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    Auction Finds

    A sexy red Ford T-bird convertible

    When I walked through the auction house door, all I could see to my right was red and chrome. The metallic finish of the car sparkled under the overhead lights, and I could see myself letting down the tan convertible top and speeding off in this beautiful T-bird.

    The previous owner – a man whose estate auction I had attended a few weeks earlier – obviously had loved it as much as he’d loved the women who had donated stuff to him (as his cousins had mentioned to me). The car came with invoices for parts and other purchases, booklets and documents with his name on it.

    The Thunderbird's tail lights make it a very recognizable car.

    I wasn’t sure what type of Thunderbird it was, so I checked the auction sheet: 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster Convertible.

    “Rangoon red with matching interior. The car is powered by its original 390 c.i. V-8 engine backed by an automatic transmission. This is an original single owner vehicle that comes with a nice amount of dealer and other literature. The car runs, drives and stops fantastic! The engine runs smooth and quiet having only 62,835 miles on it.”

    So what that the car had a few scratches (must’ve been a very few because I saw none), minor pitting on the chrome, some peeling on the rear bumper and center armrest, and a convertible top that didn’t easily fold down. Not mentioned was the standard Tonneau cover over the two rear seats that converted the car into a two-seater.

    The Thunderbird is one of Ford's most collectible cars.

    I stood and admired the car. I walked around the car and admired it some more. I peeped through the driver-side window to admire its almost-perfect interior. The door was locked, and since I wasn’t going to buy it – just drool over it – I didn’t bother to ask for the key to take a look inside.

    I suspect that the owner got the car new. Based on what his cousins had told me at the estate sale, he was a man who appreciated nice things. He was a bachelor who had worked for Philco, an entrepreneur who had had his own night club in New Jersey and someone who had traveled to Italy. He also seemed to have his share of lady friends who bequeathed him much of their own stuff that he stored in a small room off from his garage.

    This Thunderbird must have been the crème de la crème of his possessions, because it showed well. When The Roadster was first introduced in the early 196os, it was considered among the most popular of the Thunderbirds. And apparently it still is. Here’s a lovely white one with light blue interior.

    The interior of the Thunderbird appeared to be immaculate.

    A third-generation Thunderbird – the first was made in 1955 – it was called the “Bullet Bird” because it resembled a bullet. The tail lights and fins made it look like a rocket. Production was begun in 1961 and ended a year later, and the cars were available for two model years, 1962 and 1963.

    Ford produced 1,427 of the 1962 models and 455 of the 1963s. They sold for $5,439 to $5,563 – a cost that was considered high at the time.

    A view of the back of the Thunderbird.

    I didn’t attend the sale of the car, but according to the auction website, it went for $18,500. That didn’t seem like a bad deal, especially since sellers on one online site were asking up to $59,000 (restored) for a Roadster.

    In case you can’t afford the real thing, you can always buy a diecast model car. One site was selling a black one in the box for $38.

    The owner's papers, model cars and more pertaining to the Ford Thunderbird.






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