Do You Believe? 1965 Ford Thunderbird Coupe

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I’m pretty sure you barn finders have already sussed this one out as being a bit suspicious. It’s a 1965 Thunderbird Coupe sitting in West Linn, Oregon. The ad is here on craigslist, and the price is what’s out of phase: $4900. Before you look at the images in this post, think about what you’d expect for that kind of cash? Probably a somewhat rusty starting point with a thrashed interior? Let’s dissect the ad and see what we find.

First of all, because it’s the first image, what we have here is a perfect interior. Stunning, in fact, almost like the image came out of a brochure. Teal with a matching horn center, steering wheel, and console lid, it doesn’t look like any driver has ever sat in the car. The door panels are matching blue and teal, with the only faults being some wear on the carpet at the lower edge of the panel, a missing window crank, and couple of missing bits where cover plates now sit (I think!). You’re gonna see nothing but beauty when you take this Thunderbird cruising.

What others see is a different matter, and here’s where things get more real. The ad names the exterior flaws as “a few dents [and] some rust on the hood,” and perhaps that’s so, but no way you’re gonna be happy hitting the Thursday Night Thunder malt shop drive-in cruise without some serious time with the paint stripper. This is more than, “It’s got patina, but I can drive it.” No this ‘Bird is beat up, worse than if it really had been stored in the barn that it is pictured in. Further, you wonder how a car could have gotten this bad off and still have an interior that’s nearly perfect. All the digits don’t add up here, though that’s simply an impression, and not a claim to know in specific.

Mechanically, there’s just the cliché, “runs smooth and drives great” to attest to the car’s fitness for use, but it does have a 390-CID engine, one only assumes the original one, backed up with an automatic transmission. There are apparently 36,000 miles on the odo, but no promise that that isn’t 136K. There’s no image of the powerplant or under-hood area, so only a personal look will reveal how much of what’s supposed to be there is present, or what condition it is in. All of that said, are you willing to take a risk, or is $4900 just a tad too low to assure you of this offering’s credibility? If you’re a believer, and things check out, this would be a nice car to start on, especially with that interior on its balance sheet.

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  1. Doctor Who

    If it sounds too good to be true. If it was closer I would check it out.

    Like 5
  2. james sartor

    Dash pad is toast. Missing Window crank? (Didn’t TBirds all have electric window controls?). Wouldn’t touch this mystery car myself, but that’s just me.

    Like 3
    • Gatormario

      Not sure, but I think the crank is for the vent window.

      Like 17
      • Marvin the Mav

        Mildred and Marvin Take Flight (Sort Of)
        Mildred, her hair a neat shade of lavender, adjusted her bifocals and squinted at the classifieds. “Marvin,” she called out, her voice carrying over the whir of the afternoon tea kettle, “this here flyer says there’s a ’67 Thunderbird for sale down on Elm Street!”
        Marvin, sporting a gloriously comb-over and a well-worn sweater vest, shuffled in, his dentures clicking gently. “A Thunderbird, eh? Now that takes me back. Remember Mildred, back in ’68, when we cruised the town in our cherry red T-bird? We were the talk of the Dairy Queen!”
        Mildred’s eyes sparkled. “Oh, Marvin, that we were! Remember when you accidentally shifted into reverse instead of drive and we ended up backing into Mr. Johnson’s prize-winning pumpkin?”
        Marvin chuckled, a sound suspiciously like a tea kettle about to erupt. “Well, that pumpkin deserved it. Biggest bully in the county!”
        Fueled by nostalgia and a pot of strong tea, Mildred and Marvin set off on their adventure. The ’67 Thunderbird turned out to be a dusty turquoise dream, parked sadly in a cluttered driveway. The owner, a kind-faced teenager named Billy, explained it was his grandpa’s and needed a little TLC.
        TLC, in Mildred and Marvin’s book, meant a can of WD-40, a lifetime supply of upholstery cleaner, and a whole lot of elbow grease. Days turned into weeks, filled with laughter, creaky knees, and the occasional near-disaster (like the time Marvin accidentally hot-wired the car with his pacemaker). Finally, the Thunderbird gleamed like a turquoise jewel.
        The day of their maiden voyage arrived. Mildred, sporting a polka-dot scarf and oversized sunglasses, climbed behind the wheel. Marvin, sporting a straw boater and a nervous smile, settled in beside her. Mildred, channeling her inner teenager, slammed the car into gear…and promptly stalled.
        Marvin patted her hand, his dentures clicking sympathetically. “Don’t worry, Mildred. We can always go back to the bus.”
        Suddenly, the engine roared to life. Mildred, startled, lurched forward, the Thunderbird taking off like a startled pigeon. They careened down Elm Street, Mildred yelping, Marvin clinging to the dashboard for dear life. They honked at surprised squirrels, narrowly missed a grumpy mailman, and left a trail of bewildered stares in their wake.
        Their joyride ended with a gentle thud against a pile of hay bales outside Farmer Joe’s stand. Mildred and Marvin, shaken but unharmed (except for a crick in Marvin’s neck), emerged from the car. Farmer Joe, a portly man with a booming laugh, helped them out.
        “Well, that was quite a show, folks! You two remind me of a couple of lovebirds on the loose!”
        Mildred and Marvin, cheeks flushed, sheepishly admitted their age. Farmer Joe roared with laughter. “Never too old for a little fun, eh?”
        News of their escapade spread like wildfire. Soon, the “Thunderbird Terror” (as the local paper, with a touch of dramatic flair, nicknamed them) were the stars of the town. They became a symbol of youthful spirit, proving that even with a few more miles on the odometer, life was still full of adventure, laughter, and maybe the occasional hay bale encounter.
        Now, Hold On a Second…
        Now, about that article claiming a Ford Thunderbird is suspicious. That sounds a bit fishy, doesn’t it? Thunderbirds are classic American muscle cars, known for their sleek design and powerful engines. Sure, they might stand out in a parking lot full of Priuses, but suspicious? Not really.
        Unless, of course, the Thunderbird in question is sporting fuzzy dice hanging from the rearview mirror, a driver wearing an oversized novelty hat, and a senior citizen couple with a mischievous glint in their eyes. Then, well, maybe there’s a good reason to be suspicious. They might just be up to something wild!

        Like 0
      • CATHOUSE

        The crank is for the vent window and it is laying on the floor by the gas pedal.

        Like 11
    • Troy Cody

      Power windows were optional, but this one has them. The window switches are on the console. The vent windows are manual

      Like 8
    • Steve Smith

      Oly deluxe editions had electric windows. I have a 66 convertible and it has crank windows.

      Like 3
  3. jjb

    Not sure why you say outside is so bad? Photos provided show little, good or bad. You got hyped up about the interior, the discoloration on that driver seat-back and the dash pad have me questioning whether you started typing before you looked at those pix.? In any event, the potential for a good score is present, but will certainly require in person investigation. Just my opinion.

    Like 9
  4. CCFisher

    What’s so suspicious about it? This has to be the strangest write-up I’ve seen on this site. The condition of the inside is consistent with most of the exterior (gently worn). The hood is the outlier, and it could just be the victim of a poorly prepped respray.

    Like 15
  5. johngoodson

    Was this article written by artificial intelligence? There’s no suspicious in this car. I am the seller of this vehicle. This was my grandmas car. The sun has taken its toll but the clean interior is thanks to my grandmothers gentle use and care. Before you write an article, think about how it can impact people and how they feel. I hate to let this one go but I just desperately need to sell it.

    – John

    Like 1
  6. Art Engel

    Power window controls are on the console, I see the headliner hanging down through the rear window photo. Probably had a poly cover over it, always traps moisture and ruins paint.

    Like 6
  7. Kenny

    Price is about right. These aren’t high value cars. Hagerty’s value is $5900 in fair condition and the seller says it’s “priced to sell”. Looks like a good driver to me.

    Like 10
  8. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    Compared to some of the roach coaches/mouse flop house wrecks we’ve seen here, this isn’t that bad looking though I’d course it warrants an up close and personal look over. And If it runs all the better to start with as a project-easier to get on the trailer that way.

    If you’re looking for a sexy ford, buy that gorgeous Pantera we saw earlier.
    If you’re looking for a fun project that is a little easier to get in and out of, buy this: you can take a couple more friends/family/coworkers/dogs with you when it’s done.

    Like 2
  9. Ray

    I’m not a fan of the exterior on this body style, but I’ve always thought it had the coolest interior of the classic T-Birds

    Like 6
    • Terrry

      The wrap around rear seat ( I believe Ford called it “lounge seating”) plus its unique dash does it for me.

      Like 10
  10. Robt

    Nice coupe. Seems priced well if running as well as stated. But how long has it been stored unused? I’d be interested if I were in the market for a t-bird.

    Like 3
  11. Steve Smith

    I answered an ad just like this one. Paid$7,000 for a convertible. Paid $1, 000 for shipping from New Hampshire.
    I received a rusted out, useless hulk.
    Ad looked good and said ready to drive. Yeah, if you were Fred Flintstone!
    Not only that, I sent pics to Ebay and they did NOTHING!

    Like 6
    • Philip

      Sorry to hear of your experience. Yeah, the converts are always a concern. It really is worth having a PPI, even if the report isn’t nuanced, at least some obvious things would be seen.

      Like 2
  12. Terry J

    Many types of cars can benefit from the RaT Rod category and patina can fit that genre. But a classy T Bird doesn’t fit. In my opinion T Birds and Caddys and Lincolns (ertc) require a high degree of exterior finish to be anything other than a beater. Add up the cost of restoring this one to that level and the asking price is about right esp. if your uncle owns a body & paint shop and owes you a favor. :-) Terry J

    Like 3
  13. Steve Smith

    Parts car at best. Look closer rust inside door jams. The car I bought even looked better in pics than this one.
    The front bumper is a good indicator of it’s true condition.

    Like 1
  14. Todd Johnson

    Portland is humid. Owner made no claim of barn storage duration. All sellers embellish. between 8 hrs to a lifetime of work there.

    Like 0
  15. Steve Smith

    If you’re serious about buying this car, I suggest you pay a local mechanic to look it over for you.
    If he says it’s worth the price, go for it.

    Like 3
  16. Dennis Marauszwski

    It would sure be nice to be able to at least take a look at what’s under the hood and a few pictures of the underside of the car would be great also ….. it’s a awful long ride to take a look at a “pig in a poke”

    Like 2
  17. Don

    They don’t use road salt in Oregon. The car looks solid for the typical ’64-66 Thunderbird. Any 2 door hardtop that is solid, runs, has brakes, and a clean title is worth $5000.

    Like 2
  18. Philip

    There are plenty of these, with AC and PW, and they are not very expensive even when they are in good condition, so why bother with this one, you’ll be underwater in no time.

    Like 5
    • Steve Smith

      Agree 100%

      Like 3
  19. Lovin' Old Cars!

    “Buyer beware!” If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    Like 1
  20. Doug

    How bout some under the hood and in the trunk pics?? If you really want to move the car!!

    Like 2
  21. John R

    It’s got a hitch receiver on it. Wonder what it pulled.

    Like 1
    • Robt

      With that 390 under the hood he could have pulled just about anything he wanted!

      Like 1

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