For the 1961 model year, the Ford Thunderbird received a clean-sheet restyling, changing it from the boxy look of the previous year, to what would become known at the Bullet Bird. It was given a new engine, Ford’s 390 cubic-inch FE V8, rated at 300 horsepower, and backed by a three-speed automatic transmission. The newly-designed model sold well, with just over 73,000 examples sold. The T-Bird also served as the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car for 1961.
Our feature Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster is one of just 1,427 built for the 1962 model year, as the complexity and cost of the option kept order numbers low. This early production T-Bird has been the subject of a concours-level, award-winning restoration. It is finished in Rangoon Red over black interior, with a white vinyl soft top.
This Thunderbird has been owned by a single family since new. The extensive options list includes power windows, power seats, power steering, power brakes, power convertible top, forty-eight spoke chrome Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich Silvertown whitewall bias-ply tires, and the original AM radio.
There appears to have been good prep and application of the Rangoon Red paint on this Ford Thunderbird. Chrome bumpers appear to have been refinished at the time of restoration, as do the Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels. The stainless trim is equally brilliant and well polished. Glass is crystal clear, with no nicks, scratches, or wiper tracks observed. The white soft top presents as new, with no sings of undue wrinkling or discoloration.
Inside this 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster, the black interior is beautifully contrasted by the extensive, sparkling brightwork. There is no wear present on the seat bolsters, carpet looks fresh, and all of the metal trim just gleams. The roadster tonneau covers the rear seats, effectively making the four-passenger T-Bird into just what its name says, a Sports Roadster. Remove the tonneau, and it is a luxury four-seat convertible. The two-section rear deck is rear hinged, and underneath the trunk and soft top storage compartment contains a wire wheel-mounted spare (no crummy space saver here).
Under the hood of the Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster is likely better than it was on the showroom floor. Everything looks correct, but more than that, it is absolutely spotless. The T-Bird is propelled by a 300 horsepower, 390 cubic-inch FE V8 backed by a three-speed automatic transmission.
The undercarriage of the Ford Thunderbird is every inch the measure of the top side. Factory marks have been recreated, and it has been thoroughly detailed.
This Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster has won several awards including the 2021 AACA Grand National 1st Place at New Ulm, Minnesota, 2021 First Place at the Cincinnati Concours d’Elegance, 2021 AACA 1st Place at Auburn, Indiana, and the 2021 AACA 1st Place at Saratoga Springs, New York. It is sold with the original build sheet, owner’s manual, and documentation.
This beautiful 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster will be crossing the auction block at the Mecum Auctions Chicago event taking place October 21st-23rd.