Live Auctions

Parked in 1993: 1962 Ford Thunderbird

A previous owner backed this 1962 Thunderbird into their barn in 1993 to attend to a brake issue but somehow became waylaid. Three decades later, the car has emerged from hiding, searching for a new home. It carries thirty years of accumulated dust, but the seller leaves the satisfying task of washing this classic to its new owner. The T-Bird needs work, but it could be an affordable and enjoyable project build. The Ford is listed for sale here on eBay in Belmont, North Carolina. The seller’s BIN is $5,500, although they leave the option to make an offer. I must thank Barn Finder Larry D, who has used his well-developed classic radar to spot this beauty for us.

The American public was deeply immersed in the space race by the time this Ford rolled off the production line, and this enthusiasm was visible across many aspects of society. It was plain to see in automotive styling. The Third Generation Thunderbird’s body is sleek and aerodynamic, with its taillights having the appearance of rocket motors. It is common for older classic cars to undergo a color change, but it has happened twice to this Thunderbird. It rolled off the line wearing Chalfonte Blue paint, but a previous owner applied Raven Black before 1986. The third owner repeated the process, with the panels now wearing Corinthian White. The state of the paint is difficult to determine beneath three decades of dust and cat prints, so a thorough wash will be the first step in returning this T-Bird to its former glory. The seller indicates that the rear bumper and quarters have developed rust, but a previous owner purchased good replacements to address these shortcomings. They also state there are other minor bubbles, but nothing justifying further panel replacement. Some trim pieces require attention, although the hubcaps and fender skirts are in the trunk. The glass looks good, and the impression is that this could be a wonderful and rewarding restoration project for the right person.

While Ford positioned the Third Generation T-Bird as a personal luxury car, it didn’t suffer unduly when the driver pressed the pedal to the metal. Its engine bay houses a 390ci V8 that produced 300hp in its prime. In keeping with its luxury leanings, the driver received a three-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and brakes. Outright performance was not the company’s aim, but the Thunderbird’s ability to cover the ¼ mile in 16.3 seconds before winding its way to 129mph was nothing to sneeze at. The seller indicates that the car’s previous owner backed it into their barn in 1993 due to significant brake issues. The vehicle hasn’t fired a shot since, although the engine turns and has good compression. Given the bulletproof nature of these V8s, some basic maintenance, a fuel system clean and fresh gas could see that sweet motor roar back to life.

It wasn’t just the exterior that underwent some changes during this Thunderbird’s life. The Trim Tag indicates that when shiny and new, Ford trimmed it in Medium Turquoise Metallic, and traces of the original trim are visible on the dash and doors. The seats now wear black covers in excellent condition, leaving the buyer with choices to make. Replacement trim in the correct color and style is available if a faithful restoration is the new owner’s goal. However, it may prove more cost-effective to replace any tattered and tired components in Black to match the seats. It will be a matter of personal preference. However, it is worth considering that a set of leather seat covers in the correct color costs around $1,850, but replacing the remaining original trim in Black will lighten the wallet by $1,350. Therefore, a Black interior could be the best solution to ensure the project remains financially viable.

Whipping this 1962 Thunderbird into shape is not a task the new owner will complete in a weekend. It will take time and dedication, but there are a couple of things to consider. It appears to be essentially complete and solid, making it a prime candidate for anyone considering a DIY restoration. It would also be a practical vehicle once returned to active service, making it an ideal candidate for anyone seeking a build that could involve the entire family. Twenty-six people are watching the listing, and its affordability makes me believe that one of them could hit the button at any time. Of course, you could beat them to the punch. Are you tempted?

Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    It makes me nervous to see that a Thunderbird guy has given up on this car.

    Like 9
  2. George Mattar

    Money pit. If a convertible, it would be worth the time. In this state, parts. This is for a fool with more money than brains.

    Like 4
  3. Cam W.

    A friend of mine owns a Corvette parts and service business. He is constantly buying Corvettes for parts, restoration, or resale. Many of the cars he accumulates are decent C2 and C3 projects. I have sourced many through him for my projects. Over the years, I noticed that he rarely ever keeps or restores project these cars for sale, but often repairs and sells C6 and C7 models.
    To Rex’s point. he told me that he makes significantly more money selling parts for older project cars, or being paid by customers to work on them then he would if he restored them himself.
    The other issue is that some customers have unrealistic expectations when buying cheaper, driver-grade cars. Some that pay $12K (for a car that is really worth $12K), expect it to be in the same condition as one that is worth $30K+.
    I suspect that is the issue with this T-Bird. A professional restoration would cost way more than the car could be sold for.

    Like 8
  4. B Nash

    I’d be willing to bet the underneath of this car is nearly gone!

    Like 2
    • Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

      Belmont, NC is just west of Charlotte. If this car spent most of its life in the Piedmont of NC, it’s not likely to be rusted out, especially since it’s been sitting in storage. We don’t get a lot of salt on our roads since we rarely have snow. Down at the coast in Wilmington or Hatteras it would be a different story due to the salt air. This looks like a nice project, although with premium over $5/gallon, driving this will cost you. I know. My 90 v12 XJS takes premium and gets maybe 15-16 mpg on the highway. Still, I love to drive it.

      Like 2
  5. Troy

    That price point I’m kinda surprised its still available, is this a sign that the market is starting to cool off

    Like 2
  6. Matt C

    Hoses , belts, flush the fluids , maybe a new fuel tank, hose it down, clean the interior and you have a not perfect driver that you wont cry if someone dings with a shopping cart or car door , or maybe the kids like to climb on. Sometimes life is too short for perfection. Drive it and enjoy it and give it what it needs , not what you think it should. You cant lose $10,000 on a $5000 car.

    Like 7
  7. RJ

    All of the comments I’ve read appear to be spot on in their assessment of whether or not this car is worth the effort or funds even to make it just a daily driver. However, unless one is still under the age of 30-years old most guys don’t purchase a car like this unless they have dreams of owning an old T-Bird that gets them compliments while loading the groceries in the trunk down at the local supermarket. Another potential problem is rusted out floor pans. Even if it sat in storage for a few decades the moisture from the barn floor surely would have done some serious damage. I have my grandparents 2003 Lincoln Town Car in rented storage back in Michigan. I inherited their car after they both passed in late 2012. I live at the beach in Los Angeles and had only planned on leaving the car in storage about a year or two. Fast forward to now 2022, and thanks to the Pandemic and now the cost of gasoline at an arm & leg per gallon, the Lincoln is still sitting in the same storage garage. One of my childhood buddies checks in on it every few months but warned me last year that the underside was starting to show noticeable corrosion from moisture seepage just sitting. This is on a Lincoln with only 25K miles on it. Granted, gramps wasn’t aways on top of keeping the Michigan winter road salt rinsed off during the winter months before he pulled the car into the attached heated garage every time, he took grams a mile down the road to the docs or supermarket… but at least it was heated. I also made sure I ran the car through the automatic car wash before placing it back in storage after using it whenever I flew to Michigan to visit the family. Unfortunately, the rented storage garage while part of a newer storage facility, isn’t heated! So, word to the wise…. be cogniciant of ground moisture that might seep up through your storage location…. whether or not the floor is a dirt-based barn floor or an unsealed concrete floor in your garage or local storage facility. I’m a retired shopping center design/construction coordinator and many of our shopping centers had heavy gauge Visqueen laid down before the concrete slab was poured…. especially when developing/building a shopping center on former questionable land use facilities. I’m in California AND near the ocean that is governed by the California Coastal Commission when it comes to developments so at least newer rented storage facilities here are less likely to have moisture issues seeping up through the concrete slab. Thats comforting to know if I finally get the Lincoln across country AFTER the Pandemic and $7-bucks a gallon gas have passed by…. “IF” they do? Meanwhile, thankfully I still have my childhood buddies back living in small town Michigan that are car guys and I know I can trust to look out for my interest. It also helps that they also knew my grandparents and how close I was with them. Sure wish gramps and grams still had their first T-Bird when they passed. It was a 1961 Honey Beige Bird with matching leather and of course the swing-a-way steering wheel. That T-Bird was the first car in our family that had factory A/C! Next Bird was the 1967 T-Bird (Black vinyl top over White) that had paint lifting issues from the factory. Next was the 1973 T-Bird (Brown vinyl top over White) with white leather. Since gramps always got rid of his cars as soon as 50,000 miles was coming around on the odometer, when it came time for the next Thunderbird Ford had just released the 1977 Thunderbird. Gramps didn’t want anything to do with a Ford Torino dressed up to “look like” a T-Bird. That’s when the first Lincoln graced their driveway. That and the 1961 Thunderbird I wish I had today! My grandparents first Lincoln was a 1979 Mark V in that Diamond Jubilee Gold with the creamy light butter colored leather and turbine wheels! Grams looked like Jackie O herself driving down the road with her big sunglasses of the late 70’s. From that point on when the weight of the doors on a two door Lincoln got to be an issue, the Town Cars started in 1989 and then what I inherited…. The 2003. Yup, I was a lucky kid back then having relatives with cool cars. Gramp’s and Gram’s taste definitely influenced me as I’ve owned a few T-Birds and Lincolns over the years although I did deviate with Caddies once in a while! I’m still driving my 1997 Town Car. Bought it used as a lease return when it was two years old. Fast forward to 2022 and I’m about to cross 106,000 miles on the clock. Thanks to those that read this long winded trip down memory lane!

    Like 1
  8. wesley alker

    Shipping is gonna cost more . . . these days.

  9. gaspumpchas

    Cam W makes the good point. These Birds never really took off in value, especially the coupes. With what it costs for restoration or refurbishment is more than what its worth, whether it be body and paint or drivetrain rebuild. You would have to really want one, myself i like the way they drive and look. heck, even the 55-57 baby birds never really took off after all these years. you could buy a nice driver for 20-30k. Anyway, enjoy the ride. happy motoring.
    Cheers
    GPC

  10. T. Pond

    I have a ’61 Bird that a bought from a local museum for $7200. Had to replace a few push rods in the 390 and the gas tank but that was all. Bought for my son who always wanted one of the ’61-’63 style Birds. He saw it and worked on it but sadly passed away before he got to drive it. I gave it to one of his sons who wanted it and actually installed the new tank and decided to replace the carb too. I live about 50 miles east of Charlotte, but I don’t think I’ll be going to Belmont to check this one out. A bit too pricey for condition.

    • RJ

      ….Mr. Pond, so sorry to hear that you lost an adult son. Hopefully gramps and grandson have grown a whole lot closer… no matter how far apart you live from each other. I’m a 65-year old man and still miss my grandparents. They have been gone for almost 10-years now. Gramps was 89 when he passed and grams managed to make her 99th Birthday on December 21, 2012 but then passed away a few days later on 12/24/2012. I think she was happy to move on to the next world as she had been upset that my gramps that was 10-years younger passed a few months before her. My gramps was a major influence on me and the ethics and standards that I learned from him. Especially in the general contracting business. While I never actually built anything myself, I had a 20-plus year carear in shopping center design and construction. There were many GC that built individual shopping center stores in the numerous shopping centers I oversaw and managed that would get very upset with me because I wouldn’t sign off on a construction job until they did the job right and up to my gramps standards! My carear took me to the Los Angeles area at age 25 however, gramps and grams were still living back in small town Michigan. Gramps more than likely never really knew how much of an influence he had been on me ever since I was a kid. He was a tough old Greek that could pass for Clark Gable on any given day. He was actually even better looking (no disrespect Mr. Gable wherever you are in Heaven).Tall dark and handsome he was. I used to get a kick out of watching younger women fawn all over him. It was wasted effort on their part though. Grams was the only love of his life from 22-years old on to his last day at 89-years old! Gramps ethics and standards were the best!

  11. Emel

    Always liked these 3rd gen T-Birds after seeing Robert Conrad drive one in Palm Springs Weekend. If I had a garage and was in better shape, I’d think about restoring this baby back to it’s former glory.

    Like 2
  12. Mikey P

    Best door handles ever!

    Like 1
  13. Ron Ball

    True enough these old 4 passenger birds were attractive in their on rite but if you want one to just sit and admire it it might be ok. These cars were no good and were so of the most jinxed cars Ford ever built. Most were traded r in a junk yard within 2 years or lest. They were true to Fix Or Repair Daily. Constant electical probles and accessory problems. While the Big 390’s were greand and fine inGalaxies and XL. Why not in the other Fords I don’t know why. Every thing made by Ford from 58 until 69 in the Lincolns were the same It was sure a jinx for John Kennedy but I don’t think one with a top could have saved him. This car is 1500.00 car if that. Youbest not have more than 5-6 k i it when finished

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