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1962 Thunderbird Convertible: Sports Roadster?


At first glance, this looked like any other 1961-1963 Thunderbird convertible. And then I saw some unusual components and started researching. You be the judge; is this a Sports Roadster from the first week of production in September 1961? Or did someone add some parts somewhere along the way? Either way, the car is located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin and is advertised here on eBay for a buy-it-now of $1,800 and the seller is interested in lower offers.


As you can see, the seller didn’t even take it off the trailer before putting it up for sale. However, they do have a stellar feedback rating, and it would require some tires that hold air to get it off easily. The car does look complete, albeit with some really cheesy fake wire wheel covers, and there’s certainly some serious body work required in that rear quarter panel.


When I saw this picture, my ears pricked up for the first time. That’s a tonneau cover that was fitted from the factory on the 1,427 1962 Sports Roadster models. This special model featured this cover that turned the car into a sometimes 2-seater, real Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, special emblems on the front fenders that you can see in the lead picture above, and no fender skirts. There was also an emblem like the fender emblem located between the seats on the cover, and at first I didn’t see it, so I thought the tonneau was an aftermarket version. But then I looked at the closeup available in the original auction picture and I think I see the witness marks from where the emblem was on the tonneau.


Is that dash really uncracked? That would be a miracle in itself. Judging from what I can see of the license plates, this car was last on the road in Illinois in the 70’s. Perhaps the 70k miles showing on the odometer are real (I’m ignoring the 34k listed in the auction)? I didn’t see anything in this interior picture that scared me.


The seller was kind enough to show the serial plate, and I was able to decode it from an online VIN decoder at vinmagic.com. It shows a car built September 20, 1961, a Rangoon Red/Black vinyl regular convertible (code 76A is the convertible, code 76B is for late Sports Roadsters). But what I found out from this page on automotivemileposts.com was a huge surprise, namely that the first 558 Sports Roadsters wore code 76A, and were assembled from September 13, 1961 through December 1961, and that most were Rangoon Red with black vinyl! So I genuinely believe this car is from the very first week of Sports Roadster production, and should absolutely be saved and restored. What do you think?


  1. Avatar photo MacVaugh

    It is gone.

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  2. Avatar photo David C

    I think someone stole it!

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  3. Avatar photo randy

    It’ll be back, too much money was left on the table.

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  4. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    I agree 100% – but don’t worry, it will be restored. The greedy dealer GAVE it away!

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  5. Avatar photo Vince Habel

    It has the grab bar on the right side of the car which the roadster had.

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  6. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Seems the seller didn’t do his homework on this bird. 2nd mistake was not letting the auction play out over 7 days or so, where he’d have had a lot more eyes on the sale.

    I bet some alert flipper saw this and grabbed it, and randy is right, we’ll see this bird again, probably cleaned up with air in the tires. Ya know, good for the flipper.

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  7. Avatar photo randy

    The seller may already kicking himself in the butt. Although I am sure he made some money. Maybe he is not a money grubber and is happy with his very fair deal.
    Yes, Flipper got fresh mackerel at this feeding.

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    • Avatar photo Jason Houston

      An eBay used-car seller who’s not a MONEY GRUBBER? Is that like an honest Aamco transmission shop?

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Bob

    The wheels are clearly NOT Kelsey Hayes. I have owned my 63 Sport Roadster for 25 years and restored it 16 years ago. The grab bar on the dash makes me believe this is the real deal. The tonneau and roadster badges are available as reproductions. The original Kelsey Hayes had 48 spokes while the reproductions were available with either 52 or 56 spokes.

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  9. Avatar photo Danger Dan

    thats a new one, give the seller a hard time because its TOO CHEAP

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  10. Avatar photo piper62j

    Parts car.. BUT… you never know.. There’s an ass for every seat.. LOL

    Like 1
  11. Avatar photo brakeservo

    What’s this dumping on flippers about?? Seems hypocritical to me – we all like to make money on interesting stuff we find.

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  12. Avatar photo Chuck F 55chevy

    You dump on flippers because you have never made any money on a car, you know, jealous envy. I remember a story about a early 60s Pontiac Tempest a guy bought for a couple grand, found out it was a light weight factory drag car, and flipped it for around $250,000, I always wondered if he went back and split it with the PO.
    I love these banana nose convertT-birds, this was a steal. Why are they called banana nose? The point at the front, or how the sides of the bumper look like a banana?

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  13. Avatar photo ben

    yea some one stole that one the boot alone was woth the price of the car parts or restore eather way he hit a home run

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  14. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    Hey, where is the MUTE button for that despicable advertising trash? Or am I supposed to read the dialog AND listen that invasive, worthless crap at the same time?

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    • Avatar photo David G

      Right-click on your Browser tab up top, look for “Mute Tab”.
      (At least that’s what my Chrome browser calls it.)

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo piper62j

    Jason Houston..
    All that advertising gibberish reminds me of the Harrison Ford movie “Blade Runner” where there are several aerial shots of nothing but advertising on buildings, blimps and other structures.. Kinda drives me over the edge these days with all that useless information coming from tv, radio, youtube, ebay, the internet,, on and on…

    It’s no wonder that humans are the way they are.. LOL

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jason Houston

      If you look around, we’ve become a society of fools who can’t think for themselves, without being assaulted with help from ads for crooked insurance companies, junk food dumps and every other rip-off known to man. Personally, I refuse to patronize ALL such greedy advertisers who make invasion of peoples’ privacy their own personal urinal. And those greed-heads who support these low-life scum should be ashamed of themselves, as they’re only getting rich by contributing to the problem.

      No, I haven’t seen “Blade Runner”, but it sounds like fun. Another good movie is “Crazy People”, where a mentally wrung-out ad exec. is committed to a mental institution, and all the inmates create ads that tell the truth (Volvo – They’re Boxy But They’re Good!) and (AT&T – We’re Tired Of Taking Your Crap!) and (Metamucil – Yes, I Want To Go To The Bathroom!)

      Like 0
  16. Avatar photo Darel

    Not a ’61. Has ’62-only rear fender trim.

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    • Avatar photo Jason Houston

      Actually, the entire car is a 1962.

      Like 0
  17. Avatar photo 64 bonneville

    The “Y85” in the serial number indicates it to be a true Sports Roadster. They did not come with the “fender skirts” due to the fact of the depth of the Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels which came standard on the car. The Wire Wheels would not allow the “skirts” to be mounted on the rear quarters. I looked at the e-bay ad and seller listed the car as having air conditioning, but I didn’t see anything that appears to show air conditioning vents in the car. $1800 was a fair buy for the condition of the car.

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  18. Avatar photo Thaddeus

    Unfortunately, it looks much better in the photos than in person. The salt they cover the roads with here in the winter took quite a toll on the undercarriage. I wouldn’t say it’s easily restorable because most of sheet metal in the back half needs to be replaced as well as the entire floor pan, spring perches, etc… Would need to sacrifice most of another more solid car to get it back in drivable condition.

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  19. Avatar photo Jay

    Y85 does not indicate a Sports Roaster, Y89 does. But the Y89 did not happen until mid 62 to differentiate them, so this car could be a legit SR. And 2Y85 means this car is indeed a ’62, though that is very obvious with one glance.

    But the grab bar only came on the SRs and was always hard to add, so this car is almost certainly an early 62 SR (they didn’t make them as a 61 model year car).

    The seller burned himself on this one, it is a rare car. Too bad.

    Like 0

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