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Clean Cruiser: 1970 Ford Thunderbird

From its inception in 1955, within 15 years the Ford Thunderbird would transform from a 2-seat personal luxury car to one with seating for four and then a 4-door sedan with “suicide doors”. The 1970 model is notable for its pointed beak and its size had grown to have similar dimensions as the Lincoln Continental Mark III. The seller’s car looks beautiful and has recently had its engine and transmission rebuilt (after 126,000 miles). Located in Las Vegas, Nevada, this luxury land cruiser is available here on craigslist for $16,000 OBO. Kudos to Rocco B. for another smooth tip!

Thunderbird sales had been on the decline for the past couple of years when the 1970s came out. After producing 78,000 copies in 1967, output fell to 65,000 in 1968, and 49,000 in 1969. The 1970 models would level off the decline at 50,000 units. Besides being large and luxurious, these T-Birds had plenty of power with a 429 cubic inch V8 (and a 460 a couple of years later). An automatic was the only transmission choice as you would expect for these rolling living rooms.

The seller doesn’t go into a lot of detail about this car. The burgundy paint and white vinyl roof look quite nice and they may have been redone since the automobile is more than 50 years old and lives in a hot, sunny climate. But we’re just hazarding a guess. The interior doesn’t appear to have been used much, yet the odometer has rolled over. The back seat reminds me of a comfy sofa my grandmother used to have. We’re told the Ford has been garage-kept.

Both the motor and transmission were pulled for a rebuild and the photos show the car going through that process. We assume the reason for the work was a tired drivetrain and the seller has receipts to document the work. So, some portion of the asking price will go toward repaying the seller for that work. We’re also told delivery is available, so perhaps a dealer is involved in the sale. This looks like a sweet ride that should get a lot of looks wherever it goes.


  1. Avatar photo Bob_in_TN Member

    Looks like a nice T-Bird. From the lead photo, I first thought it was black, but it is actually maroon. (Were there actually a staggering 28 paint choices for the 1970 T-Bird, as one online source listed?) Sure wish the seller would have provided more than eighteen words to describe the car. Something different, you wouldn’t see yourself coming and going.

    Like 15
  2. Avatar photo JACKinNWPA Member

    That is a different kind of beautiful, the seats deify that many miles and the rebuilds with installation may have chewed up almost half the asking price. If one becomes in like with it the “OBO” would make it very tempting.

    Like 7
  3. Avatar photo Timmy V Member

    I’ve always been indifferent to these but this one has changed my mind. The color combo is a winner. Even at $16,000 you won’t lose money on it. The rebuilt drivetrain is a big plus. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the interior – I’d be tempted to change it out to the two-tone black-and-white with leather buckets and console.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Jim

      Changing the interior would destroy it.

      Like 16
  4. Avatar photo Big C

    This one is possibly the best Beak ‘Bird I’ve ever seen on here. That paint is dazzling in the pics. The interior looks barely used! Plus the rebuilt 429. A very nice resto. GLWTS

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      I saw anther one a couple of months back in Barn Finds, in Pasadena, CA. Red, with a white vinyl top and bucket seats, only 29k miles, that I liked better.

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Connecticut mark

    Love the back seat couch and color.

    Like 16
  6. Avatar photo Chris Cornetto

    What a nice car. You cannot say much else.

    Like 13
  7. Avatar photo Fox Owner

    I’m a fan of all Thunderbirds but this one from the side looks a little like Jimmy Durante with that Bunkie Beak. That back seat though. So lux. Also, it has New Mexico plates but is available in Vegas?

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Dave

      The license plates stood out to me too

      Like 1
  8. Avatar photo Cadmanls Member

    It’s a beauty no doubt, seller writes everything works. Only problem I see is the A/C doesn’t have a belt. Other than that it’s a sharp car.

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo scottymac

    Would anyone else be tempted to put Magnum 500s and red line tires on this interceptor?

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo John Morrissey

      Love those red lines!

      Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

    I like everything about this car except the bench seat. If it had bucket seats and a sunroof, it would be perfect! No good pictures of the interior, so no idea if it has power windows, power locks, power seats or an AM/FM radio. Those are all on the “nice to have” list, but not essential, except for the power seats, especially with the bench seat. I’m only 59.5 inches tall, so no power seats means I’m sitting on pillows to drive it again, just like in high school when I drove Mom’s 1967 T-Bird! The need for bucket seats should be obvious, as any normal-sized adults sitting next to me in the front seat will be forced into the fetal position when I put the seat fully forward to drive the car! Bucket seats gives the front seat passenger an independent seat adjustment. T-Birds had bucket seats as standard equipment through 1967, they didn’t become optional until the 1968 model year.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo AAAZDAD Member

      Craig’s list ad includes a photo of interior driver door, which at least confirms pwr windows and 6 way pwr seat.😁

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

        Great, now as long as all of my normal-sized friends ride in the back, we’ll be all set, LOL!

        Like 0
  11. Avatar photo $ where mouth is

    that interior is elegant and classy..
    black n white two tone ?!?.
    that would be like putting big china bling 24s on it
    then it would be ugly and usless..

    this is primo mobster muscle machine, .
    its worthy of a leading role in a movie
    the potency of a 429
    the luxery of that interior, especially the color.

    i had a 71 with allegator skin top, lush shag carpet (factory), sequencial directional tail lights, fridged AC, factory tinted glass ..from 20mph to 60 it was an exhilerating beast, 90 was so smooth, everyother car on the road was in the way.
    My x-girlfriend said she didnt like it, and i should sell it, so i did (yound/dumb/and full of..). Sold it to a guy that couldnt help hide the excitement on his face.
    Once gone, she said she liked the car and missed driving in it :/

    Like 4
  12. Avatar photo HC Member

    What a beautifully, rebuilt, beaked 1970 Thunderbird. Clean and solid body with little rust as well as a freshly rebuilt engine and trans, what’s not to love. It’s a reasonable bargain at this price, and buyer will be a happy camper.

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo Tommy

    I believe the car is in Las Vegas, New Mexico, not Nevada. Doesn’t specify on Craigslist, but the plates on the car are New Mexico. During my 40 year career at Ford I was once assigned many years ago to go visit the Ford dealership in Las Vegas, NM.
    Beautiful car and appears to be in amazingly great condition! I can’t help but think of Bunkie Knutson whenever I see the front end. He designed the front end with the beak on Pontiac models as well when he was at GM.

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo John

    One other thing that i noticed besides the A/C belt missing Is the headlight doors are open Which is a good indication that the vacume pump is not working or they have been disconnected.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Rick

      These 1970 T-birds did not have headlight doors. However, I do believe they originally had side moldings, chrome wheel well trim and matching paint on the wheel covers. Nevertheless, this is a very nice looking car.

      Like 2
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      The headlight doors went away in 1970. The last year that had them, in 1969, didn’t have a vacuum pump. They were driven by engine vacuum, drawn from a port on a plate between the carburetor and the intake manifold. A vacuum canister with a check valve provided a limited supply of vacuum for the power brakes with the engine off.

      Like 1
  15. Avatar photo HC Member

    I didn’t see belts on anything including the fan which didn’t seem to be installed either after the engine rebuild, maybe he got them added later. The AC and clutch are huge and include a cooling radiator as well. Looks like a Tecumseh like i had to replace on my 65 Mercury. Also looks as if valves havent been converted to 134 yet. Probably means AC won’t work because you won’t be able to charge it without the new valves.

    Like 2
  16. Avatar photo Dan

    While I love that 429, I don’t care for the front bench seat and that ugly beak explains why these have lagged behind the 1961-66 in collector’s esteem. This looks like it was restored without the bodyside moldings, which gives it a kind of naked appearance but that’s minor; this looks like a nice cruiser that’ll attract attention at the local shows and C&C.

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Steve Widlund Member

    CL ad shows Las Vegas,NV

    Like 0
  18. Avatar photo DJ

    Beautiful 70, but has a 71 grille. These cars are so swanky.

    Like 2
  19. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Besides the lic plate & backup lites, there are 10! other bulbs in the back – some blink, some don’t.
    I wondered if Ford considered hidden headlights on these.
    If 1 of the blinker bulb filaments burnt out, would the rest of the sequential lights still work?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

      Yes. It will look “gap toothed” where the burned out bulb resides when all four lights are switched on. The early fifth (5th) generation cars (1967) used an electromechanical system to sequence the lights. When the turn signal was switched on, a small DC electric motor turned a cam that activated a series of switches in sequence, to turn the four (4) bulbs on in sequence, from inboard to outboard. The direction the cam turned (clockwise or counter-clockwise) determined if the sequence was for a left turn or a right turn. Later fifth-generation cars (1968-71) used an all-solid-state control module that had electronics control a Silicon Controlled Rectifier (SCR) for each lamp.

      Hideaway headlights lasted until 1969 on the fifth-generation cars (1967-71), and were the last T-Birds so equipped.

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo DJ

        My 68 (January build) has the motorized cam actuator, but my 69 was solid-state.

        Like 1
  20. Avatar photo DJ

    Ford should have gotten Barbra Streisand to introduce the 1970 Thunderbird, singing On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (from her 1970 movie), as she pilots the car through the clouds in a dream sequence advertisement.

    Like 0
  21. Avatar photo DJ

    This is the wonderful PanAm 747 1970 Thunderbird ad featuring Charmain Carr as a PanAm flight attendant.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo DJ

    This is the wonderful PanAm 747 1970 Thunderbird ad featuring Charmain Carr as a PanAm flight attendant.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

      IMO, that guy in the commercial is sitting too close to the steering wheel.
      Note they do not show the 4 door version of the ’70 bird in the commercial.
      Yet, for today’s younger, even single, drivers, ANY TWO door t-bird(or anything that was TWO door!) would sell as good as the TWO door bronco – a total flop.

      I’m guessing the center portion of this for sale t-bird’s wheel covers were originally painted body color(black on this one).

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Robert Atkinson, Jr.

        Color-keyed wheel covers were an extra-cost option on 1970-71T-Birds, covers with chrome or brushed stainless steel centers were standard equipment.

        Like 0
  23. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    I sent this one into Barn Finds too. Just shows the great taste that us BF readers have!

    Like 1
  24. Avatar photo dan

    I bought this car Yesterday.. I can’t wait to get it.. I had a 70 back in 76… I traded my 55 Chevy Belair 2dr hardtop for it… This was the best riding car I have ever owned and I missed it… Happy I found it and the seller is great…

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo DJ

      Congratulations Dan! Beautiful 70!

      Like 1
      • Avatar photo Dan Bolduc

        Thank you. The car does need the power windows fixed. The paint does have some orange peel. Horn don’t work. Trunk liner missing. Has new tires. The seller came out of ABQ NM and drove it to carson city nevada.. All in all, teal happy.

        Like 2

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