$29K Survivor Two-Owner ’59 Thunderbird With 41k Miles Is Rarer Than a Four-Leaf Clover

However, America longed for changes in the little roadster, and Ford didn’t waste time complying with its customers’ wants. An extra row of seats was shoved between the driver and the trunk. Most importantly, the coupe-ranked automobile received much-coveted amenities of full-sized models that became available on the mid-sized Thunderbird.

This unsung hero of our article has one particular detail that sets it apart from the flock: its ownership spans sixty-three years and two proprietors. The original buyer purchased the automobile when Dwight Eisenhower was in office. The couple held on to each other for a solid 59 years. Talk about dedication to a car model!

The bird received limitless affection, and nothing has changed on it. Or inside it – the automobile is still wearing its original raiment from ’59. “They’re only original once” holds water here – even the rust is original on this thoroughbred’s body, undercarriage, wheels, and whatnot. I guess “rust-free” fame is limited even in California, where the car spun its rubbers for most of its existence.

The gallery holds sufficient evidence of the Square Bird’s condition – which is not bad for a survivor as old as the Space Age. Add the rarity of stock shift-on-column and the pull-lever overdrive, and we have the Holy Grail. Out of the 57,000 or so T-Birds made in ’59, 850 of them had both these options. Few are still around – and there are more Santa sightings than all-around originals.


Almost 42,000 miles – 67,000 km (all as original as the car) – after leaving the factory floor, the vehicle is offered for sale. Classic Auto Mall from Morgantown, PA, has the rare T-Bird on display in all its 2022 splendor. A curious onlooker or downright potential buyer will be treated to the view of 352 CID (5.8-liter) “Thunderbird Special V8” still wearing the blue hue of Ford. The single four-barrel carburetor fed the 300 hp inside the block and extorted 395 lb-ft (536 Nm) from the pistons.

A manual three-speed gearbox coupled to Ford’s nine-inch 3.10-ratio rear – with overdrive in between – puts the spin on the wheels. The unrestored Diamond Blue over the two-tone (dark and light) blue interior is still fresh and energetic, but time has put its mark on the bird. It’s not the wrinkles of neglect or scars of adverse weather battles but more of a touch of patina nobility.

The clear dash with three gauges offers the driver an unobscured vision of the speed, fuel level, coolant temperature, and time. The authentic, blue-rimmed steering wheel wears the six-decades-ago Thunderbird emblem wrapped with the “Power Steering” catchphrase.

Ford kept a minimalist approach to the interior design of the second-gen personal luxury car. The Select Aire temperature-setting knob below the center-dash radio is a cool (PUN happily coincidental) feature even today. It keeps its style – without the myriad of adjustments available in contemporary automobiles. Back then, there were two options: Cold or Warm, depending on the outside elements.


Apart from the rust and stains, leaks are visible on the differential and overdrive housings. The lefthand side exhaust manifold leaks – according to the owner. The seller notes that the car runs, drives, and brakes well, but the brake and reverse lights don’t work, the horn is mute, the radio won’t turn on, and the wipers don’t cycle.

But all those inconveniences fade when seen through the pair of crystal collector glasses – received by ’59 buyers and included in the sale price of $28,900. Accompanying the automobile – and the vintage glasses – are the Historic Preservation and Original Features Certificate, the original build sheet, and various documents from the first owner.