1962 Ford Thunderbird, “Bullet Bird” in Gorgeous Condition, Estate Sale
This 1962 Ford Thunderbird was recently pulled from storage in Greensboro, Georgia upon the passing of the long term owner. I was hired by the estate to prepare the car and manage the sale. All I have done to the car is clean the carburetor, replace the battery, install a new fuel pump, flush out the fuel system, install a new fuel filter, install a new AC compressor with new receiver/dryer and clean the car. Everything else is just as I found her, stored under a cover in a warehouse in Greensboro, Georgia.
The mileage on the car is slightly over 72,000 as it appears on the 5 digit odometer. Based on condition, this could be original mileage. The car was completely restored at some point, so true mileage is difficult to ascertain. What is clear is that this car must have been a very solid example at the start of the restoration. The car is very original and the restoration work was well executed. It is a highly optioned car from the factory with power windows, power seats, power steering and air conditioning and is a great example of an older restoration that has been well cared for.
History – Known history begins with the previous owner who sold the car 10 years ago to the most recent owner. He had purchased this car from a Milledgeville Georgia based collector no later than November 2004. At that time, the car was already restored. The collector that he bought it from was a long-time owner of the car. This previous owner was in his 60s when he bought the car. He purchased it as a hobby to take to local shows and drive-ins and always kept it covered in a garage. I do have a few receipts from this owner, dating back to 2004.
The most recent owner (recently deceased) bought the car in September of 2010. I have several receipts for minor work he had performed over the years. I can determine from the paperwork that the car has been driven only about 600 miles in the past 8 years. Judging by the variety of show materials found in the trunk, it is easy to see that he also mainly drove the car to local cruise-ins and shows.
Data Plate and VIN Analysis – The data plate indicates that the car was built on February 21, 1962. The rear axle is 3.00:1. The transmission is a 3 speed automatic. The original paint was code “G”, which is Silver Mist metallic (the restoration obviously included a color change). The interior is code “55”, which is red vinyl. The VIN indicates that the motor is a 390 ci V8 with 4 bbl carburetor producing 300 HP. The car was built in Michigan as a Hardtop and the production sequence was 146,151. Except for the paint, all information is consistent with how the car sits today.
Mechanical condition – In a word, excellent. It’s a carbureted car and it starts quickly after just a few turns of the starter. The engine runs very smoothly, sounds great with a deep burbling idle and delivers big power. The sound from the dual exhaust is incredible. It does not smoke or leak. The engine bay is tidy, original looking and not overly detailed. The insulation under the hood looks like new. The car drives straight and true. The brakes are very good. The suspension and power steering feel very good and the car is quite comfortable to drive. The three speed automatic transmission feels very good and shifts smoothly.
Functional – All four power windows work great. Power seats work great. All gauges, including the gas and temperature gauge, speedometer and odometer, work as they should. The dash warning lights (generator and oil) work as they should. The windshield wipers work great. The radio is original but does not work. The air conditioning works great and is the original set-up (not “vintage air”) with a new, original spec, York compressor that has been converted to R-134A. The clock does not work. The interior hood release lever and the parking brake both work as intended. All lights work, including headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals. The horn and the turn signal indicators work.
Body – First, this car is simply gorgeous and you can look at it for hours without getting bored. The body panels are outstanding. The paint is exceptional and looks like it could have been the factory paint job. It is obvious that the car was disassembled when they performed the restoration. There is a small nick in the paint finish at the edge around the trunk lid that has been touched up.
The chrome bumpers, grill and enormous tail light surrounds are in very good condition. The rubber bumper-to-body seals at all four corners are perfect, soft and look like new. The remaining bright work is extensive, all present and in overall very good condition with the larger and longer pieces being in excellent condition and some of the medium to smaller pieces having light to moderate pitting.
Glass is excellent. Rubber trim around the windshield and rear window glass is in good condition and serviceable, with no leaks, but there are a few cracks visible in the rubber. The Thunderbird emblems are all present, have great color in the “wing” area and are overall excellent for their age.
Tires and Wheels – The wire spoke wheels are in outstanding condition and include all center caps. The tires are Dayton whitewall tires and are dated July 2001. They are in excellent condition and I can find no evidence of dry rot. I’m sure they have no more than a couple of thousand miles on them.
Undercarriage – The underside of the car is solid, clean and rust free. The exhaust system is in excellent condition and looks almost new. The gas tank looks new and was probably installed during the restoration.
Interior – Fabulous is the word that comes to mind. One of the coolest designs ever for a car interior. The dashboard is excellent. The front seat upholstery is excellent. The rear seat upholstery is excellent except for a 2 inch seam separation at one spot in the bottom cushion. The ribbed aluminum panels that grace the dash fascia, door panels and center console, are beautiful and in excellent condition, with some minor scratching. The carpet is in very good condition. Door panels are very good except there is some discoloration on the lower vinyl panels and some of the chrome has rubbed off of the vertical plastic accent strips at the bottom. The headliner is in excellent condition. The steering wheel plastic looks good but does have some cracking. The interior chrome is extensive, all present and in overall very good condition with the larger pieces in excellent condition and some of the medium to smaller pieces having light to moderate pitting. The sun visors look like new. The vinyl armrest pad over the center console storage bin looks good but does have a couple of cracks. The seat belts are all present, complete, functional and original. This interior is 100% complete with nothing missing.
Trunk - The trunk area is complete and in excellent condition. Jack and spare tire are complete and present.
Documentation – Maintenance receipts dating back 14 years will come with the car. A variety of materials from past car shows will be included.
Other – One notable feature is the “swing away” steering wheel which works great.
One set of keys is included. A nice black car cover is included.
I have tried my best to represent this car in a balanced and honest way. I can provide additional pictures of specific areas upon request. For serious out-of-town parties, I can provide a Facetime “walk around” session to look at the car live and answer questions as we go.
Car will be sold on a Bill of Sale (original title not found and not required). Acceptable forms of payment include a certified or cashier’s check drawn at your bank in my presence, cash withdrawn at your bank in my presence or wire transfers.
Offered at $20,500. Please contact Ron at 770-616-3300 to inquire about the car. Thank you for your interest!
Pick of the Day driven less than 80,000 miles since new
Car is being sold because owner lost its indoor storage spot
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After a visit to Europe in the early 1950s, Henry Ford II decided he wanted to build a two-seat, convertible sports car for the American public.