Big Brown Bird: 1973 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird was restyled in 1972 and was reduced to only one model, a 2 door hardtop. In 1973, they refined the grille and put on a more massive front bumper, what I like to call “chrome railroad ties”, while at back the full-width taillights and contoured bumper were kept. Here is a 1973 Ford Thunderbird two door hardtop for sale here on Craigslist in Tilton, New Hampshire. Barn Finds reader Fordguy1972 was kind enough to bring it to our attention.

While Ford stylist kept the massive full-width taillights on this model, The sequential turn signals were eliminated beginning in 1972. Bummer! Unfortunately, this Thunderbird has some damage to the rear bumper. I can’t tell if the rear reflector totally escaped any damage, but it does appear the taillight did. It also appears the right rear fender escaped any damage. Other than this, the car looks to be in top condition, including its vinyl top. This car has the optional for 1973 opera windows with Thunderbird insignia. I always liked the shape of these better than the oval ones on the Continental Mark IV. It also has the optional wide bodyside molding that matches the top as well as front cornering lights. The car is triple brown.

Inside also looks great. The standard split bench seats are finished in rich looking cloth and vinyl in a color called Tobacco. Yep, it was definitely different times. You could never get away with calling a color that now. The car has power windows and a power driver’s seat with controls on the driver’s door panel. The seats appear to be in great condition along with the dash top.

The engine is the standard for 1973 429 cubic inch V-8 with 4 barrel carburetor. The seller says this car “runs like a top and drives like a dream”. This Thunderbird has only 39,000 miles and the asking price is $4,950. To make this car look top notch, the rear bumper will need to be replaced. Here is a big seventies personal luxury car to drive and enjoy.


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  1. Beatnik Bedouin

    Unless the seller has documentation to prove it’s done 39K miles, I’m guessing that there’s another 100K on the clock.

    It looks like a nice car for someone who’s into ’70s American luxury cars and the price seems reasonable.

    Like 6
  2. Fred W

    Back in the day, a good body shop could straighten that bumper.

    Like 8
    • Miguel

      Fred W, a strong wall can fix that bumper.

      Like 2
  3. Tom Carmicheal

    Fake ad I think.

  4. Larry

    This was in Hemings classic cars I believe Dec 2017

  5. Jack Sakaluk

    Mud Flaps?

  6. Moraga

    In late 80’s I daily drove a 1974 T-Bird, it as a great car! in every way – It was better (but not prettier) than the 1970 pointy beak T-Bird that I also had. BUT even with cheap sub dollar gas, the 8 mpg (tops) was always painful at the pump. So buy this, but don’t plan to drive it much.


    The ad is not fake. I live near this car and drive by it almost every day. It is also on the craigslist in my area and every time im on craigslist i see it but I think the car is a little ugly for my taste.

  8. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972 Member

    I think the mileage claimed is probably true, this ‘Bird looks too good to have 139k. Price seems fair for a 46 year-old big block with all the bells and whistles. Pretty cheap entry-level classic that doesn’t look like it needs much. I wonder if the bumper can be straightened out or if not, how hard would it be to source a replacement bumper. The only drawback for me is the brown-on-brown color but, for the price, I could live with it.

    Like 1
  9. Skorzeny

    Yuck. Just, Yuck.

  10. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    I like it, as it is a great representation of the early 70’s, right down to the triple brown scheme. It looks too nice to me to have high mileage, unless it has had some restoration work, which is possible but unlikely. I suspect older owner(s) who drove it sparingly.

    What would be the closest vehicle manufactured today to this type/style of car?

    Like 1
  11. Miguel

    I think starting here the T-Bird lost a lot of styling cues. They started looking like other cars in the Ford lineup.

    • CanuckCarGuy

      Yes, too similar to the Mark IV in my opinion …it wasn’t until ’77 that the Tbird caught my eye again…but even that was short-lived.

  12. ICEMAN from Winnipeg

    The 1977 to 1979 Thunderbird seemed “Compact” compared to the 1972 to 1976 generation. Loved my 79 T-Bird.

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