Bargain Bird: 1959 Ford Thunderbird


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Light blue being about one of the last colors I’d ever pick for a car, I’ve finally found one that works with it. This Thunderchicken is robin’s egg blue, and at least to me, it makes sense. Still kind of a fifties color…but not too much.


This example is offered for sale in Alton, Illinois, and can be found here on the St. Louis craigslist page. The asking price is $1,000, which seems like a bargain for this old ‘bird. The body is straight, but not without its rust though. The seller’s very brief description tells us rust is lurking in the floorboards, and we can see it just starting on the exterior, in one of the rockers.


We know it’s time for the seller to turn the car loose when the photos suggest long term storage with no wheels. A pretty basic thing to keep on a car you care about. Removing all of the junk piled against it before the photos wouldn’t have been a bad idea either. But at least it’s under a carport, and someone was a very careful driver to keep the body as straight as this for all these years.


A look inside is where it gets ugly. Fords in general, and particularly the Thunderbird, had some of the most beautiful interiors of the era, but this one is fairly well destroyed. But if that’s the biggest problem this car has, it’s still solvable, as long as you don’t expect it to be cheap.


But unfortunately, the interior isn’t the only expensive problem to solve here. There’s this engine, for example. Disassembled and exposed to the elements in God’s Great Wide Open Spaces. Oh. Yeah. That. But I already know what some of you are thinking, and that might be “resto-mod.”  If you thought that about this car, well, that’s where you’re right. There are not nearly enough Ford guys doing them.


But let’s finish the walk-around, shall we? Finish checking out the rest of this car’s great bod. I can’t see the landfill for all this garbage in the way. But hey, at least it’s not inside the car. So what do you see here? Does this car speak to you? Do you think it’s a bargain at $1,000?

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  1. Gil

    I’ll buy it today

    Like 0
  2. Roselandpete

    It’s sad to see this car as it is but I think there’s several $k worth of parts here.

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  3. Monty

    The totes behind the car are actually are full of parts.. Also have wheels and tires and clear title

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  4. Alan Brase

    That actually looks like a pretty righteous car. I hated them at first, after the so very cute two seaters, but they grew on me. This example seems to be VERY straight. Has the gunsights on the fenders, no collision damage I see. I can’t really tell from the pics, being a 1959, it is probably a 352, but a few had 430 Lincoln motors. It’s a problem that the crank is rusty, but likely, it could be ground or find another good one. Those FE motors are stone axe simple. I don’t see the door cards, but I do see the radiator. Wheels are the only major part not in evidence and not so critical. Wheels are critical, just not critical to have the original ones for a long term project. What else can you buy for $1000 that will pull your boat when completed? And be an attention getter.

    Like 0
  5. wuzjeepnowsaab

    This is a freaking bargain. Great ‘bird; Great color. Honest deal here…if I was closer I’d buy it just to pee off the neighbors ;)

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  6. Maurice Mentens

    It’s a 58 – a rare bird indeed. Extremely good driving cars; I know because I drove 1000’s of miles in my 1958 Convertible on the German Autobahn. They changed the suspension the next year making the 1959 version a much less agile car. Now I live in California and it just sits, thanks for the reminder guys!

    Here is my daughter 15 years ago, open top, around 100 Mph past midnight – good times!

    Like 0
  7. Van

    I agree about the interiors in these cars.
    You have to really want this bad to do a restoration. I’m kinda seeing a parts car.
    There’s no demand for these.
    I want to see how much of the interior could be put in a custom.
    Seats and console in a 46 Lincoln basket case.
    I’m all for all original but that’s not always realistic.
    You can’t ignore the finished value when you start. How many cars are lost to a well meaning restorer when the money starts to not make since?

    Like 0
  8. Lowell Munn

    This is a 1958, not a “59”. I bought my first “real car” in 1961 and it was a “59”. The “59” has a more of a bar grill verses what you see here. It was a nice car then!

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    • Julie

      If you click on the craigslist post it says it is a 58.

      Like 0
  9. Mark S

    A great find I hope some one saves it these are by far the coolest birds 1960 and on the styling goes down hill.

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  10. Jose

    I agree with Lowell. It is a ’58 NOT a ’59. I know, I have a really nice ’58 sitting in my garage. Also, it’s not “robin’s egg” blue. It’s “gulfstream blue.” Like I say, I have one in my garage, and it’s in a whole lot nicer condition than this. In fact, with current registration, I still take her out for a drive now and then. She is still extremely strong. Cruises at 80 without any difficulty.

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    • Julie

      ….but would you sell it for $1,000?

      Like 0
  11. GeorgeMember

    My Uncle Karl from Miami had one just like this and the blue/green shade was perfect.

    Thanks for the memories. If I were closer, with a few extra$$$, I might even be tempted.

    Like 0
  12. terry numbers

    its a 1958!!!!!

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  13. Derik Lattig

    Derik Lattig says It is a bargain for a True Bird lover. However, I’ve had a 59 Convt for sale on Craigslist for months with minimal interest.

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  14. Don

    That T-Birds a 58, not a 59, the 58’s had a more powerful engine that Ford detuned in 59 and 60

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  15. Woodie Man

    Had a beautiful 1960 in 1975,,,white with the red interior. Paid 250.00 bucks for it. I love the interiors! I always thought the triple tail lights looked better….to me obviously!

    Like 0
  16. Prowler

    This car does speak to me…’s saying keep it moving…nothing to see here…you don’t want none of this

    Like 0
  17. ben

    Hi guys ben here in fl I bought this one yesterday now have to get some one res to bring it to fl I bought a 58 conv last week and I need a lot of stuff from this one the guy on here with the 59 conv for sale where his for sale at like to look love this site wish I could buy more of them but got like 20 vech now wont live long enough to get them done any hullers that u guys know coming this way res thanks ben in fla

    Like 0
    • MartyAuthor

      Ben, You bought it? Awesome! Please send my finder’s fee to….

      Just kidding. Best of luck with it!

      Like 0
  18. Alan Brase

    If you part that 58 out, shame on you. May you be tormented with bedbugs the rest of your life. And may it be long and uncomfortable.

    Like 0

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