Barn Find Buy? 1964 Ford Thunderbird Landau

Automobile names, through time, have evoked many different images or emotions. They can allude to luxury, power, speed, refinement, economy, fun, or function. One name, in particular, wrangles several together at once, and that name is Thunderbird. Whether you’re a Ford person or not, the early to mid-’60s vintage T-Birds were always a car that commanded respect and you knew one when you saw it. That being the case, it’s a bit dispiriting to see this 1964 Thunderbird Landau in its current condition. It is located in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, and available here on Facebook Marketplace for $2,250.

The Thunderbird, up until 1964, had lived in three-year increments, the Baby Bird 1955-1957, the Square Bird 1958-1960, the Bullet Bird 1961-1963, and then this current 1964-1966 Generation Four ‘Bird which was sort of like Square Bird Redux. These Gen Four versions have beautiful lines but it’s hard to tell from this forlorn example.

This Thunderbird is claimed to be a barn find, having been parked since 1986 and, of course, “it ran when parked”, according to the seller. There are no included images of the engine though it is referenced as a 390 CI V8, so that would mean a 300 HP “FE” engine which was the standard powerplant. It’s definitely not running though it’s supposed to be complete – it’s a pot-luck call. The transmission is a column selected Cruise-O-Matic, three-speed automatic.

The red interior shows signs of former greatness. Other than being very dusty, partially helped by the missing rear window, it actually appears to be in reasonably good shape. The driver’s seat is showing signs of a red duct tape repair, and the steering wheel has seen better days, but the instruments and switchgear look to be all there. This era Thunderbird is one of the best examples of stylists getting the interior’s attitude to match the exterior’s.

The exterior, though is another matter. The seller lists the condition of this Thunderbird as poor and suggests that it could be restored or used for parts. That would be a tough call to make based on the few images and light listing details. This car would require a pretty close inspection before you could make a long-term decision. This much is known, the right-side quarter looks like it met up with James Bond’s DB5 and its extending spinners, it’s pretty hacked up. And there are traces of Bondo that haven’t let go so there’s likely more of a problem here than initially meets the eye. The driver’s side fender is showing perforation and roof looks like its starting to disintegrate – not sure what’s going on there but it’s not encouraging. This Thunderbird body is one of those that was designed for fender skirts but looks fine, or better, without them; that’s the case here as they are missing. The only styling cue where I think Ford missed the mark on this Gen Four ‘Bird is the inclusion of the goofy looking landau bars – they serve no real or aesthetic purpose. Nevertheless, if you like them, they are present and accounted for.

Unless you have found the comprehensive auto listing of a lifetime, a car for sale usually doesn’t bear the reality of the listing’s description and images. The subject is generally going to be quite a bit worse or sometimes a pleasant surprise and better than expected (not that often). That’s where we are with this Thunderbird. The two big unknowns are engine condition and the extent of the dreaded “R” word – I’m betting there’s more of that in other places. Oh, and another thing, no title. Yes, it’s cheap, but if I wanted a Generation Four Thunderbird, and they are my favorite, I’d be hesitant with this example, how about you?

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Comments

  1. dave brennan

    Plain as possible with no air , windows or locks. Might like to have it as a spare 390 for my 66. Facebook listing says it has air, but it has no vents so I don’t think so. Too far gone for me

    Like 2
    • ccrvtt

      Whaddaya mean, no air vents Dave? There’s a huge one where the rear window is supposed to be…

      Like 11
      • Randall Fitz

        Thunderbirds then had flow-thru ventilation with kick panel intakes bringing air from the cowl below the windshield and exiting through the rear vent below the rear window (which can be closed via the vacuum controlled diaphragm) after wafting over the passengers. I miss that feature with other cars.

        Like 1
  2. Gaspumpchas

    No Title in Pennsylvania is a big deal. Parts car I’m afraid, these never took off in value. Good luck and stay safe.
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 3
  3. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    My favorite part of the 64-66 T-Birds is the highly-styled interiors, especially in the unique colors of the day (like turquoise).

    I agree, this one is pretty far gone.

    Like 6
  4. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I agree, too much work, time and money to get this on the road. These cars don’t have great resale value, so parts car only, worth about $500.00 maximum.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  5. Bob Mck Member

    Perhaps a parts car at best. Way too far gone and you can buy a really nice one cheap.

  6. TimM

    Good luck on this one tons of rust repair but I the bright side the interior looks pretty sweet!!!

  7. Barry

    These cars have a high survival rate and you can find very nice examples for 15K. Just wouldn’t pay to restore

    Like 1

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