"Thunderbird--Unique in all the World"
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A picture of our 1963 Thunderbird Roadster in Joshua Tree National Park and on Rodeo Drive (see below). The 340 horsepower, Silver Mink Roadster with stock Kelsey Hayes 42 spoke wire wheels, gets a blazing 13.6 miles to the gallon. Ah, what luxury, air conditioning, power windows, power seat, power steering and power brakes. A real "Cruiser" which allows, with the top down, a panoramic view of the spectacular natural environment. Even at $3.50 a gallon one can afford to take it out of the garage once a week for a "top down" cruise in the National Park. The picture was the first place international award winner in the Premier Edition of Legendary Ford Magazine winning a one page spread in the first edition. The picture was also the feature on the rear cover of the VTCI (Vintage Thunderbird Club International) March/April 2003 Thunderbird Scoop Publication. This Thunderbird came off the assembly line on October 26th, 1962, less than a month and a half (September 10, 1962 the first 1963 Roadster was produced) after the introduction of the 1963 Thunderbird Roadster.
Rodeo Drive Top in Trunk Top up event Top Up Twins Undercarriage Current Tire
(click to enlarge picture)
Note: Rare Photo is of Twin Silver Mink Roadsters in the National
ANOTHER ROADSTER EMERGES ONCE AGAIN FROM THE BACK OF THE SHOW FIELD. THIS "BIG BIRD" RESPLENDENT IN ALL THE PRIME REGALIA INCLUDING BLACK INTERIOR, KELSEY-HAYES CHROME WIRE WHEELS, TILT-AWAY STEERING, ORIGINAL RADIO SYSTEM, POWER STEERING & BRAKES, AIR CONDITIONING, FIBERGLASS TONNEAU, A CHROME ENGINE DRESS-UP KIT AND THE 390 CUBIC INCH, 340 HORSE POWER V-8 ENGINE WITH A 3-2V INDUCTION SYSTEM. FINISHED IN SILVER MINK WITH BLACK BUCKET SEATS AND BLACK SOFT TOP
There are only two reasons to put the top up-- Rain and Snow
brought many changes in America. Hordes of middle class students,
who normally wouldn’t draw an insurgent breath, were demonstrating
Vietnam War. Five U.S. helicopters were shot down in the Mekong
people were arrested in a Mississippi University Race Riot, Khrushchev
the U.S. that he had a hundred megaton bomb in his back pocket and icon
John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas a year after this
Thunderbird rolled off the assembly line. Bobby Vinton topped the
charts with “Blue Velvet” and the World seemed to be coming
yet Ford was unleashing the New Third Generation Thunderbird.
It looked as though it was fired from a rocket silo with its new aircraft/ missile-like shape. Perhaps it was a carry-over from the Khrushchev declaration of the Cuban Missile Crisis. One of the most glamorous cars on the block was the new Thunderbird Roadster model, which featured Kelsey-Hayes Chrome Wire Wheels and a Two-Seater Fiberglas Panel that covered the back two seats. Arguably this beautiful power plant was the perfect complement to a hot, new two-seater. If the Sports Roadsters were the leading debutantes of Ford's line-up, then the Triple Carburetor Roadster was surely the "bell of the ball" The cars, themselves - not the copywriters' words - had cast a spell that defies the years. Speaking of words, Lee Iacocca had a favorite word that wasn't mentioned in the press kit. He often used it with the Planning staff to describe what he looked for in new-car designs. That word was "pizzazz" and the Sports Roadsters had it... in spades.
If you were lucky,
it was also ordered w/ Triple Carburetion that gave “The Rocket”
40-horse power, Virile, Vast, and expensive it showed America, Detroit
disposed to making just small, cheap cars. New for the 1963
were the Alternator, transistor radio, zinc clad underbody, 150 pounds
deadener, 10 speed windshield wiper, 18-inch wiper blades, Hypalon
the electrical wiring, and stainless steel drive shafts were among some
improvements for the new Roadster.
interior, designed by Art Querfield, featured an aircraft control board
prominent center console and two separate cockpits front & rear. He
he had spent more time on designing this interior than any other car
(in his 40
years with FOMOCO). He actually eliminated the traditional dashboard
door because the seams would interfere with the design of the
dash paneling (it was replaced with a center console glove box). He
that he had conceived two different compartments separated by a
console to delineate the positions of driver and passenger.
Despite its weight the 390 cubic inch V8 could crack 60 M.P.H. in 8 sec. with the accessory pack.
Rear Qtr. View Right
Tar Top Power Punch Dash with
Detailed records have been keep for more than 25 years by Thunderbird Sport Roadster owners including the Thunderbird Roadster Society. The records are of Vin Numbers and door data plates. The records have been collected from car shows, Roadsters for sale on the internet, Ebay and in private collections. Currently 100 real "Z-Code" Thunderbird Sport Roadsters have been found and documented. Twenty five of those documented cars were produced with air conditioning.
BODY COLOR TRIM DATE DSO AXLE TRANS
The three Holley
Two-Barrels pushed a three-speed
Cruise-O-Matic Automatic gearbox. In fact, in January of 1961 at
Pomona, CA Winter Nationals a comparable
Thunderbird turned a respectable best of 106.16 mph in 13.33
seconds. Many feel the three sets of five slash marks
on the side of the 1963 Bird made this body-style the best looking
ever. The soft top opened with a massive display of
engineering and ‘fun
times’ as it emerges from or is swallowed up into the trunk.
These robotics still
help the T-Bird get confused with its counterpart, The Ford
Skyliner, as “the
car with a retractable hardtop” (the hardtops NEVER retracted on the
T-Bird!). Rear fender overhang was prodigious but parking could be
using the mini-fins as a marker. Soft-top down, the Big Bird
is clearly one of
the most desirable, quietly attractive convertibles Ford ever
built. The unitary
body construction kept the typical convertible squeaks and rattles
to a minimum.
Some think driving a T-Bird is a heavenly experience. Sales literature
suggested the Thunderbird was the ‘Divine Design’ of
the combined efforts of
God and Ford. Before the rockers of today used the
"Heavy Metal" this car was real heavy metal. The
1963 Ford Thunderbird had many styling innovations like a molded
crease line on the front fender and door, new rear fender scripts
and a vertical
On the inside, the door panels featured courtesy lights and a new
pushbutton AM/FM radio. Only 5,193 convertibles were sold
Before the rockers of today used the Term "Heavy Metal" this car was real heavy metal. The 1963 Ford Thunderbird had many styling innovations like a molded crease line on the front fender and door, new rear fender scripts and a vertical bar grille. On the inside, the door panels featured courtesy lights and a new pushbutton AM/FM radio. Only 5,193 convertibles were sold but only 409Authentic “Z” code Roadsters were made. Some dealer produced versions emerge afterwards.
0-60: 8.0 sec.
Engine Type: V-8
Displacement: 390 cu. in.
Horse Power 340 h.p. @ 4600 rpm
Max Torque: 427 ft-lbs @ 2,800 rpm
Gas Mileage: 13.6 mpg
More about the Ford FE Tri-Power
The Ford Fe Three 2V Induction system used on the 390-406 Ford engines from 1961-1963 was Fords winning work horse on the drag strip until the introduction of the mid year 1963 2x4 duel quad intake set up of the 406 and the all new 427 cubic inch Ford engines. The 3 x 2 FE intake set up continued production and lasted until 1966 as an "over the counter" Ford performance set up of the 406 and all the new 427 cubic inch Ford engines. The 3x2 FE intake set up continued production and lasted until 1966 as an "over the counter" Ford performance parts item. The Factory Ford tri-power system is considered one of the best all around intake set-ups for the FE Ford even by today's latest design intakes. The factory 3x 2 intake has generous and proportionate sized intake runners with lots of volume unlike many of the Holley tri-power carburetors used by other manufacturers that utilize vacuum secondary outboard carburetors, Ford engineers specified specific fuel mapping for use with it's all mechanical Holley carburetors actuated by progressive throttle linkages and they perform flawlessly! Although this engine combination propelled Ford to many wins in racing history and is a well-mannered and awesome street performer. There has always been a lack of information available on the Ford FE tri power system.
The 1963 Roadster is the Grand Prize Winner in the International
Photo Contest - shown in the Premier Issue of
Legendary Ford Magazine ~ November 2003 edition.
Featured on the rear cover of the March/April 2003 ~ THUNDERBIRD SCOOP Magazine ~
Feature Article is on the inside
How to Catch a Thunderbird ~ Unique in all the World
If you want to know about Thunderbird Garages Click on Tbird Garage below