1962 Ford Thunderbird Retractable Convertible / Photos, Specs, Styling, Engine Options

Featured here is a very good looking 1962 Ford Thunderbird Retractable Convertible.

1962 tbird
1962 Thunderbird Retractable Hardtop Convertible

This was part of Thunderbird’s third generation which included the 1961, 1962, 1963 model years. Ford’s Thunderbird was offered as a personal luxury automobile. As the Thunderbird is thought of as competition to the mid 1950’s Chevy Corvette, the Thunderbird itself was never a total sports vehicle as the Corvette was.

The Ford Motor Company spent quite a bit of money for their retractable hardtops during the late 1950’s and needed to amortize it. Thus, the Thunderbird retractable convertible. Ford’s first retractable convertibles during the late 1950’s were hardtop models, With the TBird’s it was a soft top that folded out of site into the trunk.

Ford Unveils the Retractable Hardtop in 1957

The big news for the 1957 Ford lineup was the exciting Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Hardtop. The vehicle was the highest priced Ford model and it was quite popular with the public. The Skyliner was priced at $2,945. Ford Motor Company was not the inventor of the retractable hardtop but was the first automaker to mass produce it.

While the public liked the car there were problems. At times the retractable mechanism would just not work. If passengers had luggage they would have to stow it in the trunk area in a certain or it could be damaged from the retractable mechanism.

The Ford Skyliners were produced for only three years, 1957 through 1959. Ford sold 20,766 retractable models in 1957, but after that sales would begin to taper off. With that being said, Ford did have a very good 1957 model sales year.

62 thunderbird

Thunderbird Third Generation Restyling

Ford completely restyled their third generation Thunderbirds. Simply put, the models were much sleeker than what preceded them. The new third generation models most often referred to as the Bullet Birds were received well by the public. These models had a pointed nose, recessed head lamps, twin round taillights which were sculpted to look like exhaust ports of fighter jets, a swing away steering wheel and small tail fins. Very streamlined and many would say ahead of it’s time in styling and very different than second generation TBirds.

Four Thunderbird models were offered for 1962. These were the Hardtop, Convertible, Sports Roadster and the Landau. The new car price range was about $4,500-$5,500.

1963 Thunderbird Specifications

Engine for the 62 Thunderbird was a 390 cubic inch V-8. Two configurations with horsepower at 300 and 340. The M Code 390 High Compression engine sported three two barrel carburetors.

Transmission was a 3-speed Cruise-O Matic MX automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Front suspension was independent with coil springs with an anti-roll bar. Rear had semi-elliptic springs with hydraulic shocks.

Dimensions include a 113.0 inch wheelbase, 205.0 inch outside overall length, 76.5 inch width, 53.3 inch height for the convertible model. Weight for the convertible was 4,320 lbs.

Total 1962 Thunderbird production was 78,000 vehicles.

1962 ford thunderbird convertible

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

1955 Thunderbird

1966 Thunderbird

Reference material for this article includes..The Book of the Ford Thunderbird From 1954 by author Brian Long..The Ford Thunderbird Anthology 1955-1969 and 2002-2005 by Harry IIaria..Thunderbird 1958 – 1963 TPB Performance Portfolio..Ford Thunderbird by Roy Bacon.

 The Ford Thunderbird Collector Car

thunderbird retractable hardtop

The Ford Thunderbird was in production for decades and is an iconic American classic car. The Thunderbird was a different kind of American car when it debuted in the 1950’s. The Thunderbird combined comfort, luxury and performance similar to some European models. It represented a milestone in American car production and caught the eye of the public very similar to how the Corvette was accepted.

Current auction sales results for the 1962 Thunderbird examples in excellent restored condition and highly original put the Convertible and Sports Roadster at the top with asking prices in a range from about $32,000 to $50,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)