Square Bird: 1959 Ford Thunderbird Convertible – Sold?

by | Apr 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

May 20, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this Squarebird “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

While the Ford Thunderbird is one of the more frequent collector cars we’ve featured on GuysWithRides.com, to date, we’ve never come across an example from the second-generation “Square Bird” era built between 1958 and 1960.  That is until now when we found this gorgeous red-red-and-while restored 1959 Thunderbird Convertible originally listed on Craigslist in April 2021 in Lebanon, Indiana with an asking price of $39,500. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Square Bird priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $22,900 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $41,000.  As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s asking price falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $28,500 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $44,000.

Here is Hagerty’s Valuation Summary of the 1959 Thunderbird:

“For 1959, the exterior changes to the Ford Thunderbird were more subtle than the major redesign of the previous year, with various ornamental and detail changes. The mesh grille was replaced with a slotted or billet-style grille. The “Thunderbird” lettering was also moved from behind the headlights to the “rocket” character line that ran from the rear bumper to the doors, the tip of which was given a chrome cover to make it more visually pronounced.

The 1959 Ford T-Bird was available as a coupe or a convertible that stowed neatly, without a noticeable boot. This was also the first year that a fully automatic convertible top operation was introduced.

Under the sheet metal, the rear coils were replaced with semi-elliptical springs and a Hotchkiss drive. Inside, meanwhile, the ’59 T-Bird was now available with optional leather upholstery for the first time. All of these touches went towards making the Thunderbird more luxurious, more comfortable, and more personal.

Upfront, a new V-8 engine was made available: Ford’s massive 7.0-liter (430 cid) MEL-family (Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln), making 345 horsepower. Only 1,168 Thunderbirds were ordered with this “J-Code” setup, and they are very valuable today.

Buyers could still get the base engine, which was the 300-hp 352 cid V-8. Power was routed through either a 3-speed manual with overdrive or Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission.

The year 1959 was a smashing one for T-Bird sales. For the 1959 model year, a total of 67,456 Ford Thunderbirds were built.”

We came across this vintage 1959 Ford Thunderbird commercial posted on YouTube:

Not only is this Square Bird in the perfect color combination for this second-generation car, but we also love how the current caretaker has owned this car since 1980 with them overseeing a restoration in 2018. This is a great-looking four-seat T-Bird that will likely get you compliments and more awards every time you enter it in a local car show. 

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Take yourself back to the summer of 1959 in this classic beauty! It runs and looks great. Ground-up complete restoration in 2018. I have been the owner since 1980. Fewer than 1,000 miles put on since the restoration. I have loved this car and hate to let it go, but I’m hoping to find someone who will appreciate it as much as I have. Contact me with any questions or offers.

Show or go: what would you do with this restored Square Bird?  Comment below and let us know!

1 Comment
  1. Anonymous

    My mother had this exact same car when I was young and this Bird for sale appears equipped with almost the identical optional equipment and same color combination. Our T bird had a red padded dash though – not a white dash. In the summer my dad would take us out for a ride in the evening with the top down and we would sit in the back seat and holler “100, 100, hit 100” and he would punch it. He would flip on the bright beams so we thought when the red light on the dash gauge came on it indicated we were going 100 mph – I think occasionally we were hitting 100 but not always when he made the little red light come on but I do know we were going really fast!


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