By the time Ford dispensed (at least temporarily) with the Thunderbird moniker in 2005, the model had progressed through no less than 11 generations, the combined production total of which was in excess of 4.4 million. It had also been immortalised by the Beach Boys’ hit song “Fun Fun Fun”. The first generation cars hit the streets in October 1954 and, while it was created in direct response to Chevrolet’s Corvette, Ford’s emphasis was more on comfort than overt sportiness. Though sleeker than most of its Ford siblings, it shared many of their components and the 292ci (4.8-litre) V8 engine was borrowed from the company’s Mercury division. By the time the fourth generation appeared in 1964, the T-Bird was an altogether larger proposition, with four rather than two seats and power from a 6.4-litre V8 of either 300bhp or 330bhp, mated to a three-speed automatic gearbox. The styling reflected the trend for twin headlamps and by 1965 disc brakes had become standard fare for the front wheels. There was a choice of Coupé, Convertible or Landau body styles, each equally imposing in their own way.
This beautiful Ford Thunderbird convertible comes fitted with the very rare Sports Roadster package meaning that this third generation Thunderbird is equipped with Kelsey Heyes designed 48-spoke rims and special fibreglass tonneau cover giving it the sporty styling of the first generation two-seater. The Sports Roadster package while immensely beautiful was slow-selling due the extremely high price of the package. Ford’s records inform us that only 1427 were made in ’62, only 455 in ’63 and a mere 50 made in ’64, making this 1963 example very rare indeed.
Several years ago this now very impressive example underwent a complete restoration, and despite being described as having been in a good, original and very solid condition before works begun, a vast amount of money has been spent making this car even better.
The 6.4 litre V8 runs well and the automatic gearbox shifts smooth and the electric soft-top works as it should. Altogether a very nice example.