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  #1  
Old 03-05-2013, 02:43 AM
bmcgc bmcgc is offline
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Default 61 vs 63 Birds

Hi all,

My first post here. Im looking to buy my first Bird.

I have my eye on a 61 and a 63, both rust free and in very nice condition, both sellers asking $13,000.

The 61 has more options, otherwise they are very similar.

As far as the year is concerned, are they the same, or is one year better than the other as far as parts availabilty and maintenence.

I have a 66 F100 with an FE thats my DD, Ive upgraded to an internally regulated 100a alternator, relays for the headlights, added ps and pb, and rebuilt the suspension, I can work on them, I just dont want to unless I have to.

Im not interested in doing a bunch of work, these are nice drivers as is so Im willing to pay a little more for the conveinence.

Your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2013, 04:18 AM
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YellowRose YellowRose is offline
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Default 61 vs 63 Birds

Hi Bob, Welcome to the Forum. You will find my welcoming comments to you down in the New Members Welcoming Forum.

Regarding the Bulletbirds, they are about the same for all three years. The '63 probably has some improvements on it that the '61 and the '62 did not have. As is often the case in cars that have a 3-4 year run with the same body style, the last year of the run those cars have improvements on them that were not on the first or second year. The manufacturer often modified or improved that last year based on what their buyers or engineers found that was needed to improve the car.

As for parts availability and maintenance, they will be about the same. We have a good number of Tbird parts vendors you can get many of the parts from. They are listed in the Advertisements Forum below. You will certainly want to get a Shop Manual, Electrical Manual, Body Trim manual, and perhaps a few others, for whichever year you settle on.

To give you an idea of what is different about the three years, I am going to give you links to the '61, '62 & '63 Bulletbirds so you can look at the production figures for each model, each year. Then what they offered in engines each year, standard equipment, and optional equipment. That might help you make your decision. If you like the extra's that the '61 has, you might go for that. Or perhaps for the '63, since it might have a few more improvements on it than the first year of production, the '61. You may want to print out the major pages regarding engines, paint colors, interior trim, standard and optional accessories for each year and compare them. In 1962, they introduced the Sports Roadster model Convertible, not offered in 1961.

http://automotivemileposts.com/tbird...lections.shtml

In 1961 they only offered 2 engines, 390's, one for export and one for US use. In 1962, they offered three 390 engines, one Z Code Special 390, one R Code export 390 and the M Code 390 Sports with the 3 x 2 Barrel Holley carbs. Here is the link for that year.

http://automotivemileposts.com/tbird...lections.shtml

Finally, for the '63 Tbird, they offered a Hardtop, a Landau, a Limited Edition Landau, a Convertible and a Sports Roadster. The engines were the same 3 390CI engines.

http://automotivemileposts.com/tbird...lections.shtml

Hopefully, this information will give you a better idea of which way to go. In these three years the Convertible is the rarer version, with the Sports Roadster of '62 & '63 even rarer, with only 1,427 made in '62 and only 455 made in '63, the rarest of the Bulletbirds.
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  #3  
Old 03-05-2013, 11:13 AM
63Tealbird 63Tealbird is offline
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Smile 61/63

Bob. 61 has or should have dual exhaust. 63 normally came through with single exhaust. 61 has generator while 63 may have generator or alternater61 hood only fits 61 while 63 fits 62 and 63 hope this helps also check out/ print out car check list hope this helps. Jeff
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2013, 12:31 PM
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Default 61 vs 63 Birds

Bob, looking at the 3 years of Bulletbirds on Automotive Mileposts, I do not see any mention of an alternator being available as standard or optional equipment for all three years. In 1964 it is listed as standard equipment on the Flairbird. If the '63 has an OEM alternator on it, it is possible that towards the end of the '63 production run, they might have started putting alternators on them knowing they were adding it to the 1964 Bulletbird production. After looking at the '58-'66 Tbird Restoration Guide by William Wonder, I see that the Alternator is listed for the '63 (only) M Series. In another part of his book, it is listed as Standard Equipment for 1963. Also, the swing away steering wheel was, initially, an option in 1961, but shortly after production started became a standard piece of equipment. Wonder's book also says there were enough changes to the '63 to fill a small book. If I were considering buying a Bulletbird, I would go with the last year of production, the '63, because of all the bells and whistles it had added to it over the first two years, not the least of which is the alternator. The '61 may have more options on it, but in '63, many of those "options" were standard equipment by then.

The '61 & '62 years are listed as having dual exhausts with the 390ci engine in the Mechanical Specifications. In 1963, the Code 9 Export model is listed as Single Exhaust, as was the Code Z 390 Special. It was listed as having an optional Dual Exhaust system early in the 1963 production run but was made as the Standard exhaust in the mid-production run. So if you are looking at a '63 and want dual exhausts, look under that car to see which it has. The Code M Hi-Performance 390 Sports 390 with the Tri-Power carbs has dual exhausts.

There are other differences between the 3 years in addition to what Jeff mentioned. Also, take a look at the Check List on buying a Tbird found at the bottom of the Technical Resource Library. The link to it is always part of my signature element. You may want to print out that listing and go over it before looking at either car. It could save you from some problems that might be found with either one. Give them both a good look over and then make your decision as to which you like the best. I hope this helps.
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http://www.squarebirds.org/picture_gallery/TechnicalResourceLibrary/trl.htm

Last edited by YellowRose : 03-05-2013 at 05:15 PM. Reason: Additional Information & More
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2013, 01:54 PM
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Ian M Greer Ian M Greer is offline
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Bob , I've always been a 63 fan. As Ray has stated the last year in each of the body styles in each destinct body style over the years is usually considered the most refined and updated with the more advanced improvements . If you check the front end on a 63 it was greatly improve to it previous models . Again the altenator first introduced in the 63 was a far better advancement to the generator. The 63 is listed as having a more refined suspension and additional personal luxury options with-in , and only subtle styling changes on the outside. For example,wheel wells fender design on the front fenders squared more to match the rear wheel wells instead of the rounded and flared effect on 61 and 62, contour rib extending from the front fender and dissappearing in the door dressed with three hash marks on the door, the thunderbird name script on the rear quarters . As far as the hood goes I preferr the 61 hood design to the 62, 63 hood it's two ribs add to the styling but I guess it wasn't in the cards for the designers , but as far as I know the is no difference as far as fit and I have seen cars fitted with 61 hood on a 62 or 63 model . In the end there are people who prefer the straight lines on the sides of the 61 and 62 , and the final decission is yours . Ian
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:42 PM
63Tealbird 63Tealbird is offline
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Thumbs up 61v63

63 also has 150# more insulation have been flipping through motorbooks thunderbird restoration guide 1958-1966 also 63 first year of hydraulic powered supers am/fm was an option good luck regardless of choice. Jeff
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:01 PM
bmcgc bmcgc is offline
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Thanks all, I actually prefer the 1960 Bird myself. Theres alot less electrics to break. The misses likes the 61-63 Birds, and in the end its all about keeping her happy.

Here is the 61, as you can see some things are not right, but its very clean for being 50+ years old.

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/ctd/3543336503.html
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Old 03-05-2013, 10:54 PM
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There is something totally wrong with the front sill where the wipers attach. Looks like some major changes and an incorrect windshield from another car along with added patch stainless ( or something else ) on the top ouside . The dash is cut way short inside with some sort of add on panel . The is some other modification done to the steering colum, possibly a tilt rig ???? not factory . and the radio is mounted on the consol ( not to badly finnished ) but what that button is where the radio should go ????? . The rest of the car looks decent but the front windshield area is a mess , I would walk away from this one !!!
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:46 PM
bmcgc bmcgc is offline
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I thought the windshield looked odd too. I dont have much to compare it to so I wasnt sure.

Here is the other one. No a/c, the misses isnt sure she likes that here in the South.

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/nat/ctd/3564415978.html

We are also looking at 58-60 Birds, Galaxies, and Fairlanes. I like them all.

I would prefer to stay away from power windows and seats, when they quit working they turn into a nightmare to fix. Been there, done that, dont want to do it again.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:01 AM
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Default 61 vs 63 Birds

The '63 looks to be a nice looking car, if you like the color. However, with no AC in your State, that might be something that you would like to have. Have you looked at the Flairbirds? Instead of looking back at the Squarebirds, you might consider looking ahead to the Flairbirds, especially the 1966. It will have many of the improvements on it that were lacking in the Squarebirds, and Bulletbirds and the two earlier years of the Flairbirds. Such as disc brakes already installed, sequential blinking tail lights, and many other improvements not found in the previous two editions of the Thunderbird. If it is not your cup of tea, then you might want to do some more looking for a '63 Tbird that has AC. On the other hand, if you really want to go the Squarebird route, I would suggest the 1960, the last year for Squarebirds. More improvements over the previous two years. In fact, you really might want to look at the Golde Top, where you get a "convertible" in a way, without having the convertible top problems. However, it might be hard to find a "Golde Top" without the power accessories you want to stay away from. Just my thoughts on this..
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