Ford Thunderbird Hardtop 1963






scale 1:18

Model number: 30344


Review of the model:

The Ford Thunderbird is richly represented among the 1:18 scale die-cast models. It is truly a famous car and therefore many producers make both the 55-56-57 models and Sun Star Models who make the popular square-bird from 1960.

 But if we go a bit further, up to 1963, where the very famous. “Rocket ship” Thunderbird. Only one maker was producing this model. The now defunct maker of Anson had the Roadster and the hardtop version produced. But these models are becoming harder to find by ordinary dealers, so I had to find my hardtop as a used car!

It is always like playing in the lottery when one have to purchase a model from a private dealer via ebay. But I was lucky to find one not so far from home in Germany. Anson model car is known for its good assembly of parts. They are all screwed together and therefore also easy to disassembly too. It was a important feature of this models as I whish to do a restoration work and see if I could make this cheap purchase into a fair model. representing one of the fine Thunderbirds of all time.
Anson is in many ways like a Lucky Diecast / Yatming-model when it comes to level of details so I was confident that I could make this model shine again. –If not I had tried without loosing too many money.

After the model came apart it needed a wash and polishing. All parts were meticulous inspected to see what details were missing and where paintwork is needed. Backside of the doors were painted lightgreen. Inside the interior the bucket seats, instrument panel and side padding had to be painted with Liquid Chrome. The doorsteps were getting trim panels of household foil. Up front on the car the usual work of painted the grill with black really added realism to the model. The lenses on the headlights were painted white on their backside as they were too opacity.

Hereafter major paintwork in the motor compartment was started. Anson models have descent motor details and the motor itself is easy to “rebuild” as all parts is hold together by screws. After this; only emblems, backlights and hubcaps needed some paint and the model car came out as in another class. My particular model had some poor chrome parts, but they were all refurbish with Liquid chrome.
I was surprised how well the old model car came out! Looking back on 14 hours of work was reward full. I most say the time spent was well invested, as I had a lot of fun. I will not hesitate again if I stumble over a “hard to find” model. Anson cars are good basic model and with a little help they can shine. I will let you to judge how well my result is: Take a look at the pictures.

I will give this model 3 out of 6 stars  ******

Below here are pictures of the model, historical description, old brochures, technical data and some movie clips for the real car. So please enjoy!




  Front page brochure  
  Green Mist Poly color  
  Nickname Rocket ship design 1961-62-63  
Sharp protruding front fenders all back to exhaust rocket backlights.
Ford personal luxurious car
A stylish car meant to compete with Cadillac
unlucky sooner they compete with another Ford car from 1964!!
Big backlights oh yes the Thunderbird was special
A very roomy trunk
A great car - and a fine model from Anson too
Black vinyl and chrome trim inside
Lets have a trip to Vegas
The color of green suits the car
Many smart design details
Square wheel wells
Thin hardtop looks like an ragtop
Unique in all the world
A car for all who can afford it
When Ford does its best
Nice grill and front
Sporty and stylish at the same time
Well equipped engine room
Detailed parts from Anson




This was the first year the Thunderbird faced true competition in the personal luxury car market, and the competitor was the 1963 Buick Riviera. Sleek and sporty, the Riv was originally intended to be a Cadillac. But Cadillac didn't want it, because it already had its own personal luxury car (the 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado) in development. Cadillac was also selling as many cars as it could make at the time, so there was no immediate urgency for a new model. Buick Division, on the other hand, had watched sales decline during the early sixties, and needed something special to bring people into its showrooms, even if they couldn't afford a Riviera. There was always the chance they might leave in another, perhaps less expensive Buick model. And it turned out that the Riv was just the spark that Buick Division needed!

Buick announced that first year production would be limited to only 40,000 cars. The Ford Thunderbird was in its last year of a three year styling cycle, but faced the new competition with a very becoming face lift. Buick didn't even come close to selling as many Rivs in 1963 as Ford did T-birds (63,313 T-birds built), and when Buick lifted its self-imposed production limits for 1964, it couldn't even maintain 1963's 40,000 units for a second year. This was just the beginning of new entries into the personal luxury car market, and there would be many new contenders for the Thunderbird's crown in the years to come.

One of the more curious aspects of the new Riviera was the fact that it included only one radio speaker with the Sonomatic AM Radio, and it was located in the center of the rear seat. No front speaker was available, as the somewhat confusing array of controls for the air vents, heater, air conditioning, etc., were all located in the center of the instrument panel, just under the padded edge. This didn't allow any room for a speaker in the instrument panel. These controls were all relocated for 1964, so an in-dash speaker was included at that time, but it does seem to be an unusual move to only offer one speaker and then place it in the back seat.

The 1963 Thunderbirds were introduced on September 28, 1962 and consisted of the same four models available in 1962. The Hardtop was the least expensive at $4,445 with 42,806 built; the Landau came next at $4,548 and 12,139 built; followed by the Convertible, which was priced at $4,912 with 5,913 built; last came the Sports Roadster, the most expensive model in standard form at $5,563 with just 455 built. Later in the year, a Special Landau model would be introduced with production limited to just 2,000 cars. Based on the Landau model, prices would start at $4,748 without options.

It was no secret at Ford that Buick would be announcing a new model for 1963, and faced with the fact that based on slower than anticipated sales, the 1961-1962 styling wasn't being accepted by the public as well as Ford had planned on, a fairly major restyle effort was put in place. To overcome objections to the rounded, rocket ship-like styling, the front fenders were revised to include a new character line that would start at the tip of the fender where it met the front bumper, and continue rearward to the middle of the door, where it dipped down and trailed off. A series of three hash marks were placed on the door just under this line, forward of where it dipped down. The overall treatment was reminiscent of the 1958-1960 Thunderbirds. This design also squared off the front wheel well, making it more closely match the rear opening when fender shields weren't installed, which was a big improvement.

Up front, the Bird got a new grille that to many is the most beautiful of this series. A series of staggered chrome bars, its simplicity gave the Thunderbird new elegance. The script was moved to the rear of the quarter panel, and new tail lamp lenses updated the appearance from the rear. New standard and deluxe wheel cover designs completed the exterior updates.

Inside, a new upholstery pattern graced the seats. Ford combined two different vinyl patterns to give the seats different textures on the seating surfaces and bolsters. Some interiors featured two tone colors, with a darker shade on the bolsters. Genuine leather was still an option, and a new silver stripe cloth insert was offered in four colors optionally at no additional charge.

The standard equipment list grew for 1963, with a couple of items that were formerly optional, but frequently ordered, made standard. These include the AM Radio and the MagicAire Heater-Defroster. Additionally, a remote control exterior rearview mirror, dual-lens door courtesy lights, variable-speed hydraulic windshield wipers, and simulated Walnut appliqué on the interiors of Landau models were included as well.

A few options were offered for the first time in 1963. Vacuum door locks, AM-FM pushbutton radio, rear seat speaker, concentric whitewall tires, and a new deluxe wheel cover with simulated knock-off spinners were all new. The factory brochures mentioned an automatic speed control, which would have been similar to the one offered on the Lincoln Continental, but it didn't make it to production until 1964, due to a few issues that needed to be resolved. And even early 1964 cars with the speed control option had to have it disabled after owners reported problems with it.

Buyers looking to purchase a new Thunderbird had a wider than ever choice of colors, trims, and options to choose from. In all, 22 different paint shades were available, teamed with 9 all-vinyl, 4 cloth and vinyl, and 5 genuine leather interiors. The Landau vinyl roof was available in 4 colors, black, white, blue, and brown, the latter two new for 1963. Convertible tops were available in black, white, or blue.

The 1963 Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau was truly a car with international appeal. Debuting in The Principality of Monaco, it was literally given a Royal reception, with Prince Rainier and Princess Grace both in attendance. In fact, the very first Limited Edition Landau built was given to the Royal couple as a gift from Ford Motor Company.

Finished in Corinthian White with a Rose Beige vinyl roof and white leather upholstery with Rose Beige appointments, the Limited Edition Landau stood out from all other 1963 Thunderbirds. Simulated Rosewood appeared on the console, instrument panel, and side trim panels. The steering wheel was white with a chromed insert that was shared with no other Thunderbird.

A television special Tour of Monaco aired on February 17,1963, and many of the new Ford cars were shown as part of the show. Special brochures were printed and mailed from Monaco to prospective buyers worldwide, a high fashion article in Vogue Magazine used the Thunderbird in several photographs, and a special television advertisement was filmed. In all, it was one of the splashiest new model announcements ever.

The power train for 1963 was mostly carry over, except the Thunderbird Sports V-8 (referred to as the "M" option, due to its M designation in the vehicle serial number), was discontinued early in the model year. Complaints from new owners of poor gas mileage, rough idle, and backfiring were common, and many Birds had the three 2-barrel carburetors, intake manifold, and other related components removed and refitted with standard 4-barrel parts before they even hit the lot. The dealers knew they would have difficulty selling the car because of this option, so they just removed it the minute it arrived.

As a result, even fewer are still equipped with this engine today. Its modest 40 horsepower increase over the standard engine didn't make all that much difference, really, and few Thunderbird owners bought the car for its performance. Styling and allure were the key factors, and the Thunderbird certainly excelled in both.

There are reports that the Sports Roadster was discontinued prior to the end of model year production, and the few people who wanted one had some difficulty locating a car to suit their needs late in the model year. Although the wire wheels and tonneau cover would be available for 1964, the Sports Roadster designation was not. No Sports Roadsters were made after 1963, which makes it a two year model. With just 1,882 made over its two year run, it is the rarest of the classic Thunderbirds.

Technical specification:



390 Cubic Inch V-8 (275 Horsepower)
4-Barrel Holley Carburetor/Single Exhaust System (Export only; low octane)


Thunderbird 390 Special V-8 (300 Horsepower)
4-Barrel Holley Carburetor/Single Exhaust System (See note below)


Thunderbird High Performance 390 Sports V-8 (340 Horsepower)
3 x 2-Barrel Holley Carburetors/Dual Exhaust System
Note: A dual exhaust system was optional with "Z" code engine during first part of model year, and was made standard mid-year due to a compression ratio increase from 9.6:1 to 10.8:1.



Cruise-O-Matic (Automatic, 3-Speed)


Cruise-O-Matic (Automatic, 3-Speed) (Apparently a typo, usually found on units with "M" code High Performance 390 Sports V-8 Engine option.)

Length: 205 Inches (Overall)
Width: 76.5 Inches
Height: 52.5 Inches (Hardtop/Landau)
53.3 (Convertible/Sports Roadster)

4,195 Pounds (Hardtop)
4,205 Pounds (Landau)
4,320 Pounds (Convertible)
4,395 Pounds (Sports Roadster)

63A - Hardtop 42,806 ($4,445)
63B - Landau 12,139* ($4,548)
76A - Convertible 5,913 ($4,912)
76B - Sports Roadster 455 ($5,563)

Limited Edition Landau 2,000* ($4,748)
*Limited Edition Landau production totals included in 63B - Landau numbers. No special Body Style Code designation was provided.

INTRODUCTION DATE: September 28, 1962
Production Started: August 20, 1962
Production Ended: July 17, 1963


Old brochures of the car
































Video of the real car from YouTube

  1963 Ford Thunderbird  
  1963 Ford Thunderbird Commercial  


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Aeronautic Mar. 2018


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