Stalled Project: 1960 Ford Thunderbird


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This 1960 Ford Thunderbird is described as a restoration project waiting for completion, an accurate description from the looks of things. Thanks to reader Jim S. for sending in this great find! It’s located in Paragould, Arkansas and is up for sale here on eBay with an opening bid that’s lower than the cost of the new parts that are included.


As you can see, there are a lot of parts included, as there should be because the body shell is almost bare. It does look like this project has been stalled for quite a while as there’s a thick layer of dust on some things and surface rust has appeared in the trunk floor. I wish whomever disassembled the car had labeled some of these parts. If you’re an expert on this model of Thunderbird, I guess it’s ok, but for someone taking this on that isn’t, the pile of parts is daunting. Supposedly, all the metal work is completed, but I’d want to check to make sure I was happy with the work quality.


According to the ad, the motor, three speed transmission with overdrive and rear end have been professionally rebuilt and are ready for installation. There’s also a new clutch and pressure plate. I’m concerned about the amount of surface rust on the input shaft to the transmission and the dust on the engine; I’m also puzzled that the distributor cap and spark plug wires are installed on an engine that has supposedly been rebuilt–wouldn’t you wait to install those once the engine has been reinstalled in the car?


Without a doubt, one of the major attractions here is the brand new air conditioning system. This can cost almost as much as the opening bid for the car, and certainly would make it more attractive to those of us in warmer climates. I’m glad to see that the hardware bags still look sealed. Other new parts included are an entire four wheel disc brakes system with booster, master cylinder and hoses, power steering complete with tie rods, drag link and and new upper and lower control arms, coil and leaf springs and a gas tank and sending unit.


While I suspect that everything is there for the interior, it looks like most of it will have to be replaced. I’m not sure whether this is the world’s best parts car for a 1960 Thunderbird owner or a project to complete, although I lean towards the latter. What do you think?

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  1. sir mike

    Looks like a AMT model kit ad….

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    • Roseland Pete

      I was thinking the same thing.

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      • Jason Houston

        And this is the deluxe kit with opening hood and detailed engine, too!

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  2. Roseland Pete

    It has a clutch? I thought those had automatics.

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    • Jason Houston

      Thunderbird offered standard drive and Overdrive from its inception through 1960. These are fabulous cars with Overdrive!

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  3. JW

    That body style always took me as a sinister look. Assemble it while painting it matt black, lower it a couple inches throw on some meaty tires on black chrome wheels then add some throaty glass pack mufflers, dark tint the windows as legal as possible then hit the night cruises. I could picture this car as described burbiling oh so quietly it’s way up and down the isles of cars looking for it’s next victim playing AC/DC’s Highway To Hell !!!

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  4. RayT

    I’m guessing that opening bid is nowhere near what the seller will want to let this go. As Jamie points out, there’s a lot of money lying on that shop floor!

    Given the usual caveats — a place to work on it and funds to do it properly — I’d love to take a swing at this. As with any jigsaw puzzle, you just move the pieces around until you find two that fit together, and go from there….

    I’ve grown fond of Squarebirds. Might even go for one of the more — shall we say — inventive color combinations Ford offered back in the day!

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  5. Jason Houston

    Looks like a perfect project. It’s white, so that means it’s good for some real color, and it appears it HAD a white interior, which goes perfectly with any color! Think Heritage Burgundy, Raven Black, Palm Springs Rose, Orchid Gray… the very colors themselves conjure up a magic mood! And Overdrive, too? And all the rust work is completed? If you like building model car kits, this bargain will warm your heart!

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  6. MartyMember

    This one has two distinctions from the normal stalled project cars we see every day. One is that the guy actually spent some money and has some good parts to go with the car, instead of the typical parts taken off and thrown in a box type cars, with little actual work completed on them.

    Also, the reason this project stalled isn’t visually apparent. The guy obviously has a spacious, well-lit place to work, instead of the tiny, dark, cluttered garages we so often see.

    Nice Bird. I can imagine it in bright red with white interior. But white on white always works too.

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  7. Jim

    Some people have a different definition of restoration that I have. The engine is painted the wrong color for a 352 FE motor and even though he calls the A/C “vintage”, that compressor is an aftermarket since the original had the huge square compressor. The four wheel disc brakes are an add on as well. In my book this makes it NOT a restoration. More closely a restomod. The rust line on the bottom of the front fender would make me want to question exactly how the body work was done and the fact that it was left in primer (which is porous and will allow rust underneath) would certainly mean that you would not to buy this car sight unseen. Still, there are a lot of good parts there for someone that has an intimate knowledge of how it should be properly put together.
    Just my $.02…

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  8. Woodie Man

    In 1975 I bought a beautiful white ’60 TBird with a red interior. Drove it back and forth up and down the East Coast to college. $250.00. Never had a problem with it. Sic Transit Gloria

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  9. 64 bonneville

    very unusual to find a “squarebird” with a stick shift and overdrive. The A/C is aftermarket from Classic Air. The starting bid would be good buy in price for someone with intimate restoration knowledge. It appears the car was originally white with a tan interior. I would paint it Raven Black / Red leather interior

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  10. Mike

    I am headed to Kennett Missouri Saturday, which is on 30 miles from Paragould, I might talk the Wife into going and looking at it, she did say she always wanted an early T-Bird. If I can meet with this guy I will look and see what we got, and report back next week!!!!

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    • Mike

      I tried to get in touch with the guy Saturday when I was in Kennett, but no luck, never got a call back from him.

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  11. roundhouse

    I had a ’60 T-Bird year ago and was surprised how poorly it handled even by 1960 standards. It was heavy and rode on very soft suspension. Might be hard to take weight out of a unibody car like this.

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  12. DENIS

    Depending on how far the bids run, I think it would be an interesting buy. 3 spd overdrive and lots of new parts….hmmm. I’m not even a fan of these square-birds, but I’m intrigued. It’s amazing how ugly these cars were years ago, and each year they get purtier?? Is it my failing vision or have I lowered my standards? Nah, anything old can be made cool. By the way, the rebuilt engine w dist/plug wires?? Maybe just to show it’s complete but maybe it was dynoed after rebuild…for a couple hundred $$, it’s great to be able to drop it in and fire it right up..?? I have it done every time. If the bodywork is done right, I’d like the challenge.

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  13. John

    Back in 1986 had a owner give me one of these with a factory moon roof in the same condition pieces parts! White with red and white upholstery. Had a bunch of new parts. After eight months I sold it and still kicking myself!

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  14. Mike

    I had a chance to see the car well my Nephew did for me, he said that it is all there and that the owner might work out a deal, but the wife said not, unless I sell one of my cars, then I could buy it for her!!!!!!

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