Big Bird At No Reserve: 1965 Ford Thunderbird


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There are some puzzling things about this 1965 Ford Thunderbird that is now apparently owned by a pawn shop in Alexander City, Alabama. The pattern of discoloration and deterioration on the body is just odd and the seller is telling us very little of the back story despite claiming to have purchased the car from the original owner. It’s listed for sale here on eBay with no reserve and the opening bid set at $1,000.


The seller tells us that the car “has not even been outside in the weather in years”, yet there’s obvious dirt stains all over the right side of the car, leaf debris in the trunk lip, and other signs of the car having spent time outdoors. In case you are wondering, the missing right front wheel cover is inside the car; you have to wonder why the seller didn’t bother to put it back on though and at least hose the car down!


There’s more dirt on the rear window and deck, it even had me wondering at the beginning if the car had been in a flood! The dirt notwithstanding, the clean lines of the boat-like ‘Bird still show through and to me are one of the most stylish shapes of the 60’s. As a 1965 model, this one is in the middle of the series. The bumpers look straight, but are so dirty it’s hard to determine the condition of the chrome underneath.


What we can tell by looking closely is that someone will have some rust abatement to pursue. I’m afraid that if you subjected that rear fender to media blasting, some of it would blow completely through the metal, although only an in-person inspection could tell for sure. Even if this is the original paint, I don’t think it’s worth preserving, although some of you may disagree, and there’s a lot of micro-cracking evident in the close up shots.


The interior is one of the places this design really shines for me. I love the dash with the separate nacelles for the minor gauges, and the dash appears intact from this view. Ah, the joy of crank-out real vent windows, swiveling seats and a push-away steering wheel! Overall, the interior looks better than the outside of the car.


The seller does tell us it’s a 390 V8 with a four-barrel carburetor; here’s hoping it’s the original one. I’m guessing ease of squirting starting fluid is why the air cleaner isn’t present; I hope it hasn’t been lost for good. Consider the price, though; if this one stays somewhere close to the opening bid amount it could very well be a bargain. If I were interested, the first thing I’d do is inquire with the seller about its running condition. How about you?

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  1. Bob

    Thunderbird never had swivel seats.Another ignorant seller hoping to appeal to an equally ignorant buyer.

    Like 0
    • mark

      I know that the 61-63 T-Birds (I had a 63) had what was called a Swing Away steering wheel. You could move the entire steering column over to the left. Not sure if they still has that in 65.

      Like 0
      • Al8apex

        Yup, through 66 and the 67-69’s had the tilt away wheel, the column didn’t move though like the 61-66 did

        Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer JamieAuthor

      Bob, you are correct on the swiveling seats. I corrected the post; thanks for the accuracy.

      Like 1
  2. George

    Sitting under an open sided carport maybe. Alabama for under cover?

    Like 0
  3. Ed P

    The condition of the exterior suggests a ragged out interior but, surprise, the interior is the highlight of this car. The seller could have washed the car at the very least. As it is, I would not travel very far to see this car.

    Like 1
  4. MountainMan

    It sure is hard to asses the true condition of the exterior in the current state. Like Ed said , I wouldnt take to far of a trip unless I had some better information. I am not sure where Alexander City is in the great state of Alabama but it may be close enough to draw in some collectors from the Atlanta area or from Chattanooga. Maybe the pawn shop didnt wash this bird for their own benefit. Sometimes the dirt and funk can camoflauge serious flaws

    Like 1
  5. RON

    you can bet for sure if it is in the hands of a pawn dealer it was no good when it was dragged there. a gamble on scrap value if 100 bucks is pawned on it. there is couple hundred in parts at least. but for the most part, these cars were junk when new like the lincolmns of the same era through the late 60’s you were continually working on them down the right side of the street to the destination and if you made it, you were pickng up the pieces from the previous trip t get bac home. probably some of fords jinixiest cars ever made make a grea fishing reef

    Like 0
    • ydnar

      What do you consider to be a good classic car Ron?

      Like 1
  6. ydnar

    These cars were far from junk. This car will surprise you when it takes good money. The “dirt” is pine pollen, lots of it here too. I’d bid on it if were closer to me.

    Like 1
  7. ClassicCarFan

    Yes, Ydnar – I thought the same thing looking at the shot of the rear window, it looks like the pollen you get at certain times of year. Living in SC it really makes a dusty yellow-green mess when it happens. It’s pretty harmless stuff and washes off OK afterwards but makes keeping an outdoor parked car clean pretty difficult.

    Like 1
  8. piper62j

    The only issues I can remember with these thru 1968 were rot around the windshield up under the reveal moldings and the top cowl panel at the air intake. The openings would allow everything from twigs to acorns thru which would plug up the drain holes on the side. Water, ice, whatever else would begin growing rot worms..

    Nice find though..

    Like 0
  9. Little_Cars Alexander

    Pine pollen…don’t you mean pine tar Ydnar? This car would really benefit from a wash with simple green and reevaluation of the surface imperfections after going over with microfiber towel and magnet. What a nice car inside though!

    Like 0
    • ydnar

      Don’t call me “pine tar Ydnar”!! ;>)

      I was referring to the windows. I am sure there is all kinds of yucky stuff on this one as well. Your recommendations sound very good.

      Like 0
  10. St.Ramone de V8

    I think this looks pretty good! Who cares if a Pawn shop has it? That interior alone makes me think it was a nice car subjected to poor storage late in its life. Not junk at all IMO. Could be a good find for someone.

    Like 1
  11. Paul B

    Alabama? Storm special? Hurricane special? Look this one over very carefully before buying.

    Like 0
  12. Roseland Pete

    The seller could be telling the truth with the carefully worded phrase “has not even been outside in the weather in years.” I came across a similar car that had not been “outside” but was stored in a garage with a big hole in the roof. The car I looked at might not have been “outside” but it didn’t have to be since the “outside” came “inside.”

    Like 1
  13. Tony C.

    My first American car was one of these but a 65 ‘Landau’, (vinyl covered roof and Landau bars on the rear pillars), mine was this color too, Brittany Blue with blue interior. The ‘swing away’ steering column was common to most T-Birds, even the early ‘bullet birds’ 60 to 63 as well as 64 and onwards. The big block 390 in the engine bay was a pain as you couldn’t get to anything, getting the manifolds off was almost impossible without tilting the engine over to get at the bolts by the shock towers. In all a great car and I enjoyed it for many years. The speedo goes to 120mph on the open road it’ll go to a wee bit more if you try !!
    TC Oz

    Like 2
    • Marshall

      My 65 Teebird topped out at about 110 miles an hour. And the front did not feel stable with it going that fast. Of course the car was 11 years old at the time.

      Like 0

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