After the successful debut of the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford sought to design a comparable yet original vehicle to keep up with the competition. Their answer came in the form of the Ford Thunderbird, which became an instant hit among buyers. The third-generation 1963 T-Bird was not only elegant but soundly designed, well engineered and genuinely built for the open road.
About the 1963 Ford Thunderbird
The 1963 T-Bird consisted of four models: the Convertible, Sports Roadster, Landau and Hardtop. Few changes were made to the 1963 model as Ford was planning to introduce an entirely new version of the Thunderbird for 1964. Interiors were updated with a passenger side grab bar and door-mounted courtesy lamps. Standard equipment in every vehicle now included a push-button AM radio and a remote-controlled rearview mirror. Bright trim was added to the gas and brake pedal. Restyled front fenders, doors and a new grille all added a touch of style. The upscale Landau model featured a walnut-grained instrument panel, door pads and steering wheel to match.
The limited edition “Principality of Monaco” Landau was released mid-year, and only 2,000 units ended up being produced. This limited design model featured a white car with white leather interior and a personalized plaque displaying the owner’s name and the car’s limited production number.
Powering the 1963 Ford Thunderbird
Beneath the T-Bird’s hood, you could find a 390-cubic-inch V8 engine. The base engine was rated at 300 horsepower via a four-barrel carburetor and 9.6:1 compression ratio. However, performance that matched the style was not equated with the extra 150 pounds of noise insulation. Those wanting premier engine performance could opt for the 340 horsepower “M” code version. The extra power was fueled by an increase in compression to 10.5:1, three two-barrel carburetors and dual exhausts.
1963 was the lowest production year for the third generation. A grand total of 63,313 Thunderbirds were factory-produced. The Hardtop and Landau became the bestselling Thunderbirds of the year. The limited number of convertibles and Sports Roadsters sold indicates a decline in convertible popularity at the time.
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