This Ford Thunderbird Has Shelby Soul Even If Carroll Never Touched It

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Photo: Craigslist

One of my favorite ways to regain some semblance of normalcy following a largely successful domestic terrorism plot is to cruise Craigslist looking for another car I definitely don’t need. As I slowly gain back my motor functions following about 12 hours of refreshing the news and spiraling into a black pit of internal doom, the only thing that could bring me back to the surface with a smile on my face is this topless land barge Thunderbird road racer with a better power to weight ratio than a Hellcat Redeye.

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Photo: Craigslist

That’s right, according to the seller, this car features a 600 horsepower fuel-injected 408 cubic-inch Windsor. Put that up against the car’s alleged 3000 pound weight, and you get 5 pounds per horsepower, 0.63 pounds better than the aforementioned underworld feline with an eye infection. That should be sufficient.

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Photo: Craigslist

I am absolutely obsessed with racecars that don’t have a windshield. It’s an extra level of commitment to a singular purpose that really makes me excited. The closer a car gets to a motorcycle, the more I like it, and obviously the best motorcycles don’t have windshields either, right? Right. That’s why this beast of a car is hundreds of times cooler than any other Thunderbird of that era.

When the Thunderbird was first introduced, it was meant to respond to Chevrolet’s Corvette. Every subsequent redesign of the car got further and further from that original ethos. The second generation was a design catastrophe, but by the time this third-gen look rolled around in 1963 Ford had made a really pretty machine, despite its heft and copious body roll.

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This car sort of imagines what it might have been like if Ford had tasked the then fresh-faced Shelby American crew with developing the Thunderbird into a Corvette Grand Sport competitor instead of, well, the actually successful projects the team did work on. I like these alternate history narratives built into a major car project like this one. It may not have actually happened that way, but it’s fun to imagine what might have been.

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Photo: Craigslist
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If you’re looking for a way to turn a lot of money into fun and noise, there’s little better way to do it than take something like this to a track day. For one thing, I’m sure your consumables budget is going to be astronomical, but for another, the seller is asking $40,000 for this particular non-Shelby experience. Funny enough, I also found the same car for sale over on Racing Junk at a $5,000 discount. Honestly, given the Art Morrison chassis and 600 horseponies under the hood, you’d probably be hard pressed to get it built for even twice that much. If you want a truly unique track car, I’m calling this a solid buy.

Here’s the full listing, for anyone interested.

Very unique car, has had all kinds of history and all kinds of custom work done to it. Car was originally written by Street Rod magazine for a article (twilight Thunderbird) and I know of only 2 of them, from the research I have done on it. The second one not near this quality. It is a fun car to drive and is Registered and titled to drive on the street but more than capable for the track. The attention is gets is crazy.. Car runs great with very little mileage on it. The info below is the what the car has. if you have any questions email me. $40,000 obo or even Trade, up or Down, but no Junk.
• Completely Street Legal, Great for Track Days or Autocross
• Approx. 600HP/ 3000 lb. curb weight
• Art Morrison GT Sport Chassis
• New Ford Racing Block 408 Windsor Motor/FAST Fuel Injection
• Custom Built 4R70W Select Shift Automatic Transmission ( electronic 4 spd)
• Ford 9″ Rear End with Strange Eng. Parts
• Wilwood Brakes with 6 Piston Calipers
• Strange Eng. Adjustable Coil Over Shocks
• American Racing 427 Shelby Style Wheels
• Custom Aluminum Radiator/Electric Fans and Water Pump
• Custom All Steel Fender Flares
• DynoTech Aluminum Driveshaft
• Kirkey Aluminum Racing Seats
• Extra Seat and Roll Bar for Passenger Side

Here we have a T-bird with a mission. Built for autocross racing with a LeMans style suspension and stance this track master has a long list of engineering and technology poured into it’s pedigree. The list includes...Art Morrison Custom GT Sport chassis...408 cid Ford Windsor racing block...Fast Electronic fuel injection and ignition...Lentech 4R70W Select Shift automatic transmission...B & W ratchet shifter...Strange 9" Ford rear differential...Wilwood 4 piston brakes...Strange double adjustable coil over shock absorbers...Dyno Tech aluminum driveshaft...BeCool custom aluminum radiator & fans...Davies/Craig remote electric water pump...Coach Controls wiring panel...Kirkey aluminum racing seats...Optima gel battery...American Racing 427 Cobra Wheels...Riken 275/40R17 tires. With that list of goodies and more, how could you help but make an impression at the race? The vehicle when purchased was purported to be street-legal......lets just call that a stretch of that term. The list doesn’t stop with what’s posted above but anyway you get the idea that way more than the asking price has been invested in this sweet little T-bird. She runs and drives as good as she looks. This isn’t just a blast to drive with its exhilarating G-force acceleration, it is a real beauty to behold. The attention to detail and the completeness of the styling complement its overwhelming mechanical engineering genius. This is the one you want to be seen in.....for sure!! If you are showing, racing or just collecting, this car leaves nothing to be desired. The excellent condition shown by its bottom to top and inside out recreation of the iconic third generation T-bird and its lower than construction price, for a vehicle of this caliber, makes it a perfect choice for getting into the collector and classic car market either as an investment opportunity or as a weekend track contender. If you’ve wanted a beautifully engineered, fast, and sporty, super stylish car with all the muscle and guts it was born of and at an affordable price this is the one! Don’t wait.

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Side note: Why do so many Craigslist sellers of a certain age (one assumes) love to use way too many periods to separate thoughts instead of, you know, doing it right?

Whoever this seller is, they’ve got a very interesting lineup of strange cars in their driveway, even discounting this road-race special Thunderbird. How about a Daytona Coupe replica, or a stakeside pickup truck with turbochargers bigger than your face? Yeah, I might just have to call on this Thunderbird just to get an opportunity to meet this enigmatic hot rodder.

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Photo: Craigslist
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Photo: Craigslist

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

DISCUSSION

innpchan
innpchan

Nice, but I’ll take this one: