More Seats, More Sales! 1960 Ford Thunderbird

In 1958, Ford decided that if they added another seat to the Thunderbird, they would sell more. And it did. Sales nearly doubled. This “barn find”, found here on craigslist, is a second generation Thunderbird with a price of $4500.

The seller provides very few pictures. The questions are:

How is the interior? The interior should feature bucket seats and a center console.

How are the floors? The seller is including a new driver side pan so one would think this car needs some work. Are the taillights included? The seller has done some of the work on  gaining the much needed parts. Once the car is restored to the white paint and red interior it would be sharp!

What engine does it have? There were four available at the time. The base 292 CID V8 and the 352 CID came with only two barrel carburetors. The photos show a Holley four barrel carburetor, so I think it might be the 352 CID (serial number code Y) not the bigger 430 CID. From my research, red is not the original color for the engine though… Thunderbirds came with Ford’s three-speed Cruise-O-Matic transmission as an option or a 3-speed manual gearbox with overdrive.

This car would be one of 80,938 “Square Bird” hardtops produced by Ford in 1960. I’ve always preferred the two seat Thunderbirds from 1955 through 1957. Seems odd to me but these “Square Birds” competed in NASCAR!

The average selling price of these Thunderbirds is about $17,633. So does the asking price of $4,500 give enough room to restore this car to its former glory? What do you think?

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  1. Dave

    If it’s not too far gone then it’s worth preserving, but on the other hand, solid ones are easy to find for a good deal,

  2. Chevelle guy

    i really wish people would learn how to take a picture ….

  3. Will Fox

    What would make this `60 model truly collectible is if it were one of the few built with the factory crack-open sunroof. A friend owns one, and did a frame-off on it. One stunning `Bird!

  4. JP

    My aunt bought a new ’58 wht/blk int.Great Tbird!

  5. hatofpork

    I wonder how much those taillights are gonna be if not included…As is I’m thinkin’ 12k including purcase price might see a decent resto-depending upon the condition of the undescribed/shown interior and assuming (!) the drive train is solid (ly functional). Nice ones are still breathtakingly beautiful to me!

  6. Ken

    T-Bird in 58 came with a 4bbl 352 300hp 59-60 the same with 430 optional.
    No 292 or 352 2bbl. available. Hope Ben Bradmom is an
    unpaid volunteer.

  7. JagManBill

    Based on those valve covers, this is a 430. 352 had embossed “THUNDERBIRD” on them. 430’s were clean. I had a 430 in my 60. It also had power everything, ac and an interesting 4 speed transmission. I found that out once going waaay faster than I should have on nylon tires (but heck…I’m 17 and your supposed to find out how fast your car will go right?). At about 95 the car lurched like it had been launched out of a cannon. One of the old Lincoln mechanics traded at my Dad’s station. When I was telling(bragging) him about how fast it went and the “rocket launcher” at almost 100 he said I had a Lincoln 4 speed. Never knew Lincoln had a 4 speed auto and have never seen one in print so can’t verify that. If anyone knows let me know. Just pictures of the car on the wall now, but would love to build another one but thinking I’ll do a 59 this time.
    Geez that car was fun. 1st date….1st kiss…(there wasn’t any room for anything else…)

    • Ken

      Thanks Jag. Even 352 would go over 120. These cars had a very low number rear end ratio. Except for Hydramatic, no other 4 speed automatics at that time.
      Hydramatics were used in Hudsons and early 50’s Lincoln’s. T-Birds had Cruise -o-Matic 3 speeds. D-2 was the upper position (later was the white dot) it would
      skip first and start in 2nd. This was for slippery roads (less torque). D-1 lower position (later was the green dot) would go through all 3 gears. Also heard were
      in white dot car would not roll back on a hill when you took your foot off the gas.
      If anyone can verify this please let us know.

  8. Ken

    The original article stated a manual was offered. Square Birds only came with Cruise-O-Matics. 3 speed manuals with or without
    overdrive were last available on 57 models.

  9. JagManBill

    Actually Ken they were. Maybe not offered but you could get it. I looked as a 59 about a year ago that I thought about it long enough that someone else got it. Was a 352 with a 3spd OD manual. I was thinking then this car must be rare as hens teeth. But then that same comment came through my mind of rarity doesn’t equate to value and was toying with how I could modify the console and put a 4 speed behind the 352. THAT would be a fun bird…
    In the same vane, I am going tomorrow to look at a 66 Galaxie 4 door that has a 289 3 speed on the column. That one I am going to get if its clean enough. Pull the front seat and drop in the buckets and console (w/4 speed) from an XL.

    • Ken

      A friend in Walled Lake has a Tn. car he bought 12 years ago. A ’63 convert.
      Bench seat Galaxie black with a 289 and 3 on the tree. No p/s or p/b just a radio
      and dog dish hubcaps. 22K Looks and drives like it’s 1963. Would love to have it. Most were 352’s. They made a 4-door hardtop XL in 63 & 64. Saw a 64. Both are rare. VERY nice interiors. Chevy never made a 4-dr SS.

  10. Ken

    Jag, About the 4-speed Hydramatic (39- 6?). 4th was 1 to 1 just like the rest of the automatics that were 2 and 3 speed, so top end would be the same. However early Hydramatics had 2 fluid clutches instead of a torque converter.
    So less hydraulic slippage that might have resulted in a higher top end.

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