Original 428: 1966 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau

The 1966 model year was the final for production of the Fourth Generation Thunderbird, and while it was also marked the year of the lowest production figures for that generation, 69,176 buyers still saw fit to give one of these classics a new home. The most popular derivative was the Town Landau, with 35,105 people handing over their cash to park one in their driveway. Our feature car is one of those vehicles, and it is a tidy survivor that offers a few possibilities. It has had limited use recently, so the owner has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. The T-Bird is located in East Wenatchee, Washington, and it could be yours for $6,500. A big thank you has to go out to Barn Finder Matt H for spotting this fine Ford for us.

The owner admits that this Thunderbird isn’t perfect and that its Emberglo paint has some faded spots that the buyer might want to address. However, these aren’t clearly visible in the supplied photos, so the car might present acceptably as an original survivor. The White vinyl top is in excellent condition for its age and still wears the chrome Landau trims that were a distinctive feature of this model. However, the most positive piece of news seems to surround the issue of rust. Thunderbirds of this vintage could be prone to problems, and many have succumbed to the ravages of the tin worm over the years. However, things might be pretty positive with this car. There are no problems visible in the photos, with prone areas like the rockers and lower rear quarter panels appearing to be clean. The owner doesn’t mention any floor or frame issues, so potential buyers might be onto a winner here. The chrome shows no sign of major deterioration, and like the tinted glass, it would be considered acceptable for a survivor-grade car. So, first impressions look pretty good.

Turning our attention to the vehicle’s interior reveals trim that presents acceptably for a survivor-grade car. There are no glaring flaws like rips or splits, and I get the impression that some concentrated cleaning would have it showing quite nicely. However, there is one thing that has me scratching my head. The driver’s seat is laid back at an incredible angle, and it makes me wonder whether it is attached to the floor. It reduces rear-seat legroom to zero, and I don’t believe it would be possible to drive the T-Bird with the seat in that position. The owner doesn’t supply any information on this in the listing, so it rates as one of life’s mysteries. Otherwise, the interior seems to have no pressing needs. Luxury appointments include air conditioning, power windows, a swing-away wheel, and a pushbutton radio.

Potential buyers in 1966 had a couple of engine choices for their new Thunderbird, but the original owner ordered this car with the range-topping 428 V8 that pumped out 345hp in its prime. The rest of the drivetrain was standard across the range and included a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. Ford’s intent with the Thunderbird was for potential buyers to view it as a vehicle with luxury leanings. However, if the owner poked that V8 with a sharp stick, it could still launch the car through the ¼ mile in 16 seconds. Maybe that isn’t muscle car territory, but the figure remains respectable nonetheless. The owner admits that this T-Bird has been stored undercover for the past five years and has received limited use. It runs and drives, but it seems that the buyer will need to treat it to a service and tune-up if it is to perform at its best once again.

This 1966 Thunderbird Town Landau isn’t perfect, but it represents an affordable classic at the asking price. If the photos and listing information accurately represents it, it could be a rust-free vehicle that features the most desirable engine under the hood. It isn’t perfect, but it looks like it could be enjoyed untouched as an original survivor. It is possible to find tidy examples in the market for under $20,000, although perfect cars can easily top $30,000. Even at those sorts of figures, they still fall within the realms of affordability. There would be room to move on a repaint without compromising this car’s financial viability if it is rust-free. It is a tempting prospect, but would you follow that path or retain it as an original survivor?


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  1. Cadmanls Member

    Most likely that drivers seat is set back as far as that six way seat will go. Mine used to lay back pretty far. And that car will move on a roll. Owned a 428 66 Bird, great car

    Like 8
  2. Stevieg Member

    Very nice car, priced on the cheap for a change of pace. My only concern is the power windows. They are a mix of electric & vacuum. They can be a nightmare to fix if they don’t work. So, there is no mention either way in the ad as to whether or not they do function. Even if they don’t work, it is still priced very fairly. Love the 428!

    Like 2
  3. Cadmanls Member

    Windows are electric period. The locks the rear vent the A/C system and heat are all vacuum as well as other parts of the car. Had to replace the drive gears in the window motors. Even wing windows are electric.

    Like 8
    • Stevieg Member

      Are you sure? I know the old 1960’s era Lincoln I had was a nightmare because it had electric motors & vacuum lines. The windows quit working & it was a vacuum issue. The windows never worked again.
      I loved that car but I refuse to buy any Ford product from that Era with power windows out of fear of that issue happening to me again. Once bitten, twice shy.

      • Fred W

        They are definitely ordinary electric windows, I had a 66 and worked on all of them. The power locks on Lincolns would be vacuum operated and the lines would be in the doors, maybe that’s what you remember?

        Like 4
      • Stevieg Member

        Thanks for the clarification Fred. I guess then that I probably should have held onto my old Mark III then lol, maybe taken it to a different mechanic to help get the windows fixed. I’ve walked away from plenty nice old Ford products because of my power window fear too lol.
        This is one of the reasons I love this website…no one can possibly know everything & there is always something to learn! Someone here always has the answer.

      • Jeff

        Hi Stevie. I have owned a dozen Lincolns and thunderbirds from 61-66. The power windows on both models are electric. The power door locks on the Lincoln are vacuum operated. Could be your mechanic took advantage of you. On all 61-62 lincolns and thunderbirds the power windows were exceptional with brass gears and series-shunt motors. Beginning in 63 they went to a more simple window motor with less torque that was prone to sticking when left up for a length of time. Then in mid sixties they replaced the brass gear with a rubber gear on the thunderbird which could fail. A DIY person can usually fix any of the issues regardless of year just my opinion. Thanks

        Like 4
      • Stevieg Member

        I’m going to assume the mechanic was either lazy or didn’t know what he was talking about (sorta like me lol).
        If I weren’t working the job I had back then, I would have taken the door panels off myself & probably figured it out. In hindsight, I wish I had lol.
        I’m going to hunt down a nice Mark III again, once I am in a better spot financially. Thanks for the info, you made my day!

  4. joenywf64

    I dislike when i see modern replacement incorrect flat black wiper frames on old cars. In the movie, “Once upon a time in Hollywood”, that takes place in the ’60s & ’70s(highly recommended), i not only spotted that goof on a ’60s chevelle, but they also showed CRT tv’s with 90 degree angled corners(only curved was available back then), & thinner telephone cords with modular plugs(again not avail back then).
    Amazing some PAY phones in the 60’s & earlier didn’t even have a steel cable wire to the receiver – just a normal household wire!

    Like 4
  5. tompdx Member

    Me too! I bought a ’76 Jag XJ12L with black blades and even black wiper arms – tore them off while waiting for the correct parts to arrive. I’d rather be unable to drive it than look at those hideous things!

    Like 1
  6. Lance

    My brother has one of these. Owned it since 68. For a nice car they just don’t bring much money. A total POS ragged out muscle Mopar with no engine will bring as much as the asking price for this car. T’birds of this vintage (64-6) just don’t generate much interest. Too bad too because this is a decent car.

    Like 4
  7. Martinsane

    I love it. Much prefer these 60s birds and the price for once is not stroke inducing.

    Like 2
  8. Robt

    Nice car.
    My thoughts go to the flowing lines of a simple yet expressive design. It’s compact size in my mind lead me to believe this could be a cool hot rod. Not with big bucks but with simple subtraction and a couple additions.
    Dump every bit of sound deadening, luxury adding non necessity. Includes electric windows, ac, heavy interior, auto tranny … ugly ‘b’ pillar roof line … everything.
    It’s already got a 428 under that hood and we all know what it’s potential is. Put a 4 or 5 speed behind it and you could have a light, good looking car compareable to my old 66 fairlane with a lot of motivation under the hood. Frame connectors would help as it is unibody.
    Love the lines of these, except that roofline!

  9. Mike

    Love the ’64-’66 T Birds. Nice engine and very smooth on the road. Styling has been underrated. I still think that they are the most elegant of all the birds. Had a restored’57 and a ’64. Both are gone now but I would consider a 64-66 again. So comfortable to drive…..

  10. Gsuffa Gsuffa Member

    We had one when I turned 16. Much better car all around than a Mustang of the era and worth less than half as much. Wish I could buy it back. Burgundy Town Landau like this, solid white interior. Sold in St Louis long ago.

  11. glenn C marks

    Is it possible front seat is positioned as such so we can see that huge T-Bird logo on the door (with it’s faux wood background)? It is a bit striking.

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