Unrestored Gem: 1960 Ford Thunderbird 352 Special

This 1960 Ford Thunderbird 352 Special is not a “time capsule,” and to describe it as one would be to do it an injustice. What this car represents is a much-loved and cherished survivor that has remained in the same family since the day that it rolled out of the new car showroom in 1960. The family has now decided to part with their beloved T-bird, and have listed it for sale here at Hemmings. Located in Denver, Colorado, the asking price for this classic Ford has been set at $70,000, but this is negotiable.

The story of this car is a truly great one and is a testament to the original owner’s love for this car. A young doctor had just moved to Denver to establish a new practice and decided to buy the car of his dreams. That car was a Raven Black Thunderbird, which he cherished and cared for over many decades, right up until he passed away. His daughter inherited the car and has kept it meticulously maintained ever since. Now the time has come for the family to let it go. Don’t for one moment think that the Ford has undergone any form of restoration. The Raven Black acrylic that graces the car is completely original. The car has never suffered any accident damage or rust repairs. There might be a few minor chips and nicks on the paintwork, but given the incredible shine and reflection of that black paint, it is hard to be completely sure. The exterior trim and chrome are in beautiful condition, while the original tinted glass also looks to be free of faults or problems.

The good doctor really knew what he wanted from his Thunderbird, so he decided to order the car complete with leather upholstery. That original leather is still present today, and while the photos don’t provide a great overview, it does appear to be in excellent condition. A single glance at the wheel testifies that not only has the Thunderbird seen its share of use, but it appears that our doctor was a staunch practitioner of the 10-to-2 hand position on the wheel. Apart from that obvious wear, the rest of the interior appears to be both immaculate, and original.

The 352ci V8 under the hood of the Thunderbird pumps out a healthy 300hp, making this quite a potent luxury car. Shifting duties are performed by a 3-speed manual transmission, while the doctor also specified power steering and power brakes. The presentation under the hood is extremely nice, and the car remains original and unmodified. After the doctor passed away, his daughter inherited his collection, which included the odd Ferrari and other automotive exotica, along with the T-bird. She parted with the other cars fairly quickly but chose to retain the Ford. She has kept it meticulously maintained, and says that it runs and drives perfectly. Included with the vehicle is the original purchase paperwork, Owner’s Manual, along with complete service records.

Whether you are or aren’t a fan of Robert McNamara, you have to give him credit for some pretty smart decisions during his time at Ford. He was one of the most vocal management advocates pushing for a change in the 2nd Generation Thunderbird to transform it from a 2-seater to a 4-seater. His belief and convictions proved to be correct, with the new Thunderbird going on to set new sales records in its updated guise. It meant that the Thunderbird now met the requirements of young professionals with a family, like our doctor. This classic T-bird served as his family car, and it was treated as part of the family. Choosing to sell it must have been a wrenching decision, so I hope that it goes to someone who will treat this beautiful survivor with the dignity and respect that it has earned over the past 59-years.

 

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    This has to be the last year that a column-shift manual was available in the Thunderbird. Seems odd. What’s the book value on a ’60 T-bird?

    Like 5
    • Will Fox

      The book value on a `60 T-Bird, as equipped, is nowhere near what they are asking for it. In fact, even if it were one of the ‘sunroof’ Birds fully restored it wouldn’t be worth anything close to $70K. This one’s nice; I can’t argue there. What little I can see of the ‘leather’ seats tells me those can’t possibly be original–you see a single crack or wrinkle from use? I don’t. Kind of far-fetched for being 59 years old–as old as me in fact! Not sure how the seller(s) arrived at their figure, but they may want to review it. I realize it’s basically a ‘family heirloom’ and all, but it also pays to be realistic in your pricing.

      Like 9
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    I looked it up, and yes the 3-speed was standard for 1960, automatic was optional. In ’61 the automatic was standard. Hagerty shows a concours version of this car at $28,000, so the ask on this one is pretty lofty.

    Like 12
  3. Howard A. Member

    Had to look twice. A neighbor here in central Co. has this exact car. Matter of fact, I’m checking the plate to make sure. He rarely drives it and once when he did, the brake lights didn’t work. Colorado is fast becoming the new California. Know why? All the richies from Cal. are coming here and buying properties FOR CASH, driving all the other things up, like classic cars, into the stratosphere. Great cars, love the squarebirds, but who’s buying these things at $70g’s? Someone from California, probably.

    Like 10
    • On and On On and On Member

      How bout you, Howard, always on the cutting edge of new trends! LOL! I think you are are so right about California, It used to be an asset to live there, now a liability with huge taxes, overpopulation let alone crime and fire…….Square Birds have always been my favorite T-Bird. So low and cool and high end (for the time). This one is a really nice example but the ‘Pie in the Sky’ pricing makes it easy to avoid.

      Like 10
      • Howard A. Member

        Hey Gregg, yeah, it will cut me right back to the upper midwest. If it wasn’t for the assisted housing for seniors,( which is rumored to go away) I couldn’t live here. No money in old farts on social security, you know. They could rent my apt. for $1,000 bucks a month, and they know it.

        Like 5
    • IkeyHeyman

      Right on, Howard. I live in the foothills west of Denver and the 7 and sometimes 8 figure houses being built around here are simply mind boggling. Yes, these guys are driving up the price of classics – or else they go to a hot rod shop with an idea and an open checkbook for a custom build. Crazy times.

      Like 3
    • David Ulrey

      This isn’t about the car despite it being absolutely gorgeous. Colorado isn’t the only place the migration is happening. Here in Arizona it’s the same exact scenario you described. My biggest complaint is what is happening with housing costs whether you rent or buy. I hate to say it but if I didn’t already own my place for the last 10 years I wouldn’t be able to afford to live in my town anymore. But I certainly don’t blame the people leaving California because the cost of things is insane.

      Like 5
  4. Barney

    It is mentioned in the write up that it must be heart wrenching for the owner to part with the car. I think she’s going to be fine because at 70 G’s she won’t be parting with it after all

    Like 18
    • On and On On and On Member

      So true, Barney, my grandmother called it “Crying all the way to the bank”

      Like 6
  5. gbvette62

    Back around 1980 I picked up a similar 59 T-Bird. It too was bought new by a doctor and was black, but with a black and white interior. Mine had factory air and the Ford Cruise-O-Matic automatic trans, and about 40,000 miles on it. The car was spotless. It was never used by the doctor as a daily driver, had always been garaged, was rarely driven in the rain, and never in the snow. I sold it when my wife was pregnant and needed a “regular” car, since a car seat wasn’t going to work in her Corvette (I had more of an attachment to the Corvette, so much so that we still have it).

    This looks like a nice car, but $70,000 is just ridiculous for a Square Bird. I sold mine for $7500 at Hershey back in 85, which was actually a fair price at the time, but they’ve never really appreciated all that much in the years since.

    Like 8
    • DJS

      But that was 35 years ago so maybe 60 may not be a bad offer . I bought a one owner 65 mustang conv in 90 still have it for 6500 now worth 40,000 so they might get close to there price

      Like 1
  6. Fred W

    Can’t find any mention of the mileage on the car, which should be verifiable with one owner. Apparently these can sell north of 50K if the miles are low enough and they are original and perfect enough- but restored ones tend to go between 20 and 30. Hard to imagine- I remember looking over one in the 70’s in nice shape for a few hundred.

    Like 2
  7. Bob C.

    The 3 speed column shift caught me by surprise. And yellow valve covers? I thought that was a Studebaker thing.

    Like 2
    • gbvette62

      The yellow valve covers are correct for a 60 T-Bird 352.

      The 58 352’s had black valve covers and engines. 59’s had bright blue valve covers on a black engine, and 60’s had yellow valve covers. The optional 430 engine was all black.

      Like 3
      • Bob C.

        Thank you gbvette62, education is always good. The 430 was a good engine too. Borrowed from Lincoln (MEL).

        Like 1
  8. bob

    Ford brought back the same dash pad design for the 69-70 Mustangs. Always liked the pod design they used.

    Like 1
  9. Ken Cwrney

    A friend of mine named Curt had one in
    High School. His was white with the red
    leather interior AND a sunroof too. It had
    107K miles on it then and ran like a swiss
    watch! As for this car, you can tell she’s
    still attatched to it and doesn’t really want to sell it, the outrageous price gives
    it away. Still a nice ride though.

    Like 1
  10. dave brennan

    black on black w roll ups and no air!! Let me get my checkbook ( remember those?).NOT!!!

    Like 3
  11. dave brennan

    black on black w roll ups and no air!! Let me get my checkbook NOT!!! remember those?). Had 58,59,and60 w 430, all w AC and windows , never paid over $300 in those days! Pure dream money at 70.

    Like 4
  12. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I like it, but not $70K worth of like.

    Like 3
  13. J_Paul Member

    Nice car, but $70,000 is such bananas pricing that I’m surprised it doesn’t have a Chiquita sponsorship.

    Like 4
  14. Pete Phillips

    $70,000??? Did I miss something? Is it gold-plated?

    Like 4
  15. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    Had a chance to buy one of these one time for $75.00. Needed a left front wheel bearing. I passed on it as I had my hands full with personal issues.
    God bless America

  16. That Guy

    That’s the “Yes, honey, I am trying to sell the car” price.

    Like 6
  17. bigdoc

    Beautiful car but not $70,000 beautiful

  18. TimM

    Nice car but if I’m going to dump 70 large on a car I’m NOT going to buy a 60 T-bird!! I think this is the I don’t want to sell it price!!!

    Like 1
  19. Mike

    Usually I would post here and say I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these in person, but I did spot one in a McDonald’s parking lot last sunday. It was like an alien spaceship in a sea of cookie cutter SUVs.

    Like 3
  20. Jetfire88

    The dash pad looks like a repro replacement. The ugly yellow foam that Ford used in the day gave out real quick, and the vinyl just seemed to melt. The leather seats usually held up pretty good, and these look original.

  21. Bob McK Member

    This is a really nice $20,000 car. The family just tacked on $50K in sentimental value.

    Like 2
  22. Miguel

    These were the most unpopular birds to up to this time. The ’55 – ’57 were vastly popular and the cars after this the ’61 – ’63 were really popular too, but these didn’t have much of a following.

    Has a square bird ever sold for this much with a hard roof and being a base model car with no options?

  23. George

    I think they added an extra ‘0’ by mistake perhaps. $7,000?

    Even for the mention concourse price this car would have to be authenticated as such by an authorized party.

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