1963 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster M-Code
One of only 37 M-Code 1963 Sports Roadsters
Build with nearly every available factory option
Exceptional restoration by noted model expert Jim Wulf
390 CID OHV-V-8 Engine
Three Holley 2-Barrel Carburetors
340 HP at 5,000 RPM
3-Speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission
4-wheel power-assisted hydraulic drum brakes
Independent front coil-spring suspension
Live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs
AACA National Fall Meet, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 2011 (National first place Junior)
The 1961-63 Thunderbird in considered by many to ne the most beautiful Thunderbird ever built, largely due to aerospace on the Alex Tremulis design. While sales were strong through the late 1950s and early 1960s, purists besieged Ford with demands for the return of a two-place Thunderbird. Division Chief Lee lacocca tapped designer Bud Kaufman to develop a solution. Kaufman returned with the stunning Sports Roadster, which built upon Thunderbird’s sweeping lines with a unique fiberglass tonneau cover extending from the trunk to behind the front seats, effectively transforming the four-passenger Thunderbird to a two-seater. The Sport Roadster package included a passenger grab bar, unique side badges, and stunning 48-spoke Kelsey Hayes wire wheels. This cars in one of only 37 Thunderbird Sport Roadsters built in 1963 with the formidable M-Code engine and one of fewer than 25 believed to exist today.
According to Ford factory records, this rare Thunderbird was built on October 5, 1962, and shipped to Twin County Motor Co. in Galax, Virginia. Its M-Code 390 CID engine boasted high-compression (10.5:1) and three Holley two-barrel carburetors. It produces 340 HP and an impressive 430 lbs. /ft. of torque. As delivered, this Thunderbird was opulently appointed with Rangoon Red paint, a luxurious black leather interior, engine dress-up package, air-conditioning, power windows, power seats, seat belts, tinted glass, heavy duty battery, windshield washers, and even the exceedingly rare vacuum-assisted power door locks. The MSRP for this top-of-the-line Thunderbird was $6,868.19, a staggering figure in 1963.
Discovered in unrestored condition in 2007, this Thunderbird was rescued and treated to a multiyear restoration. In 2011, it was sold and delivered to respected Thunderbird restorer Jim Wulf of Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The restoration was revisited and brought to concours standards, using the original build and gate release to ensure accuracy. The exhaustive research collected for this restoration will be incorporated into the 1961-63 Official Factory Specifications Manual by acclaimed model expert Alan Tast’s Vintage Thunderbird Club International – thus making this vehicle’s restoration the standard by which others are judged in the future.
Since its breathtaking restoration was completed, the Sports Roadster has earned many high-level awards, including a perfect 300-point score at the 2014 VTCI Convention and a perfect 400 at the 2014 AACA Annual Grand National, among many other prestigious honors.