Arizona

16 - 17 January 2014

Lot 6

1963 Ford Thunderbird 'M-Code' Sports Roadster

To be auctioned on Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sold for $85,250

  • Chassis no. 3Y89M106625


Chevrolet’s iconic Corvette may have kicked off America’s love affair with the sports car in 1953, but in 1955, many more motoring enthusiasts opted to put Ford’s new Thunderbird in their driveway instead. The luxury two-seater’s popularity grew through 1958, when Ford added a back seat to the car, and by 1960, which was the final year of production for the second-generation “Squarebird,” the Thunderbird had outsold its rival nine-to-one.



The year 1961 saw the introduction of the third-generation Thunderbird, which was now much more of a personal luxury coupe than a sports car, and the minting of another nickname for the four-seater, “Bulletbird,” which was assigned for the car’s sharply pointed nose and rounded sides. Sales were strong but slowing by this time, so Ford lent an ear to some dealers’ and customers’ cries for a return to a two-seat roadster-style Thunderbird.



Lee Iacocca appointed designer Bud Kaufman to come up with a fix, and he did: a removable fiberglass tonneau that would both cover up the Thunderbird convertible’s rear seats and incorporate headrests for the front seat occupants. The cover was originally a dealer-installed option, but in 1962, it found its way onto new Thunderbird order forms as part of a Sports Roadster package, which also included a passenger side grab bar, Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels with knock-off center caps, and a rear fender skirt delete, to clear those gaps.



Thunderbird Sports Roadster production numbered 1,427 units in 1962, but just 455 in 1963, making them rare birds indeed. Even rarer were Thunderbirds ordered with the monstrous 390-cubic inch tri-power V-8, which was designated by an M in the VIN; thus resulting in the nickname of “M-Code” cars. These cars breathed through a set of three Holley two-barrel carburetors and put out some 340 horsepower at the crankshaft, which is to say they were plenty capable of shaming any Corvette-driving challengers.



Ford turned out just 37 M-Code Sports Roadsters in 1963, and the Corinthian White example profiled here is one of them. It was recently cosmetically refreshed with a beautiful, new concours-finish, a black Haartz power convertible top, and the replating of many chrome components, and it has also seen its interior restored in the original factory red. The like-new upholstery is complemented by optional power windows, a power driver’s seat, and the unique Thunderbird Swing-Away steering wheel, as well as optional factory air conditioning, which was added during the restoration. The Thunderbird is accompanied by a set of period-correct floor mats and a spare tire cover, as well as the original build sheet, which verifies this to be a genuine M-Code Sports Roadster, and a copy of the shipping invoice.



Few Thunderbirds are as collectible as the Sports Roadster. This car, with the M-Code V-8, is surely amongst the most desirable of them all.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

aclassick@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

aabaci@rmauctions.com

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737
Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

dwarrener@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmauctions.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmauctions.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmauctions.com

+1 212 894 1301
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Political Science. ... read more

Jack Boxstrom

jboxstrom@rmauctions.com

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

mgirardo@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Peter Giddings

pgiddings@rmauctions.com

+1 925 831 2048
California, United States

A life-long car enthusiast, Peter joined RM’s California office with over half a century of experience in the automotive and rac... read more

Peter Blond

pblond@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Blond joined the RM Europe team in 2013 after being immersed in the collector car industry for more than 60 years. An... read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

vmandzak@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more

Jeff Whiteside

jwhiteside@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jeff Whiteside joined RM Auctions as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer following almost three decades in a diverse r... read more