No Reserve: 1962 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned through decades of dealing with classic cars is the importance of doing some research on the vehicle that strikes the right chord with you. There are many factors to consider before you hand over your hard-earned cash, and this 1962 Ford Thunderbird Convertible graphically demonstrates this. It is a clean and tidy survivor that is looking for a new home. As such, the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and the bidding has reached $27,100 in what is a No Reserve auction.

At first glance, I thought that this Thunderbird was a Sports Roadster, but after carefully examining the supplied photos, I believe that it is a regular Convertible. It wears the fiberglass tonneau and the Kelsey Hayes wire wheels that were a feature of the Roadster, but it lacks the unique badges on the front fenders and the grab handle on the dashboard’s passenger side. It is finished in Corinthian White, and while it isn’t perfect, it still presents well. The paint holds a respectable shine, and there are no significant dings or dents. The owner makes no mention of any rust problems, and there are none visible in the photos. There is a Cream soft-top which looks to be in excellent order. There is no evidence of rips or stains, and the rear window is crystal clear. The fiberglass tonneau is in excellent condition, and the same appears to be true of the glass. Most of the trim is acceptable for a driver-quality car, but there are a few issues. The “Thunderbird” badge is missing off one fender, and a couple of the chrome trim pieces have minor dings. Sourcing a badge shouldn’t be a problem, and unless the buyer is seeking perfection, the trim would probably be okay. When they were first released, the wire wheels were prone to failure. Ford and Kelsey Hayes addressed these problems, and any that have survived to this day have to be good ones.

Powering the T-Bird is the entry-level Z-Code 390ci V8. This motor punches out 300hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a 3-speed automatic transmission. In keeping with Ford’s luxury theme for the Thunderbird, it also comes equipped with power steering and power brakes. This combination should be capable of launching the Thunderbird down the ¼ mile in around 16.6 seconds. Many people have looked at the Thunderbird and the Corvette as direct competitors, but this is an unfair comparison. The Corvette was marketed as a hard-edged 2-seater sports car, while the Thunderbird was considered a Personal Luxury Car. However, comparing the ’62 Thunderbird’s performance figures against a ’62 Corvette that is equipped with the 300hp version of the 327 and a Powerglide transmission is interesting. The ‘Vette will cover the ¼ mile in 15.7 seconds. That is noticeably faster, but it’s also worth noting that the Ford weighs a not inconsiderable 1,370 lbs more than the Chevy. If you ordered the Corvette with the entry-level engine, that performance gap closes to a mere 0.4-seconds. They may have been aimed at different buyers, but the entry-level cars offered similar performance levels. The engine bay of this Thunderbird presents nicely, but the owner provides no information about how well it drives. He does supply a walk-around video that I have included at the bottom of this article. You don’t see the car driving, but you do get to hear that glorious V8 running. It sounds as clean and crisp as you could ever hope for, with no smoke or odd noises.

The Thunderbird’s interior follows the ongoing theme with this classic of being tidy without being startling. There are no rips or tears in the upholstery, and the carpet and dash look good. There are a few flaws to consider. The driver’s seat is beginning to sag, which suggests that the foam is on the way out. It would be worth replacing the foam, as it is only going to deteriorate further as time passes. A foam kit to give both front seats a boost can be found for $320, which would be money well spent. A more significant concern is the cracks in the dash pad. Once again, these will deteriorate with time and need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Finding a replacement in the correct color could be a battle, so the buyer may need to purchase a reproduction pad in black and then have it dyed to match the interior. If they do, they can find high-quality pads for around $450. The rest of the interior looks presentable, and it comes equipped with power windows, a power driver’s seat, and a retro-look radio/cassette player.

This 1962 Thunderbird Convertible isn’t perfect, but it is a tidy survivor. I don’t believe that it is one of the 1,427 Sports Roadsters that rolled off the line in 1962. It wears the tonneau and the wire wheels, but it lacks the unique badges and the grab handle. I know that this isn’t conclusive proof, but it strongly suggests that this is a standard Convertible. If our knowledgeable Barn Finds readers can prove otherwise, I will happily admit that I’m wrong on this one. An interested buyer should investigate this further because it impacts the car’s ultimate value. Speaking of investigating, I did some poking around on the internet, and I have found this car listed for sale on another website. If you are seriously interested in the Thunderbird, I suggest following up on the eBay listing. The other site has it advertised with a price of $49,999. That is a long way above where bidding sits at present and leaves a lot of room to move during the auction. If that bit of sleuthing can potentially save a buyer a five-figure sum, then it is well worth the effort. Is that enough to spark your interest?

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  1. Bob McK Member

    I wonder if someone just bought this at the Mecum auction, or they tried to sell it there without meeting the reserve. I would want to know before I placed a bid.

    Like 5
    • David Taylor

      Where are the fender skirts?????

      Like 7
    • Joseph

      If you are on the Mecum emailing list you can look at auction history to see if this was a failed attempt to sell or someone who bought it and now wants to flip it. The high bid would be shown.

      Like 2
    • Leo C.

      Does that really matter?? so what if it was at Meacum & did not sell! your bidding on this car now for what it is , not for what it was. if you don’t like what it is , then don’t bid. So what if someone got a real good deal & want to flip the car for what its really worth!

      Like 5
      • Steve Clinton

        Simmer down, Leo! LOL

        Like 2
      • Bob Mck Member

        People often buy cars at an auction, take it home and find out it is actually junk. Then they try to flip them, usually losing thousands. I would want to know if this had been bought at the auction.

        Like 2
  2. Gord

    Unless it’s an early production ( around Nov 1961 or earlier) car it’s not a factory sports roadster. The eBay ad lists the serial number as 2Y85 – except for the early ones all sports roadsters were 2Y89.

    Like 5
  3. Daniel W Wright

    If it was a regular convertable someone installed the fiberglass tanneau cover on what is under it? Is the back seat still there? Has there been any moisture intrusion?

    Like 3
    • Gord

      All 1962 Thunderbirds had the back seat including the sports roadsters.

      Like 8
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    When I was in high school in Eureka,CA,there was a red
    Sports Roadster that I would occasionally see in a driveway.About
    7 years I was surprised to see that it was still there.The weird part
    was that it was kept in the neighbor’s garage all those years.
    Why can’t I have neighbors like that?

    Like 3
  5. Al

    The interesting thing about this car is the slope of the front end.
    If someone slams on the brakes the nose dives down. If it is following a 1965 Catalina, which is also slamming on its brakes, which means its tail-end is swinging-up, the T-Bird slides easily under the Catalina. No real damage at this point.
    However, the T-Birds owner, usually PO’d, slams their car in reverse and rips their front end all to bits.
    Thanks, but I was driving the Catalina, therefore not my problem.

    Like 11
  6. EPO3

    If it was black on black on black for sure the white and red looks good just not as classy. The fiber glass tanneau doesn’t fit rite

    Like 4
  7. gbvette62

    I’ve always been a Chevy and Pontiac guy, but I’ve also always been a fan of the second and third generation Thunderbirds. In 40 years of collecting cars, the only post war Ford I’ve ever owned was a gorgeous black 59 “Squarebird”. Back in 63, the guy next door got out of the army, and immediately bought a new champagne gold 63 Sports Roadster. I still appreciate the ride through the neighborhood he gave to this annoying little, car crazy 9 year old kid.

    I really like this car, but it’s a shame it has the body side moldings. To me, they brake up the clean lines of the 61 & 62’s.

    Like 2
    • JoeBob

      The side moldings did a good job of preventing door dings.

      Like 2
  8. Malcolm Boyes

    Sports roadster or not its a lovely’Bird and this generation is my favorite. I believe the skirts do not fit over the wire wheels and were eliminated on the Sports Roadster for that reason. As said the rear seat is there and ready for use after you take off the tonneau. My wife inherited a pink 61hardtop ‘Bird from her mother that I truly loved and wished we had kept..but I already had too many cars and not enough room. It was bought and shipped to Norway. First thing I’d do with this is find that missing T’bird easy fix!

    Like 2
    • Rox62Tbd

      You are correct, skirts did not apply with KH wire wheels; and as for TBird tanneau, plenty of aftermarket kits available. True early Birds of ‘62 would have had build sheets w/ Sport Roadster printed at bottom…curious if build sheet behind the coils if the back seat? Later Birds of ‘62 would have 2Y89…#s … if looking for the Holy Grail Sport Roadster – do you home work!

      Like 1
  9. Daniel Gavin

    Always thought these models were very cool…..this one looks a little tired and not sure it’s worth the current bid.
    PS: Was the tissue box an option? LOL!!!!

  10. Solosolo Member

    That was one terrible video. If you are going to bother doing a video then a good idea would be to move around the car slowly while doing so!

  11. gaspumpchas

    Looking at the fleabay bidders, looks like a bunch of scammers with zero or low feedback pumping up the bids. I had this problem when I sold some vehicles last year, EPO3 is right from what I can see the Tonneau cover doesnt fit right. The guy wants over 50k for it? Think you could buy a real sports roadster for that kind of coin. Anyway, an estute buyer would check out all of the issues. Good luck and stay safe. Know what you are buying,

    Like 3
    • Bob Mck Member

      I have a real 63 Sports Roadster which cost 50K. A non roadster is worth about half of that.

      Like 2
  12. Philip

    Located in Florida w/o AC? Next.

  13. Barney

    I like these cars but if you do your own work there to areas that can be tough. Both the T-bird and the Lincoln of this time period have a wiring system that is a nightmare to work on. I note this because the left tail light is out. Could be something very simple but on the other hand….
    The other area is the front suspension. Specially doing an alignment. What a bear. I’ve done a few and I used to cringe when I saw one come in.

    Like 3
  14. ACZ

    A truly timeless design.

    Like 1
  15. Madlad

    You can get the tonneau cover for just about any T-bird. My friend got one for his ’60 T-bird and you do have to play with the fitting.

    Like 1
  16. Stan Marks

    If this was a Mecum car, it would be perfect, without flaws. It’s still worth the current bid.
    The pic, of the “Outer Limits” car, is a classic ’63 Roadster.

    Like 2
  17. Steve Clinton

    I’ve always been amused that the ’61 – ’63 Thunderbirds are called the ‘Cigar ‘Birds’.

    • ACZ

      That’s a new one. I’ve always heard them referred to as a “bullet bird”.

      Like 1
      • Steve Clinton

        That too.

  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $27,300.

    Yes, this car was Sold at Mecum recently, I found it on their website.
    They indicate that it was Sold, but not the selling price (I was logged into my Mecum account).
    The auction says that it comes with the optional tonneau cover, but does not state that it IS a Sports Roadster.
    So, the seller is taking some liberties with the truth.

    • Steve Clinton

      “So, the seller is taking some liberties with the truth.”
      I can’t believe a seller would do that! LOL

      • Stan Marks

        Probably an ex used-car salesman. LOL!!

  19. gaspumpchas

    “sold”, I doubt it, another listing with zero feedbaack and the “winner” has one feedback. Riddled with scammer. No guarantee from ebay. Another tip / caution with listing on ebay- when you choose the package, there’s one for 25, one for 50, and one for 95. I usually use the $25 package and it does everything I need it to, If you want to relist, just hit the button. HOWEVER- it puts you on for the $95 package automatically, regardless of what package you used. They are out to rip you off at every corner. Call em about the scammers? Dont waste your breath. in fact, this business with the scammers and the zero feedback is probably good for them as the po’ed seller might just hit the relist button. Whoever thought this was easy should try it. Off the soapbox. Stay safe and good luck.

    Like 1
  20. Frank

    wow reading comments you people are nuts & now I’m joining ‘the crazies!’ I’m looking at this car, but get turned off by all the negativizes. PLEASE DISCUSS ISSUES with buying this olde girl. Ford made great products, a short few yrs they win Lemans. The technology in this car can scare anyone. As ex-owner of last great 4 dr convertible, Continental, she had 12 ? motors (ITS BEEN 20 YRS) to raise the top, & what seemed like another 1000 relays stops starts & who knows what. These FORDS where designed to go to the moon & come back. So like to know what am in for.

    • Steve Clinton

      My advice is, if you like it, buy it and enjoy it.

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