1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster

Ford’s glamorous 1962 Thunderbird Sports Roadster was a star at birth. While at the peak of his popularity in the Fall of 1961, Elvis Presley purchased one of the first Thunderbird Sports Roadsters built. Then Picture if you will, an early Sports Roadster featured on an episode of “The Twilight Zone,” on February 2, 1962. Yet, despite its splashy debut, the Sports Roadster was built in comparatively small numbers relative to the standard Thunderbird.

This special edition in the Thunderbird range was designed in response to some customers who felt the T-Bird had grown too soft, particularly those recalling the original two-seat 55-57 models. While performance wasn’t changed, this new option package did give the T-Bird a striking new look. The integral components of the Sports Roadster include the fiberglass tonneau cover, passenger assist bar, wire wheels, and Roadster-specific emblems on the front fenders and tonneau cover. This tonneau was a simple yet striking design piece transforming the standard Thunderbird convertible into the Sports Roadster by covering the back seat and adding jet-age aerodynamic headrests behind the front seats, giving the big four-seat Thunderbird a welcome dose of sportiness and style. Designed to be easily removed, owners could change from a sleek, sporty two passenger roadster to a four-passenger convertible in a matter of minutes. Critically, Ford designers ensured full operation of the convertible top regardless of the tonneau cover being in place. Additionally, the top is fully automatic except for latching or unlatching the top’s frame to the windshield header. The included Kelsey-Hayes Wire Wheels are among the most beautiful wheels ever created, and at $372.30, they accounted for over half the cost of the Sports Roadster package. Priced at $5,439 without any extras, it was $1,118 more than the Hardtop, and $651 more than the standard Convertible. Amazingly it was just $149 less than a Cadillac Sixty-Two Convertible!

While the new Thunderbird and Thunderbird Sports Roadster were up to par on style, Ford was still looking to dial in more performance. 1962 also saw the introduction of the M-code. Displaying the engine code M in the chassis number, the M-code cars utilized three two-barrel carburetors. This “tri-power” setup was completed with a special intake manifold feeding Ford 406 heads on top of the Thunderbird 390 V8 block, resulting in an incredible 340hp. Desired by many, purchased by few, the M-code was phased out in the middle of the 1963 model year. While Ford produced 1,427 Sports Roadsters for 1962, only 120 were true M-code Sports Roadsters, making the M-code Sports Roadsters the holy grail of all third generation Thunderbirds.

This 1962 M-Code Sports Roadster is truly a stunning example boasting a highly detailed, award-winning restoration performed by Whitehall Auto Restorations in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. Finished in a dazzling and factory original combination of Silver Mink over light silver blue metallic leather upholstery, it is beautifully presented with outstanding paint, chrome, and detailing. This T-Bird is restored to a standard rarely seen on similar cars and has been maintained to a high standard while in a private collection.

As a factory Sports Roadster, this T-Bird features the all-important tonneau panel, wire wheels, and special badging, while power comes from the aforementioned 390 cubic inch, 340 horsepower, V-8 from the FE family of powerplants that includes the mighty 427. Topped with three two-barrel carburetors and mated to a Cruise-O-Matic transmission, this T-Bird glide can glide effortlessly down any road of your choosing, but also plenty capable of shaming many Corvette-driving challengers thanks to bottomless reserves of torque and a remarkably refined chassis. The doors open and shut with precision, and panel fit is exemplary, notable for a large American cruiser of this era. Loaded to the gills, equipment includes the signature swing-away steering column, pushbutton radio, power windows, power seats, power top, heavy-duty battery, power steering, power brakes, Thunderbird floor mats and an extremely rare console mounted “Rotunda” tachometer.

The outstanding restoration continues in the cabin, which features factory-correct light silver blue metallic leather upholstery accented with sparkling chrome and aluminum accents for a sophisticated, upscale ambience. As with the body, the detailing is superb, with crystal clear instruments and a factory correct radio. The spotless engine compartment includes chrome air cleaner, proper “Thunderbird” valve covers, and correct stickers and tags.

A veteran of the concours lawn, the car has been awarded 1st place at the 2008 Vintage Thunderbird Club International Convention, as well as being shown at the Meadowbrook Concours, Indy Classic, Milwaukee Masterpiece, and the Ault Park Concours d’Elegance.

Any third-generation Thunderbird makes a strong impression, with many considering its styling to be the finest ever applied to the long-running Ford model. This 1962 “M-Code” Sports Roadster adds incredible rarity and an award-winning, well-maintained restoration to the mix, placing it at the very pinnacle of Thunderbird desirability.


Offers welcome and trades considered



Stock number 7683

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