BF AUCTION: 1961 Ford Thunderbird

With just 68k original miles, this 1961 Ford Thunderbird is in great shape inside and out! Jason V has a small collection of cars that he is liquidating and has asked us to auction them for him. He’s provided us with a ton of photos of this Ford, including lots of the underside, so you can see just how solid this one it. So, let’s take a closer look and be sure to cast your bid for it below.

Jason has made sure to photograph all the key areas, that way you know what you’re buying. Since it started life painted Raven Black, he wanted to make sure to show that there’s nothing hiding underneath. While there’s definitely surface rust on some of the suspension components, the floors and body all appear to be in solid shape. With a little work and some POR 15, you could have the underside looking great. And while you are under there, you’ll want to treat any surface rust on the body that you find, that way you can keep this Ford solid for the foreseeable future.

Under the hood is the original V8, which is in good running order. Jason states that it starts right up on the first crank and drives like a dream. For 1961, Ford enlarged the previous generation’s FE 352 to 390 cubic inches. The horsepower rating remained the same, but the increase in displacement boosted the torque rating up to an impressive 427 foot-pounds. And you need all of that power to get this comfortable cruiser up to speed.

The inside is in very nice condition, with nice seat upholstery, a clean dash and even the headliner is in nice shape. It’s well equipped, it’s a personal luxury car after all, with the Swing Away steering wheel, power windows, and an AM radio. The tires are in good shape and it’s just had new brakes and brake lines installed. Jason states that everything works as it should and that it is ready to drive.

As I’ve studied this car, I really am impressed with the styling of these third-generation T-Birds. Look at those rear taillights, they look like a pair of rocket engines that are ready to fire up and launch it into space. Heck, it even has a pair of rocketesque fins! While we tend to prefer cars with all original paint showing, this one actually looks really good in white and clearly the respray has held up well. Overall, this is a nice Thunderbird that could be fun to cruise in, so don’t let it get away!

  • Location: Milford, CT
  • Title: Clean
  • Mileage: 68,062
  • Engine: 392 cui V8
  • Transmission: Automatic

Sold to David L for $7,000.

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I like it, one of my favorite T-Bird generations. In fact, when I was a kid I built a model (though a convertible) much like this one is shown. Trying to remember if this had the swing away steering column or not. Either way, it’s a very likable vehicle.
    Wishing the seller the best, it’s a great looking car.

    Like 7
    • Steve1957

      My ’61 coupe did, so this one probably also had the swing away steering wheel. Very “Buck Rogers”. Loved my car, but it was a parade float, designed as such, never to be anything but. I tried to make it fast. I failed.

      Like 0
  2. Mike

    What’s up with the JC Whitney gas pedal and the weirdly extended tailpipes? Easy fixes on a nice bird.

    Like 7
    • JBV

      Yeah…that pedal was the first to go. I forgot all about that pic.

      Like 1
  3. Will Fox

    Mike, I agree on the chrome ‘foot’ gas pedal; I’d source an NOS unit instead. Those tailpipe extensions have GOT to go…they take away from what otherwise is probably the best angle of these Birds–those “afterburner” taillights!! I don’t mind that this went from black to white; at least the door jambs & underhood surrounds were painted too. My only addition I would make are period correct 2″ whitewalls–`61 was the last year mfrs. used those, and it would make this Bird pop, visually. I’m jealous of whoever gets to snag this baby!

    Like 7
    • PatrickM

      I’m jealous, too. Wish I could bid. I’ve always had a mental love affair with ’61 through ’63 T-Birds. They just make me wanna go Ummm.

      Like 1
    • Steve1957

      My coupe was “Honey Beige”, which I was surprised to learn was soybean based paint, a thing with Henry Ford from very early days.
      He made body panels from soybeans too at one point, I read. One night, in Jacksonville FL, my car was in the mechanic’s yard behind a chain link fence, when a lady passing by hit a horse in the highway, and caromed off into the fence, dragging 100 feet of chain link across my fancy soybean paint. THE END.

      Like 0
      • Steve1957

        Oh, here’s another story. Just weeks after I bought it, the brakes were way off, so I took it to a mechanic at the SW corner of Central Ave and Pasadena Ave in St. Pete FL, and I told him, “The brakes are gone.” Repeatedly. So he’s got one of those ancient “Sun” diagnostic machines at the back of his garage bay (this is about 1983 or 4), and he pulls the car into the bay, and that plow front end and… know the rest.

        Like 0
  4. sourpwr

    I like it , I like it alot !

    Like 3
  5. Steve H.

    I’m basically a Chevy guy but have always admired these early 60s Birds. The styling both front (bird-beak profile) and rear (rocket engines!) is just perfection IMHO. If I had the space I would definitely bid but alas, we have none in our garage.

    LOVE the red upholstery!

    Like 6
  6. A.J.

    My wife and I had one back in ’68. What a great ride! I would drive it from San Antonio to Chicago none stop when I was on leave. I’d still do it a couple times a year if gas was still .25/gal.

    Like 5
  7. Dick Simpson

    Where is this car located?

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse MortensenStaff

      Milford, CT

      Like 0
      • JBV

        Yes indeed

        Like 0
  8. JimmyinTEXAS

    My favorite generation of T-Birds. I wish it was easier to view the pictures. Opening one at a time with no scrolling ability is almost painful.

    Like 2
  9. Del

    Sweet Bird 😘

    Like 2
  10. Bob McK

    I am a Cadillac guy, but just bought a 63 Roadster. These are truly beautiful cars and drive so nice. The only issues I had with mine was that they tend to overheat, but a new radiator and larger fan fixed that problem. The other issue with mine was the top. But we replaced most of the components and it now operates nicely. If I had the room, I would bring this one home too.

    Like 4

    I bought a 1962 Bird new in baby blue. It was the best car that I ever drove or rode in. Loved how low it was to the ground and how heavy it was. It would just float over the roads. I wish I still had it.

    Like 1
  12. dogwater

    I have always liked this year, but they don’t bring must money?

    Like 0
  13. Bob McK

    The factory roadsters bring big money.

    Like 0
  14. Nigel_Shiftwright

    Can the seller give us some history on it? (been in the family for xx years, how he came by it, is the upholstery original or re-done?) Thanks in advance.

    Like 3
  15. Dick

    How much would it cost to ship a car like this 5o Southern Ca.? I would be willing to pay $5k for car including shipping.

    Like 0
  16. Bob McK

    That would be the deal of the Century. Good luck.

    Like 0
  17. Steve1957

    My ’61 coupe did, so this one probably also had the swing away steering wheel. the ad says it does. Very “Buck Rogers”. Loved my car, but it was a parade float, designed as such, never to be anything but. I tried to make it fast. I failed.

    Like 0

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