Parked For 35 Years: 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

I guess that every story is going to be different, but I look at some of the classics that we see here at Barn Finds and wonder why they have spent years hidden away in a shed or garage. This 1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible is no exception. It has recently emerged after 35-years parked in a garage, and it is looking for a new home. It is a project car that shows some promise and is located in Bowling Green, Ohio. The owner has listed it for sale here on eBay where healthy bidding has pushed the price beyond the reserve to $3,300. So it appears that the new home is mere days away for this classic.

The first thing that I noticed about this T-Bird is that it has received at least one repaint during its life. The existing Wimbledon White paint is peeling away to reveal a further coat of the same color, although there is also black visible in spots below that. This suggests that it may have rolled off the production line wearing Raven Black paint. A lot of the existing paint will need to be stripped away as part of the restoration process, but it appears that the rest of the exterior is the source of some good news. The panels sport a few minor dings and marks, but there’s nothing that will require a lot of work. What strikes me is the lack of visible rust. I’m not going to claim that it is completely rust-free, because only an in-person inspection would confirm this. However, there’s not much visible in the supplied photos. The White power top looks like it would respond positively to a deep clean, and the back window shows no signs of clouding. The remaining glass appears to be in good order, while the external trim looks like it might present well with a bit of hard work and some polish.

When we turn our attention to this Thunderbird’s interior, what we find is a bit of a surprise packet. The upholstered surfaces generally look pretty decent, and I think that a few days of concerted cleaning would make a significant difference to its presentation. Even the carpet might respond well, although it looks like it is pretty dirty on the passenger side. There are a few obvious flaws for the buyer to consider. The top of the dash pad is badly discolored, but it hasn’t split. This might be able to be revived with a vinyl dye, but I would be bracing myself to replace it. One of the black insert sections in the dash is damaged, although you have to look pretty closely to spot it. Unless the buyer is seeking perfection, it would probably be considered acceptable. The original owner did their best to emphasize the Convertible’s luxury credentials. They ordered the vehicle with air conditioning, power windows, a power driver’s seat, a swing-away wheel, and a pushbutton AM radio.

The photos that the owner supplies of the engine are pretty ordinary, but we know that the car comes equipped with a Z-Code 390ci V8, an automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. That 390 would have been producing 300hp in its prime, and even though the T-Bird would not be considered a sports car, the 16.7-second ¼-mile ET is still not bad. The owner says that this Ford ran when it was parked, but it’s worth remembering that it has been sitting for 35-years. It isn’t clear whether the engine turns freely, but it may take a bit of coaxing to get it roaring into life once again. Getting it roadworthy will be a more significant undertaking. We know from the listing that the front end and brakes will need attention, and you would have to think that perishables like hoses, belts, and some gaskets will now be suspect. That might sound daunting, but I can’t see anything to suggest that reviving this classic will be any more difficult than for any other car that has been sitting for more than three decades.

This 1964 Thunderbird is an interesting proposition as a project car, and with Ford only selling 9,198 examples of the Convertible in that model year, they aren’t exactly thick on the ground. However, this rarity doesn’t currently translate into enormous values. The ’64 T-Bird Convertible is one of the classics where values have been slammed badly by recent circumstances. Values plunged by more than 25% last year, and while they are beginning to show signs of rebounding, the progress has been slow. That means that now might not be a bad time to consider buying one of these, although as is the case with so many classics, a potential buyer has to consider the risks. If values continue to increase, it could be a sound long-term investment. If they experience another drop, a buyer could wind up with egg on their face. This is true of any classic buy, but if the bidding stays around its current level, at least potential buyers won’t be risking a fortune. For me, that makes it a project car that is worthy of consideration.

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Comments

  1. CCFisher

    The top of the dash isn’t discolored – it’s supposed to be black.

    Like 4
    • Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

      Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read the last T-Bird convertible article. I’ve never seen one that wasn’t black on the top.

  2. Gloin

    The console looks like it flows out of the dash toward the back seat. Great design

    Like 7
    • CCFisher

      The whole interior is like a mid-century modern living room on wheels.

      Like 5
      • Mike

        The back seats look like they came out of a booth in a Vegas showroom.

        Like 1
  3. Troy s

    A sporty looking personal luxury cruiser, first class all the way. My great grandfather bought one like this new and the speeding tickets soon followed!

    Like 3
  4. Ramone Member

    Restoring one of these takes the right guy/girl. I hope this one finds that home.

    Like 2
  5. Vance

    I have always felt that these models were second only to the first generation T-Birds. They were larger and heavier, but they regained the sporty feel they had lost. The folding hardtop was a cool factor that had to be appreciated. My brother, who was an Engineer with Ford, bought me a toy model of this car. The hood opened, doors opened, and the top folded into the trunk. It was a very intricate model, and I was only 3-4 at the time. Well I didn’t destroy it, but I wore it out. I cried everytime something broke on it. This looks like an affordable car that could be brought back with some money and patience. I wish I still had that toy.

    Like 4
  6. qcvltd

    This is a nicely optioned car – AC, power windows and AM/FM radio. Red interior is really rare to find on Tbirds of this era too.

    Like 3
  7. DeeBee

    Sixties T birds are sharp cars. I’d be interested, this one looks pretty good!

    Like 1
  8. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    I like the lines on these, very eye appealing to me. The price is low enough to get a classic convertible you could start working on, in a few years doing all the work yourself you could have a very nice classic that is sure to increase in value as time goes bye, bye. The only real downside is location of the car, it is after all in the rust belt. Oh, and these cars only got about 10 mpg.
    God bless America

    Like 2

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