1962 FORD THUNDERBIRD SPORTS ROADSTER
Chassis No. 2Y89M158447
Rangon red with black leather interior and ivory vinyl top
Engine: M Series high performance, overhead valves, 390ci., 330bhp at 5,000rpm; Gearbox: C-6 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.
By far the most exclusive of the 1962 Thunderbirds was the Sport Roadster. Only 455 were produced in 1962 and the factory price of $5,500 excluded many potential buyers from even entertaining the thought of purchasing one. Underneath its scooped hood lay a massive 390ci. engine capable of achieving 330bhp at 5,000rpm. The Sport Roadster featured a fiberglass deck cover that actually covered the rear seats and reflected the look of the early Thunderbirds.
Originally sold new from Galpin Ford of San Fernando, California, it is reported that this example remained in its home state until traveling to the current east coast vendor in the early 1990s. This high performance Thunderbird Sports Roadster benefited from a no expense spared restoration in the early 1990s while under the ownership of its prior California owner. As a result the car appears to be in impeccable overall condition. Complete with nearly every option, the original invoice shows the car being ordered with power windows, power driver seat, selectaire air conditioning, push button radio and tinted glass. Though the original invoice shows the car was finished in Corinthian white, its color was changed during the restoration to the very attractive Rangon red.
We understand that the Thunderbird's massive 390ci. M Series engine operates quite proficiently and provides a truly exhilarating ride for an American car of its size. The extensive array of brightwork is reported as being in very presentable condition. We are told that the restoration, which is reported to have cost over $100,000, (over 2,000 man hours and nearly $40,000 in parts alone), has been documented in a comprehensive book which is to be included in the sale of this car. Less than 4,000 miles have been driven since this immaculate restoration was completed.