1988 Thunderbrid Turbocoupe
Last Update 04/19/2009
Back in the late 1980's I owned a 1986 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. Except for my 1969 Mustang, this was by far the most enjoyable car I have ever owned. The car was peppy enough to enjoy driving with standard T5 tranny but with the 2.3L and overdrive it also was great on mileage. I drove the car for over ten years and finally parted with it after being rear ended and knocked into another car in front of me AND clipped in the front and spun off a curve and through a chain link fence within three months of each other.
After I purchased the 1986 car I saw the 1987 version and REALLY liked what it looked like with the new beak and the intercooler and scoops. I used the body of a 1/24th scale model back in the late 1980's. Of course it was out of reach for us at the time and with the existing car there was logical way to purchase one. I spent the next ten plus years driving the 1986, working some on my 69 Mustang and starting a 1940 Ford Sedan project that was later sold back to the guy I bought it from.
Recently I have noticed quite a few TC's for sale across the web and kept an eye out for a survivor. I missed a few on ebay that were really nice and just kept it in the back of my mind looking for another. I was looking for one that had not been modded out and had most of the existing parts of which the engine/trans was the most important. I did find a very nice roller in Tulsa but without the engine/trans I was skeptictal that I could actually put the car back together.
This one recently showed up in the local Craigslist so I thought I would follow up. The car is much rougher than I what I was looking for but being reasonable local I could actually look/review it and make a decision. The car has been punched in the nose so the nose/beak and front bumper cover are going to have to be replaced as well as the fog lights. Additionally the storage pockets in the door are missing and the drivers door lock plate is gone. Both taillights are trashed and there is a dent behind the drivers door along with a missing radio and/or EQ.
Initially I was hoping for something that could be cleaned up, detailed and driven for a while but it was known that the car was dumping water out the back of the engine. The previous owner thinks it is a freeze plug and looking at an old 2.3L I have there is a large plug in the back of the engine behind the flywheel. So much for a clean up and drive. :-(
Keep an eye out here as we progress through the process of giving the bird back her dignity of the day.
A photobucket dump of all the pics to date can be found
The basic plan is to replace the clutch, replace the rear block freeze plug, clean up misc items under the hood and drive it for a while to debug all the little problems. It will have to have new tires to do this but I hope to drive the car when I want to through 2008 and then pull the engine for a full rebuild over the winter of 2008-2009.
See below for the latest fixes, updates, additions or mods...
Ford Thunderbird Turbocoupe Stats
1983 - 12,566 of 121,999 - 10.3% of total production
1984 - 14,677 of 170,551 - 8.59% of total production
1985 - 20,804 of 151,852 - 13.70% of total production
1986 - 21,575 of 165,965 - 12.99% of total production
1987 - 23,833 of 128,135 - 18.60% of total production
1988 - 37,252 of 147,243 - 25.30% of total produciton
Data Source: VintageThunderBirdClub.org
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