1963 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster

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.
Unfortunately, the ‘58-’60 models added not only chrome, but two extra seats as well. With its 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 its competitors as a result. By far the most exclusive of the 1962 Thunderbirds was the convertible 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 390 cubic inch engine capable of achieving 300 bhp at 5,000 rpm. The convertible roadster featured a fiberglass deck cover that actually covered the rear seats and reflected the look of the early Thunderbirds. The 1963 Thunderbird Convertible Roadster pictured here was offered by the estate of the late Brandon Tartikoff, president of NBC Entertainment for over ten years. When Mr. Tartikoff purchased this rare Thunderbird, he immediately saw to its complete restoration, beginning in 1991. The nut-and-bolt rebuild returned the car to its original pristine condition, with the restoration costing over $40,000. It features the fiberglass deck as mentioned earlier, stock wire wheels, air conditioning, as well as a radio and cassette deck.