Price Is Lower Than Mileage: Original ’66 Thunderbird With 5K Miles Needs a New Owner Now

1966 was an emotional rollercoaster for Ford Motor Company: the Mustang sold more than ever (over 607,000 units – the highest production year in the model’s six-decade history). It created so much showroom traffic that it ate a slice of other Fords’ sales volume pies. The Thunderbird of 1966 felt the pony kick hardest, convincing only 69,000 Blue Oval fans to go for America’s personal luxury instead of youthful, wild, open-country sportiness.
The Thunderbird closed its fourth generation in 1966, after a three-year production run that saw almost 235,000 Glamour Birds put on the road. For that final year, the high-key Ford automobile came in four body styles, with two introduced for that year only.

Apart from the conventional hardtop and the classic convertible, a pair of supplementary hardtops were offered: Town Hardtop and Town Landau. The difference between these two and the standard T-bird was the absence of the rear quarter window. The Landau came with a vinyl top, while its twin Town trim offered a metal roof from the factory.

This trim was the popular choice – over 35,000 ’66 Thunderbirds were ordered in this variant – more than all the other three combined. The Town Hardtop was a very distant second (15,633 units), and the Conventional Hardtop scored 13,389 orders. Only 5,000 ‘verts were built for the model year.

Optionally, dealerships offered black or white vinyl Town Hardtop Ford Thunderbirds in 1966, and this is the case for one survivor currently located in Dallas. The gallery shows a decent condition, and the seller claims the car runs and drives well. This particular Ford’s forte is its price: a 5,000-bottom-dollar offer for a car sold with enough spare parts to build another one.

At this point, the reasonable question is why the owner would be willing to let go of his car for such a low price. Rust. Rust is the short answer, but an explanation is strongly needed. According to its proprietor, this bird has zero rust – the automobile is a California car – but the family is moving up north in a not-so-classic-car-friendly climate.

The engine was rebuilt two years ago – the run-off-the-mill 390 cubic-inch V8 (6.4 liters) that produced 315 hp when new. Presumably, its output is reasonably close to that spec, given the powerplant’s recent refreshment: machined and surfaced heads with replaced valves. The seller makes it clear that the Edelbrock Performer intake manifold. The original part is available and will accompany the car to its new owner.

The transmission is the exclusive-offer C6 three-speed automatic – the Thunderbird of ’66 made available self-shifting gearboxes only, but the Cruise-O-Matic was dropped at the end 9f 1965. And this car’s tranny was rebuilt in 2019. The rear end is left out of the description, so it’s anyone’s guess between the 2.80: 1, 3.00:1, and 3.20:1 ratios (the first two choices also came with the optional Equa Lock limited-slip differential).

Allegedly, the car is in full running order; the seller strongly argues in favor of replacing the tires before taking the T-Bird out for a spin. Also, the shocks are notedly fatigued and show their age, yet another reason for the owner to suggest trailer pick-up.

On the elbow grease side, this T-bird doesn’t have the right side exhaust installed – the ad states, “When I put the engine back together I forgot about the little butterfly that goes on the passenger side of the exhaust. Car runs fine without it, just a little hotrod loud.” Notably, the Ford Thermactor Emissions system is missing.

Other issues listed in the ad are the disconnected power steering, the exploded air conditioning compressor (the original unit is still available and is part of the sale), and a coolant leak from the aftermarket top hose. Furthermore, the hood needs to be aligned, the interior – although in fair shape – is past its prime, and the vinyl top is slowly coming off the roof. See the gallery for a quick peek at the car’s current condition.

The odometer reads 5,305 miles (8,536 kilometers). Still, a bluntly honest disclaimer sets things straight – the Craigslist seller (located in Cleburne, Texas, just south of Highway 67) says he has no idea about the car’s actual mileage. Regardless, trades will be considered if a suitable offer comes up for this original, numbers-matching 1966 Ford Thunderbird Town Hardtop.

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