1963 Thunderbird: Rare M-Code Tri-Carb + AC!

According to the seller, this is one of only 17 28 tri-carb “Sports V8” engined 1963 Thunderbird coupes that were ever produced, and I’m sure even fewer of those had factory air conditioning. It is listed for sale here on eBay and is located in Wickliffe, Ohio. Bidding has yet to meet the reserve as I write.

These desirable M-code models (it’s in the serial number) were produced by taking the standard 390 cubic inch V8, adding cylinder heads from the 406 V8 and 10.5.1 compression, dual exhausts, and a trio of Holley two-barrel carburetors on a cast aluminum intake. It also had higher-rate valve springs, a specially ground unique camshaft and a high pressure oil pump. Oh, and the little matter of an aluminum intake with no fewer than three Holley two-barrel carburetors! According to the seller, the only thing not original under the hood is the brake booster. Hopefully they have replaced hoses, filters and belts as well! As far as I can tell, that gorgeous air cleaner is original, too.

We’re told the car is wearing it’s original paint and has only received minor touch ups. Even though the pictures aren’t that great, it sure looks nice in them for original paint! The chrome is shiny as well.

The turquoise dashboard looks great next to the white exterior. Since the Thunderbird emblems have a turquoise center anyway, I think this is a very appropriate color. If that dash really isn’t cracked, it would be very unusual.

The seats and carpets look just as nice as the dash. I don’t see any major signs of wear anywhere. And I know those seats are comfortable after sitting in my uncle’s Thunderbirds for so many years. I should point out here that the odometer is reading 28,500 miles, but the seller states that in Ohio, cars this old are titled mileage exempt anyway. Do you think this car is rare enough to overcome the low prices on 1961-63 Thunderbirds?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Rick

    What is with sellers and the teeny tiny photos? Really, you couldn’t spend the extra $2 for the ‘large photos’ upgrade?

    • Steve H

      He couldn’t even afford capital letters in his listing. SMH I guess he was so broke he couldn’t even pay attention…

  2. flmikey

    I seem to recall seeing this exact car at some car show somewhere… I go to an awful lot of them…this car is absolutely stunning…this one will go for a lot of clams…

    • Sam

      Awsome car. I especially like the T-Bird wrap-around interiors.

      I’ll up your clam ante and pay in cabbage, or cheddar since I don’t have the cash.

  3. CCFisher

    There are more than 17 ’63 M-code hardtops listed in the M-code registry.

    • jdjonesdr

      The ad says #17 of 28. I think Jamie mistyped.

    • MorganW Morgan Winter Member

      CC, I think that the seller is claiming that the car is #17 out of 28 M-codes…but I have no idea if that’s accurate or not.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Correct, all of you, and I corrected the post. Thanks for catching that!

  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Very slick T-Bird. It’s close to me (40 min.) and I can go have a look-see if anyone is interested in a eyeball assessment. It might be a good idea given the crappy photos.

  5. DrinkinGasoline

    Strange….this is located in Wickliffe,Oh.
    The same city that the ’67 Olds 98 was photographed in.
    Similar parking lot near the Strong Tool Co. east of Cleveland. Different seller ID’s…hmmm. So Jamie, are you scouting Craigslist in hopes, prior to Your visit to Our fair city ?
    You do know of course that during the early 20th century that Cleveland had just as many auto manufactures as Detroit ?
    Of course You do :) I hope you get to visit the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame as well as the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum in University Circle ! Oh, and don’t forget the Euclid Arcade, America’s first indoor mall built in the 30’s ! House of Blues is right across the street.
    In any event, we welcome you to Cleveland and we hope you have a great time !

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Interesting! No, I’m not heading that way any time soon although I’m a big Ohio fan having spent formative years in Hudson growing up and I’m still a Browns fan, despite the difficulty being so!

      • DrinkinGasoline

        I’m not far from Hudson and know many a hero working for Hudson EMS. I applaud your loyalty to the Browns given the life-long difficulty ! Er-go, should you decide to visit, give me a heads-up and we’ll make it worth the trip ! Best wishes.

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        Thanks! Looking forward to it, just don’t know when!

      • Rocco

        Well, all you Buckeyes, do you know where Cuyahoga Falls is located? I was raised right beside Summit Mall before it was Summit Mall. Love my history, but hate the cold, snow, & speeding tickets. Some of which were 37 in a 35mph. One in Hudson(not guilty). The cops are staked out everywhere. Been in FL ever since, and loving it.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Rocco, is that the same mall that Chrissie Hynde sang about?

      • Rocco

        Sorry, I don’t know Chrissie Hynde. Cuyahoga Falls borders Akron. I’m sorry, it’s been so long since I’ve been there(’74), I forgot the name of the mall is Chapel Hill Mall not Summit. Sorry, I had brain fade.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Rocco, Chrissie is the lead singer for a band named Pretenders.
        They had a hit song called “My City Was Gone”. The writer is going back to their home state of Ohio and noticed that it has really changed. There is a lyric that goes something like “All the open spaces has been replaced by shopping malls. From Seneca to Cuyahoga Falls”.

        Your post was amazingly on the mark to this lyric, so I kind of thought you might be referencing it.

      • Rocco

        @PRA4SNW;
        Never knew, but that’s a cool reference. Thanks for that bit of info.

    • Tom D

      And don’t forget the emerald Necklace!

  6. stumptowngeo

    Why is the shifter on the column and not in the blank spot on the consul where it’s should be? And what’s even more curious is why does it have a slush box to begin with? No matter, i’m sure it would still be blast at a stop light!

    • Pfk1106

      I don’t recall any 61-63 birds that didn’t have a column shift

    • grant

      Pretty sure representatives of foreign nations don’t have a blank spot for shifters. Auto consoles do, however.

    • Tom D

      Slushbox I suppose because it was transitioning to a luxury car?

  7. Had Two

    The shifter was on the column as part of the “swing away steering column”.
    Swing away, was before tilt wheels. Console mounted shifters in big American cars gained popularity beginning in the mid-60’s.
    As I recall an automatic transmission was the only transmission offered in the 61-63 Birds. Earlier Birds offered a manual transmission.
    I like the hub caps with the spinners. I still have a set of four on the wall of my garage.

  8. BudMan

    This sure ain’t no “barn find”! Really pretty big bird though.

  9. Bill B

    It was sold at auction last year to an on-line buyer for $12K. It had spoke wheel covers then. I wonder if it has issues.

    Fall Collector Car Sale
    Auction in 4300 Kinsman Rd NW, Mesopotamia Ohio

    https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/lot/32467216/LotDetail.asp?lid=32467216

    Lot#: 32467216 – 1963 Ford Thunderbird Hardtop
    90% Original. Mr O’Reily was the 4th owner of this car and he purchased it in 2003. This car is #17 or #27. This car also has factory air. 28,530 miles VIN:3y83m110611

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Nice research, Bill B.! I’m curious, did you remember that from seeing it previously, or did you just go hunting? Either way, kudos! One thing that’s interesting about that auction listing is that it shows the car with a four barrel, not three two barrels!

      • BillB

        Thanks, Jamie! I was very interested in the car and dug around for more info. I asked the seller if the reserve was near the selling price at the last auction and if the spoke wheel covers came with the car. I have bad feeling that this car has some other undisclosed issues.

      • BillB

        The seller got back to me and said they’re not the same cars! I even sent him the link. I guess Ford used the same VIN by mistake! What a flat out liar!

        Buyer beware!!

  10. F.A.G.

    My newborn son just threw up the same color of the interior. What a coincidence.

  11. 86 Vette Convertible

    Regardless of it’s history, it’s still a good looking Bird.

  12. z28th1s

    Good looking car!

    The 3×2 intake on these cars aren’t the same that came on other 390 and 406 Ford cars. The intakes on these cars were flat so that the air cleaner would clear the low hood line. The intakes on the other 390 and 406 were stair-cased.

  13. Old Car Guy

    Never believe anything on the Internet without iron clad proof. Especially true of used cars. Extra especially of cars claimed to be special or limited numbers. If the two cars have the same VIN either one is a counterfeit or the seller is down out lying. The more I look at car ads today, the less I believe them. Todays transgressions makes the days of turning back the odometer or putting sawdust or ground rubber in the the engine, transmission or rear end look like child’s play. The trying to pass off clones as originals is another swamp altogether.

  14. Tom D

    No build sheet/invoice – no confidence!

  15. Bradley Clark

    Beautiful car ! If you have never stepped into a Thunderbird with the “swing-a-way” steering wheel, you don’t know what you’re missing.

    SO many nay-sayers. I find it disturbing.

    Like 1
  16. GOPAR

    Nice car, and I’m usually all for the triple gauges so you can keep up with what’s going on under the hood. But I’m not too crazy about their location on this car.

  17. Eddie

    WoW What A Find ,This Car Looks Like New And Tri Power 390 cu.What A Great Car To Find !

  18. Blake N

    If you look at the auction pictures on the link provided in a previous comment the carburetor is a 4 barrel. The seller claims to have purchased the car 7 years ago from the children but the same car #17 of 28 is listed as selling at auction. The 3 gauges on the dash is visible in both listings. Sounds pretty fishy to me.

  19. BillB

    Yeah, VINs are the same, mileage is the same, add-on gauges (as you mentioned) are the same. Doubtful if any numbers match. The seller sent me an email back basically insulting my intelligence saying they are not the same car. Funny that the 2016 auction pictures are better quality that those on ebay.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      It’s a shame, Bill, because like you I think the car itself is neat. Oh well.

    • Had Two

      …not the same car….
      Hmmmm, well it had a 4-barrel carb, now it has 3 2-barrel carbs…
      Maybe that’s what he means?

  20. BillB

    Since I am within driving distance, I was actually thinking of which one of my cars I could part with to make room for it. Now, I am saddened by all of the deception going on with this car. It’s like falling in love with a girl and finding out later that she’s a stripper.

    • Kandyce 1975

      Or your ex-wife’s new mother-in-law or a 4th cousin.
      So sad
      I love all birds no matter how hard my dad tried to get me into his loves. Don’t get me wrong…. I love a ’39 sleeper. Will never understand trying to make 4cyl no grit cars or MC’s loud as the latest bombing in Afghanistan…
      I enjoy nothing more than to pull up to a light & listen to that horribly obnoxious noise just to show them that my sleeping baby bird is always ready /Shhh~Elegance whispers…

  21. Eddie

    Funny BillB But She Looks So Good And Could Be A Lot Of Fun !!

  22. gaspumpchas

    Geez-do we really need all of the Non- pertinent negativity??Great survivor–beautiful gut–stick to the facts or issues that would help a potential buyer.

    that said-big bullet bird with a drop dead gorgeous interior and A BOATLOAD of engine>> Perfect survivor!!

    Good luck to the new owner!

    • Kandyce 1975

      Or your ex-wife’s new mother-in-law or a 4th cousin.
      So sad
      I love all birds no matter how hard my dad tried to get me into his loves. Don’t get me wrong…. I love a ’39 sleeper. Will never understand trying to make 4cyl no grit cars or MC’s loud as the latest bombing in Afghanistan…
      I enjoy nothing more than to pull up to a light & listen to that horribly obnoxious noise just to show them that my sleeping baby bird is always ready /Shhh~Elegance whispers…

  23. Rocco

    I think the seller cleaned & detailed the car under hood. Maybe when he found this (M-code) car, it didn’t have the Trips on it. Maybe he located a set, detailed it under hood, and is looking for his just deserved profit. I just don’t know why he wouldn’t admit to it like BillB said.

    • Tom D

      Yes, and let the car sell itself! A flipper is only as good as his reputation…look at the Florida guys who keep changing the name of their business. As a buyer, I always ask sellers to tell me the worst about their car, and I feel much more confident when they point out issues I didn’t even notice.

  24. Hunontherun

    I owned a fully restored 62M Roadster years ago. When these were new some owners found the tri power too much of a headache to dial in. So they had the base model intake and 4 bbl installed. The smart ones kept the old parts but savvy garage mechanics that did the swaps often kept the tri powers for their race projects. Even though the manifolds were “T-bird only” items they were often found stuffed under late 60s S code mustangs. The T-bird tri power manifold/carbs are super rare to find these days. They are not as common as the ramped Galaxi units. If the owner did the swap the date codes on the air horns will tell the tale if they are correct or not. If the vin has the “M” in it then it is a true tri power car.

  25. Big Ed

    All I want the owner to do is put it on the highway with a Buick Wildcat, Plymouth Fury III, Chevy Impala 409 and a Pontiac Catalina 421 and let them EAT in a video.
    I”ll be waiting on I-70 for this (maybe for a long time)!

    • Rocco

      I’m sorry I’m internet illiterate, but for me to understand your post, I have to know what EAT stands for. I’ve tried to put words that might make since to the letters, but can’t figure it out.

      • z28th1s

        ‘Let them eat’ is another way to say:

        Go WOT (wide open throttle)
        Turn them loose
        Race against the other cars listed

        Hopefully you get what I’m saying.

      • Rocco

        I do now. I just didn’t get the EAT. I would’ve understood the WOT, as that is a gear heads term.
        Thanks for clearing that up for me.

  26. Tom D

    feed!

  27. John Deebank

    The one selling price of $14 g’s is a great buy. I would very much be interested for that price even though I’m so confused about the authenticity of it. I suppose living in Canada and the latest selling price will make it impossible. Sigh!

  28. Big Ed

    Hi Rocco, don’t laugh but I was 13 yrs old in 1963. When two guys were discussing the merits or prowess of their cars, someone in the crowd would yell out “let’em eat ” as in eat up the highway! The call out is probably different now to get a race started but in DC/Md/Va this what we said back then.😂

    • Rocco

      That’s a cool story. In ’63, I was 15 in the Akron, OH area. It was just high school parking lot talk, until I got my ’56 chebby. But working around a gas station then, you pick up a lot of lingo. We used to say “line’m up”, or “lets run’m”.

      Just different saying’s for different area’s of the country.

  29. DAVID KENIRY

    😲I HAVE AN ENGINE THAT CAME OUT OF
    63 1/2 GALAXY DROP TOP FENDER MOULDING’S SAID 390. I WAS INSTALLING IT & PERFORMANCE C6 INTO A 60 6′ F100, WHEN I NOTICED THE
    C3AE6015H. I THOUGHT I REMEMBERED
    THAT (6015H) WAS A 427? I WAS RIGHT
    IT’S A 427 REPLACEMENT BLOCK. NOT CROSS BOLTEDI HAVE HEARD STORIES OF THESE ENGINE’S GOING IN 390 CAR’S ? ALSO U CAN SEE WHERE THE PLUG’S
    IN BACK OF ENGINE WERE REMOVED 2 DRILL OUT 2 CONVERT 2 HYDRAULIC
    LIFTERS. THE CYCLINDER HEADS
    (C3AE)(6090)(C) R THE SAME HEAD’S
    4 THE 406 & THE M CODE 3 2s & AIR
    CLEANER WITH THUNDERBIRD WING’S STILL HAVE ALL 1 DROVE THE TRUCK FROM LUBOC? TEXAS 35 YRS AGO IT
    HAD A 2 BARREL CLEVELAND & AN
    FMX WHAT A GAS HOG. THIS TRUCK IS
    A PROJECT, I’VE INSTALLED 9″, POWER
    STEERING & BRAKE’S THIS ENGINE ISN’T
    GOING WITH TRUCK. I HAVE A REBUILT
    351HO 4 BOLT 4 BARREL PERFORMANCE C6 4 IT ANYBODY 👀 4 PROJECT? I HAVE 10 MORE PRE 73s
    IF ANY MEMBERS PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM THIS SITE I WILL PAD
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