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Lot 471: Ford Thunderbird

Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia, Bonhams (3 June 2012)

While some enthusiasts mourned the end of production of the two-seater Thunderbird in 1957, a much larger public welcomed the opportunity to buy a more 'practical' personal car. Retaining the sporting luxury spirit of the smaller car, the 1958 four-seat model more than doubled the sales of the two-seater. Ford was then set on what became a three-year style cycle, with the 1958-1960 'Square Bird', so called for its angular design, being replaced by the 1961-1963 'Bullet Bird'. All it takes is one look at the 1961 Thunderbird to see where the new nickname came from, as the sharply pointed nose led back sleekly to a cut off tail. The cars are also the epitome of the 'jet age', with their large round taillights resembling nothing less than the exhaust of a fighter plane. The 1963 edition of the Thunderbird is elegantly detailed, with a deep side 'character line' extending from the point of the fender through the doors, where it ends in a soft angle downward, matching the line of the front wheel arch. A feeling of flight- the 'wings' of the bird as it were- are expressed in the group of three chromed ornaments in the center of the doors beneath the molding line. On offer here is a stunning example of the breed, a blend of careful sympathetic restoration and beautifully maintained original. The color scheme of Green Mist paint with Ivory leather interior gives a very understated and elegant effect. Delivered new from Beverly Hills Ford on Wilshire Blvd. in California, its original window sticker shows a price of $5,424.10. That reflected its well-optioned status, with air conditioning, power windows, power seats, tinted glass, vacuum door locks and white wall tires. The original sticker remains with the car today, as does its owner's manual and shop manual. It remained a Southern California car until a few years ago when it was brought East. While still in California it proved its mettle by winning an award at the 2007 Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance. Today the Thunderbird presents very well and if so desired would be a great candidate for a full show restoration. Immediately however, it is ready for driving- its powerful 390ci 340hp V-8 engine having recently been tuned and serviced.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcars and Automobilia
Bonhams, Greenwich, Connecticut
TypeCar
Lot Number471
Estimate$25000-$30000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$22000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$25740
Year1963
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number3Y83Z126821
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors