Originality Specifications

1961 through 1963 Thunderbird

The following is an attempt to get some of the basic information regarding originality for Thunderbirds into the hands of all who want it and to do it for free.

If there is information you wish me to put here or if you find mistakes I should correct, please email me Here.

1961 1962 1963
Block, heads, intake, front cover, oil pan, 
water pump
Black Black Black
Air Cleaner (optional chrome) Argent Argent Castillian Gold
(see below for formula
Valve Covers

(optional chrome)

Argent Argent Castillian Gold
(see below for formula)
Oil Fill Cap
(optional chrome)
black black black
Power steering pump &
A/C cars have black remote reservoir
black casting
argent reservoir
black casting
argent reservoir
black casting
argent reservoir
Transmssion and bellhousing cast-not painted cast-not painted cast-not painted
Radiator and surge tank black black black
Pan above radiator black black black
Fan blade---without air cond.
-----------with air cond. early 61 

late 1961 thru 1963

5 blade black
5 blade with clutch 

7 blade w/clutch

5 blade black
5 blade with clutch 

7 blade w/clutch

5 blade black 

5 blade with clutch

7 blade w/clutch

Engine compartment side walls same as body color same as body color same as body color
Firewall paint same as body early same as body
late, black w/undercoat
around grommets & 
blower motor
black w/undercoat
around grommets & 
blower motor
Hood latches and cables light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated
Windshield Washer Bag "See-Clear"-style bag --early-- "See-Clear"-style bag
mid year---red "FoMoCo Oval" bag
red "FoMoCo Oval" bag
Hood hinges  light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated light gold cad. plated
Starter (and generator on 1961 & 1962) black black black
Alternator (1963 only) natural alum.
Battery 29N
27BF (optional HD)
27BF (optional HD)
27BF (optional HD)
Differential black housing
red oxide carrier assy.
black housing
red oxide carrier assy.
black housing
red oxide carrier assy.
Convertible top frame Black Black black

The Optional Chrome Dress-Up package included the following items:

Air cleaner (finned alum. air cleaner on M series engines)
Valve covers, "Thunderbird" stamped on them
Oil fill cap
Radiator expansion tank and radiator cap
Master cylinder cap
Engine oil dipstick handle

The "M" series engines also had the following chromed items

Fuel log manifold
all throttle linkage to indlude cross piece and rod to firewall (trans kickdown brkt. not chromed)
Power steering reservoir cover with and without air cond.

Date for Dash and Door Panel change over was 4/16/62

Air Cleaners for 1963 had a small hose nipple on the bottom whereas the 61-62 did not. This is because 1963 was the first year that a clean air tube was used for the automatic choke from the exh. manifold up to under the air cleaner

Ride Height for 1963 Thunderbird

This is a simple method of measuring the ride height of your 61-63 Thunderbird.

Making sure you are on a level surface and the fuel level is topped off and your car has only it's original equipment on board such as jack and spare and not extra luggage etc., tires at proper pressure and size, rock it up and down by pushing on the front and rear bumpers. This will center the suspension.

Measure at the highest point of the front wheel opening on each fender , height should be very near 27".

Measure the rear by the same method and th height should be 20.5" .

Battery Info

27BF used an unusual top cover style hold down with one hole offset from center, because the squarebirds battery bracket required it.

Crancase Ventilation Info

  I really enjoy your website! I just wanted to mention one thing about the 1962 Thunderbird's engine. This is generally considered the first year for any kind of emission controls. Namely a PCV valve. I have a 1962 dated Feb 5 1962, and it still uses the older road draft crank case ventilation system. From what I could find out, all cars destined for California had PCV valves, but it wasn't until late in the 1962 model run that all 1962 Tbirds had the PCV valve. In magazine reviews of the car, I noticed that the one featured had the PCV valve.

Park Light Lens for 1963

It seems that in 1963 these cars started using either amber bulbs or lenses for the front park / signal lights. According to research the amber lenses were installed in cars destined for Wisc. and Minn. while the other states may have used clear lenses with amber bulbs.

Other Bits of Information regarding these cars

All 61 to 63 used the 390 ci. engine, which is similar to the 352 but not the same as also rated at 300 hp.
All valve covers should say Thunderbird on them.
Swing away wheel was an option in 61 and became standard for 62 and 63.
________(there is a sideline to this from one of my readers " 2 "exceptions to the rule" I ran across while I was boneyard hunting in Michigan a couple of years ago.  I've always known that the swing away steering was optional in '61 and standard from '62 on.  I ran into 2 '62 Birds with fixed columns!  Naturally, I checked number plates and body stampings and found that both were indeed very early '62's.  It amazes me when I run into the oddballs like these!  Just thought you'd enjoy an interesting story! Troy"_______
AM Thunderbird radio was the only radio option in 1961, I believe 63 the AM/FM became available.
Body side trim was an option for 62 only.
Fender skirts were option for all cars but the Sports Roadster, where they were not used.
All Tops were full power.
Options were power window, power drivers seat ( not certain about passenger)
Power breaks were s
All were Automatics
The 61 AM radio plate did not have the word Thunderbird on it in 61 the 62 and 63 did.
The interior changed in mid 62, the dash is slightly wider and the door panels are smooth on top.
The 62 and 61 seats are the same, the 63 had a small badge on the front seats.
There was a vacuum resiovor for the brakes on some 61s, it sat on the opposite side of the battery same location and was connected by metal lines to the break booster.

Two models were available in 61, convertible and Hard top,
The Indy pace car for 1961 was a convertible
Thunderbird there were about 43 Festival cars.
About 50 1961 Thunderbird convertibles were used for JFK's inauguration in January of 1961.
A principality of Monaco limited edition of 2000, was available in 1963.
Four models were available in 62 and 63 Landau, and Sports Roadster added.
Tri power or 3X2 option became available in 62 and 63 know as the M series rated at 340 hp..
1962 was the first year for pollution control on a Tbird.
Day night mirrors were introduced but not standard in 1961.
1961 was the last year for the wide white wall option on Tbird. a narrower-banded whitewall did start showing up in production sometime in the late spring of 1961. One documented example is the 1800+ mile '61 hardtop owned by AutoKrafters in Broadway, VA and used in their advertising, as well as being featured in a detailing video. This particular car was built June 7 '61 and had a 1 1/4"-wide white band, versus the 1 3/4" whitewall seen in advertising and promotional photos from Ford. Another confirmation of this was from a photo of the '61 hardtop given away by NHRA at the Indianapolis, IN NHRA Nationals in September '61, which also had the narrower whitewall.

Paint codes for Castillian Gold in Dupont, Ditzler and Sikkens

Paint number for Dupont is 4292 and this is in lacquer

Ditzler lists a color code for Castillian Gold as #32277.

DDL31842 QTY: 1 quart

Code, color, cumulative parts ,parts,
DMA346 black 50.0 50.0
DMA307 midas gold 62.0 12.0
DMA329 yellow 74.0 12.0
DMA384 yellow 144.0 70.0
DMA316 CRS. alu 228.0 84.0
DMA349 Fine alu 986.0 758.0

Formula for Sikkens Castillian Gold Metallic (FA62:I) 666 328.4 g 400 334.1 g 952 362.0 g 977 394.9 g 333CS 641.2 g 333C 969.6 g

Total 969.6 g


For you, who think I am the expert, I want to warn you that I do not know everything about these cars. I am only posting what has already been determined by a large group of Thunderbird Enthusiast to be as close to original as we know it. Each club has different rules that they judge cars by at the shows and if you are competing in a show or intend to I highly recommend that you contact the club and get a copy of their judging rules so as to be able to know what you should do to be competitive in their event.

I also feel it is the clubs duty to provide these guidlines for its members so as to hold a fair judging for all participants. This has been my stand on this issue for many years and I feel it is one of the weakest areas of all the clubs for the '58 and up Thunderbirds.

To improve this situation I urge each of you to contact your clug hierarchy and bug them to increase their efforts in this area. As members and car owners the main thing we want in a club is information flow. Become active and get the info flowing.

That is what this website is all about. Please excuse any mistakes and help make the improvements with me.

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