The Ford Thunderbird reemerged as a two-seater in 1962, an aspect of earlier models that enthusiasts missed once the car became a four-seater in 1958. The 1962 model was introduced as the "Sports Roadster," with the rear seats covered up by a fiberglass tonneau. An optional "M-Code" engine upgrade was also offered in the Thunderbird fleet for 1962.
Ford's 1962 Thunderbird came equipped with one of three engines, which correlated to the engine codes "M," "R" and "Z." The M-Code was a 390 high-performance Sports V8 that boasted 340 horsepower with a dual exhaust system and three two-barrel Holley carburetors. The R-Code engine was a 390 V8 with 275 horsepower. Also with a dual exhaust system, the R-Code had a four-barrel Holley carburetor. The Z-Code engine was essentially a mix of the two previous engines, a 390-cubic inch special V8 which put out 300 horsepower and shared the same carburetor and exhaust system as the R-Code engine.
According to Edmunds, the 1962 Thunderbird brought with it a new "tonneau," which covered the rear seats and was a "stylish fiberglass." However, the tonneau was reputedly a hassle in inclement weather when the top had to be put up. Other than the tonneau, a few minor trim changes and a new Landau (vinyl roof) option were the only exterior changes for the 1962 Thunderbird.
Dimensions and Performance
Despite the M-Code engine's 340 horsepower, because of the sheer weight and size of the 1962 Thunderbird, it took 10.5 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. At 205 inches long, 76 inches wide and 52.5 inches high, the 1962 Thunderbird weighed between 4,132 and 4,471 lbs., depending on the model. The hardtop weighed in at 4,132 lbs., the Landau totaled 4,144 lbs., the convertible weighed 4,370 lbs. and the Sports Roadster totaled 4,471 lbs.
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