1960 Ford Thunderbird: “The World’s Most Wanted Car”

Despite being not pristine, perhaps you may think this 1960 Thunderbird deserves the moniker the ad mavens gave it at the time as “The World’s Most Wanted Car”? More about that later–but for now, this Corinthian White example is for sale here on eBay, where bidding is currently at only $1,975 and there’s no reserve. The big bird is located in Marlboro, New Jersey.

The Lincoln wheels don’t really do it for me, but that’s easy enough to change if you feel the same way. You can also see some of the spots of rust, for example just above the corners of the rear bumper. To their credit, the seller includes lots of clear pictures, so you know exactly what you are getting into if you’re considering the car. While most of it looks solid, there are some rusty spots around the edges of the car.

What a great profile! With all the jet fighter like touches and the wrap around windshield, this Thunderbird is absolutely a product of its time. Please, if you have a few minutes, take a look at these original Ford 2-minute advertisements here and here touting the car as the “World’s Most Wanted Car” to get a real feel for how the Thunderbird was positioned by Ford’s marketing personnel. The ad spots are incredible products of their time!

The interior is similar to the car; not pristine but perfectly adequate for a weekend (or more) driver. My uncle had a 1960 Thunderbird convertible that I was lucky enough to drive once; honestly, it felt like steering a motorboat compared to the Triumphs I was used to. I used to joke with him about his “burblemobile” and how input to the steering wheel was like sending a message to the engine room. But I have to admit that I enjoyed driving it–a lot!

Here’s the source of that burbling–the 185 horsepower (I should note that Ford calls it 350 in the advertising videos), 352 cubic inch V8. The one in this car is said to run and drive well, and that the transmission shifts correctly. The seller tells us that the brakes are good and that it has a nice set of radial tires installed. The sellers also just installed a new fuel pump and fresh gas to deal with what happened during storage. So since it’s ready to drive–are you wanted to be the one to drive it? Let us know in the comments! And what do you think it will end up going for?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Up over $2K right now, and I’d guess that it will go up to the $5K range before the auction’s over.

    My sense is that there is a fair amount of rust underneath, as well as the visible spots that could be attended to before the necessary — in my opinion, anyway — repaint. And if the price stays low, the next owner would probably want to address some of the grubby interior trim. That, too, seems as if it would take more effort than the photos indicate.

    But if the price stays fairly low, this could be a great deal! I didn’t think these were very attractive in 1960, but times and tastes change. It’s like a barge that has emerged from its cocoon to become a Chris-Craft…. Very cool!

    And yes, Jamie, the Lincoln wheels need to go.

  2. Howard A Member

    2nd gen T-Birds are my favorite. Same old thing, that motor was fine back in the day, but you could update it with a modern motor and trans and get twice the mileage with probably the same power. Something can’t be right, these bring 5 figures all the time. If it’s legit, you can’t go wrong here.

    • Woodie Man

      Sacrilege. I had the exact color ’60 bird with a red interior in 1975-1976. I paid $250.00 for it. In perfect condition. Drove it up and down the East Coadt numerous times. Who knew then that in forty years certain folks would pay big money for them. Big and lumbering but oh so beautiful

  3. Rock On Member

    Another ad comes to mind reading this post.
    “Come to where the flavour is, come to Marlboro Country.”

    Like 1
    • Jeffro

      Marlboro country…that’s what my grandfather called the cancer ward in the hospital.

      Like 1
  4. Dan

    Not “most wanted” to me, the ugliest Birds ever made….eww….

  5. RicK

    These SquareBirds (58-60) still dont go for big money. A couple of years ago I had the chance to buy a 60 with a factory 430 (also white exterior), clean striaght rust-free mostly original local car with ownership history for $7K and I had to pass because at the time that was about $2K too much

  6. DrinkinGasoline

    The wheels don’t look all that bad on this, at least to me. ’60 is my favorite year for Ford but i would take the recent Edsel or a Galaxie over this one if i had to choose. At the right price though, i would entertain making this one a driver.

  7. sir mike

    1960 Birds were a pretty car.

    Like 1
  8. nessy

    I know where you found that saying from.. From a video called “Dream Cars Of The 50s and 60s” They showed an ad for the entire 60 Ford lineup and when they came to the T Bird, the guys says, “Here is the Thunderbird” the worlds most wanted car”, then he goes on about the new sliding sunroof option. Nice car but not the best car in the world. Ads were so corny back then.

    • John

      I had a white one with the sunroof and red interior! A guy gave it to me and it took me three years to put it back together

  9. Rod

    This one would scare me. It looks good enough to get decent money for it but the problem is that once you start peeling back the rusted areas you are opening a can of worms. This car in a likelihood hood will require extensive rust repairs and the only safe way to do this is tear it down and media blast it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see previous repairs done.
    I know where there is a 65 that has been garaged for many years. The body is in similar condition but on close inspection you realize how bad it is. I walked away because I can get one of these in great condition for 12k ready to go.

  10. jerry murray

    The yellow valve covers make me think 430ci. Not 352 color.

  11. alfred

    Absolutely beautiful

  12. alfred

    I had a 60 with red and white interior. And i believe it was a y block. Had to sell it. Still wish i hadn’t

  13. Rustytech Member

    My favorite’s were the 1964 to 1966 T-Birds, but these were nice too. This one? Not so sure. With rust visible, and being from NJ there’s probably more you don’t see than there is you do. Not a high dollar car, even when restored, so I’d leave this alone.

  14. JagManBill

    My first car was a 60 Bird. Started life same white with brown/white interior; AC and power windows/brakes/steering. Painted 65 Canary yellow with solid black interior. Sold it 13 year later. Miss that car…

  15. ben

    got two 58s one conv one ht bought on here a few months back also a 59 parts with factory air which iam going to put in the conv don’t think I have over 7gs in all 3

  16. Everett Lanier Member

    Stu Bailey drives a 58 convertible on 77 Sunset Strip on Me tv at 4am! I dvr it so i sit down and look the old Fords on there! I was 5 in 58 but i just remember the cars but Cookie’s car was bad! I love the show too!

    • The One

      The Cookie car was located in San Jose CA years ago, the guy brought it to Graffiti night. Still a sight to behold.

  17. The One

    Let it fly like a bird set free.

  18. Tom Stewart

    Never cared for the square-birds, always seemed clunky like they’re were put together from chunks of other designs. But, having said that, I do like them in a convertible.

  19. Mike Kay

    On 77 Sunset Strip, it was Kookie, not Cookie

  20. Dennis M

    My Grandfather traded his black on black 348 ’58 Impala convertible for one identical to this one, he was 71 at the time! This was a serious fast ride with an amazing top end. It was the fastest car above 90 that I drove before my V-12 XJS’s 30 years later.

    My college roommate and I covered the 24 mile round trip between two upstate NY towns (with a driver change at the turn around) in 12 minutes flat (timing with a wristwatch). Pretty straight and flat with light traffic and no lights. Given the variables we probably averaged around 115. Passed cars on the return trip that we had met on the over!

  21. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Sold, for $5,601! Hope it was one of you folks!

  22. Bob Riley

    I purchased a 1981 Ford Thunderbird in April 2016. The car had 44 thousand
    miles on it & it has 46 thousand now. It is the Towel Landel with a half-white
    vinyl cover. It has the 255 V-8 with 3 speed transmission. I take it to lots of Car
    Shows & Cruise & get a lot of good feedback. I am very pleased I purchased it.

    Bob

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