: Buying a 1971 Thunderbird



Sevillian273
10-23-10, 09:08 PM
....hopefully!

Found it on craigslist. 66,000miles, 429 Thunderjet. $1300:shocked2: Going up to the Cape (KSC) tomorrow to take a look.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3nf3oc3lf5V45P35R3aalaec8e536d79416ea.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3n43md3l05T05P15X1aal207f015587db1620.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3mb3o53lb5O15Z25S3aalbdfd30e6fae71728.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3m63p33o65Y15Z45U1aal6fcd268221831aeb.jpg

Owner says it runs good, starts easy, has new tires, but is missing some chrome trim in the front, missing a tail lense, and has some rust on the hood and trunk.

The pics arent very revealing and the price is scary cheap but I'm keeping my hopes up. He says his condominium is making him get rid of it due to too many vehicles.

Here is what the front end is supposed to look like on this rare bird:

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/32698660001_large.jpg

It has a beak! Not the prettiest thing in the world but right now I'm blinded by torque-o-vision (~480 lb/ft!)

I've about had it with the Seville anymore. Its a bottomless money pit and has been for a long time. I had a small electrical fire a couple days ago due to a fuse not doing its job when the cooling fan motor shorted out. No major damage, just a bit of new wiring but its just one of the many things she needs to be an enjoyable ride.

This is the current state of my Seville:

The ride quality is awful because it needs four new shocks, nearly every poly bushing replaced in the front end, new brake rotors, and new balljoints. I always turn the blower to high and the radio up so I cant hear all the 'clunking' going on.

Passenger window motor is close to dead, no heat, no AC,

Digital dash is unreadable during the day, so no speedo or fuel gauge

Engine: Runs strong and powerful (after a ridiculous amount of tune up and tweaking)but likes to knock. Runs very rich because I cant afford the correct fuel injectors. (15mpg) And the oil pan leaks

Trans pump makes high pitch whining noise after I switched to DEX-6. I have now switched back to DEX III but the noise remains. Its a time bomb. Very hard 1-2 shifts also. Tons of clutch material in the pan at last fluid change.

I cant have anything in the trunk because the shocks leak and the ELC comp is dead.

Anyways the list goes on and on. Even if I had the money and time to fix every single issue, what would I have in the end? Just a 90 Seville.

I think its time for a solid, RWD, body on frame, coil spring, pre-emissions era torque monster.:thumbsup:

Playdrv4me
10-23-10, 09:16 PM
If you can afford what it will require to maintain this thing and restore it (or hell, just pull a Rick and enjoy it as is) then by all means I'd far prefer to blow wads of money on a classic than a 1990 Seville. Word of caution: I NEVER EVER have good expectations when a seller is forward about rust in this place or that place. Typically this means those are the most readily apparent spots but its actually rusting to pieces underneath... Hope this isn't the case, although at least from this distance the rockers and wheel wells look ok.

hueterm
10-23-10, 09:20 PM
Love those T-Birds -- good luck!

orconn
10-23-10, 09:23 PM
I had the 1967 version of this Thunderbird, except mine wasn't the "Opera Coupe" but had small rear windows. Same color as the one in the picture white with black vinyl roof. The good news is these cars were quite well put togeher with stylish, if a little "buck Rogers" interiors. I also really like the way the car looked overall. The bad news is they handle like bricks floating on plates of Jello .... absolutely the worst driving car I have ever owned! Gas mileage was typical for heavy cars of that period 12-13 mpg average city/highway. There seems to be a growing following abd club for owners of these cars so parts might be easier to come by than if you were on your own. Good luck!

drewsdeville
10-23-10, 09:52 PM
I'll buy the Seville for $250, cash :)

Sevillian273
10-23-10, 10:12 PM
LOL Im actually going to keep it but it wont be my daily driver anymore. Putting up with its quirks and being constantly reminded of all the work it needs adds a level of stress to my day-to-day and I just dont need that anymore. I need a solid cruiser.

I forgot to mention the fuel pump is getting weak. (32psi @idle) I actually already cut out access panels under the rear seat to assist me in replacing it someday.

Even is this doesnt go through I'm still going to be hunting for a body on frame, RWD platform. My current spare vehicle , the 89 grand marquis still puts a smile on my face when I drive it. Even at 256K miles I love its solid ride and roomy interior. A 94 LT1 Roadmaster or 96 Impala would be a good cadidate, or even a Merc Marauder or Vic Interceptor...

Im willing to deal with some body rust as long as its nothing major like a rusted frame.. This car will definitely be a resto-mod and I intend to drive the SHIT out of it. I will deal with the cosmetic issues after I go through the mechanicals. Like the Seville, this car will force me to learn some new skills namely carb rebuilding and tuning. I'll also be getting into points and vacuum advance distributors. I am looking forward to the road ahead. :bouncy:

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-23-10, 10:55 PM
Cool dude! Love the way the T-Bird looks! So menacing, long and sexy. Does it have sequential turn signals?

drewsdeville
10-23-10, 11:32 PM
LOL Im actually going to keep it but it wont be my daily driver anymore. Putting up with its quirks and being constantly reminded of all the work it needs adds a level of stress to my day-to-day and I just dont need that anymore. I need a solid cruiser.

I forgot to mention the fuel pump is getting weak. (32psi @idle) I actually already cut out access panels under the rear seat to assist me in replacing it someday.

Even is this doesnt go through I'm still going to be hunting for a body on frame, RWD platform. My current spare vehicle , the 89 grand marquis still puts a smile on my face when I drive it. Even at 256K miles I love its solid ride and roomy interior. A 94 LT1 Roadmaster or 96 Impala would be a good cadidate, or even a Merc Marauder or Vic Interceptor...

Im willing to deal with some body rust as long as its nothing major like a rusted frame.. This car will definitely be a resto-mod and I intend to drive the SHIT out of it. I will deal with the cosmetic issues after I go through the mechanicals. Like the Seville, this car will force me to learn some new skills namely carb rebuilding and tuning. I'll also be getting into points and vacuum advance distributors. I am looking forward to the road ahead. :bouncy:


Skip the Marauder unless you are actively seeking out poor performance per dollar. Sadly, in the panther, the 32V 4.6 hardly feels much different than the 250hp 2 valve 4.6 in the later interceptors, and the Marauders demand decent money. Also, the 4.6 isn't very receptive to mods at all, unless you go into forced induction territory.

For as cheap as you can get them, the interceptors are mildly fun if you can get past the vinyl seats and the dashboard made out of melted down bottlecaps with holes in it from previous mounted equipment.

I'm personally not a fan of the Roadmaster or Impala because I don't feel they are worth the money that they fetch and I really don't care for their styling...I prefer the panther value, styling, handling (poor but still better), and ride quality much more. Obviously, the LT1 is far more capable for a tweaker like yourself though. Pick your poison I guess, they both have their ups and downs.

Make sure to snap a few shots with your camera tomorrow, whether your pick it up or not.

Stingroo
10-23-10, 11:40 PM
Roadmaster sedans can be had for cheap, Drew. They're the cheapest of the B-bodies in my hunting. The Impala is on a whole different level though.

And yes, of course:

:postpics:

Aron9000
10-23-10, 11:44 PM
Roadmaster sedans can be had for cheap, Drew. They're the cheapest of the B-bodies in my hunting. The Impala is on a whole different level though.

And yes, of course:

:postpics:

Yeah, the Roadmaster is probably the best kept little secret in the world of big cars. You can find them for dirt cheap, and I personally like the traditional styling, way more than the bubble caprices. Also its amazing how much better the Impala SS looks over the base Caprice, but then again they go for silly $$$ for what you are getting IMO. Even clapped out ones with over 150k miles still bring 5-8k.

drewsdeville
10-23-10, 11:48 PM
Roadmaster sedans can be had for cheap, Drew. They're the cheapest of the B-bodies in my hunting.


I suppose, cheap is a loose and relative term, possibly varying by location. A decent mileaged Roadmaster in clean conditionnaround here, where they like to rust to pieces, gets anywhere from $3k up:

http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/search/cta?query=roadmaster&srchType=T&minAsk=&maxAsk=

Considering the newest one available is 14 years old now, I have a hard time stomaching those prices.

I'm a cheap bastard though. I have yet to pay over $1200 for any vehicle, so my standards may be quite different :/

Stingroo
10-23-10, 11:49 PM
Yeah, any SS that sells for under 5k is either REALLY high mileage, or completely trashed. I don't really like the Caprice sedans. I hated the bubble style all together until I bought my wagon. Seeing it every day sort of makes it grow on you (and IMO the wagons look better than the sedans anyway).

Too bad Olds never got a sedan. :(

EDIT: Wow, those are higher prices for sedans than what I see usually. Odd.

drewsdeville
10-23-10, 11:54 PM
Yeah, I think it's mainly like I said: These cars don't age well around here so any clean examples get decent money.

Maybe there's a market worth looking at for them down there in the US's national nursing home...er, I mean FL :P

Aron9000
10-23-10, 11:58 PM
Yeah, you can find a decent Roadmaster around in my parts for 2-3k, a NICE one is never more than $5k, wagons tend to be kind of spendy for nice ones though, but they are kind of a novelty with the woodgrain and everything.

As for that T-bird, good luck!!! Here's another cool pointy nosed Ford from that era:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2407/2482172308_4e07198bbd_z.jpg

Stingroo
10-24-10, 12:00 AM
Nice wagons fetch INSANE money if they're low mileage. One on eBay not too long ago with like 20k on it sold for nearly 15k (or maybe a hair over, I can't remember).

A wagon with 100k-ish on it though can be quite a steal though if you're willing to travel and hunt. And RMW's without the woodgrain cost more, because it was standard.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-24-10, 12:05 AM
I paid $3250 for my '95 Roadmaster Limited Sedan in April of '04. It had 138k miles, trailer tow package and almost all options. They bring decent pricing, nothing as outrageous as a nice Fleetwood Brougham or Impala SS, but better than the Caprices, many of which are beat to snot by now, or converted into wannabe Impala SS's.

Koooop
10-24-10, 01:19 AM
....hopefully!

Found it on craigslist. 66,000miles, 429 Thunderjet. $1300:shocked2: Going up to the Cape (KSC) tomorrow to take a look.

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3nf3oc3lf5V45P35R3aalaec8e536d79416ea.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3n43md3l05T05P15X1aal207f015587db1620.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3mb3o53lb5O15Z25S3aalbdfd30e6fae71728.jpg

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/3m63p33o65Y15Z45U1aal6fcd268221831aeb.jpg

Owner says it runs good, starts easy, has new tires, but is missing some chrome trim in the front, missing a tail lense, and has some rust on the hood and trunk.

The pics arent very revealing and the price is scary cheap but I'm keeping my hopes up. He says his condominium is making him get rid of it due to too many vehicles.

Here is what the front end is supposed to look like on this rare bird:

http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/merc892003/32698660001_large.jpg

It has a beak! Not the prettiest thing in the world but right now I'm blinded by torque-o-vision (~480 lb/ft!)

I've about had it with the Seville anymore. Its a bottomless money pit and has been for a long time. I had a small electrical fire a couple days ago due to a fuse not doing its job when the cooling fan motor shorted out. No major damage, just a bit of new wiring but its just one of the many things she needs to be an enjoyable ride.

This is the current state of my Seville:

The ride quality is awful because it needs four new shocks, nearly every poly bushing replaced in the front end, new brake rotors, and new balljoints. I always turn the blower to high and the radio up so I cant hear all the 'clunking' going on.

Passenger window motor is close to dead, no heat, no AC,

Digital dash is unreadable during the day, so no speedo or fuel gauge

Engine: Runs strong and powerful (after a ridiculous amount of tune up and tweaking)but likes to knock. Runs very rich because I cant afford the correct fuel injectors. (15mpg) And the oil pan leaks

Trans pump makes high pitch whining noise after I switched to DEX-6. I have now switched back to DEX III but the noise remains. Its a time bomb. Very hard 1-2 shifts also. Tons of clutch material in the pan at last fluid change.

I cant have anything in the trunk because the shocks leak and the ELC comp is dead.

Anyways the list goes on and on. Even if I had the money and time to fix every single issue, what would I have in the end? Just a 90 Seville.

I think its time for a solid, RWD, body on frame, coil spring, pre-emissions era torque monster.:thumbsup:

Beak Bird! Cool car, I love the bucket seats and center console that thing looks pretty loaded up. Great color as well.That bad boy will do one big ass burn out!

Sevillian273
10-24-10, 12:44 PM
So it's a no-go.

This thing was a rust nightmare. I swear I could smell the bondo when I got close to it. Holes everywhere, front bumper nearly falling off, lots of bad body work. Underneath looked pretty good though including the frame and fuel tank.

The interior was in pretty good shape actually, no rips & tears, working gauges. Had power windows which is a negative and the driver side was weak.

The engine was in bad shape or at least way out of tune. It had no power and it knocked like hell when I got on it. That could be sorted out but one thing that alarmed me was a large oil leak on top of the motor in front of the intake manifold. The guy says "yeah thats because I just put oil in it yesterday." LMAO the oil filler was a foot away! I also saw a trans line repaired with a zip tie...

The car really did have only 66800 miles on it but it wasnt maintained. Oil and trans fluid looked good but the rad was only half full. What a shame that such a nice car was driven so little before the body rusted to pieces. I swear I could have put my hand through any part of that body. If it wasnt for the rust, I would have picked it up but as it is, It would be a bigger headache than the Seville.

Bummer.

77CDV
10-24-10, 04:34 PM
That's a shame, dude. These are really great old cars you don't see coming and going. Unfortunately, now you know why.

billc83
10-24-10, 07:41 PM
You really can't tell with a car until you see it in the flesh, can you?

Oh well. Better to pass on a bad deal than get wrapped up in the moment and purchase a rust bucket - There's always another car!

johnny kannapo
10-24-10, 10:21 PM
It's a beauty, 429 cubes means power & low mpg. BUT! very modifiable and just look at that car as being a god of style & looks.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg/800px-1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg

EChas3
10-24-10, 11:22 PM
My '93 Roadmaster was my last love and I still miss it at times. It was built for me in Arlington TX (if memory serves); cloth seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, carmine red in and out with a white top, towing package - a beauty. Even after 225,000 miles it still looked good and drove fine.

I got out because it had the old AC that needed work and a variety of minor issues that would have been very pricey to get right. It saved me more in income tax than it's trade value - donated to the Rawhide Ranch in the last year that the deduction was not tied to the non-profit's report of value.

For my next daily driver, I tried a Lincoln. It was a nice car but I found no joy in driving it. My STS4 1SG makes me grin everytime I start it; a nice feeling for a daily driver.

Playdrv4me
10-24-10, 11:53 PM
Well that's too bad... Never fails with "a little rust" here or there.

Jesda
10-25-10, 12:00 AM
Sad. So sad.

Koooop
10-25-10, 02:18 AM
It's a beauty, 429 cubes means power & low mpg. BUT! very modifiable and just look at that car as being a god of style & looks.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg/800px-1967_Green_Ford_Thunderbird_Fordor.jpg

The 67 is a cool Bird! I've tried to buy a suicide Bird repeatedly without luck. I had a 2 Door Beak Bird, that car was triple booger green, low miles and immaculate. I want one of the 67's!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-25-10, 02:28 AM
The Thunderbirds really never flew any higher than the 67-69's, atleast to me.

Koooop
10-25-10, 03:05 AM
I only owned the Beak Bird because it was cheap, low miles, immaculate and most importantly it had that 429 Thunderjet, that baby would fry the tires! The 67's were much better looking IMO. The wrap around back seats are very cool.

Sevillian273
10-25-10, 03:56 AM
The Thunderbirds really never flew any higher than the 67-69's, atleast to me.

Yeah well I guess you're not the only one cause all the parts places stop at 1969 for replacement body parts. I was going to offer him 800 for it and just fiberglass the hell out of the body and maybe get a welder and just work on it a little at a time. But then I drove it around the block...

It knocked so bad at part throttle and had zero power so it was hard to even judge what kind of potential the motor would have had after some TLC. I could tell he had been driving it in that condition for a long time and whoever he had working on it obviously didnt know what they were doing. All the paint was cooked off of the manifold and the radiator was way low so it had been run pretty hot for quite some time. I imagine it would have taken quite some time and a good chunk of change just to get it mechanically sound before I could even think about messing with the body.

I had a bad feeling from the beginning when he told me that I could get the hood and trunk for $50 each at YearOne.com. I said "Oh yeah? Thats funny I could'nt find ANY parts for a '71 on that site." He says "Oh no, I had them make it special just for me. I have the order number I just never paid for it."

:histeric:

A custom made, special order hood and trunk for fifty bucks each. HAHAHAHA

I think I dodged a bullet yesterday.:duck:

Aron9000
10-25-10, 04:04 AM
Did all the 67-69 T-birds have those silly landau bars and vinyl roofs??? I can deal with the vinyl roof, but those landau bars just totally kill it for me. Reminds me of a hearse and those huge chunky things just totally ruin the smooth, unadorned, flowing look of the body to me.

Playdrv4me
10-25-10, 05:21 AM
Did all the 67-69 T-birds have those silly landau bars and vinyl roofs??? I can deal with the vinyl roof, but those landau bars just totally kill it for me. Reminds me of a hearse and those huge chunky things just totally ruin the smooth, unadorned, flowing look of the body to me.

Ditto. I hate those bars.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
10-25-10, 08:40 AM
No, only the "landau" option came with those bars.

orconn
10-25-10, 11:49 AM
My '67 coupe (not Opera coupe) did not have the Landau bars). Intersetingly, the vinyl roof really does look better on yhese cars,; there is one with out the vinyl roof on Ebay right now ('67) and IMO it really doesn't look as those with the contrasting roof.

Sevillian273
10-25-10, 06:11 PM
I dont like landau bars either. They look tacky IMO and I immediately think "hearse" when I see them. The bomber 71 just had T-bird emblems on it and surprisingly the whole vinyl roof was in excellent shape.

gdwriter
10-25-10, 07:27 PM
IIRC, the landau bars were necessary on the sedan to partially hide the seam in the C-pillar for the suicide rear doors. Hemmings Classic Car recently featured the 1967-71 "Glamour Birds," but they've never done much for me. I'd much rather have a Riviera.

Ford had a rather cool ad in 1970 showcasing the T-Bird with the then brand-new Boeing 747:

http://images15.fotki.com/v11/photos/9/9586/18429/70Thunderbird01-vi.jpg?1040920284

orconn
10-25-10, 08:51 PM
IIRC, the landau bars were necessary on the sedan to partially hide the seam in the C-pillar for the suicide rear doors. Hemmings Classic Car recently featured the 1967-71 "Glamour Birds," but they've never done much for me. I'd much rather have a Riviera.

Ford had a rather cool ad in 1970 showcasing the T-Bird with the then brand-new Boeing 747:


.

http://images15.fotki.com/v11/photos/9/9586/18429/70Thunderbird01-vi.jpg?1040920284

I may have flown one of the 747s in the ad; I flew a new 747 from L.A. to Tokyo via Honolulu during the first week these new planes were in service. The tall, mobile passenger stairs pictured are very accurate as many airports had not built passenger on and of ramps specially for these planes and the atteched-to-the terminal ramps could accommodate these huge 747s. In Honolulu the 747 had to be parked a long way from the terminal to load because it was just too big to be able to be handled any other way. I don't remember how the off loading was handled at Haneda in Tokyo, Narita hadn't been completed yet.

gdwriter
10-25-10, 09:00 PM
I've been investigating different itineraries for my trip to Europe next fall, and right now, if costs are similar, I'm thinking I'll take British Airways out of Seattle so I can finally have an opportunity to fly in the Queen of the Skies. I expect service on BA will be better than what I'd get from a U.S. carrier anyway.

hueterm
10-25-10, 09:07 PM
You've never flown on a 747? You HAVE to...

My first flight was on an 800 year old TWA 747-100 that could barely clear the runway fence at Lambert on its STL-HNL run....

So awesome!

gdwriter
10-25-10, 09:12 PM
I know. The only Boeing widebody I've gotten to fly is the 767, which I like very much. But for an aviation enthusiast, especially one who's a major Boeing fan, flying the 747 is a must.

hueterm
10-25-10, 09:13 PM
I'd love to sit up in the hump....

orconn
10-25-10, 10:05 PM
Is the hump still used for sleeping quarters?

hueterm
10-25-10, 10:09 PM
Depends...sometimes it's business class.

Destroyer
10-25-10, 10:55 PM
I had a '68 Thunderbird with a 429. The torque was incredible and a lot of fun! The '68 was much nicer looking in the front end and mine was the 4 door with suicide rear doors. The Tbirds of this vintage are the only cars that I prefer with 4 doors. This one you are looking at is sweet though, the front end takes some getting used to but it is a damn cool looking car! Hope you get it! :cool2:

ga_etc
10-25-10, 11:17 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1972-Ford-Thunderbird-/150511300236?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item230b2c2e8c

Smaller nose, same motor.

billc83
10-26-10, 01:34 AM
Not the landau tops, but the bars on the back of the roof (which you often see on hearses, as Stingroo pointed out) are throwbacks to the REALLY early phaeton (not VW!) convertibles, which used bars similar in appearance to add structural rigidity to the top. IIRC, Jay Leno's Stutz Bearcat has these, as well as many other pre-war convertibles.

I can't imagine any need for them now on a hardtop other than cosmetic.