66Thunderbird JR info needed

Place to share knowledge of powered promotional cars of the '50s '60s and '70s.

66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby multivett2 » Tue Apr 21, 2015 11:43 am

Any information on a fully restored 66 Thunderbird JR. adult gas engine car? What Data tags numbers should be and how Rare are they? Thanks
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby tbirdbrian » Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:13 am

The 4 cycle Briggs & Stratton used in the '66 and '67 Adult Gas Juniors is one of the least rare engines out there. The correct engine is a B&S 3hp model 80302. They made them from the late 1950's until the 1980s. Rebuild parts are cheap and plentiful. I have 2 NOS engines for my cars that I picked up for around $100 bucks each.

If you search eBay, you should have no problem finding the correct model engine but you may have to search a little if you want to find one dated '66 or '67. Most of them will be copper colored, but some of them are painted black. You used to be able to buy spray cans of the correct silver color (Pewter Mist) but Briggs stopped making it a couple years ago. If you look through the silver engine paint at your local auto parts store, you should be able to find a close match. Luckily, the 60s style vintage decals are being reproduced. Again, check eBay.

The only thing about the engine that makes it unique to the Juniors is the position of the pull handle. Most engines have the pull handle facing up. Our cars have the handle facing down. There were other applications that used a downward facing pull, but they will be hard to find. The best solution is to drill the spot welds on the cover and re-weld it facing down.

Good Luck!
-Brian
Attachments
Original B&S Engine.JPG
B&S Model 80302 installed in a Junior. Note the orientation of the pull cord.
19.jpg
The first 2 numbers under CODE is the manufacturing date. The next 2 numbers are the month of production. This engine in my late serial number '66 T-Bird Junior is dated January of 1967.
68_3.jpg
A 60's vintage NOS engine in the correct B&S silver.
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby multivett2 » Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:08 am

HI Brian,

Thank you for the needed information, it was very helpful. I have an opportunity to purchase a fully restored 66 Thunderbird Jr. How "Rare" are they and their value?

Ann
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby multivett2 » Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:14 am

Hi Brian,

Do do you happen to know the range for the late 66 Thunderbird Jr's Data plate numbers?

Ann
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby tbirdbrian » Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:17 am

Rare is sort of a relative term when it comes to Juniors. Some are relatively common, like the original '55 T-Bird and some are almost non-existent, like 1965 T-Bird models. 1966 T-Bird juniors are pretty rare, but I've seen plenty of them out there. Based on the 10 '66 T-Bird Junior serial numbers I have verified, the serial numbers range from about serial #5001 to serial #5081. So figure the PowerCar company made about 100 of them before they went out of business. But that does not include any '66 T-Birds that the Conval company may have made, nor does that include the multitude of custom '66 T-Bird Juniors the Shriners definitely made.

As far as the value, it depends on the model and the market. I've sold juniors for a couple hundred dollars and I've sold juniors for several thousand dollars. The adult gas powered juniors will always be worth more than electric versions simply because they are more practical. As a car crazy adult, I derive a lot more pleasure from driving my cars than from looking at them. So a Junior that I can use and show off at a car show is more valuable to me than a child's model that I can only display.

It has also been my experience that Mustang Juniors will usually sell for more than a comparable Thunderbird Junior, even though the T-Bird is rarer. Why? Because there is more interest in Mustangs than Thunderbirds. Between 1965 and 1967, PowerCar made nearly 700 Mustang Juniors. During the same time frame, they only made around 300 '64 to '66 Thunderbird Juniors. But the market for all things Mustang is much larger so the demand higher. Plus, I think Mustang people go a little more crazy over their cars than T-Bird people do. I own both T-Birds and a Mustang so I can say that. :D

Finally, what do you consider "fully restored"? Is it a nut an bolt perfect restoration exactly as it would have looked when PowerCar built it or it is a nice paint job and a motor that runs? There is nothing wrong with a custom restoration but, in my opinion, as a collector, a correct restoration will always be worth more than an amateur restoration. But if the car is a scale replica of your real Thunderbird, with matching paint and interior, then it doesn't matter if it is original or not, it may be worth more to you than it would to me. In a nutshell, the value is based on what someone is willing to pay for it. If you fall in love with it and can afford it, buy it. Don't buy a Junior as an investment, buy it because you like it.

Kinda long winded, but I hope this helps,
Brian
Attachments
66bird1.jpg
The earliest '66 Thunderbird Jr. that I am aware of is #5001, a red adult gas model in pieces.
66 #5081 5sm.jpg
The latest Thunderbird Junior I know of is this red adult electric, serial #5081.
Car Show 08.JPG
This is what owning a Junior is all about.
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby multivett2 » Sun Apr 26, 2015 10:20 pm

Hi Brian,

I certainly learned a lot and thank you very much for taking the time to respond to my questions. I'm new to collecting world of Jr's and I'm fascinated by them. I guess I'm a kid at heart. I'm putting out questions is that I'm interested in a fully restored 66 Thunderbird Jr. everything has been gone thru, fully restored to correct specifications if as it was just coming from the factory ( owner stated ) its just beautiful but not cheap.

Thanks again,
Ann
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Re: 66Thunderbird JR info needed

Postby paulcoury » Mon May 11, 2015 10:07 am

Hey Brian I own serial number 5081. How did you get a picture of my T-Bird ? It doesn`t look anything like that now. I had the seats done in real white leather and the body painted with original laquer candy apple red paint ! Paul
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