Auctions and Brokerage
AACA National Fall Meet, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 2011 (National First Place Junior)International Thunderbird Club, Wilmington, Delaware, June 2012 (First Place Formal)Vintage Thunderbird Club International, Charleston, South Carolina, September 2012 (First Place Primary)AACA National Fall Meet, Hershey, Pennsylvania, October 2012 (National First Place Senior)AACA Annual Grand National, Moline, Illinois, June 2013 (First Grand National, Preservation Award)Vintage Thunderbird Club International, Houston, Texas, September 2013 (First Place Senior, Wixom Authenticity Award)Vintage Thunderbird Club International, New Orleans, Louisiana, May 2014 (First Place Senior, Best of Show)AACA Grand National Lebanon Tennessee, June 2014 (Senior Grand National)AACA National Awards Meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, February 2015 (Outstanding Postwar Car Award)
The 1961-63 Thunderbird is considered by many to be the most beautiful Thunderbird ever built, largely due to aerospace influences 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 Iacocca 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 Sports Roadster package included a passenger grab bar, unique side badges, and stunning 48-spoke Kelsey Hayes wire wheels. The car offered here is one of only 37 Thunderbird Sports 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 produced 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 purchased by its current owner 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. Presented here is a special opportunity to own a dazzling piece of Thunderbird history. It needs nothing beyond a new caretaker to exercise and cherish it.