcher: Chuck Daigh’s 1957 Ford Thunderbird Racer

Not just any Ford Thunderbird, but a racer prepared by Chuck Daigh. Who was he? As the Fantasy Junction listing recals, Carroll Shelby once heaped high praise: “There are only two people I can think of who could sit down, take a welding torch, build their own chassis, go out to test it and then win races with it. They are Jack Brabham and Chuck Daigh. I put Chuck in the same category as Jack.”

In 1956, Chuck Daigh set a Daytona Speed Weeks record in a Ford Thunderbird: 92.142 mph. Two years later, he won the 1958 U.S. Grand Prix in an American car. To date, he’s the only American driver to do so. The next year, he drove a Ferrari 250TR to victory at Sebring, assisted by Dan Gurney, Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien. And more wins followed. 

Long after hanging up the helmet for top-level competition, he continued to work as a race engineer. One of his latest creations is this 1957 Ford Thunderbird vintage racer. 

Under the direction of the current owner and Les Nimmo of Nimmo Machine Vintage Racing, this 1957 Thunderbird would become the last car Chuck Daigh would prepare and race, culminating his remarkable career in motorsports,” the listing explains. “The project began when a long-term California T-Bird was located near Nimmo’s shop. The car had been maintained with just a few owners when it was located and removed from long-term storage, and disassembled for the build. Having been a California car for nearly all its known life, the car had only one small area of rust, directly under the accelerator pedal. Working with his close friend Les Nimmo, Chuck Daigh applied many of his skillful build ideas to make this T-Bird a successful and capable vintage racecar, built in the spirit of period racecars, just as Chuck had done back when these cars were new.”

Soon before his passing in 2007, Daigh ran this car at Monterey, claiming the Senter Award for Best Ford, a trophy presented by Ford Motor Company. Today, the seller notes, the car is street-legal. Power come from a freshened 292-cubic-inch V8.

Asking price is $57,500. Find More details here.

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