Thank you to canadiancatgreen
I am a sucker for Ford’s fox-bodied faux convertibles, but I thought the Mustang was the only one that got this treatment.
This one needs a better shade of red, and probably an engine transplant, but I would buy it “as is”.
Finally! A 1980+ car not made worse by a faux convertible top. But only because it is hard to make one of these look more ungainly than it began.
Nowhere to go but up with one of these.
Of all these early 80s fox body variants, I think the Fairmont / Monarchs were the most nicely styled, including the basket-handle Futura sports coupes.
The Granada / Cougar twins take a close second place for me. Crisp and formal and reasonably well proportioned. Kind of the opposite of this pastiche Thunderbird; it’s just goofy and awkward as hell. The excellent ’83 restyle was such an amazing improvement.
I also agree that the carriage style top looks pretty good on this car. Shades of the Bill Blass Mark V! These have always been kind of a favorite with me. The size was right and the interior space utilization was improved. Also, for you straight six fans out there, the 200 cid six was standard!
You have blasphemed! 😉
I know I’m not supposed to but I like this for some odd reason.
Back in 2010 or so there was one of these sitting in the parking lot of an abandoned asphualt plant near me, haven’t seen any since then.
For me you can add this use of the name Thunderbird to the list of blasphemies by Detroit.
First the Mustang was shrunken to a wizened pea of its former self, and then this:
It’s offensive to me, just like Kevin Costner dressing up like Robin Hood in a cheap movie.
Just ain’t right.
FWIW, that “cheap movie” had a budget of $48 million.
I agree. As a kid in the 60’s (I was 12 when the C3 ‘Vette came out in ’68), I was mesmerized by what came out of Detroit until 1970, when bloat set in. When I turned 16 in ’72 and was (finally!) able to drive, the only new car that still tempted me was that ‘Vette. Then the smog motors and gas shortages kicked in. . .
By the ’80’s I could not believe what a joke Detroit had become. Take this car for example. For me, who remembered the bullet birds and then the blade birds, this was nothing short of sacrilege.
Ford seemed to perfect the fake convertible roof just before the aero revolution. The tops used on the Mustangs were also believably executed… too bad they were fake.
The ‘carriage’ roof did look good on the Mustang. The Mustang was still a fresh design Ford justifiably took great pride in. IMO, the Mustang and the Mirada looked best with the faux convertible tops. Those carriage roofs trending for about two model years from 1980. Until the LeBaron convertible, and others, returned starting in 1982.
I recall seeing the same press photo as you posted, in Motor Trend at the time. And thought it looked great then, with the very attractive TRX wheels. The pic also reminds me of the McLaren Mustang prototype Ford also introduced around this time, showcasing the potential of the 2.3 litre turbo.
The McLaren Mustang was an actual dream car for me back in my early college days. Along with the Michael Kranefuss piloted Zakspeed Mustang…
Let’s try adding this photo again…
The perfect car to park next to a lawn full of plastic pink flamingos.
To make matters worse, if you wanted V8 power, the Fox Thunderbird was saddled with the 255CI, an engine that performed poorly in all categories (save maybe exhaust emissions).
The 302 2 barrel was available in the ’80 T-Bird.
I’m not keen on the styling and odd proportions. The area around th back arches looks wrong, it’s kind of like a slightly scaled up K car
When I first saw this photo I thought it was one of the abominable “luxury” cars Lido created from the K cars.
I know I’m in the distinct minority here, but I like the styling of this generation of Thunderbird. Yes, I know it’s quirky and a little off-kilter, but for its era, I don’t view it as being a bad design at all.
One thing about this example that I find interesting is how clean the fake convertible top appears. Lighter-colored tops like this one always seemed to age poorly… now, maybe the lighting in the photo here is masking a lot of imperfections, but it sure seems bright white to me, like the day it was glued on to the car.
I agree. I think that it’s fairly cliche to rip on these T-Birds, but I’ve always liked ’em in much the same reasoning that the Mustang II gets hate for–they’re necessary links in the lineage to downsize (based on the new platform that they were making vehicles on), even if they didn’t quite get it right.
I will say that the design of the car that is the weakest for me is the rear fender wells……tires and wheels always looked way too small in them. They need to be out a little more, I suppose, to fit in a bit better with the flared fenders, or the overall treatment needs to be tweaked a bit better, because I do really like the flared fenders.
My late father worked with a rather odd man who was very fastidious in everything he did, like writing down every fuel fill-up. He bought a 1980 Thunderbird with the horrid 255 V-8. He paid cash for it, too.
For some odd reason, he decided that requiring five litres of oil was a huge conspiracy to sell more motor oil and that only two litres were necessary. Not long after he bought the car, he headed up the dreaded Fraser Canyon and on a long uphill section the motor burnt out. The 255 V-8 actually threw a rod out of the crankcase. The motor was pooched and a long block was in order, for which Ford refused to pay. Once the opened up the motor they saw the reason and he was such a dolt he’d told his oil level idea to the service manager, who told him not to do it.
I always thought these cars to be boxy, ugly and gutless. It could have been a cool car had some decent stylists be allowed near it. The rear end looks like a shoe-box.
This has to be the low point of Thunderbirds. Oh wait…..the 4 door…….
I really liked the styling of these cars compared with their bloated predecessors and their ugly, melted, blobby successors. Ford’s “aero,” smooth styling so it can be inserted into sensitive places, never appealed to me on the Thunderbird, Taurus, or Tempaz. Wonder why Ford went to more formal/crisper styling on the 1988 Tempaz restyle?
One thing Ford did far better than Chrysler was cover up the plebian roots of the Fairmont platform. You didn’t have to squint to see that Chrysler’s numerous K derivatives had begun life as Aries/reliants. This wasn’t as obviously a phone company Fairmont.
Yah it was gutless, but everything in 1980 was gutless.
They were gutless but
If you were there to see these introduced, they were pretty hard to take. I thought the front clip worked to a degree, but from the A pillar back it’s just awkward from any angle.
The base version as a slick top was probably the cleanest look, the various more elaborate top treatments on the higher line models just doubled down on the ungainly aspects of this design.
Sometimes it just works better to keep things simple (courtesy of some photoshop edits I did)…..
Ah another one This one I spotted in Edmonton and stopped to get pictures As I recall I think I turned around to go back to see it.
Thx for the write up
I was just shown this post today, and as the owner of this car, I’d just like to say that I know it’s not the prettiest car out there, but it’s different and you don’t see too many of these around. It’s got the optional 5.0 V8, air, tilt, cruise, power windows. Not bad for a $700 car
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