1960 Ford Thunderbird
Lay aside everything you've heard in condemnation of the four-seat 1960 Ford Thunderbird -- all that stuff about forsaking the sports car, substituting glitz for function, adding the hated back seat. It is all immaterial because it misses the point: Despite its deviation from the original concept, the first four-seat Thunderbird was simply a masterpiece of design.
For consignment a car that earned its honor without relying upon the technological dead-ends of the era: air suspension, fuel injection, supercharging, and retractable hardtops. Though all of these were considered, all were rejected. Just good design with a wildly popular rear seat and retaining its low profile and iconic T-Bird roofline. With an original 74,183 miles, and sporting the original interior, she puts on a great show in very good condition.
Bathed in a white paint job from 13 years ago, this car is spotless. A few dings and minute dents, but very shiny nicely applied paint. With its dual eyebrow covered headlights, nice use of a front grille within the big chrome bumper that hangs below the dual headlights, and a scooped hood we are greeted with the new design. Moving back is a curved glass windshield and the roofline of the hardtop that is very reminiscent of the 2-seater design line. On the rear of this car we note slight use of fins that finish off the top of the oval triple taillights, which to this writer are reminiscent of an owl. 14-inch chromed wire wheels are noted on all 4 corners.
The original black leather graces the inside of this now 5 passenger car. In the form of space age style front buckets, and a curving rear bench, the seats have a wonderful patina with some cracking and areas of wear, but very nice for the originals. A simple black center console races from the rear bench up through the buckets and houses the power window switches. As it rises to the dash, a circular airflow and temperature panel is seen below the working AM radio. The dash is a dual eyebrow design in padded black vinyl for the top, and ribbed aluminum for the gauge cluster and glovebox. The original white steering wheel in thin space age style fronts the dash and is crack free. Black carpet in nice condition with Thunderbird logo carpet floor mats are seen below, and above is a perforated style tight white headliner. Speaking of space age, the curved door panels and the use of a mixture of materials makes me feel like Buck Rodgers jumped 10 years ahead of his time!
Simple but elegant, the 352ci V8 sits in a very clean engine bay. It is topped with a single 4-barrel carburetor and backed up by a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic (one of my favorite 60's words) automatic transmission. For the rear axle we note a 9-inch 3.10 gear setup.
All buttoned up underneath with no rust or structural problems. Clean floor pans, some rustproofing spray, and well maintained mechanicals as far as the eye can see underneath.
My decoding and fellow test driving partner fought as to who was going to take this one for a ride, and he won. However, what he said was it ran like a Timex watch, shifted very smoothly, and had a dreamlike smooth ride, with very little exterior noise getting in the passenger compartment. He noted power steering, and good brakes that have a newly rebuilt vacuum booster. Power windows worked flawlessly and a power driver's seat that works properly to obtain endless comfort.
Presenting a very nice example of the “Square Bird” from 1960. Good paint, original interior, clean smooth running drivetrain, and no rust. Lovely car.
Y-Wixom, MI Assy Plant
71-Thunderbird 2 Door Hardtop
Y-352 ci V8 4bbl
182874-Sequential Unit Number
BODY 63A-2 Door Hardtop
COLOR Y-Gunpowder Gray Metallic
TRIM 86-Black Leather
DATE 11H-August 11th Build Date
TRANS 4-Cruise O Matic
AXLE 3-Ford 9" 3.10 Gears