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Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side of this 1963 Thunderbird?

Sometimes, the grass is actually greener on the other side of the fence. That’s apparently the case with this 1963 Ford Thunderbird coupe, in a very literal sense (see the pictures) and in a metaphorical sense, also. We’ll unpack that in a moment. For now, let’s just note that this T-Bird, which is located in Punta Gorda, Florida, is selling here on eBay for a current bid of $4600 and about two days to go in the auction as you read this. This is a no-reserve auction.

The Thunderbird, by the early 1960s, had evolved from the two-door convertible, two-seater form of its 1955 model year introduction. 1961-63 marked its third generation, the “Bullet Bird” look as it is known, and the styling is, to nearly every eye, impeccable. The combination of rounded taillights, vestigial fins, character line with chrome accents, and a chrome accent spear running from front to back, or even back to front, if your eye goes that way, is smile-inducing. 1963 also marked the first use of an alternator in the Thunderbird, where before, generators were standard equipment.

This particular Bullet Bird has a 390-CID V8 engine, one assumes original, but that’s not specifically said. There are 51,000 miles showing on the odometer. The single photo of the engine mostly features what appears to be a matte-black spray-can paint job on the breather cover, valve covers, and other parts, so it’s difficult to guess how much detailing it might need, or even whether what’s there looks original. The seller briefly describes recent work to include a new fuel tank, exhaust, and two new door panels. That’s not nearly enough resto, as both front seats are almost entirely destroyed despite the back seats looking like they’ve basically never been sat in. Why not re-skin those buckets and increase the eye appeal a bunch?

But what’s frightening is shiny paint covering obvious large bubbles of rust. That rot might extend to the driver’s side as well as being on the passenger’s, and who knows—maybe to the base of the front fender as well. The floors, underneath, are poorly pictured, so prospective buyers are very much in the dark as the solidity of the car. The one photo underneath shows mostly mechanical bits from the oil pan back, and there does appear to be undercoating on part of the floor. Punto Gorda, by the way, is on the ocean south of Sarasota—Barnfinders can weigh in on whether that means that salt air might have done its sad work on this T-Bird. Sure, you can buy it and drive it, and with the price in plain sight of normal people’s budgets, that might be a good idea. But it’s not long until rust bubbles become rusty patches, and that’s when the old “grass is greener” saying might have you rethinking your purchase.


  1. Moparman Member

    Wow! The same car posted twice on the same day by two different writers?!? Perhaps a little cross referencing is needed; at any rate, interesting to get two different observations!! :-)

    Like 10
    • James Quinn

      Yes! I just posted my 67 Vista Cruiser on Craigslist and I’m trying to figure out how to get is posted here just once.

      Like 2
  2. Bick Banter

    JFK had one. He loved them. There were 50 1961s in his inaugural parade. He had a 1963 in Sandstone Beige as a personal car. It is said that is the last car that he ever drove before he was killed.

    Like 7
  3. Frank M

    Did I miss the link to the ebay site?

    Like 4
  4. george mattar

    Strange how the convertibles in the same year are worth about 3 times as much. Beautiful cars when people actually drove cars. Today, a sad stupid world with SUVs that are so ugly my 88 year old mother could design something better.

    Like 1

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