Vehicle Location: Las Vegas, NV 89121
Auction Type: Reserve
Engine: 390 CID Ford V8
Exterior: Rangoon Red
1964 Ford Thunderbird Convertible Roadster
This Thunderbird features the original 300 horsepower 390 Cubic Inch V8 Engine, 3 Speed Ford Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission, glossy Rangoon Red paint, black vinyl bucket seat interior, aircraft inspired instrumentation, swing away steering wheel for easy entry and exit, center console, and white convertible top which retracts into the trunk at the touch of a button.
The radial white sidewall tires are new and are wrapped around Kelsey Hayes chrome wire wheels. This Thunderbird left the assembly line fully loaded with power brakes, power steering, power windows, power adjustable front seats, air conditioning and heat, radio, sequential taillights, and the very rare roadster tonneau option offered in the two previous years as a unique model, but only as a buyer option for the 1964 convertibles.
This car has a very unique history that follows in abbreviated form. Documentation of the journey this car has made from its Detroit origin to the current day has been catalogued by its owners. Here is a sleek, low, classic ride that is ready to be driven and enjoyed by a new owner due to the private owner’s lack of adequate storage for a large collection. Built during the days when craftsmanship and styling dominated the American automotive industry, this is a solid, easy driving vehicle with soft cloudlike suspension, perfect for that long road trip.
This particular Ford Thunderbird comes with a unique story. Ford offered the Sport Roadster convertibles in 1962 (1427 produced), and 1963 (455 produced). Due to the low production numbers, Ford decided to discontinue the roadster, but to phase out the model, they offered the roadster tonneau option a final year, in 1964.
There were only 50 units sold, including this car. While the 62 and 63 Sport Roadsters were identified by unique VIN code 89 numbers, the 1964 versions were simply coded as convertibles (85). This, in itself, does not make this car particularly rare, however. It’s unique use by FOMOCO as a display vehicle at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York City that gives it some interesting history.
This car, with VIN 4Y85Z100109 comes with a 6 inch stack of documentation covering its 6 decade long journey from the assembly line to its present garage. The car does not carry a Ford DSO number (DSO indicates the District Sales Office to which FOMOCO cars are initially dispatched) or paint code. In August of 1963, this particular Thunderbird was pulled from the first day of production at the Wixom assembly line by the Ford Special Projects Department to be used as a demonstration vehicle at the Rotunda that would be assembled at 1964 Worlds Fair.
In preparation for this deployment, it was given a special candy metalflake paint job, Palamino leather interior, and special Halibrand magnesium wheels. The translucent metalflake paint did not hold up after being in bright sunliglht, so about a decade later, the car was repainted its current Rangoon Red hue, the interior was refitted with black leather seats, and new Kelsey Hayes chrome wire wheels replaced the Halibrand rims. There are less than 1000 miles on new radial tires.
Today, this swoopy roadster shows shows just under 100K miles on the odometer and it has been owned, driven and enjoyed by a half dozen owners all of this history documented. Whether it continues to amass a lifelong story as a historic vehicle, or is simply used as daily transportation by its next owner, this fine Ford classic is sure to give plenty of pleasure to whoever drives it.
Though it has never been restored, it is still an eye-catching beauty that holds its own in car shows, runs and drives great, has no major mechanical or electrical problems, and very few aesthetic defects. In the interest of full disclosure, there are some minor paint touchups, but no dents, dings, rust, or significant paint defects.
Some of the chrome trim has lost a little luster, and though the white convertible top works as it should, the vinyl back window in the convertible top is toast. The air conditioner does not blow cold, cold air, but does work likely it needs a charge of R12 coolant. The car was just driven approximately 150 highway miles and gets about 16 mpg.
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Item condition: New
Reserve price has not been met.
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Is vehicle available to be inspected in Las Vegas, please?
Where did it spend most of its life? Is there any rust, any accident damage? Who repainted it? Thank you.
After this Thunderbird completed its duties on the Rotunda at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York, it went back to the Ford Proving Grounds as surplus, then was gifted to John Holman of Holman & Moody and went to South Carolina. After his ownership, it went through a few owners in SC, GA and IL before going to Southern California in 2003, then was purchased by the current owner in 2007 who has garaged the car in Southern Nevada since. There is no record, nor any evidence of any body damage or rust during its 60 year history. With no certain record of the date of its repaint, there is documentation that shows it being red with a black interior in 1975. There is no evidence it was ever repainted again, but due to the very good presentation of the paint at this time, it is probable that another repaint occurred at some point. All of the owners did a masterful job keeping the records of the journey of this special Thunderbird through time. It is a rolling time capsule.