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Junkyard Find: 1965 Ford Thunderbird

Now, this is one that you really don’t see in junkyards anymore, or at least you really shouldn’t. This 1965 Ford Thunderbird somehow ended up in a pick-and-pull yard here in Boise, rather than with someone who could have restored it. Since landing here, its drivetrain and interior have been stripped of lots of components, so at least it’s giving another car a chance to stay on the road. These cars are really quite impressive, especially on the inside, so we thought we would document this one before it’s melted down for scrap.

When it comes to the Thunderbird family, it sometimes feels like early cars get all the love, but these 4th generation Birds were really cool machines. The interiors were especially cool, with lots of luxury features in a fair amount of chrome. As you can see, the front seats are missing from this one, but it gave me and Jesse a chance to have a closer look at the sweet rear seats and that impressive center console.

I hadn’t ever really studied one of these cars up close and was blown away by all the subtle features. From the gauges to the multi-directional vent controls to the heater levers, and over to the door pulls, everything felt designed rather than engineered. Between all the chrome, woodgrain, and textiles, I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a car interior or a ’60s Las Vegas lounge. It really was a sight to behold.

It’s hard to say why this Bird ended up here. I didn’t see any signs of serious rust and based on all the hardware scattered on the ground around it, I’m guessing it was fairly complete when it entered the yard. Of all the cars we looked at during this junkyard stroll, this one felt like the biggest shame to have ended up here. I know at one time these were just used cars, but those days are long gone and every example kept from the junkyard is one that future generations can enjoy. I just hope that this one’s sacrifice can help keep other ones on the road!


  1. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Joshua, as I started to read your article and came upon the picture of the instrument panel, I paused to study it. My thought was the same as yours: look at all the cleverly-styled pieces and varied, fancy finishes. The interior was certainly a highlight of this generation of Birds. It must have been fun being assigned to the interior design team.

    Like 6
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      I spent way too much time just studying knobs for the air vents. There were so many cool little touches, it really was impressive.

      Like 3
      • Taylor Lucius Member

        Joshua! I’ve been trying to find you. You bought the 54 singer from me years back I’d really like to talk!

        Like 0
  2. Jerry Kenney

    That looks like a 66 Landau

    Like 1
  3. Sam Shive

    Most states once it’s in the JUNK YARD It’s Done………Good For Parts Only. Title Reads / Stamped JUNK. LEAVE IT JUNK

    Like 2
  4. James Quinn

    Probably my favorite interior

    Like 0
  5. AF

    The person that photographed the car was too busy to remove the trash cans?

    Like 2
    • Steve Clinton

      Trash cans included…which is fitting.

      Like 2
    • Joshua Mortensen Staff

      The trash can had a full set of brake rotors and calipers in the bottom of it. It looked like someone was going to come back for them, so I didn’t want to dump them on the ground.

      Like 2
  6. Lance

    Pretty sure thats a 66 not a 65 T bird.

    Like 10
  7. Arby

    It was a ’66 – not much of anything now….

    Like 5
  8. JCH841

    The grille and under bumper fascia are 1966, The $equential taillight$ are missing. Good luck even if it has a clean title.

    Like 3
  9. Howie Mueler

    The trash cans might be worth more.

    Like 2
  10. Rickey Shaum

    That is definitely a 66 model ( I can tell by the front grill), although it’s seen much better days. But that said, great interior parts car!

    Like 0
  11. John at Star

    Now that is just a crying shame!

    Like 1
    • John S Dressler

      While at one point a very nice car that could have been restored, the trash can sticking out of the engine bay is a fitting icon to its condition now. The car just isn’t small enough to fit in it.

      Like 0
  12. Graham

    My favourite T-Bird. I always remember the ad from National Geographic…the one with the driver – an airline pilot – reaching to the roof controls….fantastic! I used to wait eagerly for Dad’s NG to arrive in the mail in the 60’s – I loved the car ads!

    Like 3
  13. Frank

    You see them in the Crusher!

    Like 0
  14. bone

    I doubt it was picked over in the junkyard; there’s not too many of these around for it to be picked over. It was probably junked by someone who had the same year Tbird who bought it for the engine , and stripped off what was still good for spare parts and not having a place to store the carcass ,just junked the rest.

    Like 0

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