Mostly original car with one older repaint. Nice interior, two tops, including new black convertible top. Converted to 12-volts, otherwise totally stock. Runs and drives very well.
We’ll tell you up front that this is not a show car, although it photographs extremely well. The Raven Black paint was probably applied back when Regan was still president, so it’s not original, but it has enough patina for the car to look wonderfully inviting. It’s got plenty of gloss, and except for some bodywork in the right front fender, it appears to be in pretty good condition overall. A few micro-blisters point to the paint’s age, but sighting down the flanks shows good, straight sheetmetal and if there were rust repairs, they were so well done that they’re still invisible decades later and don’t present any worries today. The chrome and stainless trim likely dates to 1955, so there are some scuffs and some very, very minor pits, but it, too, has a clean look that’s entirely age-appropriate. If there’s any demerit, it’s that there’s some discoloration around the exhaust tips, which is entirely normal.
The black and white interior also appears to be completely original and in great condition. We’re guessing that the carpets have been replaced, since they’re just too nice to be 60 years old, but the seat cover and door panels sure look authentic. The steering wheel is in excellent condition and all the gauges are functional except the clock, which shouldn’t be a surprise (and is likely due to the 12-volt conversion). The odometer shows just over 70,000 miles and we have no trouble believing that’s an authentic reading, although we have no proof. Behind the seat there’s a recent black vinyl convertible top that’s in very good condition with a crystal clear rear window. The original AM radio is still in the dash, but it, too, is not operational, again probably due to the 12-volt electrical systemIn back, the trunk is in good shape, protected with some kind of ancient brushed-on undercoating as well as a set of original mats.
The engine is a 292 cubic inch “Y-block” V8 putting out a very usable 198 horsepower. Somewhere along the line, someone repainted this car’s engine in correct Ford red, so it looks bright enough in the engine bay, but it was clearly done a long time ago. On the other hand, it has also been recently and comprehensively serviced, including new hoses, belts, plugs, wires, and other tune-up parts, so it runs superbly. It starts quickly and easily and isn’t fussy at all, emitting a nice V8 burble from the twin exhaust pipes out back. We’ve driven it around town and at highway speeds, and it does indeed drive nicely, a testament to a car that has never been apart but has been properly maintained all its life. There’s no power steering, but effort is moderate, and with correct bias-ply tires, it feels right.
It’s got a Ford-O-Matic 2-speed automatic transmission (which we suspect has been recently rebuilt) and 3.00 gears out back, so it’s peppy but easy on the highway and the ride is definitely skewed towards comfort rather than sport. The undercarriage is completely original, so yes, it’s grimy and crusty but the floors don’t have patches or holes and the frame is in good structural shape. The exhaust system is fairly old but doesn’t leak and sounds good exhaling through vintage Thrush mufflers, while there appear to be new wheel cylinders and brake lines. Those 6.50-15 Firestone wide whites look great, especially with sparkling wire wheelcovers inside.
This is not a perfect car and probably isn’t quite as nice as it looks in photos. On the other hand, it’s still an early Thunderbird that you’ll be happy to drive and show at casual events and the basics are good. It’s far too nice to restore, so instead you can buy it at a discount (have you seen early Thunderbird prices lately?) and simply enjoy it without worries. Call today!
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com