BARN FIND - CLEAN MONTANA 64 T-BIRD CONVERTIBLE
- Location: Butte, Montana, United States
- Make: Ford
- Model: Thunderbird
- Type: Convertible
- Year: 1964
- Mileage: 122,563
- VIN: 4Y85Z113229
- Color: White
- Number of cylinders: 8
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Automatic
- Drive type: RWD
- Interior color: Blue
- Drive side: Left-hand drive
- Vehicle Title: Clear
- Options: Convertible
1964 Ford Thunderbird description
TRUE MONTANA BARN FIND
This highly-original T-Bird was pulled out of a Montana pole barn in 2016, where it had been stored for 30 years. The license plates still have their 1986 tags on them, and it still rides on early 70’s bias ply tires, just as it went into storage. I bought it at an auction last year, got it running and cleaned up, but then got distracted by other things and didn’t get back to it until now. Having found another project in the meantime, I’ve decided to offer it for sale.
The car came with a cache of papers that document its history, which will go to the new owner. It appears to have started out as an Oregon car (it comes with its Oregon license plate), and was then sold to a couple in Billings, Montana in the 1970’s. It was then purchased from them by a man in Lewistown, Montana in the early 1980’s, but he never got around to it and just kept it in the pole barn. When the family business and property was sold last year, I bought it at the auction.
The blue interior is very clean, and I put in a new carpet after I bought it. The upholstery is soft and pliable and not sun-baked, which leads me to believe that the car was always garaged before going into storage. At some point along the way an owner swapped out the passenger seat and dash for ones from a teal car – they blend in pretty well and I didn’t even notice this at the auction. If you want, they make a dye for this T-Bird interior which would allow you to stain them to color match, but if you plan on leaving this a “driver”, they blend in pretty well and are in very good shape. The dash is crack-free and so are the seats.
As you can see in the photos, the body is in good shape with only a few dings and dents, and shows no signs of major accidents. After I first bought the car I touched up the paint and buffed it out, and is now pretty presentable I think. The trim is in nice shape and shines brightly. The best thing to say about the body, though, is how clean and rust-free it is. When I replaced the carpet, I expected to find some rust in the floor pans – I was amazed to find the factory paint still there – not even surface rust! I took some photos which are towards the end of the set to document this. The rest of the body is also free of rust, except for two spots: the hidden lip behind the top (see photos), and some bubbling behind the right rear wheel (see photo). Those are the only spots I’ve found – it’s pretty amazing. Years ago, thieves tried to break into the “trunk”, not realizing that it opened the opposite way, and so there are small pry marks at points around the deck lid edge.
The motor starts instantly and runs well. It maintains strong oil pressure, stays cool, and charges well. The transmission shifts well and smoothly. The power booster on the brakes seems a little weak and might need to be replaced, but the brakes work well otherwise and stop the car evenly.
Things Needing Attention
After I bought the car I was very enthusiastic about my purchase and did a ton of things right away, but still there are a few more that the new owner will need to do. I will list as many as I can remember.
The driver’s power seat motor works but the switch doesn’t (I adjusted it for my height, 6’0, when I had it out for the carpet replacement using a direct wire). I bought a new switch but never installed it – it will go with the car. I made some adjustment to the transmission shifter linkage behind the dash, after which the swing-away steering wheel stopped moving and the key no longer engaged the starter motor. These had worked before, so I’m guessing that things have to be just-so with the adjustment between the column and the park position of the shift lever for safety reasons, so that you can’t start the car until the steering wheel is in position. So to start the car now I have a button hooked up to the starter solenoid.
The power top mechanism was disconnected under the deck lid, so it’s now a manual top. The top itself is the factory original blue one and is very worn out, but it will keep the sun and rain off your head in a pinch if need be. The motor has a 2-bbl manifold on it now, but the original 4-bbl manifold that I got with the car will also go to the new owner. The tranny leaks when the car is running, but I’ve kept the fluid at the proper level and just placed a drip tray under it when parked. The ignition key is sometimes hard to turn. The radio, rear power windows, and speedometer/odometer don’t work. (All the other gauges, the heater/defrost, wipers, and lights do work.)
If you don’t mind a little tinkering, I doubt you’ll find a cleaner, more well-preserved Thunderbird convertible for what I’m asking. While I can’t recall everything from last year, I’ve tried to share what I remember learning about the car, both good and bad. A few more things, and this would be a fantastic “driver”, or else, and super clean canvas for a custom or restoration. Almost all parts for this car are available and relatively inexpensive – for example, a new convertible top only costs $350. Like I said, it wouldn’t take much to take this car to the next level. I have only driven the car short distances, and can’t say much more about it than I have. All potential buyers are welcome and encouraged to see the car in person before bidding, which is being sold “as-is”, with absolutely no warranties made concerning it or its condition, either expressed or implied.
Good luck bidding, and I’ll be happy to answer any questions.