Saturday, September 14, 2013

1963 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

There’s no denying, the Ford Thunderbird is an iconic part of 50s and 60s Americana. The softer, more artfully crafted lines of the time made the Thunderbird comparable to cars like the Corvette and Bel Air.

One of our readers, Tom, wanted us to feature his stunning 1963 Thunderbird Sports Roadster with the special M Code option. And she’s a beaut– here’s the full story:

Thunderbird ("T-Bird"), is an automobile manufactured by the Ford Motor Company in the United States over eleven model generations from 1955 through 2005. When introduced, it created the market niche eventually known ...

1. How did you acquire your ride?

I acquired my ride by scouring the internet, month after month. Finally, I found the “holy grail” of all 1963 T-birds, the “M” Code Sports Roadster, located in Southern California, and made an appointment to view it. The “M” Code model came with 3 deuces and an aluminum intake manifold; an extra forty horsepower; a chrome engine “dress-up kit;” and a grab bar for the passenger.

When I arrived and saw it sitting, magnificently, in the seller’s driveway, I could barley believe my eyes. The seller had mentioned that a gentleman was flying in from Oklahoma, as we spoke, to take a look as well. It could have been an amazing sales tactic, but I believed the seller was telling the truth, and I couldn’t get my check book out fast enough.

2. What drew you in when you bought it?

My father had passed away late in 1962, and his dream car was the “Bullet Bird” Thunderbird from 1961 and 1963, however, he didn’t have the funds to purchase one due to his illness and raising his family. My father’s quote back then, which still rings in my ears when he looked at a picture of the Bullet Bird was, “I want one of these so badly, that I can taste it!” Somehow, I inherited his appreciation of the incredible lines and style of this amazing automobile and vicariously, I believe, he’s enjoying it now through me.

There were only 37 “M” Code Sports Roadsters made in 1963, and a mere 10 of those came equipped with A/C, with which, luckily, mine came equipped. My car was treated to a complete mechanical restoration, from radiator to tailpipes, over-seen by Ron Bates, the President of the “Thunderbird Sports Roadster Society,” whereby he contracted the late great master FE rebuilder, Gaines Markley, owner of the Bonneville Salt Flats, Class “C” gasoline powered engine record to rebuild my car’s engine.

3. Does it have a name?

My personal name for the car is “Ruby,” with an acknowledgment to the famous vintage song lyrics, “Ruby, you’re like a dream.”

4. What do you feel like when you drive it?

Driving it makes me, literally, feel like some type of celebrity. Although I realize that all the “thumb’s-up,” and the photo requests are for the car, I get the attention by osmosis. It’s a true “rock star,” anywhere I take it.

5. What would you change about your car, if anything?

There, literally, is nothing that I would change about “Ruby.”

6. What have you done to make it a bolder ride?

The only thing that I’ve done to make it a “bolder ride,” is that I’ve added a, rare, vintage Rotunda Tachometer, which were available as an option from the Ford Dealers at the time.

7. Dream accessory for it and why?

My dream accessory for Ruby would be power door locks, which were available only in 1963 for this model.

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