1963 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster - $37,900
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But if you’re a purist who insists on the real deal, this car gets it right.

Real code 76B/89 Sport Roadster. Largely original with one older repaint. Rebuilt 390 cubic inch V8 that runs great. Top works properly and is in good condition. Original red leather interior. Real-deal Sport Roadster for a reasonable price!

Fake Sport Roadsters are common and garden-variety Thunderbirds wearing aftermarket tonneaus and replica wire wheels are frequently on the market. But if you’re a purist who insists on the real deal, this car gets it right. Finished in correct code J Rangoon Red, which was the single most popular color on the Sport Roadsters for good reason, it looks every bit like the expensive luxury car that it was in 1963. This one wears an older repaint that looks presentable but is no longer show quality with a few touch-ups here and there plus the usual signs of age. Not that it doesn’t look great, but please keep in mind that this is not a show car. The doors fit well and the giant rear deck lid snugs down flush, which isn’t easy to do given the complexity of the convertible top mechanism. The ‘63s received a little more detail on the doors, including the three sets of hash marks, so they’re easy to spot, but the overall look of the Bullet Bird remains 100% intact. This is a great looking car from any angle.

The interior was little changed on the Sport Roadster aside from the passenger-side grab handle, but when something looks this stylish, it really doesn’t need much improving. Red leather was a popular choice and looks appealing against the bright red paintwork, and like the rest of the car, it shows some age but we’re not sure replacing the original upholstery would be the right choice. Big, round gauges are in their own chrome housings and everything works including the clock and relatively unusual AM/FM radio. Other options include power windows (the driver’s window requires some finesse on the switch to operate correctly), windshield washer, seat belts, and a remote driver’s mirror. It currently shows 72,398 miles, and we believe that to be an authentic reading. And to answer your other critical question, yes, the top runs itself up and down properly, a mechanical symphony that makes onlookers stop and gawk. Leave the top up and you also have a good-sized trunk, although top down there’s not much space for gear—the price we pay for fashion!

The Sport Roadster’s standard Z-code 390 cubic inch V8 makes 300 horsepower and has been recently rebuilt so it runs great. Gold tinwork makes a statement under the hood and it remains quite correct throughout, right down to an original washer fluid bag. Power steering and brakes were standard equipment (can you imagine wheeling something this big around town without power steering?) and it is effortless to drive. It starts easily with a turn of the key and idles well even when it’s cold, all thanks to some careful tuning to get things just right. The big V8 just loafs along at highway speeds and feels plenty punchy around town, although this isn’t a car designed for drag racing. There’s a pleasing V8 burble from the twin tailpipes out back but it never gets too aggressive, which wouldn’t be fitting. The only transmission available in the Thunderbird was a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic, which works rather well behind the torquey 390. The undercarriage is original and a bit scruffy, but the floors are in good order and it doesn’t look like a car that has spent much time out in the elements. The suspension is supple and luxurious, with air shocks out back to help with attitude control, and the power drum brakes are more than adequate for the car’s performance. Out back, there’s a 9-inch rear end with 3.00 gears inside, making this a fantastic highway cruiser that feels like a one-car parade everywhere you go. And, of course, the Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels are just gorgeous and are fitted with 225/75/14 whitewall radials.

An attainable example of an automaker’s attempt to improve an already excellent product, the Sport Roadster lives at the top of the Thunderbird hierarchy. This nicely preserved example isn’t a perfect car and could use a little TLC, but it can easily be used as-is without any excuses and you can add value as you enjoy it. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1963 Ford Thunderbird Sport Roadster
Price: $37,900
Stock Number: 119012
Odometer Reading: 72,398
VIN: 3Y89Z143928
Engine: 390 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.00
Wheelbase: 113 inches
Wheels: 14-inch chrome wire wheels
Tires: 225/75/14 whitewall radials
Exterior Color: Red
Interior Color: Red leather
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