Lot 119

Arizona 2023

1962 Ford Thunderbird 'M-Code' Sports Roadster

Offered from the Iannelli Family Collection


$196,000 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
US Title
  • Offered from the Iannelli Family Collection
  • One of 120 Sports Roadster “M-Code” Thunderbirds produced for 1962
  • Restored by marque specialist Jerry Capizzi in the early 1990s
  • Powered by desirable “M-Code” 390-cu.-in. V-8 with three two-barrel carburetors and higher compression ratio
  • Multiple AACA and VTCI first-place national awards in 1993 and 1994
  • Accompanied by owner’s kit, plaques and trophies, and restoration photo album

The Ford Thunderbird evolved rapidly following its introduction for 1955. From the initial two-seat boulevardier, it transformed into the four-seat, second-generation car with architectural, squared-off styling. By the third generation, spanning 1961–1963, the Thunderbird was all Space Age sleekness, from its pointed nose—which earned it the “Bullet Bird” nickname—to the “afterburner” taillights. This so-called personal luxury car was large, powerful, and offered a dazzling range of standard and available features. No one, however, would have mistaken it for a true sports car.

The Sports Roadster, introduced for 1962, was Ford’s way of bringing back the spirit of the first Thunderbirds. Its most notable feature was a removable fiberglass tonneau cover fitted over the rear seats, providing a convincing two-seat look, while allowing four-seat functionality, should the need arise. The model was further distinguished by Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels and special badging. Priced at a formidable $5,439 for 1962, the Sports Roadster was never destined for high sales volumes—indeed, the car offered here is one of only 120 produced for 1962.

The 1962 Thunderbird Sports Roadster features the desirable “M-Code” by Ford’s desirable “M-Code” 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine with three two-barrel carburetors and higher compression ratio. It also bears the distinction of having been restored by marque specialist Jerry Capizzi in the early 1990s. Soon after completion, the car was campaigned at shows across the country and successfully achieved First Place and Larry Seyfarth Best of Show at the 1993 Vintage Thunderbird Club International Convention, First Place Junior at the 1994 Antique Automobile Club of America Central Division National, First Place Senior at the 1994 VTCI National Convention, First Place Senior at the 1993 AACA Eastern National Fall Meet, First Place and Preservation Award at the 1995 AACA Grand National, First Place Senior at the 1996 AACA Grand National, and a Class Award at the 1999 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance.

The quality of the restoration is undeniable as this award-winning Raven Black over Red leather Thunderbird still presents in show-contending condition 30 years on. It is accompanied by an owner’s kit, multiple plaques and trophies, and a restoration photo album. In preparation for the sale, the owner had the vehicle inspected to resolve any issues and improve functionality. This included minor cosmetic work and servicing the fuel system, which involved rebuilding the carburetors to factory specification. An invoice on file details the work.

Any third-generation Thunderbird makes a strong impression, with many considering its styling to be the finest ever applied to the long-running Ford model. This 1962 “M-Code” Sports Roadster adds incredible rarity and an award-winning, well-maintained restoration to the mix, placing it at the very pinnacle of Thunderbird desirability.