Live Auctions

1 of 2000: 1963 Ford Thunderbird Principality Of Monaco

The Ford Thunderbird already had plenty of bling and lavish styling by the time the 1963 model rolled around, but an interesting event occurred the year before that the powers that be at Ford Motor Company viewed as a unique promotional opportunity for the T’Bird.  In 1962, Ford had found out that actress Grace Kelly had plans to return to acting, and sought her input regarding color preferences for a special edition Thunderbird.  Kelly had become royalty in the previous decade when she married Prince Rainer III in 1956, and the car that resulted from Ford’s meeting with Princess Grace was the 1963 Ford Thunderbird Principality Of Monaco.  Only a couple of thousand were ever produced, and if you find the idea of owning one of these unusual Birds appealing you’re in luck, as one can be spotted here on Craigslist with an asking price of $12,500.  The car is located in the Brentwood/Oakley region of the San Francisco Bay area in California, and Barn Finds would like to thank reader T.J. for finding it!

The princess chose Corinthian White with a rose-colored landau roof, a combination of which all 2,000 examples wore from the factory.  The Principality Of Monaco was a one-year-only design, and it was actually a mid-year offering that didn’t become available until February of 1963.  The owner says that his car was purchased from the estate of a Thunderbird restoration specialist in Placerville, California, whom he claims performed several award-winning restorations on T’Birds over the years, although no specific details are given beyond that.  A laundry list of what has already been done to this car is provided, and upon first glance, the price appears to be a good value.  But there’s a moderate catch- read on!

The Thunderbird is said to have already undergone a high-end restoration, with no corners cut.  Among many things, this included the body being stripped, gutted, cleaned, and prepped at a cost of $2.500, followed by a new paint job in the original code, which cost $10,000.  Plus there’s a new correct color vinyl roof, which added another $2,000.  All chrome pieces including bumpers were re-chromed ($5,000), and new correct hubcaps were bought with new whitewall tires added ($1,400).  The numbers-matching 390 engine was fully rebuilt at a cost of $4,500, with the numbers-matching transmission receiving a complete overhaul for $2,500.

So the car was about 90% completed when the prior owner became ill and his estate ended up being sold off, but here’s the catch.  The Thunderbird was up on jack stands when a wind storm came along, and the poor car was knocked off the jacks with the wheels off.  The seller claims that only minor damage occurred, and while it may not be catastrophic, it’s not exactly good either.  Both front fenders received what the seller calls minor damage, including a 4-inch dent on the driver’s side panel and cracked paint.  The passenger side fender has no metal damage, but the paint was chipped.  Both front panels have minor wobbles, which happened when the shade structure covering the car smacked into them.

The interior is still a work-in-progress, with the dash removed but redone in its correct color.  A new correct color carpet kit is also included, along with a new headliner and door handle set.  All the seats have undergone extensive work, and there are even new power window motors.  All in all, the seller says that over $35,000 has already been invested in this Thunderbird, and he says that another $5,000 of extra parts will also be included in the sale.  What are your thoughts on this 1963 Ford Thunderbird Principality Of Monaco?


  1. RichardinMaine

    Umm, dude, Princess Grace was Princess of Monaco.
    Not Great Britain.

    Like 6
  2. Frank Sumatra

    Placerville CA seems like an odd place to find a high-end restoration shop. Pretty far from San Francisco and LA and not the easiest place to ship parts to and from back in the day. I would apply due dilligence+ on this story. Princess Grace consulting with Ford sounds sketchy also. As noted previously- “Every car has a story, and some of them are true”

    Like 7
    • Dan

      Good morning
      Placerville on Hwy 50 is closer to Sacramento than SF. Hwy 50 which is like an interstate goes through the town so access is easy.
      Placerville, auburn, Cameron park are all nice towns outside of the crime of bigger cities. Finding specialty shops in small towns does not surprise me at all. Just saying, I’d rather drive an expensive toy to one of these towns, in lieu of a shady area of SF.

      Like 1
    • Grey O’Brien
      • Frank Sumatra

        From the info you posted- “It is reported that Princess Grace was consulted regarding the color selection for the Limited Edition Landaus,” Maybe she was, maybe she wasn’t. Thanks for the info. Ford was swinging for the fences on that campaign.

        Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      Unless the restoration shop owner has a very wealthy clientele or is willing to waste cash by locating in a city or suburb, they tend to locate in the country, as mine was. Almost all the good restoration shops I have known over the years were located in the rural areas of North America.

      Like 9
    • Gary

      She did consult with Ford on this project, they were hoping to cash in on her fame as princess.

      Like 3
    • Chuck Simons

      There is a resto shop doing museum work in a hidden street in Palmdale Ca. OUt of the way places still get UPS/Amazon deliveries. My friend had his 57 Ebird there before he placed it in Don Laughlin’s Museum along the Colorado river.

      • Frank Sumatra

        Palmdale has turned into an LA suburb and is basically a straight line from LA to Palmdale hour and a half run.

  3. Ike Onick

    They were confused at the palace when Grace’s hubby only spoke French.

    Like 4
  4. Bick Banter

    My thoughts are that this is an excellent example of how expensive a restoration can get! 40k invested and this thing’s still nowhere close to done, and I suspect that’s an underestimate. And how the heck did it get knocked off its jack stands? That must be a very interesting story!

    Like 6
  5. Rex Kahrs Member

    The wind blew a 4000+ lb. car off the jackstands? Well I never….

    Like 8
  6. Shuttle Guy

    All B/S aside. Throw the story/s out the window. It’s still worth $12,500.00

    Like 11
  7. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I’m nearly inclined to hire an expert to go check this out. I’m not really a big fan of bullet nose Thunderbirds but this could possibly turn out to be worth the money. For now it’s wait n see.

    God Bless America

    Like 4
  8. grant

    No good close up prices of the described damage makes me wonder a bit.

    Like 5

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