1965 Ford Thunderbird - SOLD
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  • Overview & History
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The odometer shows about 39,000 miles and it comes with an actual mileage title, meaning that this Thunderbird has been a special car for someone nearly its entire life.

Around here, we hear a lot of excuses for why the old car hobby appears to be slowing down, but this 1965 Ford Thunderbird neatly disproves all of them. Too expensive? Look at how much high-quality sheetmetal you can get with this ‘Bird! You want a reliable car you can drive every day? Ford’s 390 is about as reliable as an anvil and this Thunderbird has performance that will easily humble many more modern machines. You want something interesting, not a garden-variety used car? Then take this hardtop for a spin and see how many “thumbs up” gestures you get on the street and how many people just want to talk about it when you stop for gas. No, this awesome Thunderbird leaves you with exactly zero excuses not to start having fun in an old car.

The odometer shows about 39,000 miles and it comes with an actual mileage title, meaning that this Thunderbird has been a special car for someone nearly its entire life. Wearing a repaint in its original code U Medium Turquoise, it has a fantastic ‘60s look that’s all about sleek style, not flash. These cars were built on the same uni-body platform as the full-sized Lincolns, so it’s big, but its proportions are neatly hidden by the styling, particularly the flared character lines that start in the door and extend back to the taillights. A hood scoop on the front makes it look suitably muscular but the squared-off roofline adds a touch of formality. In short, there’s nowhere that this Thunderbird will look out of place. Finish quality on the paint is quite good and it has the right look—no excessive metallics although it does have a nice sheen to it out in the sunlight. The bodywork is in fine condition with no evidence of sub-standard bodywork or previous rust damage, including on the rockers and above the fender skirts, two critical areas. It isn’t perfect, of course, but you’re going to have to look pretty hard to find major faults with this ‘Bird.

There’s enough chrome to push the Thunderbird to the luxury side of the sport/luxury equation, and it’s in excellent shape. Both bumpers shine with chrome that might just be too nice to be original, but maybe it is. The ornaments on the front fenders are crisp and not pitted and even the grille at the base of the rear window is in great condition. The stainless window surrounds polish up nicely and yes, the sequential taillights are fully operational.

The matching code 27 Turquoise vinyl interior appears to be entirely original and in fabulous shape. The front buckets show a few signs of use but no splits or tears and the wrap-around rear seats are just about the coolest chairs in the house. The swing-away steering wheel makes it easy to climb aboard and all the plastics, including that steering wheel, are undamaged except for some light discoloration that’s all but inevitable. There’s no fake wood, just plenty of stainless and chrome trim to go with the ‘60s style that’s extremely appealing. The auxiliary gauges are fantastic individual little globes blow the ribbon-style speedometer, pure form over function that makes it a thrill to drive. They all work, of course, as do the optional power windows, and the original AM radio is augmented by an AM/FM/cassette unit neatly installed on the passenger’s side so the dash looks right. Aircraft-inspired levers under the dash control things like the ventilation and map lights. The headliner is taut, all the interior lights work, and, well, we can’t find many things to complain about with this car. This car is ideal for road trips, not just because of its superlative ride but also because of the massive trunk, which wears its original mat set, a full-sized spare, and original jack tucked into the quarter panel.

The only engine you could get in your 1965 Thunderbird was the venerable 390 cubic inch V8, which was rated at a nice, round 300 horsepower. With only 39,000 miles on the clock, this one has never needed to be rebuilt, but it was recently removed, new gaskets installed, and the engine bay was fully detailed to make it look its best. It runs superbly, starting easily and idling smoothly on the choke, and even this big car seems quick with this engine pulling it around. It is correctly finished with black paint on the block and gold on the valve covers and air cleaner, and reproduction decals were used as needed to complete the OEM look. It appears to have a Pertronix electronic ignition upgrade, but otherwise it remains quite stock so it runs properly and it will be easy and inexpensive to maintain. New hoses and belts, fresh power steering lines, and a new master cylinder all help in the reliability department.

A 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission was likewise the only choice, and with 3.00 gears in the 9-inch rear end, this car does indeed cruise easily at modern highway speeds. The torquey 390 doesn’t need a lot of gear to get the car off the line and it’s just loafing along at 75 MPH, so forget those stories about needing to take it easy with an old car. The underside was apparently undercoated when it was new and we can detect only one minor patch under the driver’s seat, which isn’t surprising. There’s a newer dual exhaust system with a smooth hum that’s entirely appropriate and the suspension is full of new parts, including ball joints, tie rods, pitman arm, sway bar bushings, and more. 1965 was also the first year for front disc brakes on the Thunderbird, which makes an ENORMOUS difference in braking performance, particularly for such a heavy car. It was long overdue, and gave the ‘Bird some of the best binders in the industry. There are recent rotors and pads up front and new wheel cylinders out back, so the braking system is 100% up to task. 15-inch wheels were standard due to the disc brakes, so earlier 14-inch wheels won’t work, and these are outfitted with factory wire wheelcovers and 205/75/15 whitewall radials that are just the right size.

This is a whole heck of a lot of car for under $20,000. Low mileage, big horsepower, lots of luxury, and a distinctive look all make Thunderbirds perennial favorites. Come take it for a drive and you’ll understand that buying a vintage car doesn’t mean you have to make compromises. Call today!

Vehicle: 1965 Ford Thunderbird
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 115041
Mileage: 39,348
VIN: 5Y83Z121798
Engine: 390 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3
Wheelbase: 113 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 205/75/15 whitewall radial
Exterior Color: Medium Turquoise
Interior Color: Turquoise vinyl
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