what to look for when inspecting a candidate for purchase.

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ornithology
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:38 am

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
Posts: 148
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Location: Minnesota

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
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:38 am

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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Location: Minnesota

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

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