1963 Ford Thunderbird
Car for sale by Harwood Motors in Macedonia, Ohio 44056
From around 1956 until the mid 1980s, Dodge, Plymouth and even Chrysler squads were the most ubiquitous police cars in North America. In fact, the biggest department, the NYPD, used Plymouth and Dodge squads almost exclusively until the rear-drive M body car was finally axed in 1989.
The no-frills Savoy two-door sedan was home to another engine of considerable repute, the infamous 413 Max Wedge, a Super Stock monster block Chrysler introduced in the spring of 1962.
Classic Car Overview
Ford’s personal luxury car grew up in 1958, gaining two seats, more horsepower, and vastly more sales. The first 4-seat “square Birds” gave way to the “bullet Birds” which were streamlined and benefitted from technology developed for the Ford Skyliner hardtop convertibles. By 1963, the Thunderbird was almost as much Lincoln as Ford, offering top-of-the-line luxury and that miraculous convertible top that stows itself under the trunk lid at the touch of a button. With more power from a 390 cubic inch V8 and road manners that make them fantastic long-distance cruisers, these cars are finally getting the recognition that they’ve deserved for years. In short, fans are discovering what new car buyers in 1963 already knew: four seats are often better than two.
This striking 1963 Thunderbird convertible shows what appears to be 46,414 original miles and one repaint a few years ago. Trimmed to look like a Sport Roadster, it has that iconic look and thanks to the mileage, it’s both fun to drive and a no-compromises cruiser that you can drive every day. Code J Rangoon Red is this car’s original color and we have to admit that this long, red ‘Bird looks like a rock star sitting in the sun. The respray was incredibly thorough so the car looks quite good from any angle, and it’s obvious from looking underneath that the car has always been someone’s fair-weather toy (original DSO was right here in Cleveland and it obviously didn’t have to fight through our winters). Finish quality is quite good, with even gaps and lots of time invested in getting everything straight, with doors that close well and no signs of accident damage or other issues in its past. Of course, on a car like this, the critical issue is the jewelry, which includes all that wonderful chrome trim. All the Thunderbird logos have gorgeous inlays that are designed to simulate genuine turquoise, and from behind, it’s easy to see why they also call these the “rocket Birds.” Then there’s the bright strip of stainless that defines the top edges of the fenders, running across the doors to form the door handles, before cresting the modest tailfins. The ‘Thunderbird’ script on both quarter panels, the hash marks on the doors, and the stainless windshield surround are all in great shape. It isn’t perfect, but it’s awfully nice.
According to the door tag, this car’s code 82 black leather bucket seat interior is correct, and it features a great deal of new components. The seat covers front and rear may possibly be original, complete with Thunderbird insignias on the seat backs and no splits or tears, just some wrinkles that you’d expect over time. Black carpets with a heel pad for the driver look more recent, and the dash pad doesn’t suffer any cracks or UV damage from years in the sun. Sleek, round gauges are pure 1960s cool, with clear markings and bright pointers, all surrounded by an anodized aluminum trim panel that extends into the center console. It also offers Ford’s neat “swing away” steering column, which pivots towards the center of the car when you gently tug on the shifter handle. The Thunderbird’s convertible top is a wonder of 1950s tech, stowing itself invisibly under the trunk lid in a feat of electro-hydraulic gymnastics that always attracts a crowd. The top itself is black vinyl, as original, and remains in excellent shape with a few wrinkles but no tears, and it does work correctly in both directions. The Sport Roadster tonneau cover is always a very desirable addition, but can be removed easily if you need to use the back seat (it does not affect top operation). The trunk is fully lined with a new mat set and includes a full-sized spare tire and jack assembly tucked into the quarter panel.
There’s plenty of horsepower on tap with a Z-code 390 cubic inch V8 under the hood. Topped by a fresly rebuilt 4-barrel carburetor, it makes a nice, round 300 horsepower and plenty of torque to make the ragtop ‘Bird feel effortless in everything it does. The engine bay is dominated by the big, gold air cleaner and the expansion tank, so it looks quite authentic and you can see how clean this car is from the visible spot welds on the inner fenders—this is not a car that was patched up and rusty. It starts easily, idles smoothly, and has a very healthy V8 rumble from the brand-new dual exhaust system (interestingly enough, dual exhaust was an option in 1963). It was undercoated years ago, but the rockers, subframe supports, and floors are sharply rendered and don’t have that worn look that rusty cars in the north always get. The power drum brakes were rebuilt, the suspension is supple and rides well, and with 3.00 gears out back, it cruises at highway speeds easily. Genuine wire wheels and 215/75/14 whitewall radials look fantastic on the dramatic body, the perfect finishing touch for such a gorgeous convertible.
Go ahead and look around, but you’ll probably find that 1963 Thunderbird convertibles are red hot collectables, especially with only 5900 or so being built. Perhaps you never even considered a 4-seat ‘Bird until you saw this one, but its combination of good looks, a fantastic interior, and a potent V8 have won you over. An absolutely fantastic vintage convertible with zero needs beyond a happy new owner. Call today!
Classic Car ID101244474
While we do our best to present all vehicles as honestly and accurately as possible, Harwood Motors Ltd. cannot guarantee the veracity of the information contained herein. This site and all advertising information may be updated without notice whenever new information is obtained and may contain mistakes and inaccuracies. Information is provided to the best of our knowledge and that of the owners of the vehicles, and we make no warranty or representation regarding the accuracy, truth, suitability, or reliability of such information. We cannot be responsible for any errors, omissions, or inaccuracies contained in information provided by third parties. Harwood Motors Ltd. is not an expert in the construction, metallurgy, engineering, finishes, materials, and componentry of every single vehicle ever made. Harwood Motors Ltd. strives to perform extensive visual inspections on all vehicles we represent but we do not disassemble vehicles or components for inspection purposes and therefore it is always possible that there is hidden damage that is not readily apparent. We cannot guarantee the fitness of any components beyond a visual inspection and normal operation of the vehicle. We do not perform internal examinations, so we cannot guarantee the condition of unseen internal components such as crankshafts, bearings, gears, and other mechanical equipment. This also applies to electronics such as radios, clocks, gauges, light fixtures, switches, or other electrical devices. Buyer should personally inspect the vehicle and satisfy himself as to its mechanical and cosmetic fitness. We always welcome inspections by Buyers and/or third parties who wish to undertake such examinations at their own expense. Harwood makes no warranty or representation regarding mileage unless otherwise stated. Listed prices do not include additional fees, state, federal, or local taxes, or shipping and delivery costs. Harwood Motors Ltd collects a $150.00 documentation fee on every vehicle purchase. Buyer is entirely responsible for satisfying himself that the car is as-represented prior to purchase and there are no warranties, expressed or implied, involved in the sale of any motor vehicle represented by Harwood Motors Ltd.
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