How Much Is Too Much Rust? 1963 Ford T-Bird


When does it become impossible to either enjoy a car in a somewhat dilapidated state or refurbish/restore it to a better one? I’m asking that question because this 1963 Thunderbird coupe from Alexandria, Minnesota has exceeded that point for me, but maybe not for you? When I first looked at the auction here on eBay I thought this might be a good project car. The buy-it-now price of $1,999 and invitation for lower offers had me wondering if it might even be a bargain. But kudos to the seller for including pictures of rust holes all over the car, and more rust creeping out literally on every body panel. It’s a real shame, because I like the lines on these cars, parts of the interior don’t look too bad and the car is pretty complete. It even runs and drives; the seller drove it more than 100 miles last spring to where it now rests. They’ve owned it for 7 years and it’s been in covered storage for most of that time. Review the pictures and let us know what you think! Is it too far gone, or just an inexpensive way to start a 390 V-8 Thunderbird project?


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  1. Andrew Minney

    White cars and rust – “nowhere to run, nowhere to hide”. Had a couple myself a and body rust always appeared.. Real shame in this case.

  2. Jose

    Parts car, maybe?

  3. Gary

    I do not think it worthy of the time, effort and $$ to try to save this old bird, agree with Jose as a parts/donor car.

  4. don

    parts car. to far gone, if it had some rare options, maybe a fixer, nothing special about it.

  5. rogerowen

    To be honest – I’ve seen far, far worse. Yes, a lot of panel fabrication needed – mainly floor area by the looks of it – and a bit of welding, but looking at the pictures – I’d say it was worthy of restoration. Ever the optimist, I’d take it on if was across this side of the water. Windscreen might be tricky to find, but engine bay looks reasonable as does most of the interior apart from the drivers seat and passenger door trim.

  6. Ed P

    I love the styling of this generation of T-Birds but this one has to many ‘patina’ holes.

  7. Karl

    I wouldn’t write off this handsome stranger. If the suspension mounting points and the undercar strength members are OK, and the price stays low, I would go for it. Shop around for a welder fabricating in his own shop–I know a couple of good ones–you can make this happen.

  8. Howard A Member

    These cars are not really rare and even solid examples with bad drive trains can be had, so yeah, there’s better Birds out there. One of my favorite style T-Birds, however, the speedo stuck at 95 mph has me a little nervous. :0

  9. Jim Marshall

    Way to much rust especially on a unibody car. These standard 61 to 63 Birds do not bring the money it would take to bring this car back.

  10. jim s

    seller is willing to take an offer or sell parts off of car. i too think this is a parts car.

  11. Warren

    Rare AM-FM radio……

    • chuck

      There are so many CA cars to chose from, why even waste time on a Fred Flintstone rust bucket?

  12. JP

    I’m from MN and is the land of rust; I now live in AZ. Come to Phoenix where rust free T-Birds of all years are pretty reasonable.

  13. dave aikman

    to me in the uk that’s nowhere near too far gone the floors still partially exist lol I have honestly seen a lot worse be restored

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