The classic Ford cars produced during the -60s are popular collectibles and great for factory restoration projects. The Thunderbird, Falcon and Galaxie top the list for those interested in restoration or customization. Ford Mustangs from the 1960s are also popular, although the Mustang is valued more as a muscle car than as a vintage car for cruising.
The 1961 through 1963 Ford Thunderbirds are of the third generation of the model. Two Ford designers, Elwood Engel and Bill Boyer, competed for the chance to design the car. Elwood Engel came up with a squared-off shape, while Boyer came up with an aircrafit-style shape with round taillights. The Engel design was used for the 1961 Lincoln Continental, while the new Thunderbird got the Boyer design. Both cars have an integrated bumper and grille combination, as well as unit bodies. They both have "dual-unitized" structures; the front and rear sections of the car are welded together at the cowl.
The Ford Thunderbird came standard with a 390-cubic-inch engine, bored and stroked from Ford's 352-cubic-inch engine. The upgrade in the engine provided 427 pounds/feet of torque at 2800 rpm, up from 381 in the 1960 version. Despite it's weight, this car can go from 0 to 60 MPH in 10.5 seconds.
Ford's compact car, the Falcon Futura, was among the most popular of the compacts of the day. They were simpler and more reliable than Chevy's Corvair, and less gimmicky than Chrysler's Valiant.
The Falcon Futura is a dressed-up version of an economy car. By 1968, the Falcon lost its appeal with the public, but today they are one of the most popular economy cars for collectors.
Originially designed as a passenger sedan, the Galaxie became a darling on the racing and hot-rod circuits during the 1960s. Recognizing the trend, Ford dropped a more powerful V8 engines into the cars, beginning with the introduction of a 6.7 litre V8 in some Galaxie 500s in 1962.
In 1963, the Galaxie lost its fins and was redesigned into a "Fastback" model that was more aerodynamic. Collectors have a particular passion for these cars, which were built as much for racing as for travel. Limited quantities were made with fiberglass trim to reduce weight, and some sport a 427 engine that could generate 425 HP.
The most popular Ford for today's collectors is the 1965 Ford Mustang known as the 1964 ½ Mustang. It was unveiled in April 1964 at the New York World's Fair. The Mustang, at the time, was a new kind of car. The Ford Mustang is the original "pony car," with a long front end and a short rear deck.
A true 1964 ½ Mustang is among the first 121,000 cars that rolled off the assembly line. Built on a Ford Falcon platform and quickly pushed into production by high demand, these cars have several Falcon elements that set them apart from later Mustangs produced during the same year. Things to look for in a genuine 1964 ½ include a horizontal instrument layout, a power generator rather than an alternator and a horn ring with the Ford Falcon logo. Attempts to restore one of these cars to factory condition can be tricky, because the quirks of this original production run must be preserved.