1962 FORD THUNDERBIRD ROADSTER
Registration No. HSL 760
Chassis No. 2Y85Z104583
Caspian blue with light blue metallic vinyl interior and white hood
Engine: V8, 390ci., 300bhp at 5,000rpm; Gearbox: 4 speed automatic; Suspension: independent front with coil springs, rear semi-elliptic with springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
When Thunderbird designer Frank Hershey set out to design a sports car with 'banker appeal', he unknowingly created a legendary automobile that was so popular in its first year, it outsold the Chevrolet Corvette four to one. When Hershey left Ford for General Motors in 1960, the Thunderbird had sold over 90,000 units in the same year. The car had not only survived, but become an overwhelming success in the eyes of the American public. In order to maintain the dignified image of a 'banker's car', the Thunderbird was stripped of much of its chrome. However, when the '58-'60 models were introduced, they added not only more chrome, but two extra seats as well. With its chief designer gone the Thunderbird began to feature styling changes from a variety of sources. George Walker took over at Ford. His first move was to put William Boyer onto the Thunderbird design project. Boyer added significant changes, incorporating sedan-like design qualities with racing and high performance engineering developments. He described his design as the 'projectile look', and the car was meant to give the onlooker the impression of the car flowing by. The 1962 Thunderbirds were overwhelmingly popular. They incorporated Boyer's styling innovations and subtle design touches, and remained distinctive from their competitors as a result.
This immaculate Thunderbird was built at Wixon, Michigan in September 1961, before being dispatched to Oak Motors Incorporated of Nashville, Tennessee. With a 'window sticker' price of nearly $4,500, it was $1,000 more expensive than the top of the range Galaxy XK convertible thus as with all Thunderbirds, the price ensured exclusivity. A copy of the original Ford dispatch note indicates that specification was generous in additional to standard luxuries included: a movable steering column, electric windows, electric driver's seat, 'Selectaire' air-conditioning, radio, windscreen washers, outside mirror, heavy duty battery, and fender shields.
The previous owner (a retired doctor) finished the restoration in the spring of 1997, using only 'new old stock' parts he had painstakingly returned the Thunderbird to the standard it would have been when it rolled off the production line. The engine and transmission were professionally rebuilt, all major components were stripped and repainted and the chromework was redone. It should be noted that additional desirable options fitted include corner weights, a sports roadster tonneau, grab-bar and the desirable Kelsey Hayes. Indeed condition is such that it proved to be an unbeatable force in Thunderbird concours events winning the 1997 Heartland Vintage Thunderbird Club National at Kansas City, Kansas a title it defended the following year. It also won the 1998 Vintage Thunderbird Club International Regional show in Houston, Texas and therefore qualified for the National event at Reno, Nevada which, true to form it took home the top honours again scoring an incredible 298 out of a possible 300 points.
The current owner acquired the car from the USA in January 1999 and imported it into the UK. Since then it has been lightly used and thus condition remains immaculate throughout. In 2000 the car was inspected, for insurance valuation reasons, by Peter Taylor (Technical Director for Thunderbirds of England). He gave the car a glowing detailed report acknowledging the outstanding condition and concluded his findings by saying 'This car is faultless in every respect, there is not another '62 T-bird convertible in the UK in this condition at the moment, possibly even Europe'.