It Won’t Start: 1965 Thunderbird

When you see a project like this you have to wonder why they gave up. Has it taken this guy 39 years to decide he’s not really interested because he’s a “Chevy Guy”? Perhaps he really can’t get the engine started. It’s listed on craigslist for $3,200. There’s not much information provided but the interior looks nice and if it really isn’t rusted it might at least be worth a look if you’re in Saint Joseph, Missouri. Special thanks to Pat L for another great tip!

The interior does look pretty nice and complete. It needs a horn button and I think that brown floor looks more like rust than carpet. At least the garage floor isn’t visible through the floor.

This T Bird looks pretty straight from this end as well. What do you think the owner has accomplished in 39 years? Is that rust or a missing trim piece along the bottom of the rear window? We don’t really have enough information to know whether this is a viable project or how much it might be worth. In fair, drivable condition it’s only worth $5,000, more perhaps if it’s really nice. It needs at least carpet and the usual mechanical work to get it there. It might be a nice driver if it can be purchased for a decent price.


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  1. JW

    Only 45 minutes from me but it’s not a first generation Bronco so I’ll pass. Looks like a fairly decent car for a daily driver.

  2. Fred W.

    Worth the price with a known good engine and trans. The seller should work a bit harder to get it started.

  3. Leroy

    Is that paint new? The exhaust tips look like they got sprayed. I wonder what’s hiding under the paint.

  4. 8banger Dave Member

    Exactly what I was thinking: the exhaust tips DO look shot white. Looks like a quick spray job to me, and as I own a ’64 Galaxie XL, 390s aren’t terribly hard to come by….

  5. Glen

    Why did the Chevy guy buy a Ford as a project?

    • whippeteer

      He needed a paperweight…

  6. MikeG

    I’ll never understand the “I’m a (insert car mfg here) guy”… are all distinctly designed and I don’t see the need to be affiliated with one brand or the other. It’s about design, cache, personal taste which all go beyond some particular brand name. People need to belong to a group I guess.

  7. Mike

    I think if the body is in good clean straight shape it might be worth 3.5K, but I won’t go much past that and it would have to be in Great shape. Many reasons why it won’t start, but somebody is going to have to check it out.
    I would want to crawl around under it, St Joe Missouri is in the upper NW corner of the state and they get a lot of ice and snow up there so rust would be a question to check for, especially underneath of it.

  8. Mark

    I had the chance to pick up a ’62 T-bird a couple years ago as a rust-free runner for $2K, but a fellow classic car enthusiast talked me out of it. Not because he was a “Chevy guy”, but because these are heavy, slow cars with a healthy appetite for fuel. I think I was more interested in the idea of thing than the reality of living with it on a daily basis.The interior looks awesome, however.

  9. Cliffyc

    I did not get a look at the pictures on Craigslist,but I guess the hood is not shown in place?. Take the engine shots and get help to lift the hood onto the car and get a photo or two of the “completed” look,surely? . I’m in the UK,and I say “Put a bonnet on it !!”.

  10. MrBlueOval 57

    I had a few T-birds over the years. It looks like those exhaust tips are actually chrome and reflecting the white paint or the flash of the camera and not covered with overspray. Even if it’s a repaint, there’s nothing wrong with that and it looks pretty good from here but asking a few questions or getting more close-up pics or actually seeing it in person would be a good idea before purchase. No mention of mileage either but supposedly stored inside since 1978 so that would explain the shiny paint. The brown on the floor pan is I beleive actually brown glue and leftover green factory carpet padding that Ford used back then so I don’t believe that there is any floor rust holes, just maybe some surface rust. T-birds from this era were Unibody construction so making sure bottom is clean is a no-brainer before purchase but Missouri cars are usually pretty solid underneath. Missouri does get some snow but I believe they don’t get very much at all compared to the upper Midwest and I don’t believe they use rock salt on their roads and rock salt is what rusts cars out, NOT SNOW. I know, I live in Chicago. The horn button looks to be sitting in a can on the floor behind the front seat along with some other parts or hardware so it’s probably in useable shape to complete the otherwise nice interior. The upholstery looks amazing for a 50 + year old car. I don’t see any wear or tear at all so the car is probably low-mileage, especially if sitting for a long time as mentioned. The paint is probably original too then also. Finding any running 50 year old car in this good of shape is worth $3000 all day long so an offer of $2500 for a non-running straight car is definitely worth offering. Those 390’s were great motors and made from the late 1950’s thru the late 1970’s. The engine blocks are bore-able by .060 over IF NECCESSARY and parts are readily still available for them so getting it up and running should be an easy and inexpensive fix. I always loved T-birds and though not too impressed with the white/gold color combo I would be interested if I had the extra cash on hand but since I just bought a low-mileage Ford Country Squire Woody wagon from a long distance and I’m having that one shipped as we speak, I will have to pass on this Thunder-Chicken but I DO think it is worth the closer look-see for anyone else.

    • JW

      MrBlueOval, I moved from the Chicago area to the Kansas City area in 2000, we don’t see near the snow Chicago does but we get more ICE which we are expecting this weekend and yes they do use salt here so our Mach1 is parked in it’s climate controlled garage until May. Was just up in your area for Christmas with the youngest son and family, not much snow there either.

      • MrBlueOval 57

        Yeah, we’ve had a mild winter so far this year but I’m sure we’ll get more of the white stuff in Feb and March. I can’t wait until spring to unwrap and get my cars out of warm storage and on the road again. With global warming going on, who knows what to expect any time of year. No snow here since before Xmas but we are now expecting an ice storm this weekend also.

  11. ben

    not bad but I have a running driving with minor rust repair that u could home for 6000 baby blu with 8 tract and cassete ben in fl

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