1961 Ford Thunderbird Coupe
Beehive hairdos, Balsa wood airplanes, banana seats, barbie dolls, and Beetlemania are just a few of the trends that were happening in the early 1960's. The jet age was upon us and was a huge influence in the design of automobiles of the time. Jet engine taillights, aerodynamic windswept design lines, and pushbuttons were going to be the wave of the future, so they thought.
The beneficiary of a full restoration approximately 9 years ago, this “Bullet Bird” or “Rocket Bird” has flown into our hallowed halls and landed in the main showroom at Classic Auto Mall. Consigner states that a mere 4,500 miles have been clocked since the restoration, and it does look the part. This 4-owner car has some history a mile high, and with the options, and color it's in rarefied air.
From its smoothed over bullet shaped front featuring a matching curved bumper, good forward-looking chrome, dual headlights and Thunderbird centered badge, we are just taking off with this beauty. From its chrome trimmed intake bump in V form on the hood, to its chrome trim topped fenders, doors and rear quarters, everything appears straight and nicely painted in Red. Looking at it from the rear, the round taillights capped by 45-degree mini fins, we definitely have landed in the jet age of design. Stylish rear fender skirts in matching red, hover over wide whites with chrome spoked wire hubcaps. Upfront we see the swooped back cut fender wells with a pristine wide white and more chromed spoked wire hubcaps. Paint appears in very good condition and has just a few faults that barely catch even the discerning eye. You are clear for takeoff on runway 36W.
Peering into the future by way of swinging the doors open we are seeing wonderful curved aluminum panels on the dash front as they make their way to the doors. In the middle there is a seamless downward dive of more curved aluminum that forms a center console. Above this curvaceous aluminum are two rounded over cowls which form the black padded vinyl dash top. 3 round gauges float just below this padding, as well as several knobs and levers for all the essential controls. A nice original design tilt away steering wheel fronts this sexy dash and sports a delicate half round horn ring. The buckets are covered in black vinyl and appear in good condition, with the driver's seat showing just slight sag in the padding with some loose vinyl on top. A nicely curved bench integrates the design of the buckets, but now fused together. Nice black pile carpet below and a whitey tightey vinyl headliner flies above.
As true for any quality restoration, plenty of attention has been paid to the engine bay. It has been fully restored, and the engine rebuild took the liberty of painting some gold on the valve covers, air cleaner cover, and radiator overflow and fill reservoir. Nice supple shiny hoses and wiring abounds under here and the original FoMoCo windshield wash bag hangs in there on the passenger's side. Specs are a 390ci V8, a single 4-barrel Holley carburetor a 3-speed MX Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, and a Ford 9” 3.00 geared rear.
Looking as shiny as the topside, only in black, we see straight steel, no rust, and good mechanicals. These would include independent front suspension, and rear leaf spring suspension, as well as 4-wheel drum brakes.
In a nutshell very nice, smooth idle, easy automatic shifting, and a great ride. This car has still got it on the power end as it puts out 300hp.
I would say it was definitely the beneficiary of the restoration, and it was certainly done with care, as we have a really nice “Bullet Bird”. We are now ready to hear the safety announcements, so make sure your setbacks and tray tables are in the upright position and pay attention to your flight attendant. Hold on, as off we go into the wild blue yonder.
Y-Wixom, MI Assy Plant
Z-390 ci V8 4 bbl, 300 hp
160297-Sequential Unit Number
BODY 63A-Thunderbird Hardtop
COLOR F-Desert Gold
TRIM 56-Black Vinyl
DATE 12F-June 12th
TRANS 4-3 Speed Cruise O Matic
AXLE 6-9" 3.00 Gears