Bird of Few Words: 1962 Ford Thunderbird

If I had to pick a favorite generation of Thunderbird (because who doesn’t have a favorite generation of Thunderbird?) I’d probably go with the 1961-63 “Bullet Bird.” I love how it marries totally of-the-moment space age design motifs with clean surface detailing that comes across as strikingly modern. If you’re entranced by these big ‘Birds—and in this case, you’d better be, because the ad doesn’t give you much else to work with—check out this lovely custard yellow ’62, offered on craigslist in Marysville, Michigan for $12,700.

Many of the styling features of this generation Thunderbird give it a custom look, straight from the factory. This one has a mildly custom look inside the trunk, with an awful looking set of speakers, and under the hood, too, with an aftermarket air cleaner and bright yellow wiring adorning the 390-cubic inch V8. Whether there’s any added go to complement the show is anyone’s guess; the text of this ad is all of twelve words (which don’t even form a complete sentence) and says nothing about whether the car even runs. I’m guessing that “is beautiful shape” is meant to encompass the car’s mechanical, structural, electrical, and cosmetic condition in one elegantly brief, preposition-free clause.

Beautiful shape certainly applies to the sweeping flight deck of this coupe, complete with swing-away steering wheel for ease of entry and exit. It’s hard from a modern perspective, when every new car sold in this country has a dashboard that flows down into a console between individual front seats, to realize how ahead of its time this interior styling is—this was wild stuff in 1962. Also ahead of its time: the heavily padded dashboard, which wouldn’t be mandated until several years later; a relic from Ford’s failed 1956 “Lifeguard Design” safety package, perhaps?

The rubber “Built Ford Tough” truck floor mats are a bit jarring, perhaps, but from the provided pictures, it’s hard to see much potentially wrong with this Thunderbird, making all the more frustrating that there’s no text to either explain what the pictures don’t show or offer reassurance that this car’s good looks aren’t deceiving. It is a looker, though…what do you think—could this Bird of few words win you over?

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Comments

  1. Joe Backer

    Its on the high side I think.

    2+

  2. Fran

    That is a nice car, 12k is nothing for a car in that condition….

    3+

  3. Kevin

    Excepting the 55_57 2seaters, I think this is the sharpest looking generation of Thunderbird ever, and the wire wheeled roadster roadster package was the ultimate. And yes, that air cleaner and yellow plug wires need to go away. Other than that, if it’s as good as it looks, the price is more than reasonable.

    4+

    • glen

      I’m thinking, as much as I love music, those speakers in the trunk need to go away.

      4+

      • Kevin

        You’re right. Those too.

        3+

  4. Sam

    Dat bee ah geerate luk’n Tea Burd.

    I hoop fido did int lift his “leg”.

    Very sharp…$10,500 would be great price if it checks out…slight rear bumper allignment.

    0

    • Fran

      Nah, 12k is a bargain, if I was close and in person it was that clean, I would take it.

      3+

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      Is it the bumper that’s misaligned or is it the trunk lid? Wonder if there was former accident damage to the car?

      0

  5. RonY

    Well at least there is a phone #, so the interested party does have a direct form of communication, an ad isn’t going to answer all of your questions anyway, so your gonna have to call one way or the other, so….. hey, if you’re interested, just call.

    1+

  6. Francisco

    Prepositions introduce phrases, a clause is introduced by a subordinating or coordinating conjunction.

    2+

    • Fran

      What? Or, Huh?

      5+

  7. Mark.m Member

    Throw away,speakers, mats and wires, speedo was tampered with. Seats do not look correct but not sure. Are those the right hubcaps?

    0

    • Fran

      The hub caps are actually sports roadster wheels. Worth about 2k. The rest of the stuff is ez fix. The speakers you can sell to some kid.

      1+

  8. Ken Carney

    To me, these ‘Birds looked like an electric razor with four wheels on them. My dad wound up getting one for my older sister to drive after she got her license to drive. It wasn’t too long after that the damned
    thing started vapor locking leaving her stranded by the side of the road.
    And if it wasn’t doing that, it was overheating. Needless to say it wasn’t
    around our house too long before dad co-signed a loan for her to get a
    ’70 Mustang coupe like the one I saw here the other day. Hers was
    The exact duplicate of your feature car minus the hood scoop. This one
    may be nice, but it doesn’t tickle my fancy. I’ll leave that for my grandma Turner’s ’66 Landau. Now that was a beautiful ‘Bird!

    1+

    • Kevin

      Vapor locking? Oh please. Lol. Overheating? Probably an easy fix, neither of which were common traits with these cars. Sounds like my dad, one little thing went wrong, and he was off to the dealer looking to trade. Lol

      1+

  9. ccrvtt

    This car is 55 years old. Looks pretty good to me. The price sounds like it’s in the ballpark if the car checks out. Agree with all the comments on the engine bay and the trunk, but those are easy fixes. Whoever buys this is going to enjoy all the compliments they get.

    3+

  10. Joe Haska

    I agree with the majority, if this car is half as nice in person, I would certainly want it my garage. Probably a good thing I am in Arizona and this car is in Michigan, I would love to look at in the flesh!

    1+

  11. Mike H

    “Because who doesn’t have a favorite generation of Thunderbird?”

    Good point, Nathan. I’d agree that this is the best of them all, from 1961 – 1963, although the ones that followed this one (1964 – 1966) had a lot going for them also. Really loved the jet inspired design and the way that all of the interior surfaces flowed into each other on the third generation cars.

    It’s sad to me that we’ll never see auto design like this again, where form exceeds function. Also, to the other commenters: if this car is as clean as it appears (and I’d expect that a PPI would be in order beforehand) the $13k asking price is more than fair.

    0

  12. Madmatt

    Looks like a small rust blister near roof trim,
    and I would really look it over well,but looks
    really decent,hope its not from the rust belt !
    These cars were very cool,luv the styling.

    1+

  13. Rustytech

    If you compare this with the 60 bird from yesterday for about the same price, this surely looks like a bargain! And it is.

    1+

  14. Steven

    The ’61-’63 Thunderbirds represent Ford’s design talents at its peak. They’re very well built, stunning looking automobiles inside and out.

    1+

  15. BMW4RunninTundra Member

    So how come nobodybhas “wondered” about the Temporary Tag hanging in the back window?!?! Seems like NOTHING gets past this crew but none the less, a glaring question like that left untouched??!! Unfathomable!
    Inside lines and layout are beautiful/clean/functional! If I read correctly, it is from the rust belt?!?! Which means some very close looking! Outsides, not my style, unless it were a drop top. Those look good!

    1+

  16. John Taylor

    Nice thing, but someone has given that car a hair cut (reset the speedo miles) alright. Shame it isn’t a rag top for that money though

    0

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