Featured is a beautiful 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster.

62 thunderbird specs
1962 Thunderbird

No question that the Thunderbird was initially Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette.

The Thunderbird however was not a Camaro vs. Mustang story in as much as the Thunderbird became a luxury sports car with more creature comforts and then turned into a four seater.


Third Generation Thunderbirds

This particular model is of the third generation (61-63). These new Thunderbird models appeared with new and much sleeker styling. When you look at this automobile you are looking at an aerodynamic form that was easily twenty years ahead of its time.

The 62 Thunderbirds and others of the third generation picked up the reputation of being well engineered with a steel unibody and beautifully styled.

1962 ford thunderbird photosThese were not small sports cars. The third generation T-Birds seemed to say bigger was better. Remember, at this point in time there was not a priority in fuel economy and size. The oil embargo of the early 1970’s was almost a decade away and designers had no reason to think that size and fuel efficiency would become a buyer priority.

Ford’s plan was to have the Thunderbird stand alone to a large degree. In other words, there were Ford automobile and Thunderbird automobiles. The Thunderbird would not cannibalize other Ford offerings. The Thunderbird hopefully would bring in new buyers who were not really willing to admit they would drive a Ford. Lee Iacocca, Ford’s president at the time, knew that there were no limits to what some people could and would pay for prestige and the T-Bird gained a reputation of being above the general Ford line. 

third generation thunderbirdsDesign Notes

When you look at the 62 Thunderbird, you see a styling change that actually has a fin along the side which starts at the front of the car, goes along above the door line and ends in the rear of the car.

The convertible was the basis for the Sports Roadster. A large lid “tonneau” fiberglass made it a two-seater coupe.

The interior of the car was designed to have each seat as individual compartments. A large console separated the driver seat from the passenger seat. This was perhaps the biggest change to the Thunderbird’s interior to date.Another innovation was the Thunderbird’s swing away steering wheel.

Performance Notes

The Thunderbird Roadster could reach 0-60 mph in about 8.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 125 MPH. The 1962 Ford Thunderbird could obviously go quite fast although it didn’t go, as they say, Muscle Car fast. You could say however that the 62 Thunderbird could reach a formidable speed that the buyer was satisfied with.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Specifications

The standard engine of 390 cubic inch V8 with 300 HP. Also offered in North America was a sports V-8 which was a 390 with 340 HP.

Transmission was a three speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic.

Brakes were four wheel drums with power assist.

Front suspension included upper and lower A-arms and coil springs. Rear suspension included a live axle and leaf springs.

Dimensions included a 113.0 inch wheelbase..205.0 inch overall length..76.0 inch width. Curb weight was about 4,540 lbs.

Total Ford Motor Company production for the 1962 model year was just short of 1.5 million vehicles. Thunderbird production totaled just over 78,000 vehicles. The Thunderbird Sports Roadster production was just 1,427. Convertibles totaled 8,450, and hardtops (including the Landau’s) totaled 68,100.

Additional related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1955 Ford Thunderbird

1961 Ford Thunderbird

References for this article included….Thunderbird: An Odyssey in Automotive Design by author William P. Boyer…..Ford Motor Company Archives…..Edmunds Ford Thunderbird History.

1962 Thunderbird Collector Car Popularity

Of the 1962 Ford Thunderbird models (Landau Hardtop, Convertible, Hardtop and Sports Roadster) , the Sports Roadster is the one more popular with collectors. The model styling is unique and the car had a limited production run. Under 1,500 were built.

thunderbird sports roadster Asking prices for the 1962 Ford Thunderbirds will vary greatly based on condition, mileage, originality and model. Looking at averages, at the current time the Sports Roadsters lead the pack with auction prices in the $60,000-$85,000 range. The hardtop coupes and Landau’s average in the $20,000-$30,000 range, the convertibles in the $35,000-$50,000 range.


(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)