1959 was a big year for the American car industry, as the popularity of several new nameplates was already skyrocketing.
Chevrolet’s Impala, the new superstar that originally debuted in 1958 as the top Bel Air version, was now available as a stand-alone series for the first time. Ford’s Thunderbird, already at the second generation, was recording continuously increasing sales, with the 1958 figures more than doubling from the previous year.
1959 brought another impressive performance for the Thunderbird, with sales once again doubling. Ford sold close to 67,500 units, including over 10,000 convertibles (up from just 2,000 the year before).
Unsurprisingly, Ford tried to make the Thunderbird as enticing as possible, so in addition to aggressive marketing, the carmaker also refined the lineup with more exquisite features, including leather upholstery. A new V8 engine made its way to the series in the form of a 430 (7.0-liter) rated at 345 horsepower, but only a little over 1,100 cars ended up using it.
Most Thunderbirds rolled off the assembly lines with a 352 (5.8-liter) producing 300 horsepower.
The ’59 Thunderbird that you see here sitting in a junkyard comes with nothing bad news regarding the engine. Not only is the unit under the hood stuck, but it looks like the V8 is no longer the original one that came with the car.
eBay seller backyardclassicstrf says the Thunderbird “has the original 390 V8” engine, but the 1959 model year was only available with the units I told you about earlier. As such, this is either a typo, which I think is the case because the engine looks like a 352 in those potato-quality images, or the V8 is no longer the original one, and someone made a swap at some point.
Leaving the engine aside, as we have no other option anyway, given it’s already stuck, the Thunderbird is said to be mostly complete. In other words, no big parts are missing, but I’d still check out the interior thoroughly, as a junkyard find is very likely to have served as a donor.
The seller said nothing about the metal condition, but I wouldn’t expect it to be in tip-top shape anyway. The floors and the trunk are likely rusty, and this makes perfect sense for a car this old, especially considering it probably spent decades on the side of the road.
The good news is this Thunderbird isn’t at all expensive, as it costs nearly as much as an iPhone 14 Pro Max. The owner is willing to let it go for just $1,800, but at the same time, the listing also allows potential buyers to send other offers. If you want to see the vehicle in person, it’s currently parked in Minnesota.