1963 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

When Ford introduced the so-called “square bird” in 1958, some skeptics wondered if the radically different four-seat Thunderbird would resonate in the same way with buyers as the more overtly sporty, two-seat original. Any worries were cast aside in short order as the new four-passenger Thunderbird blew away previous sales records, selling 200,000 units in its first three years. Ford wisely stuck with the formula for the third generation T-Bird, introduced in 1961. The most significant change was, of course, the completely new and modern body styling. The new design featured a cleaner profile, inset headlamps, and a distinct pointed nose treatment. The sweeping, creased beltline made one continuous line from the tip of the front bumper to the end of the tail, terminating at big round taillights that mimicked the afterburners of a jet engine. It was wonderfully stylish without appearing overly fussy. Offered as a coupe or convertible, the Thunderbird continued to be a winner for Ford, and it spurred on competitors to join the personal luxury car market, but few enjoyed the same unbridled success of the Thunderbird.

This 1963 Thunderbird is a Vintage Thunderbird Club International Senior Award winner, presented in its correct original color scheme of Acapulco Blue over two-tone blue upholstery. It is a superb example, boasting a highly detailed, ground-up restoration with a host of desirable options and accessories. Supremely stylish in metallic light blue, this T-Bird displays excellent quality paintwork and straight, crisp panels. The chrome exterior trim is all in excellent order, and it rides on attractive chrome Kelsey Hayes-style wire wheels. It also features a Sport Roadster-style removable fiberglass tonneau with built-in headrest fairings.

A highlight of these early 60s Thunderbirds is the fabulous interior. This car is no exception, with two-tone blue upholstery, bucket seats, a broad center console, and fluted aluminum trim wrapping around the door panels, dash, and center stack. The swing-away steering column allows for easy ingress, and the thin-rimmed wheel provides that classically American fingertip control. Instruments and switchgear are all in excellent order, and options include power seats, an AM/FM radio, power windows, factory air conditioning, and a power top.

The outstanding attention to detail is most apparent under the hood, where the Z-Code 390 cubic inch V8 rests between the fenders. Details like proper Ford “tower” hose clamps, and factory-correct decals, labels, and markings point to a well-researched and meticulous restoration. It retains the original-style piston-type A/C compressor and features correct gold-painted air cleaner and matching Thunderbird valve covers. Equipment includes power steering and power brakes, ensuring this T-bird cruises effortlessly down this highway.

Ford’s 1963 Thunderbird is one of the most enjoyable and uniquely stylish American cars of the period. Legions of enthusiastic owners and strong parts support make it an excellent choice for a first classic, while this car’s superb quality means it would be at home in virtually any established collection. This car is among the best third-generation T-birds we’ve encountered, and it is an ideal family-friendly classic to enjoy on the open road or for showing with the AACA or any number of specialist clubs.


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