M For Magic? 1963 Ford Thunderbird Convertible


An “M” code early 60’s Thunderbird meant a TriPower carburetor setup and special cylinder heads. It was only fitted to Thunderbirds from January 1962 through January 1963, and wasn’t even listed in the factory “1963 Ford Buyers Digest” according to the Thunderbird Registry, which also has a listing added for this exact car taken from the auction listing, found here on eBay at no reserve–bidding is very active. The car is located in El Cajon, California. One of these (probably not an M code!) passed us on the highway this weekend, and both the burbling sound and beautiful lines had me hunting the classifieds that night. Thanks to Charles H. for this great find! The TriPower carbs are not there, but the sellers have found a setup and it is for sale separately, but only to the high bidder in the car auction. This is one car I’d love to own, and the refurbishment looks pretty straightforward, with only some dents and trunk rust standing in the way. Would you pay extra for the three carbs, or would you be happy to drive it with the existing setup (presumably a 4-barrel)?


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  1. Tom

    Would have to have the tri power, but are the heads correct for the tri?

  2. Texas Tea

    I agree with Tom. It’s got to have the tri power carb set up bolted on. What would be the point in boasting about it if it’s not there.

    Nice car and good color combination too. I like it a lot.

  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    They say the heads are correct for the tri power in the ad…I’m guessing they don’t own the tri power setup, but can connect you with the seller of it (for a cut). Just guessing, though.

  4. Ed P

    Shined up, this would be a fun car to ride around town. I see a picture of a booklet for a California emissions device. I’m wondering if this had anything to do with the 4bbl replacing the tri-power setup?

  5. DanaPointJohn

    So nice to see a thorough, detailed listing from a seller. I have a feeling this car will sell for a fair price and will live a long and happy life!

  6. MeToo

    Yawn! This nice, but I just saw a better one. Actually, it has been sitting in a small parking lot near my home here in Kingman AZ for at least a week. Just yesterday i was wondering what year it was as I passed by, pushing my way to a nearby store. The one near me for sale is white and downright pristine compared to this one. I am going that way in a few hours and will try and get a few photos of it. It’s GORGEOUS. If any readers live in Kingman and want to take a look, it is on Northern, across the street from Gas ‘n Grub.

  7. Doug Towsley

    I did a full body and paint resto on a mid 60s one of these for a shop customer back in the mid 1990s. Im not a Ford Guy, and IMHO they are a wallowing freighter going down the road, however i do understand the appeal. They are an expensive car to restore the Qs on the back bumpers alone are small fortune, the metal reinforced rubber weatherstripping that goes the length of the upper window channel will take your breath away to purchase. Rechroming anything will deplete your bank account like no ones business. But its a cool old mans car. When it was done (Alaskan white with a touch of pearl, Sea foam green interior) it was beautiful. My advice is,, research what it left the factory as, and start buying the parts to make it correct. But then clean it up and drive it as is. A resto on these is a very time consuming job not to be under estimated. I wouldnt want to drive one with the 3 carbs, id stick that on the shelf. the single 4 barrell would be the way to go for a driver. I have extensive photos of the one we did anyone who wants advice or pictures ping me directly. Used to be the number one source for parts was here in Portland Oregon. Still there, dont know if still the best but its called “The Birds nest”. We looked all over the US and ended up buying everything local from this shop.

  8. Alan (Michigan)

    Heavy and soft, yes…
    Stylish and classy… Certainly.

    Restored, or just made drivable, either way a winner. Beautiful lines.

  9. rjc Member

    Good advice Doug!
    I always liked these, it’s a luxury muscle car.

  10. Texas Tea

    I just want to say about the tri power set up. They are not difficult. However let me say, my experience was with Pontiacs. Not Fords. As long as you have a sound motor with no compression issues (valves, etc) or vacuum leaks, timing issues, you can dial them in with ease. I would run the tri power and never worry about it. Sure you have three sets of needles and seats, floats, etc, etc., but if it’s new rebuilt. Not a problem.

    A great looking car and would be so cool with the tri power set up. I’ve never seen one.

  11. JimmyinTEXAS

    Kudos to the seller for at least rinsing the thing off so we can see what i is he wants to sell. Looks great, but no mention of the fiberglass cover for the back seat. That would probably be easy to source. If I had the build sheet I would check the numbers on the manifold and carbs. That one “that he found” is probably the one Granddad pulled off back in the seventies and put on the shelf, and the seller figures to cash in twice. Or maybe I’m just cynical…lol
    I’ve seen some beautiful ones for sale and I bet they are a blast to drive, but expensive to restore like Doug said…

  12. George

    I’m overwhelmed by all the pictures in the ad…

  13. John Schiessl

    http://www.tbirdparts.com/main.htm The Bird Nest still exists!

    • Doug Towsley

      BIRDSNEST, good to know still around, I see the sign at the shop and hear from time to time someone mention them so i knew still around. The original owner was i recall Dick Martin, a serious collector who had a huge collection of cars of all kinds.I had a friend who took care of the collection. Dick owned real estate all over the NW. The Birdsnest is in the basement of one of his warehouses. Huge labyrinth of parts. When we did that car for the customer i literally called all over the US, Everyone said go to the Birdsnest. It was funny it was local to me. So we ended up buying everything there. I heard since Dick passed away, and other owners and some ups and downs. But thats like any business. I am sure they are still the go-to source for parts. I work right down the street from there. I guess i should stop by for old times sake. But I am not a ford guy, and dont own any birds. But anyone who needs parts I can say they did a great job helping us back in the day.

  14. Blindmarc

    Six hours left, and it at a little over eight grand.

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