Tuesday, January 5, 2016

35th Anniversary Edition: 1990 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe

The tenth generation Ford Thunderbird was released in 1989 (along with the Mercury Cougar) on the MN12 platform, which distanced it from the Mustang it had previously shared the Fox platform with.  New to the 10th gen T-Bird was an independent rear suspension, a supercharged V6 and a Mazda sourced 5-speed manual gearbox.  But if you wanted all of those goodies together, the only way was to get the Super Coupe.  Find this 1990 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe 35th Anniversary Edition here on eBay offered for $3,995 buy-it-now or make-offer located in San Diego, CA.

First thing is -- yes, this car will need a new paint job and some interior work.  It shows an odometer reading of only 15k miles, but the paint has spent some time in the harsh California sun.  The good news is that it looks like factory applied paint, and the seller (Pebbleandrock on eBay) is known for picking up used cars at auction and simply flipping them to eBay (he also sells a decent quantity of cereal marshmallows, John Wayne collectors dinner plates, and boxes of plus-sized prophylactics ...presumably not used) -- no resprays or questionable repairs, just a bath and good pictures.

Under the hood is a 3.8 liter V6 that is boosted with 10 psi from an Eaton M90 Roots-type blower from the factory to produce 210 horsepower and 315 ft-lbs of torque (which was more powerful than the optional 200 horsepower 5.0 V8 available starting in 1991).

Luckily for somebody, this Super Coupe left the factory with the optional 5-speed gearbox, which was the version that was dubbed Car of the Year by MotorTrend magazine in 1989.  You are going to need to re-upholster those seats, but properly restored this could be a winner at the next local T-Bird meetup.   

See a better classic 90s luxury coupe? tips@dailyturismo.com


  1. Well, I am confused. The EBay listing says 105K miles a couple of times, but the photos clearly show 15K on a six-digit odo, as DT reports. Who is right? If it is 15K, this looks like a terrific deal on a car that almost everyone will underestimate.

    I am still impressed by how much damage the sun did to this one. I don't think I get that much sun in an entire lifetime up here in the Vitamin D deficient Great White North.

    1. Given the year, and the quality of the paint Ford used at the time, I'm amazed it hasn't molted more.

      My black '91 SHO had lost half its clearcoat by '97, and few Fords of that vintage entered the 21st century with intact original paint.

      My current '91 SHO is Oxford White (aka Utility Truck White), the only non-clearcoated color that year, and the paint's in pretty good shape.

    2. Echo, sensei. White respray posthaste.

  2. Funny, ain't it? Takes a blower to get 210HP out of 3.8 liters, by present-day standards that's a good number for a normally-aspirated 2-liter four. It was considered quite a torque motor back in the day, but once again the numbers aren't all that special by the standards of even a few years later.

    Still, these weren't bad cars to drive.

    Unfortunately, it's a Ford, so parts availability is going to suck. It's got the motorized seatbelts, but you ought to be able to update to conventional belts from a later airbagged MN12.

    And I'm sure there's another 200HP in the 3.8 if you give it 16psi of MasterCard.

    1. Mrkwong has a quiver full of 'em.

    2. Quiver full of MasterCards?

      I'm a payment-in-full kind of guy on most things.

  3. I will make one tech note on this vehicle: if you looked at the rear suspension you'd note that one axle shaft didn't look like the other. One is small-diameter and solid, one is large-diameter and hollow. This decoupling of the torsional stiffness between the shafts to control wheel hop is something GM hadn't bothered to learn in time for the first-generation CTS-V, nor did the aftermarket vendors peddling fatter shafts, solid diff mounts, solid subframe mounts, etc.

    GM did finally catch up to Ford on this nearly two decades later.

  4. The ad needs a few more 3/4 views

    1. I think the 3/4 view minimizes the fact that the paint looks like a map of the Falkland Islands.

  5. 25th anniversary, not 35th, isn't it?


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