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Thunderbird 1962-1963

Lee Iacocca is the new general manager of the Ford Motor Company and his mandate is to introduce more models to choose from thereby attracting more customers into the Ford show rooms. Only one body change in ’62 is the grill does not h

The Thunderbird for 1962 has a limited edition Sports Roadster version available; this convertible has special badging, a grab bar mounted on the dash for the passengers comfort when travelling at break-neck speed, and is equipped with 48 spoke wire wheels by Kelsey Hayes, Elvis Presley was involved in an accident while making a quick, sharp turn when one of the wire wheels collapsed on his car but this problem was quickly rectified in all the roadster models. A very unusual item included with this option is a fiber glass tonneau cover that clips over the back seat giving the roadster the appearance of being a two seated sports car. This model has 1,427 units produced with only 120 of those having the “M” code power option. This is a rare engine with only about 300 of them put into Thunderbirds during the year and a half that the engine was available.

Ford Thunderbird 1963© Andy1960 | Dreamstime.com – Ford Thunderbird Photo

The 1962 “M” is marked on the VIN-the engine is a special high compression 390 block mounted with 406 heads the same treatment the high performance Galaxie received but the intake manifold for the “T” bird is unique and allowing air flow under the engine. This power option also has “Tri-Power”-three two barrel carburetors  This combination allows the engine to develop 345 hp (257 kW) but it was not a successful one and was discontinued part way through the ’63 model year without any fan-fare. Other things new to ’62 are two trim features on the Landau coupe are the addition of a large chromed “S” shape on the rear pillars which is destined to become a Thunderbird trim feature. The other feature is the Landau also sports a vinyl roof which is a very stylish item during the ‘60’s and ‘70’s so it will be available for the next twenty years.

The last year of the third generation has few body changes but…Oh joy! For 1963 the AM radio is now basic equipment but there is a new AM/FM radio as an option if you prefer that. The another option on the table this year is a vacuum assist door lock with right side drivers mirror as basic equipment on all Ford products. The basic hardtop is the most popular model with the Landau version a close second and it now sports a simulated wood grain interior trim feature the convertible sales are way down as is the sports roadster model. This year the “Principality of Monaco” special edition is released with the production limited to 2,000 units only. This Landau model is a vision of white with the color used inside and out. It is equipped with a full leather interior which also displays the owners name and the vehicles assembly line production number. There is only one power train for the “T” bird in this generation; it the 390 cu in V8 bolted to the Cruise-o-Matic automatic transmission. The rumors were flying around the Thunderbird would take on the new name of “Continental” to coincide with this newly introduced Lincoln model.


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