what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

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ornithology
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what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:25 am

hey gang. thanks for checking my post!

i'm in the market for a bullet bird, bit of a preference for '63, but i'm open.

i'd like to land a solid driver that currently needs no repair with a nice original interior.

but this isn't a want ad, i'd like to know what y'all think i should be looking out for while i'm checking one out in person, or what to ask over the phone.
i've bought a few old cars over want ads and Craigslist, but i'm wondering what typical problem areas are. never had an old Ford before!

forgive me if this has been covered somewhere already, i searched the forum over my recent visits and my question still remains.


i could easily go into more details about my situation if anyone's curious, but i'll keep it at this for now.

cheers all!

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MN63Tbird
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by MN63Tbird » Fri Nov 09, 2018 4:54 pm

There are a number of ways to approach this . First is to get a service manual and a restoration manual for the bullet birds. There is some great info in there that may help in your inspection that describes details of the different models and decoding data plates.They also identify places where you may see some rust like the wheel wheels or floor plates. There are not a lot of Ford specific issues. Most issues I have seen are more on the car design and materials of construction during that period.

if you are going to discuss over the phone ask for:
-photos of the car interior, exterior, engine , trunk and underneath if possible.
-request the VIN number and data code data on the data plate on the drivers side door. This will give you info on original color exterior, interior, build date, transmission etc. Compare the data to the the photo.
-inquire if the car has a title and how long the owner has had the car.
-inquire if they know any of the history of car and previous owners. With the VIN check the VTCI site to see if it was previously registered.

In person make your self a check list
-list every working item on the car- lights, signals, windows, horn, windshield wipers, washers, high beam switch, AC, oil pressure light, voltage light, temperature, gas gauge, Interior lights(doors, center console, gauges, rear headliner) etc. Check every item on the inspection.
-List every operational fluid - check oil, power steering, brake , transmission check for color and clarity.
-List body panels - inspect for damage or repair
-list of windows inspect for cracks or chips.
-Check the VIN number stamped in the engine compartment to compare against the data plate. Make sure no alterations and they match the title
-Drive the car. Listen and smell for any unusual issues. Check stopping starting acceleration and cornering. Check the exhaust for color and sound.
-If you want to get to more detail you can start to check data tags on Carb, engine etc to make sure they match if you are looking for a pure original otherwise it should have a 390 with a 4 barrel Autolite 4100 carb. Paint in engine compartment (air cleaner, valve covers etc) is specific to the year of the car.
"Bring with you
Mirror to inspect under the car, mat to kneel or lie down on to inspect the car
Magnet-check for any bondo
Rags to check fluids

At least that is a start. That should get you 80-90% to a decision since you are already familiar with buying older cars.

MN63
1963 Thunderbird Hardtop
1966 Mustang Coupe A code

ornithology
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:54 am

aye, thanks MN - that is quite a thorough list, and very much in line with what i keep in mind. listen and smell, indeed. i especially like the idea of bringing a checklist.

i've been perusing some of the current parts catalogs online as i find them... but i'm still wondering if there are any parts that are especially expensive or difficult to find? either mechanical or cosmetic.

i remember some vintage car friends from long ago saying that early 60's Ford front end and steering parts were expensive. perhaps that has changed, if at all true?

cheers!

ICON 1961
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ICON 1961 » Sat Nov 10, 2018 12:38 pm

Another thing to look for if your into convertibles. Make sure the top works. Some members have had issues with the top working properly. There are a lot of switches that all have to function properly for the top to go up and down.... I'am sure a few members can tell you what to ask about the issues with convertible top. Personally I stayed away from convertibles. I bought a 61 hard top had it for awhile then sold it and I now own 56 baby bird.
1956 Thunderbird Sage Green
1997 Heritage Springer with Motorvation matching side Car Red/Birch White
2015 Tri Glide Harley Davidson Trike
VTCI Member # 12309

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MN63Tbird
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by MN63Tbird » Mon Nov 12, 2018 10:56 am

If you are looking for a 63 bullet bird then there are a couple of model specific items that can be a challenge to find. One is the windshield wiper pump/motor. This is hydraulically driven by the power steering pump. These can be rebuilt but if you dont have one it can be tough to find. The wiper/washer switch and cable to turn on the wiper pump is also specific and we have had members rebuild them but again this is a bit of a pain to do.

The other area off the top of my head is the seat trim for 63. Again this is specific to that year and challenging to find if you dont have it. I have been looking for parts for a few years and they are expensive. The power steering assembly could be rebuilt if necessary and is a source of seal leaks on 60s Fords. I believe a lot of the other front end parts can be found. There a lot of Ford restoration parts available and Tbird parts are similar in many other Fords of that era.

MN63
1963 Thunderbird Hardtop
1966 Mustang Coupe A code

ICON 1961
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ICON 1961 » Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:00 pm

Ford was notorious for using parts that share other models like the Galaxie 500 390 and the Lincoln Mercury Marauder 389. and Lincoln Monteray 390 You might Google / E Bay these cars for parts availability. These cars have 390 motors....
Try the 390 forum also
390 engines - Ford Muscle Forums : Ford Muscle Cars Tech Forum
https://www.fordmuscleforums.com/galaxi ... gines.html
1956 Thunderbird Sage Green
1997 Heritage Springer with Motorvation matching side Car Red/Birch White
2015 Tri Glide Harley Davidson Trike
VTCI Member # 12309

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Jim Wulf
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by Jim Wulf » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:07 pm

ornithology wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:25 am
hey gang. thanks for checking my post!

i'm in the market for a bullet bird, bit of a preference for '63, but i'm open.

i'd like to land a solid driver that currently needs no repair with a nice original interior.

but this isn't a want ad, i'd like to know what y'all think i should be looking out for while i'm checking one out in person, or what to ask over the phone.
i've bought a few old cars over want ads and Craigslist, but i'm wondering what typical problem areas are. never had an old Ford before!

forgive me if this has been covered somewhere already, i searched the forum over my recent visits and my question still remains.


i could easily go into more details about my situation if anyone's curious, but i'll keep it at this for now.

cheers all!
You need someone who is very familiar with these cars to inspect the car with you, and you will need to a lift available. These cars are complicated and expensive to restore or repair, even if only to nice driver condition. There are many potential problem areas that a novice to the model will not pick up on. Trust me on this, I know '63's inside and out. Been there, done that, many, many times.

Go to my Thunderbird webpage and look around and you'll get an idea of what I'm trying to convey:

http://www.tbirdgarage.com/Site_2/Welcome.html
Jim W, VTCI 1961-1963 Technical Editor
62 SR Red/Black
63 CV Black/Red
67 MGB Roadster
38 MG TA Tickford Drophead Coupe
Past Birds:
63 MSR Red/Pearl Beige
66 CV Red/Red
63 CV Patrician Green/Pearl Beige
61 HT White/Pearl Beige
63 HT Caspian Blue/Blue

ornithology
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:06 pm

thanks guys - i've been on the road for a few weeks, but the hunt is on again as i return home.

i had missed the last couple of posts, and now appreciate them as they point out a few things that i was wondering about.
adn thanks, Jim, 'm excited to peruse your pages.

my latest candidate is this '62. of course the drivetrain is not original, but i don't require that.

assuming it's a strong runner, and everything is present (like the wiper motor/hydraulics, etc.,
i'd love to hear your thoughts and what i should be looking into on this particular car.
i'll have more interior photos coming if anyone's curious.

cheers!

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/cto/d/ ... 61234.html

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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by Jim Wulf » Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:32 pm

ornithology wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 5:06 pm
thanks guys - i've been on the road for a few weeks, but the hunt is on again as i return home.

i had missed the last couple of posts, and now appreciate them as they point out a few things that i was wondering about.
adn thanks, Jim, 'm excited to peruse your pages.

my latest candidate is this '62. of course the drivetrain is not original, but i don't require that.

assuming it's a strong runner, and everything is present (like the wiper motor/hydraulics, etc.,
i'd love to hear your thoughts and what i should be looking into on this particular car.
i'll have more interior photos coming if anyone's curious.

cheers!

https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/cto/d/ ... 61234.html
"It's a very clean driver, some sorting projects still need to be done, but nothing major for a 55 yr old car."

That's probably enough for me to turn around and walk away. "some sorting" is usually code for "a whole lotta work". Engine knock evident in the last few seconds of the engine video. Could be lower end or it could be an exhaust leak which is very common with these poorly designed exhaust manifolds. Again, impossible to truly evaluate from a distance.
Jim W, VTCI 1961-1963 Technical Editor
62 SR Red/Black
63 CV Black/Red
67 MGB Roadster
38 MG TA Tickford Drophead Coupe
Past Birds:
63 MSR Red/Pearl Beige
66 CV Red/Red
63 CV Patrician Green/Pearl Beige
61 HT White/Pearl Beige
63 HT Caspian Blue/Blue

ICON 1961
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ICON 1961 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:07 pm

I would honestly say BEWARE of Craig's List posts, My personal opinion stay away from that post. I see several things that brings up red flags. Take your time. make a list of things you would like to have on the car. Don't be fooled by the low price cause it was lowered because it sat for awhile and the seller wants a quick sell. Again there are many scams even if the pictures of another car look fantastic beware cause those could be of other cars that look so beautiful. All I can say is BUYER BEWARE !
1956 Thunderbird Sage Green
1997 Heritage Springer with Motorvation matching side Car Red/Birch White
2015 Tri Glide Harley Davidson Trike
VTCI Member # 12309

ornithology
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:06 pm

gotcha. i will say that i've had very good luck out here with craigslist buying used cars.
but it's been some years since i looked at vintage. i've had my eyes out on the market in general,
and i see very few of these birds actually selling at any price, other than solid collectors over $15,000.

personally, i don't want to spend that kind of money. i always figured a bullet bird was out of reach, but in the last six months i've liked the potential offerings here in California, just been waiting for the right combination of things i need vs. things i could cover. this is one of the better offerings, and the timing could be right.

i'm surely going to inquire about the ''sorting projects" over the phone before even heading over.
good news is he seems to understand project cars, it may just come down to ascertaining if he's
an honest cat.

otherwise, i don't know if i can really expect a bullet bird that doesn't need *something*
at my budget. the question is, what types of problems are prohibitive? as in costing more than $1200?

i appreciate the note about engine knocking - i hadn't noticed that in the video. i imagine
a lower end rebuild could be over $2K, but i'd recognize an exhaust leak should i hear one.

but if i don't want to drop more than $7-8K initially, maybe i'm better off with a Falcon Futura
or Comet S-22?

thanks fellas - so far only my fiancée wants to talk me out of it around here... 😊

ornithology
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Sun Dec 09, 2018 10:25 pm

AND... I like the idea of having someone along who understands these cars and the particulars ... if any of y'all know someone I might be able to call upon in the San Francisco Bay area, I may be willing to hire someone to help take a look-see!

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MN63Tbird
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by MN63Tbird » Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:10 pm

A bullet bird or any other car from that era for for $7-8K will probably come with some necessary repairs or as in the 62 it was modified (engine, wheels, LED dash lights etc). A modified car is more difficult to sell. You need to find the right buyer that appreciates the modifications. Also with a modified car now you have a mixture of different era parts that need some additional investigation

If you want an original car with that is a good driver but needs some cosmetic or do it yourself repairs ( not an engine or transmission rebuild) you are probably talking $9-12K. Plan to spend a few hundred dollars every year to tackle an area that need upgrading such as new brakes cylinders, rewiring annoying electrical ghosts, repairing a radio, fixing a power window motor, rebuilding a hydraulic wiper motor (only on 63s the 61-62 had vacuum), new trunk liner etc. plus normal wear the car, points,tires, brake shoes, battery.

The best time to find deals is in the early spring and late fall. In the fall for most of us in the north its time to put the car in storage. For many who pay for storage it a time to think about do you want to pay for storage and keep the car for another season or sell. Similar for Spring after storage do you want to find another car or keep this one for the summer.

MN63
1963 Thunderbird Hardtop
1966 Mustang Coupe A code

ornithology
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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by ornithology » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:50 pm

thanks, MN - that is very much in line with my thinking and what i've been seeing for sale over the last six months.

the LED dash lights are a bit bright to my eye, but that would be a decent project for me and the other non-original aspects i'm fine with. indeed, it seems those things could work to my advantage as the price has crept down. my main issue with that 62 is that it's several hours away and i do get up there from time to time, but not lately. actually, i may be able to pass through on my way home from holiday travel.
i'm going to give him an other call and get some more details - i haven't had much time to think about it much due to travelling so much.

and yes, i'm going to set aside about $2K for potential 'sorting projects' right from the start, unless i end up paying over $10K, which i'm trying to avoid. originality aspects that are important to me are mostly interior and body and trim. having the original wheel covers, air cleaner and valve covers would be nice, but i also like the slight 'muscle car' element that the Cobra style stuff brings, and those are actually some of my favorite style mags which bring it more toward the later '60's which i grew up with. not entirely appropriate for a bullet bird, but i like it - it reminds me of something my older brother might have done - if i had one!

cheers, all! still open to more thoughts on what to poke at when looking at these.
MN63Tbird wrote:
Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:10 pm
A bullet bird or any other car from that era for for $7-8K will probably come with some necessary repairs or as in the 62 it was modified (engine, wheels, LED dash lights etc). A modified car is more difficult to sell. You need to find the right buyer that appreciates the modifications. Also with a modified car now you have a mixture of different era parts that need some additional investigation

If you want an original car with that is a good driver but needs some cosmetic or do it yourself repairs ( not an engine or transmission rebuild) you are probably talking $9-12K. Plan to spend a few hundred dollars every year to tackle an area that need upgrading such as new brakes cylinders, rewiring annoying electrical ghosts, repairing a radio, fixing a power window motor, rebuilding a hydraulic wiper motor (only on 63s the 61-62 had vacuum), new trunk liner etc. plus normal wear the car, points,tires, brake shoes, battery.

The best time to find deals is in the early spring and late fall. In the fall for most of us in the north its time to put the car in storage. For many who pay for storage it a time to think about do you want to pay for storage and keep the car for another season or sell. Similar for Spring after storage do you want to find another car or keep this one for the summer.

MN63

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Re: what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

Post by Steverino » Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:27 pm

Good advice offered here already.

As you well know, there are a number of variables to consider. Having a budget (like most of us do) will necessitate tradeoffs. My advice would be to spend my money on a car that is really good in the areas that I don't feel comfortable tackling myself. So for me, that would be a car with minimal to no rust and few body issues. I am pretty comfortable DIY-ing most everything else. Things can be unbolted and replaced, parts can be found. Paint and body (for me) would have to be farmed out and can be really costly these days.

Your mileage will definitely vary ;-) Good luck in your search - have fun!
Steve
'62 Landau
'72 Citroen SM 5 spd
'67 MGB - sold after 22 yrs.

There is a fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness"...
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