Sleek and Shiny 1962 Ford Thunderbird “Brilliant Bird”

- in Cars

The Ford Thunderbird was redesigned for 1961 that featured new and much sleeker styling than the second-generation models.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird
“The new adventure in Elegance. Here, for 1961, is the most dramatically beautiful new line since Thunderbird last started a trend.” This was a popular ad run by Ford, announcing the new design of Thunderbird and a new direction throughout the company.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird rear end
Ford Division had edged out rival Chevrolet by 20,776 in model-year production the previous year. FoMoCo Chairman Henry Ford II announced that Ford would no longer abide by industry policy and would again support sanctioned racing. Ford was back on top and ready to make a difference. Gone was the “Square Bird.” Welcome the new and much sleeker “Rocket Bird!”


Model year 1961 saw a new, projectile look for Thunderbird, along with a larger 390 cubic inch FE series V8 engine. Also worthy of mention is the introduction of several “firsts” for the automotive market. Most notably, the highly-touted “Swing Away” steering wheel was new and standard equipment. With the transmission in Park, the steering wheel could slide approximately 18 inches to the right, allowing the driver to exit the vehicle easily.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird interior
Other innovations of note included a floating rear view mirror, common on all automobiles produced today. Depending on option packaging, air conditioning, power windows, power seats, AM radio, fender skirts and whitewall tires were also available.


Several standard features for new Thunderbirds like power steering and power brakes, back-up lights, and bucket seats were costly options on some other autos. 1962 saw little change other than the addition of the Sports Roadster and Landau Hardtop to its line-up.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird engine
The Thunderbird was a huge success and little change is needed to keep it that way, as you’ll notice while reading the build sheet for Eddie Rochelle’s 1962 T-Bird.




With its sound body and running gear, Eddie was able to focus on making the car stand out in a crowd. Thanks to John Christensen’s handiwork and a fabulous coat of House of Kolor Pagan Gold, I assure you it will not go unnoticed. While John was busy spraying, custom graphics were applied.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird front end
For added measure, the outside combination was carried to the color matched wheels and inside to the console. Coker wide whites were mounted and FE Specialties did a number on the engine. Reed’s Custom Interior got the call for the pearl white seat and padded dashboard.

House of Kolor Pagan Gold 1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird
Eddie drives the wheels off this car and for good reason. His wife Sarah has already made claim to a set of chrome reversed wheels she swears will be on “her car” if it ever sits still long enough. Drive it, brother! The car looks awesome just the way it is.

1962 Ford Thunderbird Brilliant Bird custom


Now, check out another sensational 1962 Ford Thunderbird named “Ultra Violet”.


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