$3,500 Brown Bird: 1963 Ford Thunderbird

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Missoula, Montana is where this 1963 Ford Thunderbird is located. It’s on Craigslist for an asking price of $3,500!

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Here’s another vehicle that looks like it would just be a good driver, as in, not doing a full restoration on it, but just getting everything working perfectly and then just driving it, every day, rain or shine, year-round; yes, even in winter (I know that half of the US doesn’t have to deal with snow in the winter but for those of us in the upper half of the US, winter = snow). This T-Bird is nice enough but not so perfect that you’d be afraid of parking it at a big-box retailer. I just got yet another door ding today in a parking lot, parked way over in a remote parking spot all by myself with nobody else around for several spaces. I came out to the car and there was a beat-up Oldsmobile parked crooked in the spot next to mine with 50 other spots that they could have taken, but they just had to park in that one spot, and then they just had to park too closely on the driver’s side, and then they just had to fling their door open and give me a door ding. Why even bother having a nice vehicle anymore, that’s so disappointing. (rant over) (for now)..

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Yep, give me a car like this Thunderbird as a daily driver. The seller says that the body is good but the paint isn’t too hot. And, it’s been repainted sort of a bronzy-brown color from it’s original Corinthian White, or that’s what I think the color may have been? Preparation is key when painting, as you all know, and obviously this one wasn’t done correctly. This is a third-generation Thunderbird and it’s my personal favorite bodystyle for this series.

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Other than a couple of cracks in the steering wheel this interior looks super nice to me. And, there’s the famous “Swing Away” steering wheel that moves to the right side instead of tilting up out of the way so you can get in the front seat easier! This was a standard feature on the 1962 and 1963 Thunderbirds. The back seat looks almost perfect and should clean up nicely, but there are no photos of the front seats and I always expect the worst when something isn’t shown in a sales ad. This car has AC and power windows which even for a luxury/sport car like a 1963 Thunderbird is not always a given. It seems like more often than not you’re rolling your own windows up and down on cars from this era; gosh, the humanity!

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You can see the original color on the fender wells here, those are always body color on the ’61-’63 T-Birds and they are most definitely not brown. Things don’t look too bad under the hood. The seller says that it has an exhaust leak and the power steering needs some help, but those should be weekend projects that a shadetree mechanic could tackle. This is Ford’s 390 V8 four-barrel with 300 hp. They say that it runs good and the transmission does fine. This looks like a great car that a person could drive while they tinker with it and either just use it as a unique daily driver or chip away (literally) at the paint as you have time and fix it up to be a nice looking car again. What would you do with this brown bird?

 

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Comments

  1. Johnni B

    I remember my grandparents always having Tbirds when I was growing up. Once when I was about 11 or 12 years old I was riding in their 63 on our way to the Ozarks when I began to get sick from trying my first mouthfull of chewing tobacco. I was unable to get the window down fast enough and I puked all over the inside of their car. My grandma asked me what I had ate to make me so sick. I did not tell them because I didn’t want to get in trouble. That was the last time I ever chewed tobacco.

  2. Craig MacDonald

    Ten photos and NONE of the rear end. That makes me suspicious about potential damage back there.

  3. Joe Haska

    You are right on ,”its perfect for what it is” enjoy it!

  4. Chris

    Agree on the door dings. Super irritating. I always park way out and every once in a while someone does not get the message.

    • Bill Owens Bill O Staff

      Our 2010 Buick Lacrosse stayed relatively free of door dings, believe it or not, considering there is no molding to protect it. However, one day about two years ago, I opened the back door to our 2003 Rendezvous in the garage next to the Lacrosse. The door slipped out of my hand and bang, right against the Lacrosse hitting it at an upper side crease on the right rear passenger door. I couldn’t even be mad at anyone else, and could only blame myself.

      Like 1
  5. boxdin

    At 3500 its a bargain, just drive it and enjoy it. Love these cars, maybe love square birds more? Converts even more?

  6. whippeteer

    Drive and enjoy in my book.

  7. Chebby

    Love the bullet Birds. White is one of the best colors on these, why would you paint it turd brown?

  8. KeithK

    Oh so your the guy that parks all the way in the corner of the lot? I’m the guy in the ratty International that parks too close for comfort. I wouldn’t ding you though.

  9. roselandpete

    Love the bullet birds.

  10. jesus bortoni

    Buy it, drive it and chip away one project at a time on this car. It would be a nice ride.

  11. Larry

    Sick & tired of ass—– who park and just swing the door open? It does not matter I believe some of them seek us out? Love and cherish my cars and do everything to keep them with out “dings” cannot win here?

  12. Darel

    I had a ’61 and an exhaust leak turned into all the manifold bolts broken off in the head (because they are drilled all the way through and water can puddle in top of the threads) which turned into pulling the heads which turned into a complete rebuild of both heads CobraJet valves, and a surfacing of the manifolds.

  13. JerryS

    Great highway car. In early 70’s only a Mercedes passed me at 80 on I-80.

  14. Doug Towsley

    I did restos and body and paint on 2 of these in the 1990s. Uggggh. Not my taste but it was a job. #1, these HIDE damage well, they look okay until you take them apart, LOTS of molding and trim that hat hides cancer, #2 Expensive to restore, Back in the day the best place in the US was right under my nose. Birds nest in Portland Oregon, I made friends with staff but was expensive. #3) big tuna boats. Im sorry but they are. Stock not that fast, and handle horrible with sft shocks, lots of body roll and vague steering and weird brakes If you own one needs lots of work to drive decent. #4) I did not charge NEARLY enough to work on either one. I learned a LOT but truth is, to pay someone to do a good job on these you will rapidly exceed the value, thats true on many vehicles but especially these. Now if you love the car,, who cares? But just be aware going into it. Do it for love or money but rarely both at once. I have pix of them, One was a 6 month job, beautiful when done. Alaskan White with a hint of Blue pearl in the clear coat. Teal interior. I didnt do the interior, just down to the frame full paint and body, electrical and some mechanical.

  15. Jim Williams

    I keep a couple deck screws in my drink cup holder, I come out of Walmart find a dent, put screw under tire, how long did it take to get home today?

  16. Mike

    This would make for a decent entry level cruiser . With a few weekends and 10k you ought to be able to get it safe , and have an enjoyable ride .

  17. Ted Donahue

    Not that I could afford it, but that price for that car is a steal, in my opinion. Nice!

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