2012 Ridler-Winning ’55 Thunderbird

Dwayne Peace was given an ultimatum by his wife: either restore his ’55 T-Bird project car or get rid of it. But rather than just spiff it up to like-new status his son Matt had different ideas. Rather than just restoring it they needed to do something that would stand out. Normally it would be sacrilege to do anything to the original design, but the very changes that they would end up doing to the classic car would change the very perception of what is acceptable.

Matt, along with his younger brother had started Torq’d Design Lab in their hometown of Tyler and the goal from the two-man shop was to get the Thunderbird into the Pirelli Great 8 at the Detroit Autorama. “My brother Jonathan and myself began building the handmade chassis for the 1955 Ford Thunderbird in 2007,” Said Matt, “and we worked on it for my dad. It was awesome working together.”

2012 Ridler-Winning '55 Thunderbird Interior

The Detroit Autorama is probably most famous for its Don Ridler Memorial Award- the top prize at the indoor car show that’s given to a vehicle that best displays stylish and innovative design. The Pirelli Great 8 is the group of eight finalists chosen from which the Ridler is picked, so getting into the Pirelli Great 8 is a major achievement in itself. “We ended up winning the 2012 Ridler Award and Good Guys “Custom Rod of the Year”!

The Peace Boys took a retro-futuristic approach to the refit of the T-Bird, honoring the original design but updating it just enough to give it a taste of modern flair. The Ridler winning car’s front end has a modern take on the classic hot-rod grilled, the rest of the body has the clean, understated lines also common in hot-rodding, and the interior takes a minimalistic approach. But the car wasn’t just a beauty queen with all looks and no “go” as it sported a monster Gale Banks Engineering 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged small block V8 that produced 1,150 horsepower and 925-pound feet of torque.

2012 Ridler-Winning '55 Thunderbird Engine
Many great opportunities have sprung forth for the Peace boys’ Torq’d Design from that one car and its win, and they’re constantly busy these days.
Torq’d Design, LLC
13811 Rex Rd.Tyler, Texas 75703
(903) 245-5675