Annette Funicello’s 1957 Ford Thunderbird Sold At Auction To Unknowing Buyer

by Matthew Memrick

A recent auction buyer picked up an added surprise when he bought Annette Funicello’s 1957 Ford Thunderbird. 

The surprise? The antique car belonged to the former Mousketeer actress. 

Now, he wants to sell the three-speed automobile.

The unnamed Oregon owner restored the car in 2014. When digging up the history behind the Ford, he learned it belonged to the actress. According to Fox News, he eventually was able to get it authenticated by the Funicello family.   

As of late Tuesday night, the rare car had two bids and was going for $42,777. The auction ends on Sept. 16.

According to Hagerty, Ford produced only 212 cars of that particular V8 model. But they still sell well.

One Georgia owner is selling a 1957 Thunderbird for $94,995. And that’s with less than 9,000 miles on it.

Funicello’s 1957 Ford Had A History

According to Fox News, the convertible was the Hollywood star’s first car at 16. Annette Funicello drove it daily for a decade.

The late actress died in 2013 at age 70. She died from complications from multiple sclerosis.

Annette Funicello personalized the car, having customizer George Barris paint it purple. Maybe it was the influence of being in a few car movies during her career. She played in “Fireball 500” in 1966 and “Thunder Alley” the following year. The actress was with Frankie Avalon and Fabian Forte for those flicks.

The car was passed down to her younger brother and repainted silver before selling it to another owner. The car changed hands a few more times before it got to the current owner in 2003.

The V8-powered automatic is now red with a tan interior. From the website, it has bucket seats and a center console. A removable hardtop is a big seller, and it comes with lots of original parts (hubcaps, AM radio). 

Annette Funicello’s Thunderbird May Have Had A Leak

While we don’t know the history of Annette Funicello’s car, the particular model had its faults

The Hagerty website goes into a few details, including an oil leak.

Dave Adams of Concord, California’s Thunderbird Headquarters, told the website that the rear main seal is leak-prone.

“In fact, even if you replace it, which is roughly a $1,000 job, within six months to a year, it’s virtually guaranteed to start leaking again,” Adams said. 

Adams explained there’s no fix to that problem.

That’s fine for Marvin Hill of Hill’s Classic Car Restorations in Racine, Ohio. However, he warns buyers not to tolerate a transmission leak on the rare car and it’ll be a big repair between $800 and $1500.

 “Just to pop the drivetrain in and out of the vehicle – it’s a big job,” Hill said.

There’s no telling what the Funicello family went through with the car or how Annette Funicello drove it.