Automotive Mileposts 1963 Thunderbird
Limited Edition Landau
Could Number 2 to 2,000 Be Yours?

1963 Ford Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau Number 1
Above: 1963 Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau Number 1, photographed in front of the Monte Carlo Opera House. This particular car was
given to Prince Rainier as a gift from Ford Motor Company, and differed from the other Limited Edition Landaus in several details.

Limited Edition Landau magazine advertisement photographed in front of the Monte Carlo Opera House
Limited Edition Landau ad
Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau advertising card


· Corinthian White Paint (paint code M)
· (Dark) Rose Beige Vinyl Roof (code E)
· Pearl White Leather Seats (trim code 83)
· (Dark) Rose Beige Padded Dash and Carpet, including carpeted door trim panel bottoms (only 1963 model so equipped)
· Simulated Rosewood trim on console, instrument panel, door panels, rear quarter trim panels, and seat back emblem inserts (normally color-keyed vinyl)
· Deluxe Wheel Covers
· Rear Fender Shields
· White Steering Wheel with unique insert
· White background on S-Bar inserts
· Numbered nameplate mounted on console
· Monotone vinyl door and quarter trim panels

How To Become An International Celebrity

When you think about it, the cost to upgrade to the Limited Edition Landau from the standard Landau was only $51.60. For instance, consider the addition of the following items to the standard Landau:

Leather Seat Inserts and Bolsters $106.20
Rear Fender Shields $26.60
Wheel Covers with Simulated
Knock-Off Spinners $15.60
TOTAL: $148.40

Since the Limited Edition Landau was $200.00 over the standard Landau, and the options listed above were included as part of the Limited Edition Landau package, the difference was only $51.60. Quite a modest sum when you consider it would put the same car in your garage as Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco had in theirs!

Princess Grace of Monaco (the former Grace Kelly)
Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly) was consulted on the color scheme
for the Limited Edition Landau, and although beige was her favorite color,
and was originally planned for the exterior paint, the decision was unamimously
made on September 19, 1962 to go with the Rose Beige vinyl over Corinthian White.

Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau promotional brochure cover
Limited Edition Landau brochure
Letter mailed from Monaco to potential buyers
Letter mailed from Monaco on February 7, 1963 to prospective buyers

The Limited Edition Landau

Lee Iacocca wanted to create interest in the showrooms during the mid-year sales period, which was traditionally a slower time for automobile sales. The excitement over the new models normally began to wane at this time, and some buyers it was thought might possibly delay car shopping until the next year's models arrive, just months away.

For 1962, Ford had "The Lively Ones" campaign, which was very successful and introduced the High Performance Sports V-8 Engine ("M engine") option for the Thunderbird. For 1963, a new campaign would be created heralding the "Liveliest of the Lively Ones - new Command Performance Fords for 1963½". This campaign was to be tied in with Europe's most famous road rally, the Monte Carlo Road Rally which would be held on January 19, 1963. It was decided that this would be the perfect place—and the perfect event—to promote the "new" mid-year Fords. Along with the new Super Torque Ford Galaxie 500 XL Sports Hardtop, the Fairlane Sports Coupe, and the Falcon Hardtop, the Thunderbird would also participate in the Royal Family of Fords with the Limited Edition Landau. Three Holman and Moody-modified Ford Falcons would compete in the event, which was won by Erik Carlsson, driving an 850 cc SAAB 96 (2nd year in a row). One of the Falcons finished 35th overall, and first in its class; another finished 43rd overall; and the third one was scratched from the rally.

1963 Thunderbird Convertible photographed as part of the 1963 Ford Command Performance campaignIn early November 1962, to allow for photography and filming of promotional ads, Ford shipped the following cars to its advertising agency, J. Walter Thompson (JWT): a prototype Limited Edition Landau, a Corinthian White Hardtop with red interior, a Corinthian White Convertible with black convertible top and red interior, a Silver Mink Sports Roadster with black convertible top and red interior, two Rangoon Red Galaxie 500 XL Sports Hardtops with black vinyl roofs and red interiors, two Diamond Blue Fairlane 500 Sports coupes with black vinyl roofs and blue interiors, two Corinthian White Falcon Sprint Hardtops, and two Falcon Sprint Convertibles, one of each with a red interior and one of each with a blue interior. Most of these cars were shipped to Monaco from New York on December 14, 1963 for the International Premiere Event which would be held on January 3, 1963. One Sandshell Beige Falcon Squire Station Wagon (converted to an ambulance) was also shipped at this time for use by the Monte Carlo Red Cross.

A television ad was filmed in Monaco for the Limited Edition Landau. The car featured in the ad was the prototype Limited Edition Landau. A close inspection of the TV ad reveals the dash plaque is not the same as the one installed in production models. The number one car carries the official crest of the Principality of Monaco, which was not permitted on the other 1,999 cars. This plaque was made of silver, while production models were chrome-plated with a brushed aluminum insert on their face. The production plaques stated "LIMITED EDITION THUNDERBIRD LANDAU" on the top line, which was offset slightly to the right. Under that, "Serial No." appeared centered with the top line, with the number stamped into the plate. "WORLD PREMIERE" was centered below the serial number line, and "Principality of Monaco" followed below in script. An emblem topped by a crown that resembled the official crest was used by Ford in its advertising, and was also embossed on the dash plaque to its left side. This emblem was filled in with red paint in an alternating diamond pattern, and was also accented with black paint at the base of the crown, which was located just above the diamond pattern. Black paint also filled in all of the lettering on this plaque, with the exception of the stamped serial number itself. The prototype car also had black backgrounds in the S-bar Thunderbird emblems, which were white on the other cars.

The prototype Landau was equipped with power windows, power seats on both sides, rear seat speaker, and whitewall tires; but it did not have tinted glass, Automatic Door Locks, AM-FM Radio, or seat belts. Tinted glass is not normally installed on cars destined for photography, as clear glass looks better in photographs. However, at least one of the Galaxie 500 XL's sent to Monaco did have tinted glass installed.

It is reported that Princess Grace was consulted regarding the color selection for the Limited Edition Landaus, and the final color scheme of Rose Beige and Corinthian White that was chosen resembled Monaco's flag, which is divided in half horizontally with red on top and white on bottom. The Rose Beige color selected for the vinyl roof is darker than the Rose Beige used on other Thunderbird models. Almost a maroon, it has a lot of brown in it. The interior shade of Rose Beige that was used on the Limited Edition Landaus is slightly lighter in color than the vinyl roof, but is much darker than the color used on other Thunderbirds. The vinyl roof covering on the Limited Edition Landaus was very prone to fading, and within just a few years many had faded quite a bit, which has led some to believe they were a lighter shade than they really were.


The February 15, 1963 issue of Vogue magazine included a designer fashion layout advertisement with the Thunderbird Hardtop, Convertible, and Limited Edition Landau receiving considerable exposure.

Two days later, on the evening of February 17th, CBS television would preempt The Ed Sullivan Show with a one hour special, Tour Of Monaco, which was hosted by Princess Grace. Ford was one of the sponsors, and it was during this special that the Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau television advertisement was first aired. (Narration of this ad appears below left.)

The official date of introduction for the Limited Edition Landau was February 22, and advertisements were placed in the March issues of suitable upscale magazines, including National Geographic, which would be hitting subscribers mail boxes and the news stands about this time.

Limited Edition Landau numbers 2 through 19 were sent out to auto shows around the country, and were later sold to the public. The ROT sheet for these cars indicates "SPECIAL LANDAU SHOW CAR CONDITION" which makes it easy to verify authenticity.

Narration of Television Advertisement

"Waiting...waiting for the unexpected in lovely Monaco.

Expectations fulfilled—you're seeing for the very first time the newest of Thunderbirds—the sophisticated Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau.

Rose Beige and Corinthian White, this new Thunderbird carries its special mark for all the world to see.

The lovely look of simulated Rosewood graces the interior.

There is an engraved plaque with your personal number. It identifies you as one of only 2,000 fortunate owners of the Thunderbird Limited Edition Landau.

Unique in all the world.

Reserve yours at your Ford Dealers."
The 1963 Thunderbird
Limited Edition Landau.
Limited production of
just 2,000 cars.
Prince Rainier of Monaco
received number one.
Could number 2 to 2,000 be yours?

Limited Edition Landau engraved plaque

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