1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe

Ford ended the legendary Thunderbird nameplate a while ago, having come full-circle with a retro version at the start of the new millennium. Every generation had some appeal, and a lot of people were puzzled and saddened to seed it go. It's like if McDonald's got rid of their Big Mac suddenly one day for no good reason.

Speaking of fast-food, this is a fast ruiser that would totally be rad to go to the drive through with. In 1983, Ford launched an all-new, totally redesigned Thunderbird that finally erased any memories of the bloated barges of the Malaise 70s. The new car was handsome, well-proportioned and perhaps most importantly very aerodynamic, with a drag coefficient of just 0.35.

It mercifully shared the rear-wheel drive Fox platform with the Mustang of the era. This meant a balanced chassis, decent handling and a real shot at taking on the European competition.

In 1987, Ford gave the Thunderbird a refresh which ditched the awful sealed-beam headlights in favor of flush units, shrinked the grille and tweaked the taillights. The thing I really like about this generation Thunderbird is that it aesthetically offers something Europe still couldn't replicate, a mix of muscle and modernity.

There were a bunch of engine options, too. You could get a V6, V8, or a special turbocharged 4-cylinder engine like this one.

Of all the engines, I'd want the turbo 4. The V6 wasn't like today's powerful 6-cylinders and had to move a relatively large and heavy car. The V8 made the car too fuel thirsty and irrelevant, as the similar and better appointed Lincoln Mark VII was essentially the same car. But the 4-cylinder turbo offered everything: decent fuel economy and gobs of power. Ford knew they had a hit and gave the engine a air-to-air intercooler from the SVO Mustang that boosted output to an impressive 190 horsepower.

Other features included 4-wheel disc brakes Automatic Ride Control, functional hood scoops for the intercooler and 16-inch "snowflake" alloy wheels.

These are new classic American muscle cars. The 80s were a mixed decade for the US auto industry, as they had to stave off serious competition from Europe and Japan, but cars like this show they still had interesting things to say. '88 was the best year for the Turbo Coupe, and the last year for this entire generation.

The seller says this example has over 120k miles, and although they say it isn't perfect, it looks clean and well kept enough. The seller also says they have a bunch of spare parts.

Available here on craigslist for $3,000.

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