Nostalgia classic cars is pleased to offer this historical piece of engineering, the Ford Thunderbird 1962.
The third generation of the Ford Thunderbird is a large personal luxury car that was produced by Ford for the 1961 to 1963 model years. It featured new and much sleeker styling than the second generation models.
The Thunderbird for 1961 introduced several firsts for the automotive market. The most distinctive feature of the 1961 to 1963 Thunderbirds was the highly touted 'Swing Away' steering wheel. With the transmission in the park position the steering wheel would slide approximately 18 inches (460 mm) to the right allowing the driver to exit the vehicle easily. Other innovations include a floating rear view mirror. Depending on variable options Thunderbirds for 1961 could be purchased with options like air conditioning, power windows, power seats, AM radio, fender skirts and white wall tires. Several standard features, like power steering and power brakes, back up lights and bucket seats were costly options on most other autos.
The Sports Roadster was a limited production version of the convertible which added 48 spoke Kelsey-Hayes designed wire wheels, special badges to the front fenders and a passenger side grab bar to the front dashboard. The most striking addition to the Sports Roadster was a fiberglass tonneau cover which covered the back seat of the car and created a two seater appearance. Early models suffered from problems related to their specially-designed wire wheels. The problem was quickly corrected when Elvis Presley was involved in an accident in which one of the Kelsey-Hayes wheels collapsed during hard turning.
Another addition for 1962 was a special engine code (VIN engine code M) which added a "tripower" or three two barrel setup to a higher compression version of the 390 engine. This engine used 406 heads as well as the same carburetors that were found on the high performance 406 powered Ford Galaxie but with a modified version of the intake manifold to allow for proper air flow under the engine. This engine boasted 345 hp (257 kW) but was considered a moderate failure. The engine option was quietly discontinued halfway through the mid 1963 production run.
Also introduced in 1962 was the Landau model, with a vinyl roof and simulated S-bars on the rear pillars. This was the beginning of the 1960s/1970s fashion for vinyl roof treatments, and a vinyl roof was a popular Thunderbird feature for the next 20 years.