Tuxedo Tebird: 1960 Ford Thunderbird Convertible – SOLD!

by | Feb 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

February 23, 2022 Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Despite widespread complaints at the time in 1958, when Ford turned the second generation Thunderbird into a four-seat car the sale numbers spoke for themselves. With sales totaling near 200,000 units over three model years between 1958 and 1960, Ford sold approximately four times as many Square Birds as the original Baby Birds.  While hardtop Squarebirds always looked a little bulky for our tastes, the convertible model with its clean top-down look is a completely different bird as illustrated by this Raven Black 1960 convertible example originally listed in January 2022 on Craigslist in Pollok, Texas.

A 62K original mile example benefitting from a newer restoration, the current caretaker has their Square Bird offered for $36,500. 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 $31,300 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $45,600.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s asking price falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $29,400 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $45,500.

Although Ford’s original 1955-1957 Ford Thunderbird outsold Chevrolet’s Corvette, Ford executives, particularly Robert McNamara, still felt its overall sales volume had room to improve. Market research suggested sales of the Thunderbird were limited by its two-seat configuration, making it unsuitable for families. As a result, Ford executives decided to add a rear seat to the Thunderbird.

The new Thunderbird had a distinct new styling theme. The design was driven entirely by the styling department and approved before the engineering was considered. The design was one of two proposals, styled primarily by Joe Oros, who later worked on the 1964 Ford Mustang. However, the losing proposal, styled by Elwood Engel, would gain its own place in Ford Motor Company history: after minor revisions, it would become the 1961 Lincoln Continental.

The four-seat Thunderbird was designed with unibody construction, eschewing a separate chassis. The intent was to allow the maximum interior space in a relatively small exterior package. The 1958 Thunderbird was only 52.5 inches tall, nearly 9 inches shorter than an average American sedan; the Thunderbird had only 5.8 inches of ground clearance. Ford incorporated the higher drivetrain tunnel that was required in a lower car into a center console dividing both front and rear seats which featured ashtrays, switches, and minor controls.

The remainder of the engineering was conventional, with Ford’s new 300-hp 352 cu in (5.8 L) FE-series V8 coupled to a three-speed manual transmission, with overdrive or Cruise-O-Matic three-speed automatic transmission optional. Front suspension was independent, with coil springs and unequal-length A-arms. The rear was initially a live axle suspended by trailing arms and coil springs, which were intended to be interchangeable with optional air springs that were canceled before production. This was changed to a more conventional leaf spring suspension in the 1959 model year. Drum brakes were used on all four wheels.

For 1960, the Thunderbird was given another new grille and other minor styling changes along with a newly optional manually operated sunroof for hardtop models. Dual-unit round taillights from 1958 to 1959 were changed to triple-units after the fashion of the Chevrolet Impala. Sales increased again with 92,843 sold for 1960.

The Stars & Stripes YouTube Channel provides this 1960 Ford Thunderbird commercial giving a hint of what dog breeds were popular when this car was new:

This 1960 Ford Thunderbird convertible appears to be a nicely restored example in a great color combination.  While we’re not big fans of the continental kit, as long as there is documentation supporting its installation when the car was new, we’d likely keep it on the car.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Beautiful 1960 Ford Thunderbird Convertible. 62,500 miles on the odometer. Restored a few years ago and is still very nice. Repainted the factory color of Raven Black with correct black and white vinyl interior and white convertible top. 352 V8 4BBL 300 Horsepower engine with the chrome package. Restored a few years ago and repainted the factory color of Raven Black and re-upholstered with the correct black and white vinyl interior and white convertible top. Car is well equipped with Factory Air, Power Driver Seat, Power Steering, Power Brakes, Engine chrome dress-up kit, dual exhaust, new battery, Radial WWW tires, and has a nice Continental Kit. Chrome and all outside trim in excellent condition. The paint is about an 8 out of 10. The interior is immaculate and very nice. The car runs and drives very well. New dual exhaust and new fuel tank when it was restored. The engine was replaced under factory warranty at 30,000 miles and the car now has 62,500 miles showing on the odometer. Believed to be the original miles but I don’t have documentation to back that up. All lights work, factory A/C blows cold, factory AM radio works as it should. Have appraisal from 2016 for $50,500. This is a very beautiful and very reliable car. Some called them the Square Birds. I have owned several Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Mercury cars as well as Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge antique and classic cars over the last 40 years but this is one of the nicest and most beautiful I have owned in a long time. I also love and have owned Packard, Hudson, Studebaker, and Nash classic and antique cars but this 1960 T-Bird gets more comments and thumbs up than anything I have ever owned. It is just a beautiful, classy and elegant automobile. In 1960 there were around 92,843 Ford Thunderbirds built. Out of that 11,860 were Convertibles and only 10,606 of those had the 352 V8 4 Barrel engines. VERY FEW of those 10,606 convertibles had FACTORY AIR. Can’t find the numbers but everything on the internet says they were very limited with A/C. 1st year for the third tail light. Clear Texas Title in hand. $36,500 cash.

Show or go: what would you do with this restored 1960 Ford Thunderbird Convertible?  Comment below and let us know!

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