Featured Thunderbird for October/November 1996

Picture of Featured T-Bird

1962 / Exterior: Samoan Coral (1964) / Interior: Black/White / automatic

Owners: Brenda & Tony Day, Seaford, South Australia, Australia

We purchased this car in Turlock, CA USA in May 1994, and shipped it to Australia. Purchase price was US$2500, which relates to approximately Aus$8000, and included shipping, customs, tax, etc. Condition of the car was poor to fair by our standards but very restorable. The original colour was Heritage Burgundy with beige vinyl interior. Someone had started a very amateurish restoration. I wish they hadn't.

The car arrived here in late August 1994. We completely stripped it of all components to a bare body shell. The shell included the doors, hood, trunk lid, and other sheet metal parts. These were chemically cleaned and stripped of grime, paint, and bondo (plenty of bondo), but very little rust, just the normal places under the battery tray and floor of trunk. There were lots of minor dents (63 in one door we replaced) but no major structural damage. The whole car was metal finished and looked like a new shell. Brenda chose the colour while attending a VTCI convention several years ago in Washington, after seeing a beautiful Samoan Coral '64 convertible.

We painted the car ourselves using black epoxy bitumen underneath, and 8 coats of acrylic lacquer on top. Interior is black vinyl with white inserts in the seats. New door trims, headliner, carpets, and seat covers were purchased from the USA. All the interior aluminum trim was also anodized. A lot of exterior chrome parts were replated including the bumpers.

Mechanically the car was rebuilt from front to rear, including a complete engine and transmission rebuild. The differential got new bearings and seals, the complete braking system overhauled, new ball joints and bushings in the front end, new seals in steering box, new tailshift universal joints, and an overhaul of the electrical system, including generator, starter, and distributor. The car is now as mechanically sound as it was when it was new, 34 years ago.

It took approximately 14 months to restore, and now we are able to use and enjoy the fruits of all that hard work. All the work with the exception of the panel beating, was carried out by Brenda and myself. I have the advantage of being a Ford factory trained mechanic back in the early sixties, when we couldn't afford to own these type of vehicles. Even though I am not in this industry anymore, I still maintain a fully equipped workshop, which makes restoring cars easier and more affordable. Since completion we have fitted a "M" series tri-power setup and AM-FM radio (from a '63).

We have attended two car shows since completion and taken Best New Restoration at the 1995 Thunderbird Owners Club of Australia Concours and Best in Class at 1996 All Ford Day.

I must add, owning a Thunderbird had been a dream since seeing my first one in 1962 at the age of 15. The dream I was finally able to realize in 1987 when I bought a RHD (yes right hand drive) 1964 Thunderbird Landau. (Moral of this story is that dreams are achievable. Some just take a bloody long time). Brenda and I now own 3 T-Birds, a 1965 convertible, 1964 Landau, and the 1962 hardtop featured above. We are true Thunderbird enthusiasts.

Brenda & Tony Day

Copyright © 1996 by Brenda & Tony Day


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