Thunderbird Sports Roadster (1962-1963)
One of two new models for the 1962 Ford Thunderbird was the Sports Roadster.
Sports Roadster History
Four years after the original T-bird was discontinued, Ford dealers were still hearing complaints and getting requests for another two-seat 'Bird. In response, Ford offered the Thunderbird Sports Roadster.
Starting with a standard Thunderbird convertible, a fiberglass tonneau cover was fitted over the rear seats, turning the four-seat Thunderbird into a two-seat roadster. Other special components included a passenger assist bar and the Roadster-specific emblems on the front fenders and tonneau cover.
The removable fiberglass cover was contoured to match the lines of the car, with twin raised headrests covered in padded vinyl that matched the seat upholstery. The convertible top could still operate with the tonneau cover in place.
Chrome-plated wire-wheels, manufactured by Kelsey-Hayes, were included with the Sports Roadster package. Because there was not enough clearance for the knock-off centers, rear fender skirts were not used on cars equipped with the wire-wheels.
Tubeless tires had been in use for several years, but inner tubes were required with the wire wheel option. But even with inner tubes, Ford dealers still received complaints from customers about flat tires on their Roadsters due to slow air leaks.
Exterior colors on the Sports Roadster were limited to less than half of other Thunderbird models. The beautiful but troublesome 48-spoke rims could be ordered on other Thunderbird models at additional cost.
Sports Roadsters are among the most prized of all Thunderbirds, which has led to clones being made from standard convertibles. Just 1,427 Sports Roadsters were produced in 1962, including 120 models with the M-Code (three two-barrel) engine option. In all, 1,882 authentic Z-code Roadsters were built during the two years offered. Dealer-produced versions are also known to exist.